Moscow, tradition and modernity

After troubled times, Moscow entered a new “era” where change became the key word. The city is growing at an alert pace. I was expecting to see gray buildings, specific to the communist ages, but I found a colourful and vibrant city.

Walking around the city

Reminiscences of the city’s past can be seen everywhere. In the middle of the city stands the Red Square, the famous political center that hosts St Basil’s Cathedral, the Museum of History and the GUM shopping gallery. The square itself lays on a surface of 73.000 square meters. The name of the square means red – it reminds of the color of communism – but also beautiful in Russian. My attention was drawn by the cathedral’s colorful domes, shaped like onion bulbs. The church was turned into a museum that can be visited for 500 ruble (6 euro).

St Basil’s Cathedral

Museum of History

On a hot day, you can take a break and visit the shopping gallery GUM. It was opened in 1893 and quickly became one of the most prestigious shopping centers in Russia. It’s the leading fashion venue in Moscow, hosting more than 1000 luxury brand stores.

GUM shopping gallery

In the same square, across the street from GUM, you will find one of Moscow’s most macabre attractions –  Vladimir Lenin’s embalmed body that was placed in a mausoleum in 1924, after his death. If you are willing to see him, you must be patient and stay in line…it might take a while! The tomb is open every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 1 pm. There’s no fee.

The mausoleum is situated right next to Kremlin’s walls. Kremlin is a fortified complex that includes five palaces, four cathedrals, the Kremlin wall with the Kremlin towers. The complex serves as the official residence of the president of the Russian Federation and parts of it were turned into a museum. Inside the museum, you can visit the architectural ensemble of the cathedral square (one ticket is 1000 ruble – 14 euro) and the Armoury Chamber for another 1000 ruble.  The Museum is open every day, except Thursday.

Kremlin

Near the famous square, on Nikolaskaya Street, you can sip a glass of wine, eat some traditional food and listen to the street performers while watching the shiny street lights. The street was the epicenter of the Football World Championship in 2018, the place were people socialized and had fun until sunrise. The street became popular among residents and tourists a few years ago when it was turned into a pedestrian area.

In the same area, close to Red Square, stands the prestigious Bolshoi theater. The Bolshoi Theatre is a symbol of Russia for all time. It was awarded this honor due to the major contribution it made to the history of the Russian performing arts. The theater was opened in 1776 and was destroyed several times by fires. Last time it was renowned in 2005. The renovation work took six years and costed more than 500 million euro. The theater can be visited in guided tours three times per week, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. The English tours start at 11:30, but you should be there at 10:30 to book a spot. It would be, of course, more impressive to attend a show, either ballet, or opera. Make sure you buy the tickets in advance from the official page!

On the bank of Moscow River stands the biggest Orthodox cathedral from Moscwow – Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, that’s also the tallest orthodox church in the world,  with a height of 103 meters. The cathedral was destroyed during Stalin’s period in 1931 and rebuilt in 2000. 

Strelka Bar and a nice view of the cathedral and Moscow River

Cruise on Moscow River

From the cathedral, you can take a walk along the river. You will end up in Gorky Park, a large and modern area. We went on a river cruise from Gorky pier deck. You can buy the tickets on spot or online (cheaper version). There are several types of cruises: 1-2 hours, hop-on/hop-off, romantic cruises with dinner, drinks and music. Whatever you choose, it’s a must-do thing in Moscow! 

The river is surrounded by old, opulent building, and by the new district Moscow City. The new neighbourhood is a mixed development of office, residential, retail and entertainment facilities. The second tallest building in Europe, the Federation Tower accommodates the tallest and the most unique restaurant in Moscow, Sixty, located on the 62nd floor.

Traveling by metro – a delight

The metro is more than just a means of transportation, the capital’s metro is truly a masterpiece of art and architecture. With one ticket (60 ruble – 1 euro), you can visit this spectacular underground museum.

Komsomolskaya (Circle Line)

Keep in mind:

  • The security is at another level in Moscow. They will check your bags several times in each train station, airport, even metro station.
  • The Russians don’t speak English. Buy a SIM card with Internet from the airport and download Google translate.
  • Take some comfortable shoes with you. Moscow is such a large city that you’ll need to walk a lot!
  • The city is safe and VERY clean.
  • More information about accommodation in my previous article, here

Photos:

Kremlin

Moscow River

Look at how they sit on the bridge!

The shores of Moscow river

In the background: Gorky Park

Gorky Park

Hipster coffee shops in Moscow

On the bank of the river

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