Moscow is one of the most interesting cultural capitals of the world. The Soviet legacy of Stalin’s skyscrapers with ruby stars on the tips is intertwined with the ultra-modern design of the business center, and spacious green parks are adjacent to historical monuments of the tsarist era. Living here constantly, sometimes you forget how versatile and eclectic the city surrounds you every day.
In addition, it is one of the largest megacities in Europe, for a detailed acquaintance with which it will not be enough even a week. Like a precious box, Moscow will open before you the treasures of museums, and the amazing color of souvenir shops, and the most unusual places to visit. If you find yourself in the capital for just a couple of days, on a trip or at work, you can make a first impression of the city by visiting the top 5 main attractions of Moscow — they are in our current selection for travelers.
Let’s start from the very heart of Moscow, the incomparable Red Square, where all the most important state events take place. Since traffic in the center is always busy, and parking spaces are very limited, it will be most convenient to get there by car sharing or by metro, reaching the Okhotny Ryad station (read the detailed guide about the Moscow metro here). Near the station underground is located the shopping center of the same name, which contains the world’s most popular brands of clothing and cosmetics for shopping lovers.
You will see all the splendor of the brick towers of the Kremlin, dating back to the 12th century, the golden domes of ancient churches, the beauty of St. Basil’s Cathedral and the severity of the Lenin Mausoleum framed in granite. GUM, the country’s main store, whose magnificent interior deserves special attention, is also located on Red Square. In winter, a GUM-skating rink is organized right on the square, and you can skate and feel the New Year’s atmosphere of the holiday, and in summer tourists and residents enjoy the pleasant weather on the open terrace of the cafe, decorated with fresh flowers.
The territory of the Moscow Kremlin
A separate excursion program may be the State Historical Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the interior of the Moscow Kremlin, which should be allocated several hours — the total area is 27 hectares, and most of it is open for tourists. The Assumption Cathedral and the Ivan the Great Bell Tower are considered to be one of the most magnificent buildings. The pearls of the historical heritage of Russia are the Armory and the Diamond Fund, for which we recommend booking tickets in advance. An impressive collection of weapons and masterpieces of jewelry is unlikely to leave anyone indifferent.
In walking distance there is a visiting card of the renewed Moscow, a unique Zaryadye park with a bridge soaring over the Moskva River. After a busy walk, it’s time to eat. Nearby on Nikolskaya Street there is the Vokrug Sveta market, where you should look to see the popular concept of Moscow gastronomic markets from the inside — and, of course, try dishes from various cuisines of the world. If you prefer a more sophisticated atmosphere, the “O2 Lounge” on the roof of the prestigious Ritz-Carlton Hotel will give you a dizzying view of the rich Kremlin decoration from the bird’s-eye view. A great idea would be to return to Red Square in the late evening to look at this miracle of architecture in the night.
Old Arbat is an island of noble Moscow with cobbled streets and ancient merchant houses and at the same time a symbol of creativity and freedom. Every day, city musicians organize free concerts here, street performers paint landscapes and cartoons of passers-by — order a souvenir from a brush of talented Moscow artists as well.
Everyone seems to find something of their own here. Take a look at Krivoarbatsky Lane, where fans of Viktor Tsoi and the rock band “Kino” dedicated a wall to their legendary work. For lovers of unusual museums, Old Arbat has prepared several options at once, from the Museum of Illusions to the Mirror Maze or the House upside down, as well as thematic restaurants and cafes. We are sure that both children and adults will be delighted with such leisure for the whole family. At the same time, in numerous shops you can buy souvenirs and handicrafts, but we warn you: on the Old Arbat, as well as on Red Square, the prices are among the highest.
Even if you are not in the mood to go to museums and shops, the romance of Arbat will find the key to your heart. To the sound of live music, take a walk along this street from beginning to end, past the forged lamps and benches, to the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and enjoy the special atmosphere of this historic place.
Cathedral of Christ the Savior
Continuing a cultural walk around Moscow, we find ourselves in front of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The snow-white construction with five golden domes, looking up, seemed to have come down to us from the pages of fairy-tale books. Do you know that this building was only built in 2000?
The Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the largest cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church, has a tragic history. Initially, there was a temple-monument to the Patriotic War of 1812, built on the instructions of Alexander II. The grandiose building, awe-inspiring in its beauty, was not destined to stand for more than half a century: with the advent of Soviet power, actively opposing the religious cult, the church was razed to the ground, and later an outdoor pool appeared in its place, which existed until the 90s. Fortunately, after the collapse of the USSR, a decision was made to exactly recreate the historical appearance of the temple — that is what you see in front of you today. Standing on the Patriarchal bridge and looking at the domes sparkling in the sun, one simply cannot believe that this temple was first destroyed, and then as if resurrected from the ashes.
The most futuristic district of Moscow in high-tech style — and partly one of the most prestigious — is located near the Expocenter exhibition complex, which hosts the largest world-class exhibitions in Russia, uniting visitors and participants from all over the world. Tourists who are in the capital on a business trip are advised to stay in this area to always be in the center of events.
The new cluster embodied the functions of downtown, becoming a place of attraction for successful businessmen and large international companies: it offers modern offices, luxury apartments with the most beautiful sunset in the city, and all the infrastructure for a comfortable life in the rhythm of a big city. Each tower of this large-scale and ambitious project has its own name and unique design. In the Empire, you can visit the unique observation deck on the 58th floor, and in the Oko tower you can dine in the elegant Russian cuisine restaurant Ruski, which we recently talked about. In addition, guests are offered a wide selection of beauty salons, fitness rooms, shops and restaurants for every taste.
It is almost impossible to talk about Moscow and its features, fitting all the diversity of the capital only in checkmarks opposite the most popular attractions. However, do not be afraid to backtrack from the intended plan and add to it your own opinion on what the journey should be like. Hold on to a summer picnic in one of the parks, give yourself a river cruise, admiring the panorama of a romantic night city with a thousand burning lights, or meet local residents and go to a cozy coffee shop in the center on their recommendation. You will take home fond memories of a meeting with Moscow and a desire to rediscover this city — and this is more valuable than any souvenirs.