Moscow

Travel guide - Moscow

The Red Square, the heart of historic Moscow

A true trip back in time, the Red Square is an impressive work of architecture. Built over eight hectares, this area is where you can find the capital city’s most emblematic monuments. The Kremlin is a fortress that was built in the 15th century, which now contains a city-within-the-city. Beyond the wall stands the official residence of the chiefs of State. The stronghold of Russia’s power today, the Kremlin also includes palaces, churches and cathedrals on a site that spans more than 28 hectares. Facing the Kremlin is GUM, a magnificent 19th century shopping centre built in marble, sandstone and granite, which houses many luxury boutiques. However, if you’re looking for a few symbolic souvenirs to take home with you, you will have better luck at Izmaïlovo market, an open-air shopping experience with every kind of Russian folklore: matriochkas (commonly known as Russian dolls), colourful shawls, posters, pins and clothing from the former USSR.
Between the Kremlin and GUM, you can find the State Historical Museum and Lenin’s Mausoleum, the final resting place of the mummified remains of the founder of Soviet Russia. In the space of just a few metres, you will travel back in time, visiting two of the most influential periods in Russia’s past.

Moscow’s iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral

A high point of the Red Square: a visit to St. Basil’s Cathedral is a must during your stay! The refinement of this brightly-coloured building will leave you speechless. Its construction in the 16th century was ordered by Ivan IV, nicknamed Ivan the Terrible, to celebrate the Russian victory over the Tatars in the siege of Kazan. Ornamented with nine cupolas housing as many chapels, the cathedral is stunning from the outside and the inside, where wall frescos and icons add to the magical ambiance. On Cathedral Square, you can admire the Cathedral of the Dormition, with its five distinctive domes, in which Russian tzars and emperors were married and crowned.

A cultural stroll through Moscow

In Moscow, the metro is more than just a method of transportation. There is a fascinating beauty to this network, with its stations like so many underground palaces. If the Cyrillic alphabet is making it difficult for you to find your way around town, rest assured that the Moscow metro map is very easy to understand. Head to Tretiakovskaïa station to visit the Tretiakov Gallery, known for its collection of Russian artistic masterpieces. Art lovers should also make it a priority to visit the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, dedicated to the works of European painters, a unique visit on par with that of the Saint Petersburg Hermitage Museum.
Moscow will also surprise you with its contemporary art scene. On the banks of the Moskova, “Red October” is a former chocolate museum that has been entirely renovated into a space for the renewal of the Moscow art scene.
More literary-minded visitors will love a visit to the Tolstoy Museum or a walk along the edge of the Patriarch Ponds, made famous by Mikhaïl Boulgakov in his novel The Master and the Margarita.

The Bolshoi Theatre: a gathering place for Russian talent

If you only remember one stronghold of artistic creation in Moscow, it is sure to be the Bolshoi Theatre. With its 2,500 seats, it is one of Russia’s largest theatres. Attending a performance by the Bolshoi Ballet or Bolshoi Opera will be a high point during your stay: it was within these walls that countless Russian composers first presented their works before rising to international fame.

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