Moscow, which has a population of 12 million people and is Europe’s second largest city by population, is a great place to visit. The elegance of antique structures is a reminder of a stern and robust past, yet Moscow mixes old and new in a modern and vibrant style today.
There is a widespread perception of Russia as chilly and harsh, but it is exactly the contrary in the summer, with excellent temperatures and a lovely, airy vibe. Moscow defies expectations and is unquestionably the country’s cosmopolitan capital.
Although it has long been seen as a different option for a city vacation, this city is full of surprises. With the 2018 World Cup throwing a spotlight on Russia – and Moscow at the centre of it – it appears that attitudes are shifting.
Here are some reasons why you should go…
The Red Square is a square in the heart of
Because it is located in the heart of Moscow, you will most likely spend more time here than anywhere else. The primary attractions that encircle the Red Square, which are made up of cobblestone paths, provide an intimidating experience.
The Red Square has seen a lot of Russian history, and it’s a great destination to visit if you’re a first-time visitor to the Russian capital.
The Kremlin in Moscow
It’s difficult not to be awestruck by the mediaeval red fortified structure known simply as ‘The Kremlin.’ The Kremlin’s site and originality date back to the 11th century, and it is surrounded by prominent landmarks such as St Basil’s Cathedral, Alexander Gardens, and the Moska River. It wasn’t until the late 15th century that the towers and stonewalls were built.
The phrase ‘Kremlin’, which means ‘fortress within a city,’ also fits into this protective notion.
Many historical churches, towers, and palaces may be found within the Kremlin, including the Cathedral of Dormotion, Ivan the Great Bell Tower, and the Grand Kremlin Palace, which serves as President Putin’s ceremonial seat. The functional Presidential Seat is located in the Kremlin Senate, which is a building within the Kremlin.
The Basilica of St. Basil
St Basil’s Cathedral, now a museum, is located in the heart of town by the red square and is difficult to miss. The St Basil’s Cathedral is unquestionably unique in comparison to other Russian buildings, as it is brightly coloured, has nine churches, and is formed like a blaze aiming to the sky.
It is without a doubt one of the most appealing sights in the capital. The outdoors is where only the majority of visitors descend, as it is completely instagrammable with no need for a filter. On the inside, you’ll find narrow passageways and chapels that point up to the interiors of the onion domes.
Did you know that Ivan the Terrible was the one who ordered the construction of St Basil’s Cathedral? The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed was its original name.
The Mausoleum of Vladimir Lenin
The renowned embalming of Vladmir Lenin, the former leader of the communist Soviet state in Russia during the early 1920s. His body is kept within the mausoleum’s precise temperatures and is well cared for, eerily still seeming like he’s sleeping. Taking photos is restricted once inside, and you’ll only have around five minutes to enjoy the experience. For some, that may be too long!
The Mausoleum of Lenin is one of Moscow’s most popular attractions, so don’t be shocked if there are long lines on a regular basis. Try to arrive right when it opens, at 10 a.m., to avoid the crowds.
Museums and Galleries
The State Historical Museum, which is located on Red Square, is a work of art in itself. This classic Russian structure is impeccably designed, yet there never appears to be a trace of dirt on it. You’ll be able to see the enormous history of Russian heritage within. It’s a fascinating way to spend a couple of hours, with everything from sea trips to antique equipment. Even still, it’s important to purchase an English audio tour because most items in Russia are only signed in Russian!
The Trekyaov Gallery, located near Moscow’s centre, is another excellent place to get your cultural fix. Nearly 200,000 works of art, going back to the 11th century, are held here.
Metro Stations with a High-End Design
One of the most remarkable aspects of Moscow is the opportunity to ride the subway in luxury. Some of Moscow’s metro stations are lavishly decorated, with chandeliers suspended from the ceiling and exquisite artwork worthy of the Renaissance era.
The curved ceilings and interesting architecture of the stations provide the impression of being in an art museum, despite the fact that the trains themselves are old school. There are a few stations like this — exclusively for the enjoyment of Russians – so remember to look up as you ride from station to station on the subway.
Kiyevskaya is a white marbled wonder that is almost too exquisite to be a metro station. As shown by its exquisite artwork, strolling down here is like walking into a Ukrainian art museum.
The Stalin Prize-winning metro Elektrozavodskaya is another significant metro.
Komsomolskaya’s yellow ceiling…
And don’t forget about the lovely blue Taganskaya Metro Station!
Christ the Saviour Cathedral
Despite not being within the Kremlin Walls, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour stands proud and elegantly among the other cathedrals in Moscow’s central area. This Russian Orthodox Cathedral, which appears almost there in defiance of the others’ tenacity, is no stranger to pulling you in for a closer look.
The world’s tallest Christian Orthodox Church is located on the Moscow River’s side, across Patriarshy Bridge, and is a replica of the original.
Hills, Parks, and Gardens
Gorky Park is the first park you’ll hear about if you want to go to a park in Moscow. Gorky Park, which is ideal for a city escape, has seen major improvements in recent years. It was first used in 1928 and has been undergoing substantial renovations since 2011. Children’s workshop centres, open-air films, cycle excursions, modern art, free WiFi, and more are now available. It is home to Europe’s largest ice rink in the winter.
Alexander Gardens is a good place to start if you’re looking for a garden in Moscow. Despite its proximity to the western half of the Kremlin wall, it’s a great location to unwind, especially in the summer.
Sparrow Hills, as one of the city’s highest peaks, is the greatest site for panoramic views. Formerly known as Lenin Hill, it boasts a beautiful view of Moscow University as a backdrop.
GUM Shopping Center
If you want to spend some money, head to the GUM Shopping Mall, which is located directly across from Red Square. It’s tough not to turn your head to investigate this area, which is home to a plethora of companies ranging from cafes to movies and, most notably, fashion boutiques. Try a great cheese sandwich at Gastronome No1 or rush inside the Burberry store; the mall appears to be more diverse on the inside than it appears on the exterior.
It’s open from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m., so you’ve got plenty of time to fill your boots.
Hotspots on the Street and in the Suburbs
In the heart of ancient Moscow, Arbat Street spans for nearly a kilometre. From food to shopping to buskers to its vivid personality, this street has it all. Teremok, a Russian fast-food chain, as well as small cafés and pubs like Cinderella, serve unique foods like quiche and great vodka and wine pours.
Check out the Zamoskvorechye District, which is off the beaten path. A unique, alternative district with wooden buildings, churches, buskers, water fountains, sluggish trams, and more — add in its historic not-in-your-face nature, and it might be nicer to be here than anywhere in Moscow.