Moscow (Russian: Москва) is the 860 year-old capital of Russia. A truly iconic, global city, Moscow has played a central role in the development of Russia and the world. For many, the sight of the Kremlin complex in the centre of the city is still loaded with symbolism and history. Moscow was the capital of the former Soviet Union and signs of its previous life are very visible even now. Yet, there’s more to Russia and its capital than just memories of the USSR. Architectural gems from the time of the Russian Empire are still dotted throughout Moscow, whilst signs of modern Tsars (or at least people with similar levels of wealth) abound.
What to see:
- The Kremlin Museum Complex. Includes the Armoury Collection of royal clothing and chariots, the Diamond Fund, several churches, the Patriarch Palace and the Bell Tower (open only in the summer). Guided tours fill up fast and should be booked early. Photography is prohibited in many exhibits. RUB350-700. edit
- Tretyakov Gallery – One of the world’s greatest museums, this is probably the one to choose if you only want to visit one museum in Moscow. In contrast to the worldwide collection of the Pushkin Museum, the Tretyakov is mostly a collection of Russian art. It has the best collection of Russian icons and many of the most famous pieces of modern Russian artists like Ilya Repin. Metro: Tretyakovskaya or Novokuznetskaya.
- Pushkin Museum (ulitsa Volkhonka, 12) is dedicated to Western art and has one of the world’s most significant Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections, along with some Old Masters. The Impressionists and Post-Impressionists were rather unfortunately relocated to an annex in 2007 across the street from the main building. Metro: Kropotkinskaya.
- Novodevichy Convent – Both a convent and a fortress, Novodevichy was built in the early 1500s and has remained nearly intact since the 17th century, making it one of the best preserved historical complexes in Moscow. The adjacent Novodevichy Cemetery is one of Russia’s most famous cemeteries. Famous people buried there include Anton Chekhov, Nickolai Gogol, Konstantine Stanislavski, Nikita Khrushchev, Raisa Gorbachev (the former President’s wife), and Boris Yeltsin. Metro: Sportivnaya. Open from 9am until 5pm. If you want to locate the graves of famous people, you can try and buy a map (only in Russian) from the booth close to the entrance of the cemetery. However, the lady at the booth is rude to the tourists who don’t speak Russian.