Moscow is among the most beautiful cities in the world and draws in tourists from all parts of the globe. The principal attractions for tourists visiting Moscow for the first time are places such as Red Square, the Kremlin, Christ the Saviors Cathedral, the Bolshoi Theater and Victory Park.
The capital of Russia offers so much for you to explore and has evolved through the centuries to become the hub of Russia’s cultural, economic and educational focus. Moscow is abundant with historical monuments which reflect the rich historical heritage of this fascinating city. Below I will outline some of the top attractions everyone new to the city should make an effort to investigate.
Where to go in Moscow City
Red Square is one of the iconic and most identifiable places in the city of Moscow. The square is near to the Kremlin and boasts the striking multi-colored St Basil’s Cathedral. Red Square is certainly Moscow’s premier attraction and was meant to function as Moscow’s primary marketplace.
Historically the square was the location of numerous public ceremonies and declarations, and sometimes the coronation for Russian Tsars would take place there. There has been many changes to the square over the years and it is used for various official ceremonies both now and by previous Russian governments.
Lenin who was the leader of the Russian October Revolution is buried on Red Square in a granite mausoleum. You can gain access to the mausoleum from 10 am-1 pm each day apart from Monday and Friday. You can also view the graves of other famous Russians including the Soviet leaders Stalin and Brezhnev as well as other significant politicians, scientists, military leaders, and cosmonauts.
The mausoleum is extremely popular and in the height of the season you may have to queue for an hour or so. Seeing Lenin in his tomb will certainly be a very unique and once in a lifetime experience.
Saint Basil’s Cathedral
St. Basil’s Cathedral is one of the most recognizable buildings that most people associate with Moscow. The cathedral is located on the southern aspect of Red Square and is truly a sight to behold. Constructed between the years of 1555 and 1561 this 16th Century magnificent structure was erected by Ivan the Terrible and the fairytale vibrantly colored building comprises of 9 chapels.
It was commissioned by Ivan to commemorate the capturing of the Tartar stronghold of Kazan. At the time of its erection the exterior walls and domes of the cathedral were not as colourful as they appear these days. These vivid colours and other detailing were added throughout a period of 200 years following the initial construction.
Saint Basil’s Cathedral is Constructed around a 156-foot high central nave with nine smaller separate chapels which are configured to points on the compass, four of these are elevated to denote their location between heaven and earth. Throughout the reign of Stalin’s there were some suggestions of actually demolishing the cathedral as it was seen as being an obstacle for his desires for mass parades in Red Square. Thankfully for the countless people that have witnessed and adored the cathedral since, this never came to pass. From the time of 1990 the church has been a component of the Moscow Kremlin and Red Square a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Across Red square you will find the Kremlin is the home of the current Russian president and Russian government. In the first instance it was a wooden fort erected in the 14th century and the unique history of the Kremlin continues to be a source of fascination to Russians and visitors alike. The Kremlin has developed over the centuries into the enormous complex that it is in the present day.
From the outside you might imagine that as the Kremlin is the center of Russian government it would be off limits but this is not the case. There is actually a lot you can gain access to including many beautiful churches and other architectural treasures. You will be required to get tickets and due to the popularity there also could well be queue’s but the wait will be well worth it.
The Armory offers a fabulous collection of possessions and apparel emanating from the 13th century. Notable treasures from the Arsenal include gowns of Catherine the Great, the display of royal carriages in addition to weapons, uniforms and armour going back to a period of 300 years ago. The Great Kremlin Palace is a stunning building inside the Kremlin grounds. The inside of the palace consists of galleries of the state and drawing rooms that are furnished luxuriously. There are also a number of monuments, museums, and hints of Russia’s communist history and the Kremlin wall is also a sight that must be seen.
The Bolshoi Theatre is a historic theatre in Moscow and for sure one of the most famous theatres’ in the world. It was designed by architect Joseph Bové, and today holds performances of both ballet and opera. The Bolshoi Ballet and Bolshoi Opera are undoubtedly among the oldest and most celebrated ballet and opera companies the world over.
With over 200 dancers the Bolshoi is by some distance the world’s largest ballet company. The newly renovated auditorium has five tiers and is decorated in the nineteenth century neoclassic Russian style and certainly worth visiting. If you want to have the ultimate Bolshoi experience see a ballet or an opera but be sure to book online ahead of time.
Old Arbat street
The old Arbat street is among the most well-known shopping venues within Moscow offering travellers a wide selection of souvenirs to return home with. You will also discover a great deal of charming cafes and restaurants here and it’s considered to be the leisure area Moscow. Quite close to Old Arbat street is the new Arbat Street which is where more affluent Muscovites choose to shop and this is the home of many of the finest hotels and eateries.
Old Arbat is one of the principal tourist destinations in Moscow and the street is viewed as a vital cultural focal point in Russia. It is home to the Pushkin museum and a multitude of shops which sell eye-catching keepsakes, a wide range of works of art and scores of dining establishments which serve a variety of different cuisine from around the world. Old Arbat Street is a pedestrian zone which allows you to leisurely stroll about the restaurants and shops soaking up the atmosphere. Old Arbat Street provides tourists with the flavour of old Moscow but be careful to compare prices so as not to be paying excessively for items.
Art Galleries and Museums of Moscow
Those travellers who are keen on works of art are able to go to see and witness the works of celebrated artists displayed within the Art galleries and museums of Moscow. There are in excess of 300 museums and approximately 80 galleries located inside Moscow.
The State Historical Museum of Russia is dedicated to Russian history and situated between Red Square and Manege Square. The museum’s exhibitions vary from artifacts of primitive tribes who resided on the land of modern day Russia. Many of the precious works of arts were obtained by means of members of the Romanov dynasty. The entire quantity of items within the museum’s collection can be calculated in the millions. Some of the most noteworthy items include golden artifacts belonging to the Scythians, the birch-bark scrolls of Novgorod as well as a longboat which was retrieved from the banks of the Volga River.
Among the most well-known museums of Moscow is Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, which is devoted to western art. Here you are able to see some of the great paintings of post-impressionists.
The Tretyakov Gallery is an extremely impressive museum offering a wonderful collection of Russian art from many of the countries famous artists such as Illya Repin.
The Gorky museum used to be the home of the celebrated Soviet writer Maxim Gorky. This unique museum building offers much fascination for more than just those people who adore literature. Designed by the gifted architect Fyodor Shekhtel in the year of 1900 the distinctive building is one of the best illustrations of Art Noveau within Moscow. The house is definitely worth a visit just to view the marvelous interior decoration.
If you are looking for a really unique museum experience why not visit the Museum of dolls. This has a collection of 7 thousand dolls from many different countries including Russian and European dolls. This interesting museum hosts some extremely rare dolls some being more than 300 years old.
The Museum of Modern Art houses Works of European art including several collections of works of art belonging to the most famed artists and sculptors on the planet. Most of the exhibits have been created by Russian artists, however the display in addition includes certain works of art produced by celebrated Western masters. Some of these include graphic pieces by Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger and Joan Miró as well as sculptures by the famous Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí.