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Moscow

  • Europe's largest metropolis is abound with churches, convents, monasteries and other Orthodox basilicas decorated with superb religious paintings and gilded domes. The old capital city of the Soviet empire made the world tremble with fear from inside the Kremlin, a city within the city, protected by its high, red ramparts. Nowadays, tourists all rush to the Red Square - between the Lenin Mausoleum, ...
    © ZoonarAlexey Popov / age fotostock
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Russia

Europe's largest metropolis is abound with churches, convents, monasteries and other Orthodox basilicas decorated with superb religious paintings and gilded domes. The old capital city of the Soviet empire made the world tremble with fear from inside the Kremlin, a city within the city, protected by its high, red ramparts. Nowadays, tourists all rush to the Red Square - between the Lenin Mausoleum, the GUM department store and the Cathedral of Saint Basil the Blessed - which is topped with onion domes that look like they've come straight out of a fairytale. The underground train runs along a real underground palace and takes you, in the blink of an eye, to Café Pushkin, Star City, Izmaylovsky flea market, Novodevichy monastery or Stalin's bunker. Among the thousands of Orthodox churches, Art Nouveau façades and Soviet tower blocks, 7 twin Stalinist skyscrapers stand out, as if they were standing in the middle of Gotham City! The University and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are housed in one of them, which is almost 1,000 ft high! After nightfall, let your hair down and enjoy the Muscovite nightlife, the reputation of which is now world-wide.

Moscow: what to do?

Go bargain-hunting at the Izmaylovsky flea market; drink hot chocolate at Café Pushkin; experience space conquests at Star City or the Cold War in Stalin's bunker; stroll along the pedestrian street Arbat, which is lined with numerous shops, bars and restaurants; go on a mini-cruise on the Moskva River; watch a play at the Bolshoi Theatre; relax at the famous Sandunovskye Russian baths; and experience the unique atmosphere of Moscow's nightlife in the fashionable bars and clubs of the city.

The Red Square, the Lenin Mausoleum, the GUM department store, the Cathedral of Saint Basil the Blessed, the Kremlin and its palaces, museums and cathedrals, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Novodevichy monastery, Pushkin's House-Museum, the 7 Stalinist skyscrapers and the underground which looks like a palace!

  • The underground train: superbly decorated and very cheap.
  • The Red Square and the mighty Kremlin.
  • The numerous and charming Orthodox churches.
  • The famous Muscovite nightlife.
  • The huge distances.
  • The scarily long traffic jams.
  • The Cyrillic script on sign posts.
  • The high prices of the hotels.

Moscow: what to visit?

Reminders

Check your change when you take the bus, tourists are easily conned! In the underground train, all indications are written in Cyrillic script, so you had better learn the basics before you leave! Either way, the underground is really cheap and it deserves a visit if only for its statues, chandeliers, frescoes and marbles! Stations are usually far away from one another though so you may have to walk up to 25 minutes to get to your hotel or meeting place! It can become quite an exercise when you're laden down with luggage and all the street names are written in Cyrillic and you know that most Russians do not speak any English!

To avoid

Picking up a wad of roubles off the floor: a typical Italian scam - you will be accused of theft and searched by an accomplice dressed up as a policeman. Do not take a taxi to the airport, you may very well miss your flight because of the huge traffic jams! To get to Domodedovo international airport, 20 mi south-west of Moscow, it is much safer to catch the Cityexpress train, which runs every half hour to the airport in 45 minutes from Paveletskaya station, itself connected to the underground lines n# 2 & 5, two stations away from the city centre.

Moscow: what to eat?

Caviar, of course, is to be tasted on blinis! Remember that it has been illegal to take it out of Russia since 2006. A tin containing 100g of caviar costs approximately ?70 in Moscow, whereas it is over ?500 in Europe! Do not buy it in any old place that you find selling it, and especially not in the street! If you want to be sure of its quality, buy it from Eliseevskiy grocery store on Tverskaya avenue, near Pushkin square (Pushkinskaya underground station), which will also give you the opportunity to admire this superb food store with its decoration worthy of a palace (grand mirrors, chandeliers and gilding). Do not mistake much cheaper red caviar (salmon roe) for black caviar (sturgeon roe). Siberian beer is cheap (approximately ?1) but very light. Vodka is, of course, inevitable, but if you want to drink it like the Russians do, you have to knock it back in one go! Her is Moscow, you will have the opportunity to taste the cuisine of the ex-Soviet empire in the Uzbek, Armenian and Georgian restaurants, etc. You can try Beef Stroganoff, a great classic in Russian gastronomy which is made with beef, fresh cream, onions and mushrooms: delicious!

Moscow: what to buy?

A matryoshka doll: the famous wooden Russian dolls of decreasing sizes placed one inside the other: children will love it! The Shapka: the fur hat used for enduring harsh Russian winters! Knick-knacks evoking past Communism and the Soviet Union: hats bearing the hammer and sickle symbol, for example. You can buy good value vodka, but keep in mind that, since 2006, it is illegal to take caviar out of Russia.

Moscow Reviewedhotels
  • 9.2 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Ararat Park Hyatt
    Moscou - Russia
    Hotel Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    The Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow is ideally located a stone's throw ...

  • 9.1 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Baltschug Kempinski
    Moscou - Russia
    Hotel Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    On the banks of Moscow River, at the foot of a bridge leading ...

  • 9.1 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    National by LC
    Moscou - Russia
    Hotel Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    The National is a legendary establishment in Moscow where many ...

  • 8.85 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    MaMaison Pokrovka Suite
    Moscou - Russia
    Hotel Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    The Mamaison Pokrovka is one of the 'Small Luxury Hotels of the ...

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