A great city, the capital of independent Russia, during more than 860 years of its existence (the city was founded in 1147 by Prince Yuri Dolgorukiy),grew from a small town on the banks of the calm Moscow river into a giant city with a population of more than 10 million people and an area of more than 900 square km.Now Moscow has become even more interesting for tourists:only now,only in this city you can see with your own eyes how the history of a great country is being created.The doors of all hotels,restaurants and cafes,night and sport clubs,numerous museums,galleries and theatres are open for you,and their staff is happy to welcome you.All the stages of the complex,diverse history of our huge beautiful country,which spreads from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean,left their traces in Moscow’s appearance.The elegant mansions,built in «modern» style,are the neighbours of the Soviet skyscrapers on the New Arbat.And certainly,the Kremlin-the heart and the symbol of Russia.Today we are the witnesses of a new stage in Moscow’s life:the streets and squares of Moscow get back their historical names,more and more neon ads of famous foreign companies and firms are shining in the streets of Moscow,private stores and restaurants are going into business.Here in Moscow,more than anywhere else,one can feel the atmosphere of all these changes,which have already captivated the attention of the whole world for few years and are called the Renaissance of Russia.
Delimited by the stark severity of the mausoleum,the expansive facade of the world-famous GUM department store,and the exuberant colors of St.Basil’s Cathedral,Red Square is,and deserves to be, the requisite first stop for any visitor to Moscow.For most visitors,Red Square is indelibly associated with images of stonefaced Soviet leader standing in the bitter cold as a panoply of military might rumbles past their review stand atop Lenin’s Mausoleum.Although the Square is no longer witness to the imposing parades of May Day, it remains a profoundly impressive space.
St.Basil’s was built to commemorate Ivan the Terrible’s capture of the Mongol stronghold of Kazan and is properly named Cathedral of the Intercession,its popular name has long associated it with a ragged prophet who foretold the Moscow fire of 1547.The appeal of St.Basil’s is best appreciated by a leisurely stroll around its perimeter, as its wondrous exterior decoration belies a remarkably plain and cramped interior.St.Basil’s rises from Red Square in an irresistible profusion of colors and shapes.Its montage of domes,cupolas,arches,towers and spires,each bearing a distinctive pattern and hue,have fascinated the eyes of visitors since its construction in the 1550s.
Lenin’s mausoleum was designed by Alexei Shchusev in 1924,during a period in which the strength of the Russian Avant-Garde had not yet been decimated by Stalin’s enforced return to heroic realismand conservative classicism.As a result,the founder of the Soviet state is blessed with a resting place that is a rare masterpiece of modern architectural simplicity.Faced with red granite and black labradorite, the mausoleum is essentially a pyramid composed of cubes. Although the mausoleum has been stripped of the honor guard that once flanked its entrance, announced plans to remove Lenin’s body seem to have lost their impetus in the last couple of years. The once lengthy line for admission has dropped off considerably,and a visit today is accompanied by a rather bizarre sense of having entered a place that has been forgotten by time.Lenin (or at the least the alleged wax copy of his body) lies still in his crystal casket, seemingly unaffected by the vast changes that have swept over Russia.
The soul of Moscow and the main observation platform of the city. It has always been the favorite place to spend time for the residents of the capital. Dostoevsky,Tolstoy, Bulgakov and other great Russian writers, poets and artists loved to get the inspiration for their masterpieces here.Today you can admire the panorama of beautiful domes, skyscrapers, MGU-the main University of Russia,a picturesque bend of the Moscow river,gardens and parks, inhabited by animals and birds, or become a witness of some event, as Sparrow hills is a permanent place for city’s festivities, concerts and sport competitions.
Gallery is the national treasury of Russian fine art and one of the largest museums in the world.It is the main national collection,representing the development of Russian art from the 11th to 20th centuries.The museum contains more than 130.000 works of painting,sculpture and graphics,created throughout the centuries by successive generations of Russian artists.Two separate buildings at different locations-at Lavrushinskiy Pereulok,and at Krymskiy Val-house the works selected for display .Russian art works,ranging in date from the 11th to the early 20th century,are on the show in Gallery ‘s historic building on Lavrushinskiy Pereulok.
Novodevichiy Convent & Cemetery
The convent was founded in 1524 by Grand Duke Basil the Third to commemorate the liberation of Smolensk from the Lithuanian domination.The architectural ensemble of the Convent had been completed by the end of 17th century.The Cathedral of Our Lady of Smolensk-the most ancient stone building of the Convent-has preserved unique wall fresco painting of the 16th century and a magnificent carved icinistasis with icons by outstanding masters of that time.The Convent has also been a burial-place of russian boyars and royal family members,veterans of the War of 1812,writers, historians and statesmen.
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
The temple was constructed on a vow given by sovereign Alexander I in gratitude for saving fatherland “from the Gauls invasion”.The temple was supposed to be built on Vorobyovy mountains under the project of architect Vitberg.Subsequently “on intrigues against the builder” the project of a temple and a place of construction were changed. The new place was chosen not so close to the Kremlin,so that the temple was dissonant to its ensemble,but at the same time so that connection of the temple with ancient constructions of the Kremlin and the Red Square was felt.September 10 1839 the solemn laying of the present temple in Russian-Byzantian style took place. It was constructed under the project of architect K.A.Ton,at the expense of treasury withattraction of people’s donations. Two cemeteries and mammoth remnants were found during digging a foundation ditch. The temple was consecrated in April,10 1883 during the days of crowning of the emperor Nikolay I.Side-chapels were consecrated later: in June, 12-the side-chapel of St.Nikolay Chudotvorets and in July,8-of St. Alexander Nevsky.K.A.Ton has created the project of a five-domed temple with big central and four angular turrets with 14 bells.
Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
Opened in 1912,the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum has one of the most significant collections in Russia presenting works of world art from ancient times to nowadays. The collection totals more than 500 000 works of painting andplastic art, graphic and applied art, archeological findings and numismatics. Masterpieces by Botticelli, Veronese, Tiepolo, Poussin, Vayyo, Bouche, Corot, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Godh, Gaugin, Mattise and Picasso are also displayed there.
This street, is the main route in the direction of Tver,and is the center of its own commercial district.It is said to date back to before the Mongol Invasion in the 12th century.Tverskaya Street became the hub of social life in Moscow in the 17th and 18th centuries,when the Miloslavskaya and Naryshkina factions battled for the control of Russia,eventually resulting in the rule of Peter the Great.At the end of the 18th century,the thoroughfare stood not only as the road by which Russian royalty traveled when going to and from St.Petersburg,it also became the center of prestigious residences of rich nobles-a Muscovite version of Manhattan.Today, many modern structures maintain addresses on this still-prestigious street,including the Izvestiya Building and the Central Telegraph Building.It intersects with the Boulevard Ring at Pushkin Square,regarded as one of the busiest squares in the world.
The Grand Palace in Kremlin
The Palace built over a span of 12 years to symbolize the greatness of Russian autocracy features nine churches, 700 rooms, the Terem Palace, and Holy Vestibule.Table to catch a rare glimpse of the beautifully decorated and historical hallways,throne rooms,ballrooms,and cathedrals that are housed within The Grand Palace in Kremlin. Once used exclusively as the Moscow residence of the reigning Tsar,The Grand Palace is now considered the residence of the President of the Russian Federation and location forceremonial events that include official meetings and conferences with foreign dignitaries, inauguration ceremonies, and presentation ceremonies for state awards.
The Diamond Fund
This famous collection of gems is housed inside the building of the Kremlin Armory.Visitors may see the most precious items of the treasury:unique diamonds and gold nuggets from Siberia, world-famous emeralds and sapphires as well as,of course,its most precious exhibit: the crown of Catherine the Great adorned with more than 5000 diamonds along with other invaluable pieces.
The Armory Chamber
It is one of the oldest museums of the Kremlin.Founded in 1511,the construction of the present building dates back to the 19th century. Here you may find a priceless collection of ornate arms and weapons,the Crown Jewels of the Russian Tsars,their carriages and thrones,along with furniture,Royal gowns,jewelry and diplomatic gifts from the 12th to the 19th centuries.
With over 300 kilometers of track divided into 12 lines that serve 186 stations, the trains and tunnels of Moscow carry an average of 7 million people each day .The trains originally operated faster than their Western counterparts,and today,they still manage to move at a fairly respectable clip.However, the Metro is not merely a series of trains and tunnels.The stations of the Moscow Metro,first opened on May 15,1935,are describes as one of Stalin’s most extravagant architectural projects.The original 13 stations,along with many others that were built later,together serve as one of the world’s largest galleries,with functional works of art at most stations ushering busy Muscovites about their daily tasks.
Arbat Street is one of the oldest surviving street in Moscow.Originally the street was a part of an important trade route and was home to a large number of craftsmen. In the 18th century, Arbat became one of the most prestigious living areas in Moscow and then a place for the intelligentsia and artists to live. During the USSR,it was a place where young people held meetings and protests.The street nowadays reflects this eventful history as it features elegant buildings,a museum in the house of famous Russian poet Pushkin,a lot of nice shops,cafés and restaurants, an entire wall dedicated to the pioneers of Russian rock and the impressive building of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.You must absolutely have a walk in this one kilometer long bustling and vivid street in the very heart of Moscow
Gum Department Store
GUM (State Department Store) is considered the main department store of Russia.It is located in a stunning historical building on the Red Square, and thus is one of the most famous landmarks of Moscow. The first grand opening of the store took place in 1893.It symbolized the beginning of new era for Moscow and was to become the largest, most fashionable and technically advanced European Department store.Today GUM is among the favorite places to spent free time for residents of the capital and a must-visit for tourists.
The Bolshoy Theatre
The oldest and the most famous theatre in Moscow is the State Bolshoy Opera and Ballet Theatre («Bolshoy» means big).The forerunner of today’s theater was Prince Urussov’s Opera and Ballet Theater,commissioned by Catherine the Great in 1776 and financially backed by the Englishman Michael Maddox.Albert Cavos,designer of St.Petersburg’s magnificent Mariinsky Theater and an expert in acoustics rebuilt the Bolshoy Theatre in 1853 and today it is deemed one of the largest theaters in Europe,seating up to 3,000 people.The most favorite operas of that time were works by Michael Glinka «The Life for the Czar» and «Ruslan and Lyudmila».And till now traditionally every Theater season begins with one of the operas of Glinka.As for the Ballet,the performances based on Russian themes were replaced by Western romantic themes in the middle of the 19th century.Sylphide,Gizel, Esmeralda were performed in Russia very soon after premieres in Europe.The Bolshoy has had the honor of hosting the premieres of many operatic and ballet works by the famous Russian composers Prokofiev,Shostakovich,and Aram Khachaturyan,who wrote the spectacularly successful ballet hit of the 1960’s,Spartacus.The theater’s stars,among them Maya Plisetskaya,Vladimir Vasiliev,Galina Ulanova,Galina Vishnevskaya,Irina Arhipova helped to build the theater’s reputation and boosted their careers into the dazzling heights of international success.The new theatre is considered to be the second largest in Europe after the famous La Scala Theater in Milan.A trip to see one of the Bolshoy Theater’s world-class opera or ballet performances is an absolute must on your visit to Moscow.
The old imperial estate at Kolomenskoe is one of the most picturesque and enjoyable of Moscow’s out of town attractions and is an absolute must see.The estate is nestled on the steep west bank of the Moscow River,surrounded by ancient forest,which is now a conservation zone,one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.Kolomenkoe features vintage wooden structures built by many of the country’s Tsars, one of the most beautiful churches and examples of Russian tent-roofed architecture in the country. During the 16th century, Kolomenskoe was chosen as the site of a royal summer retreat,where Ivan the Terrible stayed during his childhood and later with his first wife,Anastasia.The estate was rebuilt by Tsar Mikhail Romanov and included a magnificent wooden palace,which his contemporaries dubbed the «eighth wonder of the world». Inside the entrance to the grounds stands the impressive Church of the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan,built in 1644 by Tsar Alexey in memory of the struggle against the Poles during the Time of Troubles.The church became better known in modern times for the icon of the «Majestic» Virgin.Not far from the site of the original wooden palace visitors can wander in the oldest oak woods in the Moscow region,with some trees dating as far back as 600 years and some having been planted by the young Peter the Great himself.The most interesting is undoubtedly Peter the Great’s cabin.The Kolomenskoye Estate also hosts a number of festivals and Russian religious celebrations every year.The festivals feature traditional Russian music,dance,costumes,food and games and the estate provides a magnificent historical backdrop to the celebrations.
The Kuskovo Estate is a perfect example of an 18th century Muscovite country residence.Tsar Peter the Great awarded the village of Kuskovo to Boris Sheremetev.The Sheremetyevs were one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in Russia and the estate was used by several generations of the family.The estate comprises the central palace and a number of smaller buildings and architectural follies dotted throughout an extensive landscape park,which includes formal French gardens, ponds, lakes and Russian and Italian sculptures.These buildings were designed and built by both French and Russian architects and took over 40 years to complete.The centerpiece of the estate,the wedding cake-like main Palace,was constructed entirely of wood.Visitors enter the palace through its ornate Grecian Vestibule, decorated with fake antique urns and lashings of marble,and proceed through an impressive enfilade of 18th century interiors.Behind the palace in the charming garden stands the yellow, white and green Grotto.The building features a prominent dome and wrought iron gates and boasts an interior decorated with shells,stones,textured stucco and porcelain.Nearby visitors will find the delightful Italian Cottage.Beyond the estate’s Aviary and open air Green Theater stands the Orangery,which houses a magnificent Ceramics Museum.During the summer the estate’s main palace hosts occasional classical music concerts and festivities,organized by the US and French Embassies,to celebrate Independence Day on June 4th and Bastille Day on July 14th.The celebrations usually involve music,fashion shows,period costumes,games and air displays and tickets can be bought as you enter the estate gates.
Tsaritsyno is a beautiful park and estate from the late 16th Century when it belonged to Boris Godunov’s sister, Irina Godunova and used to be called Bogorodskoye before becoming Tsaritsyno in 1775 when Catherine the Great bought the estate.In 1984, they built the history and architecture museum and now there is also a gorgeous park and an enchanting forest as well as an art museum, the Biryulyovo Dendropark and a cascade of Tsaritsino ponds.The estate also holds the incredible Opera House of Bazhenov,built in the 18th Century in pseudo-gothic style and is the only architectural ensemble of its kind in the whole country. The palace is also surrounded by pavilions, pergolas, harbours, grottos and decorative bridges as well as a temple and a modern recreation centre with its own delicious restaurant.
VDNKh is created in 1939 as an open-air agricultural exhibition, it was transformed in a permanent trade show where the social realistic style building represented each republic of the USSR. It is nowadays the largest exhibition, museum and recreational complex in the world, one of the most popular public spaces in Moscow,which is annually visited by 25 millions of people.It is a diverse and lively park featuring the original iconic buildings, beautiful fountains, museums like Cosmonaut Museum,world famous sculpture of the Worker and the Kolkhoz Woman,authentic full-size airplane as well as flowered parks. With its handful of restaurants and stands and spaces for skating or cycling, this place offers so many cultural and natural facilities that it is definitely worth a visit.
The Museum of Cosmonautics opened its doors to public on April 10th,1981.The museum’s exposition gives a retrospect on how Soviet space science evolved starting from first man-made satellites subsequently followed by the first manned space flight,first space walks,Moon exploration programs, Solar system exploration programs and international space researchprograms. It is therefore a very interesting way to discover Russia and Cold war history as well as learn about fascinating scientific discoveries.