Discover Moscow, the city of many contrasts. This city mixes Soviet with fancy shops. It is also a mixture of Asia and Europe which gives the city numerous sights and attractions that are worth visiting.
Despite its intimidating reputation, the city of Moscow has a lot to offer to its visitors. During your visit, you will discover Moscow’s history, art, and culture. The city is much more than its role in the Cold War.
The Russian capital has a fascinating history that dates back to the 12th century. Besides, the city is home to various luxury brands, glamorous restaurants, and lit bars.
Here, we have gathered for you the tip attractions you should include in your itinerary to discover Moscow:
The Kremlin is the most recognizable edifice in the whole of Russia. It is a fortified complex that was built back in the 15th century. It stretches over 275,000 m2. The main attraction in the complex is the 700-room Grand Kremlin Palace.
The Grand Kremlin Palace, once belonged to the Tsar family, is now the official residence palace of the Russian presidents. However, most presidents choose to reside at other places.
During your visit to the complex, you can also see the other buildings there. The0se include three amazing cathedrals, the armory building, and a museum.
The museum at the complex shows everything from Russia’s history. It holds a number of artefacts. Some of the most antique on display are the royal crown, imperial carriages, and the ivory throne of Ivan the Terrible and Fabergé eggs.
The whole complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and must be included in any trip to discover Moscow.
Shop luxury and discover Moscow’s architectural marvel at GUM!
GUM is the oldest and most upscale shopping centre in the whole of Moscow. The name GUM is short for Glávnyj Universálnyj Magazín (in English: Main Universal Store). The centre has a neo-Russian style.
The architecture of the shopping centre has a beautiful mix of a steel skeleton and 20,000 panels of glass forming an arched roof. Even though GUM is 128 years old, the shopping centre still preserves its original style it has always had since its establishment.
Upon its establishment, GUM was the biggest shopping centre in Russia. This is not the case anymore. However, it is still the most architecturally stunning shopping centre in the country. With its glass dome and marble and granite covered floors, we are sure you will be impressed by the centre.
Apart from the ambience of the shopping centre, GUM is home to high end luxury brands; Gucci, Manolo Blahnik, Louis Vuitton, and other brands. One of the department stores at GUM that we recommend is Gastronome.
Gastronome is a store that sells gourmet food. It has delicious, freshly baked pastries, great Russian chocolate, a large selection of wine, cheese, and of course Russia’s most famous drink, vodka.
So, even if you are on a budget, pay a visit to GUM to check the beauty of the building and maybe enjoy some ice cream.
The Red Square is not just the heart of Moscow, but the heart of whole Russia. The name of the square is quite interesting. It is believed that the name comes from the fact that the square has red brick buildings. Another belief is that the name of the square is a reference to the Communist government the country had for almost a whole century.
The square is located in the middle of four breathtaking buildings. The most famous building on the square is the Saint Basil’s Cathedral. The other three buildings that surround the square are the Kremlin, the Lenin’s Mausoleum and facing them is the GUM.
The square is 400m-by-150m with cobblestone-covered floors. Red Square has stood witness to many of the key historical events in Russia. The view from the square is stunning especially at night. The contrast between the darkness of the night and the square lights is a sight to behold.
Make sure to visit the square while you are in your quest to discover Moscow. It is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, make sure to check if the square is open as it gets closed often due to celebrations or their rehearsals.
Saint Basil’s Cathedral
The most famous building in Moscow is Saint Basil’s Cathedral. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the cultural symbol of the country of Russia. It is a magnificent landmark that has been standing witness to the city’s history for 500 years now.
The building of the cathedral is unique in style. Its bright colours are the first things to catch your attention when you see the edifice. The cathedral looks like a castle taken out of a fairytale with its distinctive nine domes.
Saint Basil’s Cathedral is open daily from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. The ticket for visiting the cathedral is for RUB700 ($ 9.10). However, kids under 16 access the cathedral for free. Make sure to include Saint Basil’s Cathedral in your itinerary to discover Moscow.
Lenin’s Mausoleum is the perfect attraction for any history buff!
The resting place of the Soviet leader, Vladimir Lenin is located right at the centre of Red Square. His body was supposed to be there only for a short time after his death. However, the original plan changed after being visited by more than 100,000 citizens.
Nowadays, Lenin’s body is displayed in bulletproof glass at the mausoleum. Lenin’s Mausoleum has a laboratory with its own team of experts (biologists, biochemists and anatomists) who take care of Lenin’s “maintenance service”. The team works over and over again to keep his body looking “alive”.
We know that this attraction is not for everyone. But, if you are interested in visiting Lenin’s Mausoleum, try to pair this activity with visiting other close by attractions; Kremlin, Saint Basil’s Cathedral and the GUM Galleries.
The opening hours of the mausoleum vary, so make sure to check before you go. There is no entry fee to visit the mausoleum.
Discover Moscow and Russian art at Tretyakov Gallery!
Not very far away from the Kremlin is located the Tretyakov Gallery. It is one of the greatest museums in the world. The gallery is located in one of the oldest districts of Moscow, Zamoskvorechye.
The gallery has a great collection of art pieces from Russian artists who have contributed to Russian art. The gallery houses more than 180,000 art pieces, ranging from paintings to sculptures and graphics.
The Tretyakov Gallery has two buildings; historical and new. The historical Lavrushinsky Pereulok building displays Russian art works that date from the 11th to the 20th century.
The new gallery building at Krymskiy Val comprises a great collection of 20th century national art. This section was built on the 150th anniversary of the Tretyakov Gallery.
Some of the notable art pieces at the gallery include the Vladimir Mother of God; a Byzantine icon of the Virgin and child dating back to the 1100s; Andrei Rublev’s The Trinity icon from the 15th century.
It also has several works by Ilya Repin, the most famous realist painter in Russia. On the grounds of the museum, there is an 86-metre-tall statue of Peter the Great, as well as a number of Socialist Realism sculptures.
The Tretyakov gallery is open six days a week. The opening hours are 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays, and from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
You can get tickets from the ticket office at the gallery. The ticket for an adult is RUB 500 ($6.55). A thing to keep in mind is that the ticket office closes an hour before the gallery closing time.
Discover Moscow’s natural beauty on the bank of the Moskva river!
Gorky Park is named after the famous Russian writer, Maxim Gorky. The park stretches over 120 hectares. It is a beautiful park that comprises many green spaces and dazzling ponds.
The park is a favorite spot for many locals. It is the perfect place to be in summer. Entertainments that cater for every taste are present at the park. During your time at the park, you can enjoy live dancing sessions, free yoga lessons, an outdoor movie theater, skateboards, ping-pong, beach volleyball and other entertaining activities.
At the park, you can rent a bicycle to go around the park in an exploration quest. You can also rent some paddle boats and enjoy some physical activities.
Gorky Park is the full package for an excellent day out. Stalls that sell different foods are scattered all over the park. So, you could enjoy your food while being surrounded by amazing nature.
The park attracts all kinds of people. Expect to find park goers from all ages, coming to have a nice day. People come to play chess, exercise, sunbathe, or relax.
The park has a free entry for everyone. It opens six days a week; from Tuesday to Sunday. You can visit the park on any of these days between 10:00 am and 11:00 pm. Allow yourself around 3 to 4 hours to explore the beauty of the park.
Destruction and renovation are the two words that best describe the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
The theatre was originally built in 1780 as a private theatre. It was named Petrovsky Theatre after the prince who had founded it. The theatre was then destroyed in a fire in the year 1805.
After being rebuilt, the theatre was destroyed once again in the war against Napoleon in 1812. The theatre was renovated and reopened again in 1825 as a much bigger and better theatre.
As we have mentioned before, the Bolshoi theatre was destroyed and rebuilt numerous times. So, after its renovation, the theatre was burnt down in 1853, only to be renovated and reopened for the third time in 1856.
After the Bolshevik Revolution, the Bolshoi Theatre was changed from the “Imperial Bolshoi” to the “State Bolshoi”. Since 2002, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a new stage has been built, acoustics have been improved and the original Imperial décor has been restored.
Nowadays, the Bolshoi Theatre is a fascinating edifice with a brightly lit interior and sumptuous furniture. The whole theatre is decorated in red velvet and golden stucco.
The Bolshoi Theatre hosts both ballet and opera performances. Don’t miss the ballet show to watch one of the best ballets in the world. For opera shows, you can check if the show provides English subtitles on the theatre’s official website.
The tickets to the show vary in price from 200 to 15,000 Russian Roubles ($3 to $198). To get cheaper tickets, try to book 3 to 4 months before your visit. If you are already in Moscow and haven’t got the chance to do so, you can wait till the performance day and buy a ticket from the resellers outside the theater. While this is a less expensive way to secure a ticket, it is not always guaranteed.
That’s being said, any trip to discover Moscow would never be complete without attending a show of Russia’s most famous art, ballet. So, make sure to book the ticket before you head to Moscow!
VDNKh is a public park that was established during the Soviet Union. The idea behind the park was to showcase the different cultures in the union’s countries. The name of the park is an acronym meaning “the Exhibition of the Achievements of the National Economy”.
The park right now is a free open-air museum. It features more than 250 palaces belonging to the Soviet era. The park also is home to arches and fountains, a Vostok rocket, and Soviet aircraft. There are also pavilions representing the various Soviet Republics, with each boasting a unique architectural design.
Walking around the park is like walking around a miniature Soviet Union. It takes you back to decades ago when fifteen countries with different cultures were a part of one union. One of the most impressive pavilions is the one that showcases Uzbekistan. It has a distinctive, airy elegance of eastern architecture.
The park is also a great place to go to if you have kids. The VDNKh park complex has many rides that excite any child. There are also many places at the park to ride bicycles. Moreover, the complex contains the largest skatepark in Europe.
The park is a great destination to discover Moscow’s past while having a good time and a relaxing day.
Museum of Cosmonautics
Discover Moscow’s progress in space exploration at the Cosmonautics Museum!
The Museum of Cosmonautics takes you through a fascinating journey. You will discover many pieces and tools that were used for space travel at different times in history. The museum holds over 85,000 items that will leave you in awe.
The museum pays a much deserved tribute to Yuri Gagarin, the first person to orbit around the earth. At the exhibition, the space capsule used by this well-known astronaut for his journey is on display.
The museum also has on display other artefacts that are worth looking at. These include the first Sputnik (artificial satellite), the first Soviet rocket engine and the moon rover Lunokhod.
The Cosmonautics Museum offers tours in English. There is also a cinema hall inside of the museum that shows short movies that tell the history of space exploration and first manned space flight.
The Cosmonaut Museum opens six days a week; from Tuesday to Sunday. The opening hours are 10:00 am to 7:00 pm (Thursdays and Saturdays until 9 pm). The ticket for visiting the museum is RUB 175 to 350 ($2.28 to $4.55).
Kolomenskoye, the zen of Moscow, was originally a summer residence of the old Russian rulers. While having been one of the most strategic areas of Moscow in the past, the Kolomenskoye Estate is nowadays the perfect spot to get a break from the busy city.
The estate covers 300 hectares. It has many beautiful gardens that are so peaceful. The estate provides a breathtaking view of the Moscow River. The estate also features a unique collection of Russian architecture.
At the complex, there are many old churches that are scattered around. The most popular church around the area is the Church of the Ascension. It was built back in the 1530s by the order of Tsar Vasily III to commemorate the birth of his son.
The Kolomenskoye Estate houses wooden palaces that look like they were taken out of a fairy tale. Other things to see at the complex include a water tower; fort towers and structures; and the 24-room Museum of Wooden Architecture, which includes the restored dining room of Tsar Alexei I.
After a great tour in the city of Moscow, Arbat street is the best place to visit at the end of your tour. This one kilometre-long street is the longest street in Moscow. It is a pedestrian street that has been around since the 15th century.
Arbat street was originally a trade route. Nowadays, it is a pedestrian street that has no traffic and is popular for being full of shops and restaurants. Tourists and locals alike come to hang out on the street.
Have you really visited Russia if you did not bring a matryoshka back with you? So, before you head back home, pick up some matryoshkas for a memoir of this visit. Arbat street is the perfect place to buy souvenirs for your loved ones back home.
Arbat street is surrounded by historical buildings that have different architectural styles. There are two beautiful statues located in the street; one of Princess Turandot and the other of Soviet-era poet Bulat Okudzhava.
A stroll along Arbat street is a very nice activity for a relaxing afternoon. It is a great opportunity to discover Moscow’s artistic side. Grab a nice bite or relax and have your picture painted by one of the Russian artists on the street.
Even though Moscow is not the first destination that comes to your mind when you think about a vacation, the city has a lot to offer. Keep an open mind and discover Moscow’s history and beauty.
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