What to see in Moscow?

Its name derives precisely from the river that crosses it, the Moskva; being this city located on its banks, towards the western side of Russia; being the capital of the same and of the new Russia of this XXI century. It is considered the largest metropolis in Europe, with about 12,000,000 inhabitants; in addition, it has a great variety of attractions to visit.

The historic center of the city of Moscow is formed by the Kremlin, which is an ancient fortification and today houses both the president of the country and the treasures of the tsars. But outside these walls, in the historical center itself, there are structures such as the Red Square, Lenin’s Mausoleum, the famous St. Basil’s Cathedral, among others.

In addition, the city has a wide transportation network, including 9 railroad stations, 3 international airports and a subway system with 185 different stations, with a very interesting and attractive architectural variety. Below, we will describe some of these places to visit.

The Historical Center of Moscow:

The Kremlin

It is the center where the president and the chambers of parliament work. It is a fortress of medieval times, with an area of 27 hectares, where it houses 47 tombs of the tsars, the Cathedrals Square formed by 4 orthodox temples, such as the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael, Cathedral of the Deposition of the Virgin’s Mantle, the Annunciation and the Dormition.

This last Cathedral, in the time of the tsars, was used both for their funerals and for the coronation. At present, it is used for the inauguration of the president. This Kremlin fortress also houses the 38-ton Tsar Pushka Cannon and the Tsar Bell, cast in 1733 from 216 tons of bronze. 

Apart from the aforementioned we find the Armory, which is a museum founded in 1808, which houses various objects of art from both Europe and Russia, such as crowns, belongings of the czars, Faberge eggs, carriages and, of course, weapons. It is also located at The Diamond Fund; that is, an exhibition of diamonds.

We must clarify that the visit to these places can be made on different days, as both the Armory and the Kremlin have separate entrances, with different schedules that you can not miss. They have been declared World Heritage Sites.

Outside the Kremlin Walls, but in the center of Moscow:

Red Square

One of the emblematic places of the city of Moscow is the Red Square, which was built in the XVI century by one of the czars: Ivan the Terrible. This square has an area of 23,100 square meters; it is 330 m long and 70 m wide. In 1990 it was declared a World Heritage Site. 

Some believe that its name has to do with communism or because of the color of the bricks that surround it; however, it is not so, it is due to the Russian word Krásnaya, whose current meaning is “Red”; but in old Russian it means beautiful. At first this area was populated by buildings made of wood, but then this was changed by Ivan III. At Christmas time the most famous market of Moscow is installed here.

St. Basil’s Cathedral

Its construction was ordered by Ivan the Terrible, between 1555 and 1561, to celebrate his conquest of the Tatars of Kazan, for a promise he had made some time before; then it was expanded on several occasions. Externally its towers end in beautiful domes that are shaped like bulbs; for some like an onion. It is an architectural work of great quality and fantasy. 

Internally the church looks like a kind of cave, with 9 small chapels, all independent and dedicated to the saints for each battle won by Ivan. Its stone walls depict these saints; there are also mosaics and paintings. In addition, the main chapel is covered with gold and of great splendor. The Cathedral serves as a church, a museum and a place of worship. 

Lenin’s Mausoleum

In this same Red Square is this mausoleum, which was erected in 1924 and is where the embalmed body of Lenin, revolutionary leader of the last century, is located. It is not allowed to take pictures or videos, the guards are very strict to comply with the rules. Although Lenin’s wish was to be buried next to his mother, Stalin preferred to expose him to the public until the end of time.

This mausoleum has its laboratory, with a team of expert anatomists, biochemists and biologists, to perform continuous maintenance of the body. Other places to visit in this area of Red Square are: the State Museum of Russian History, the Gum Galleries, the Pozharsky Monument and the Mining Monument.

Other important places to visit in Moscow:

The famous Bolshoi Theater: 

The theater was built in 1825 and also functions as an opera and dance company. This theater is considered one of the most important, not only in Russia but worldwide, and has an enormous cultural and artistic richness.

It is located near Red Square and is a theater that has been the historic setting for important ballet performances and shows, such as Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, of course, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and Romeo and Juliet.

The famous Moscow Metro:

Its first line was inaugurated in 1935 and throughout its history it has been given different uses, such as in World War II, as an air raid shelter. It consists of 197 stations, of which only 44 are Russian Cultural Heritage. Its stations have sculptures of workers from the Revolution Square, as well as mosaics commemorating the union of Russia with Belarus and Russia with Ukraine.

There are also paintings of Napoleon’s victories in 1812 and decorations on the walls and ceilings, as well as beautiful works of art in the lobbies. Many of these stations look like subway palaces, reminiscent of the Stalin era; however, the new stations present modernism, with stained glass mosaic windows depicting some Russian cities, in addition to marble and granite chandeliers.

Moscow City:

Here is located the most modern area of Moscow, with beautiful skyscrapers that function as a financial center, i.e., the international business center of Moscow. The project was conceived in 1992 and today it is the largest modern complex in Europe; it is also the headquarters of Russian and foreign companies.

It is made up of the 6 tallest buildings on the continent, although it has not yet been completely finished. It also has a residential area, as well as entertainment, hotels, restaurants, shopping center and, of course, beautiful viewpoints.

Gorky Amusement Park:

This park, which extends along the banks of the Moskva River but not so far from the city, was inaugurated in the 1920’s. It encourages you to spend a different time and perhaps out of the everyday and common. Walking through the park can take a few hours, but if you prefer, there is the option of renting bicycles.

The park consists of several parts, 4 exactly, and differentiated from north to south. Then, starting from the north, there is the Muzeon, a free open-air museum, which has more than 1000 sculptures that were removed from squares and parks in Russia after the fall of communism. Then there is the main part of the park, called the Parterre, opened in 1928 after the Russian revolution, and features an agricultural exhibition.

Next, in the middle part of the park are located monuments of Russian history; it is called the Neskuchny Garden. Finally, there is a nature reserve on a hill called Vorobyovy Gory or Sparrow Hill, from where you can observe the views of the city.

Posted in Europe, Russia.