When you are planning a trip to Moscow, especially if you go there for the first time, you want to see as much as possible – ideally EVERYTHING! Well, it may be possible if you stay here for a month or two having excursions and walking around all day long. But what if you have only couple of days or even a couple of hours to explore this wonderful city? Here is the short list of what to see in Moscow – the MUST SEES.
Moscow Kremlin – this is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Moscow and Russia (right after Matyoshka, Balalaika and Vodka, of course:) No wonder there is more Moscow sightseeing tours that include Kremlin than any other attraction. After all, Kremlin is not just a national symbol, but is a monument of Russian history which offers much to see: from ancient Orthodox churches on the Cathedral Square to the Russian imperial jewels in the Diamond Fund and Faberge Eggs collection in the Armory Chamber.
Right outside the Kremlin walls is another iconic place - the Red Square. The square has a long history from a market place during the ancient times to the most visited place in modern Moscow with international festivals, fairs, concerts and sometimes even a venue for car races and freestyle motocross.
St Basil Cathedral
This fabulous Cathedral is one of the most famous Moscow sights – if you go to a flea market to get some souvenirs to take home, you will most likely see those colorful onion-shaped domes on magnets, cups, jewelry boxes, guide books and more. There is no chance that you’ll pass by this “gingerbread house” without taking at least one selfie without St.Basil in the background ;) We have a guided tour to St.Basil Cathedral – it is one of our most popular tours and something we highly recommend.
GUM literally translates to “Main Universal Store” and was built in 19th century in a pseudo-Russian style instantly becoming an iconic building for Moscow. The unique combination of Russian medieval architecture, a steel framework and a glass roof is somewhat reminiscent of the Lafayette Galleries in Paris. Besides being a shopping mall offering all kinds of merchandise, from food to luxury goods, restaurants and cinema, it is also an art space known for its amazing decorations both inside and outside of the building., If you enjoy GUM you should not miss TSUM – the other famous department store located right next to Bolshoi Theatre.
If you travel to the Russian capital it’s almost impossible to avoid using the Moscow underground system. Besides being fast and convenient, Moscow Metro stations are architectural marvels and many are even included as UNESCO Heritage Sites. Mosaics and stained glass, gold and bronze, granite and marble, sculptures and chandeliers – sounds more like a museum, then a way to get to work. The best way to discover this masterpiece to the fullest is to take a tour with a knowledgeable guide who won’t let you miss any details which can give an important insight on understanding not only each stations’ history but the history of Russia and Soviet Union overall.
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
One of the most notable Cathedrals in Moscow is the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Originally built in the 19th century, it was destroyed by the Soviet administration becoming the largest outdoor swimming pool in Moscow. The Cathedral was restored in the late 1990’s –becoming the largest Orthodox Cathedral in the world with stunning interior and exterior, and an observation deck from which you can admire the breathtaking panoramic view of Moscow.
Moscow State University and Sparrow Hills
Venturing away from the city center there is still much to see. One of the most popular sights of Moscow is Moscow State University (MSU) which is one of the 7 famous skyscrapers (known as the Stalin’s 7 Sisters) and also the tallest one. MSU, also known as Lomonosov University, named after its founder Mikhail Lomonosov, was considered to be the best university in Soviet Union and still remains one of the most prestigious higher education institutions today.In close vicinity of MSU there is another attraction which is popular not only among tourists but also among local citizens – the Sparrow Hills observation platform. The platform provides an incredible panoramic view of Moscow and the Luzhniki Stadium making it one of the most vibrant places in the city, especially in the evening.
Gorky Park and Muzeon Art Park
If you are tired of museums during your day trips think about visiting not only the touristic places but also the places loved by locals. One of those places is well-known since the Soviet Era - Gorky Park.There you can have lunch, take part in a workshop, have a free dance or yoga lesson, rent a bike or take a boat ride along Moskva river in summer and skate on the largest open-air ice rink in Europe in the winter. Art lovers can enjoy the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art which is located on the parks territory. Right across the road there is another park – Muzeon Park of Arts. Soviet leaders that used to “stand” on every square around Moscow have been “moved” to this open air museum of sculptures after Soviet Union collapsed. Besides, the modern art division of Tretyakov Gallery (New Tretyakov Gallery) which has an outstanding collection of 20th century Russian art is located here.
One of the best parts of any trip is to get a few authentic souvenirs to bring back home for family and friends. You can see lots of little street markets and souvenir shops all over Moscow city center but they often set enormously high prices. That’s why it is important to have some hints on where to buy any traditional Russian souvenirs at an affordable price. In reality almost all the souvenirs that you can see around the city come from one place – flea market in Izmailovo Estate. Along with souvenirs you can also buy antiques and vintage things from the Soviet period – posters, books, clothes, tea pots, and much more.
The above mentioned places are just a few that can be visited while coming to the bustling capital of Russia. Enjoy your time in Moscow and please don’t feel bad if you haven’t managed to see all of the attractions – this only means that you have another reason to come back again!;)