POINTS OF INTEREST
Built at the turn of the 20th century in preparation for the celebrations commemorating 300 years of the Romanov dynasty, the Metropol underwent reconstruction in the late 1980s to restore its brilliant art nouveau facade to its original colorful guise. The ceramic mosaics are especially arresting when the sun bounces off the tiles. Look for the Princess "Greza" panel made by Mikhail Vrubel, as inspired by the plays of the French writer Edmond Rostand, and a mosaic depicting the four seasons. The hotel was the focus of heavy fighting during the revolution, and it was also the venue of many historic speeches, including a few by Lenin. For some time the Central Committee of the Russian Soviet Federal Republic met here under its first chairman, Yakov Sverdlov. The small café-bar is a sophisticated spot for tea, coffee, and a selection of delicious cakes and pastries. The expense is worth the calming effect of comfy, padded seats and intimate service.