20-May-2000 -- When I was in Moscow two weeks ago, I wanted to visit N55E037 (near Sheremetyevo airport) or N55E038 (NE of Moscow), but honestly, taxi travel is too dicey, and borrowing a car was right out. Many things have changed in the 10 years since I was there last, but renting a car is not one of them - you can't. Public transportation is great, and the Metro stations are still works of art. And since the confluences were nowhere near any public transportation, I didn't go. But I found something almost as good, right outside of the Kremlin!
This is the Zero Kilometer mark - the center of the roads of the Russian Federation - the beginning of the journey. In some regard, it is similar to the Greenwich Meridian. Not a universally significant coordinate, but a locally and historically significant one.
And although it is just a map datum, it is also more deeply entrenched in the Russian psyche. The coins are dropped by people who stand on the mark - the direction it goes shows where your life will go. And of course, some people cheat - they keep dropping their coins and picking them up again until they fall in the direction they want them to fall. The last photo shows a bride and groom waiting their turn to see where their future will lie.
I dropped my coins at the end of my 3 days in Moscow (I had a wonderful time, by the way). As you can see in the photo, my 1 Rouble coin (at about 1 oclock, just at the edge of the inner circle) points towards the Metro station that I have to walk to in order to get back to my hotel - so I guess it really works!