Category Archives: Moscow Camera

The piano that still plays

As part of refurbishing and replanning the Gorky Park in Moscow, they “planted” old pianos in various spots. There’s a Russian phrase – “a piano in the bushes” – that means something obvious getting presented as a great surprise. Well, accidentally finding these pianos is not quite obvious, but that’s only half of the story. The lone-standing big piano has four working keys!! No other piano has that, only this one. So I made a small record of those keys extorting sound.

July and August News

As you gathered from previous post, I can now blog from my mobile phone. Don’t be surprised: in all 6 years I blogged from PCs, notebooks, and netbooks, sometimes even at the Internet cafes, but never from a mobile phone. One thing I should sadly mention is that the mobile version of Blogger doesn’t have an option to add a hyperlink. It also suggests I type in the names of Labels, which is not at all convenient. I suppose I can do formatting myself, but it’s not ideal for blogging on the go. At least, now the Blogger team has feedback 😉

It was hard to keep up with the blogging tempo I had last year, but there’re plenty of great things I can share. Last year I translated a book from English into Russian on the subject of children’s puberty. This year it was finally published and is already sold in Moscow bookstores. Not only am I a published author now, I’ve got a translated book under my belt, too.

Next, wherever you are in the world, interested in Russia but not wanting to be spoon-fed any kind of propaganda about this country, welcome to Russia-InfoCentre. Since 2001 this English-language e-zine, produced entirely by Russian citizens, has been serving the global audience who wanted to learn more about Russian culture, business, arts, travel opportunities, etc. There are also two sections on the site that provide encyclopaedic articles about Russian famous people and cities and regions of the country. When I decided to stay in Moscow for a period of time, I began to look for opportunities to tell people about Russia as it really is, behind the headlines, official sources, misconceptions, and the Cold War era propaganda. Russia-IC and I found each other, and I’ve been a part of their team since May 2011. It gives me a great pleasure to invite you to subscribe to their news and article RSS feeds and to follow them on Facebook or Google Plus.

I’ve moved my personal information to, where people can also contact me and which I am updating with my news.

Back to mobile blogging, I will now be able to share Moscow photos straight to LCJ, although I’ll probably have to add FourSquare and Qype recommendations manually on PC.

By the way, many thanks to Qype Team who commended my review of the Old Trafford Stadium last month. In August I contributed several more Moscow landmarks, their reviews and photos, and even became a champion of a few hotspots! As a matter of fact, some reviews and photos have gone places, like this review of the Beacon of Hope in Manchester’s Sackville Gardens. I’m very pleased to have been Qype’s contributor since 2010.

After a quick visit to Manchester in February this year I’ve not travelled anywhere – and then went first to Kaluga Region in early August, then to Pskov Region in late August, and spent the most wonderful evening enjoying the famous Gorky Park. I’ve painstakingly documented all these trips in my hand-written diary, in addition to taking photos. And I’m already planning the next trip, which, if I make it happen, should become a long-relished cherry on the cake.

What else should I say? I wrote this on Facebook and I can only repeat again: this August I deeply felt how happy and lucky I was with all close friends, family members who back me and support me, with great friends I’ve made through social networks or with whom I maintain contact via the same networks. I’m grateful to them for bearing with me 🙂 and for being what they are.

After all is really said and done… welcome to September!

Walking in the rain in Moscow (Credit: Julia Shuvalova 2012)


Moscow Camera: Roof-Surfing at the GUM

Julia and the yellow Porsche

GUM, which is short from Glavnyi Universalnyi Magazin, is the oldest and the largest department store in the capital. Having started long before the 19th c. as the trading hub of the city, it evolved to become a predecessor of shopping centres and department stores in combining the boutiques, cafes and restaurants with entertainment facilities.

The present building was erected by the architect A. Pomerantsev between 1891 and 1893 and consecrated by the Great Prince Sergei Alexandrovich and his wife, Elizaveta Fyodorovna. To quote from GUM’s official website, today

GUM presents worldwide renowned names of fashion industry such as Louis Vuitton, Corneliani, Dior, La Perla, Ermanno Scervino, Escada, Sonia Rykel, Marina Rinaldi, Burberry, MaxMara, Max&Co, Kenzo, Hugo Boss, Wolford, Iceberg as well as different competent bags and elite luggage manufacturers such as Samsonite Black Label and Mandarina Duck. Popular jewelry companies as Chaumet and Frey Wille are also located in GUM. At the same time we don’t specify GUM a luxury direction. The trading house offers in its goods assortment some leading sport brands as Adidas, Reebok, Nike, Puma and popular casual clothing and footwear manufacturers as Pinko, Gant, Dimensione Danza, CK, Levi’s, Ecco, Monsoon, Accessorize, Chevignon.

You get an idea. Nonetheless, the cafes are not expensive, meaning that you can pop in for a visit without a need to break your bank. Just enjoy exploring the place. Currently, for instance, there is an exhibition of Porsche cars from different years, and as I was wearing by hand-knitted yellow scarf I couldn’t resist posing in front of the yellow Porsche.

Without a doubt, one of the most striking features of the GUM is its roof. Designed by the engineer V. Shukhov, the roof represents a half-circle construction, 14 meters in diameter, made of over 50 thousand pounds of steel. It is a fascinating structure, and I somehow thought I’d try to film it. I got carried away, but the result is quite interesting methinks.