Visiting Russia: While in Moscow
Moscow is a city of great wealth, beauty and mystery. No expense has been spared to give this capital of Russia the garment of royalty. From glittering domes and towering cathedrals to the most intricate gold embellishments, the splendor of Moscow stands as a testament to man’s imagination.
The first stop for any visitor to Moscow is the Kremlin. This fortified complex is surrounded by the Kremlin wall, encloses four cathedrals, four palaces and is the home to Russia’s President. Cathedral Square is at the center of this impressive bastion.
Inside the square, the view of the architecture of the Italian masters who designed the buildings is nothing less than stunning. You will be amazed at the beauty of the cathedral domes with their golden cupolas and multi-domed rooftops. Other important stops in the Kremlin are the Ivan the Great Bell Tower and many historical museums devoted to the grandeur of Russia.
The next must-see location is the Red Square. Located just outside the Kremlin, it is considered the central square of Moscow and all of Russia. All major roads radiate from Red Square. Here you can watch the famous change of the guard and visit Lenin’s tomb, where Lenin’s body can be viewed. Try to visit later in the day, at dusk, when the crowds have gone home. Soak in the majesty of this immense historic center.
If shopping is in your plans, make sure you get a chance to shop at Izmaylovo Market. You’ll stroll through hundreds of vendors trying to lure you to their wares. Here’s where you’ll find everything Russia is famous for, including matryoshka dolls, the nesting dolls with every likeness from Madonna to Barack Obama, rabbit fur hats, hand-made baskets and boxes, and jewelry displaying every type of gem available. Just make sure to bring extra bags and enough time to see the entire marketplace.
If more modern shopping suits your fancy, stop in at the GUM, the state department store. This enormous shopping mall houses every manner of store and is an eye-opening example of how far Russia has come since the days of Communism.
No visit to Moscow is complete without viewing the awe-inspiring art showcased in the many museums and galleries. Don’t leave the country without spending a day at the State Tretyakov Gallery. All the Russian masters are here: Chagall, Repin, Rublev, Kandinsky – the amount of national treasure in this one location is staggering. You’ll find life-size portraits of Russia’s most famous figures including Catherine The Great and Pushkin. The Church of St. Nicholas in Tolmachi is part of the Gallery and houses many irreplaceable icons from Russia’s glorious past.
There are many tour operators in the city to take you to all the famous locations and educate you on the glories of the dazzling city. You can even take a river tour of Moscow. If you get a chance, visit a tea house, hang out in one of the “English corners” where Russians go to brush up on their English with tourists, or just take in any of the city’s fountains, theaters, or restaurants.
Different from what it may sound like, Moscow is truly a wonder of the modern world. One that you shouldn’t miss!