My Favorite Views of Moscow
It’s finally spring in Russia! And spring is the best time of year to visit my country: the weather is mild, the people are happier and finally share smiles with each other, and grey is no longer the dominant color. Everything is slowly shaking off the veil of dormancy and becoming brighter and more cheerful in the rays of the vernal sun.
Here are some photos of my favorite places in Moscow that I wanted to share in case you decide to visit this beautiful city. Enjoy!
Moscow Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, is the tallest and most beautiful Orthodox church in the world. Its erection started by the order of Emperor Alexander I, to celebrate the victory over the Napoleon France. The cathedral was consecrated in 1833, the same day Alexander III was crowned. In 1931, to the dismay of the Russian people, it was dynamited to clear a spot for the construction of the world’s biggest open-air swimming pool. After the Soviet Union collapsed, the cathedral was rebuilt from the ground. It was consecrated in August, 2000.
Tip: When entering the cathedral, make sure to cover your legs, shoulders and hair. Otherwise, you won’t be admitted.
The Statue of Peter the Great, constructed by a world-renowned sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, is the eighth tallest statue in the world. It is also the most critiqued monument in Moscow, often compared to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, which undergoes similar controversial assessments. I personally like it a lot and think it’s worth checking out.
Poklonnaya Gora, or Poklonnaya Hill, is an open-air museum complex, dedicated to the Soviet victory in the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945). The war museum features tanks and various ammunitions used by the Soviet troops in the World War II. The complex also features the second most spacious square in Moscow, with dozens of fountains lit up in red at night.
Tip: Poklonnaya Hill is the favorite place of Moscow’s roller skaters, who often give amazing performances, showcasing their skills.
The Moscow Kremlin is a historic fortified complex, located in the heart of the Russian capital. It is home to various historic museums and numerous towers, palaces and cathedrals. It was first built in the beginning of the 14th century and was made of wood. The Kremlin revived several reconstructions throughout its history: first, the oaken walls were replaced with white limestone and then were fortified with red brick.
Tip: Allow one or two whole days to explore the mysterious Moscow Kremlin. My favorite site is the Faceted Palace.
The Resurrection Gate is the Northern entrance to the Red Square. It features entertaining street performers and local merchants selling tourist knick-knacks.
Tip: Don’t buy excursions from the street shills, as they are substantially overpriced and only target unaware foreign tourists.
Red Square is the largest square in Moscow that is most famous for its military parades, commemorating the Soviet victory in World War II, held annually on May 9. It also features the official residence of the Russian President. In winter, the Red Square turns into a bright and colorful skating rink.
Tip: Ladies, don’t even think of wearing heels!
State Historical Museum is located at the beginning of the Red Square and is implemented in an intricate Baroque style.
Fun Fact: Its archival collection counts almost five million original documents.
Lenin’s Mausoleum, situated in the heart of the Red Square, is the current resting place for Vladimir Lenin‘s embalmed body. It has been on public display since 1924, shortly after his death. This monument is very controversial: many hardcore communists think it’s a great honor for the former Soviet leader to be remembered like that, but I personally think it’s just very sad.
GUM is the Russian abbreviation for the Main Department Store that is also located on the Red Square. It is worth checking out for its unique architectural style, both inside and outside. It features multiple apparel brands, as well as trendy restaurants and bars. It is especially picturesque at night, when the store is lit up with thousands of tiny light bulbs.
Fun Fact: GUM is one of the favorite places of Russia’s golden youth.
St. Basil’s Cathedral is a Russian Orthodox church, erected on the Red Square in the 16th century to commemorate the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan. According to legend, Ivan IV, also known as Ivan the Terrible, ordered to blind the architect of St. Basil’s Cathedral so that he wouldn’t be able to recreate his masterpiece anywhere else. Designed as a bonfire rising up to the sky, this cathedral has no analogues neither in Russian architecture, nor elsewhere in the world.
Tip: For less than $10, enjoy the art of ancient iconography and rich decoration inside the church.
I hope this post will be a helpful guide on your tour of Moscow. For more insider tips, feel free to connect with me via email (oskolkovaa at gmail dot com) or Twitter (@anyaosk). If you want to see Moscow from a foreigner’s view, check out my boyfriend’s post “To Russia with Love.”