History students from St Benedict's, Ealing, west London, went on a fascinating trip to Russia recently, for the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution.
The tour began in St Petersburg, where they visited the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad War Memorial and Museum, and Finland Station in Lenin Square, where Lenin returned from exile in Switzerland, to start organising the October Revolution. From here, they progressed to the Smolny Institute, Lenin's main Bolshevik headquarters. They also visited the Hermitage Museum, with its vast range of collections, the Peter and Paul Fortress, founded by Peter the Great in 1703, and watched the ballet Giselle at the Marrinskii theatre.
In Moscow, everyone was amazed by the elaborate Russian metro, with its chandeliers and mosaics presenting Socialist realism pictures - very different from Ealing Broadway! In Red Square they visited beautiful cathedrals such as St Basil's, building on their knowledge of Tsarist history. In contrast, a trip to Lenin's Mausoleum was truly terrifying, under the watchful eye of the Russian military.
St Benedict's Head of History, Alex Weald, led the group of 33 GCSE and A Level students.
This fascinating trip illuminated the complexity of Russian history, as well as its fascinating culture and tradition.