The Top 10 Things To Do And See In Moscow's Petrovka

Marianna Hunt

One of Moscow‘s most bustling streets, Petrovka lies at the very heart of the city, running north from the landmark Bolshoi Theater. A truly multicultural city, this avenue acts as a snapshot of the entirety of Moscow, encapsulating everything from the modernism of its boutique shops, to the European elegance of its arcades. The fantastic architecture of its traditional Russian theaters even give a nod to its historic past and cultural heritage. Be blown away by the endless interest of this diverse region.

Moscow

1. The Bolshoi Theatre

Theatre

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© Paul Nuttall/Flickr
Dominating the skyline of Moscow’s famous Theatre Square, this Russian institution attracts visitors from all four corners of the globe. The building that stands on the square today was established in 1856 and is considered an emblem of Russia thanks to the dramatic innovation and contribution to the creative arts that has occurred inside its walls. Having hosted some of the finest performers in all of history, the Bolshoi Theater is where you can watch the best of today’s theatre, opera, and, of course, ballet companies. Tickets are highly sought after and tend to sell out months in advance so many simply come to admire the building’s breathtaking exterior.

2. TsUM

Building, Store

TsUM

Moscow’s infamous GUM shopping center’s little brother, but don’t let that fool you: the Gothic Revival style and six stories of this historic building are mind-blowing in their own right. A hot-spot for Moscow’s chicest residents, come and join the ranks of Russia’s richest and peruse TsUM’s lanes of shops with over 1,000 different jewelry, fashion, and perfume brands. Eastern Europe’s largest fashion department store is sure to satisfy the needs of even the most demanding shoppers. World-renowned couturiers such as Victoria Beckham and Michael Kors have been known to come to this landmark shopping center to introduce their latest lines in person.

TsUm, Petrovka Street 2, Moscow, Russia, +7 495 933-73-00

TsUM department store | © jimmyweee/FlickrTsUM department store | © jimmyweee/Flickr

3. Vysokopetrovsky Monastery (St Peter's Monastery)

Monastery

The Vysokopetrovsky (St Peters) Monastery
© shakko/WikiCommons
St Peter’s Monastery, from which this famous street’s name derives, is located at the top of the hill on Petrovka. A visit to this 14th-century institution gives a unique insight into Russia’s Orthodox past. The site is also the family burial place of the Naryshkin noble family, maternal relatives of Peter the Great, and is considered one of the best preserved examples of Naryshkin Baroque architecture, named in honor of the family themselves. Visitors come here to gaze at the great onion domes that provide the archetypal view of Russian religious buildings.

4. The Petrovsky Passage

Building, Store

The Petrovsky Passage

Tourists cannot fail to be wowed by this chic department store and its three-story high galleries, sweeping arcades, and soaring glass vaults. Built in 1906, such sumptuous architecture seems only fitting for what is the core of one of Europe‘s most notoriously chic, and expensive, shopping districts. Wander down the catwalks of Petrovsky Passage‘s second story and feel a part of fashion history. However, the building offers interest to all: during the 1930s the arcades were transformed into a base where the Soviet airships were designed.

Petrovsky Passage, Petrovka Street 10, Moscow, Russia, +7 495 625-31-32

The entrance to Petrovsky Passage | © Andres rus/WikiCommonsThe entrance to Petrovsky Passage | © Andres rus/WikiCommons

5. The Hermitage Garden

The Hermitage Garden

At the very end of the street lies Moscow’s Hermitage Garden. First opened to the public in 1894, this leafy oasis has acted an escape from the hustle and bustle of Moscow life for thousands over the years. Share in this piece of history: sit and relax under the luscious canopies, and admire the rainbow array of flowerbeds. The park also boasts of many cultural attractions with nearby theaters, and many outdoor performances, concerts, fairs, and festivals occurring in the garden itself every year. In winter come to enjoy a magical experience, skating outdoors in the garden’s open air ice-rink.

The Hermitage Garden, Karetny Ryad Street 3, Moscow, Russia, +7 495 699-04-32

6. The Moscow Museum of Modern Art

Building, Museum

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art

Just off Petrovka lies one of the finest collections of contemporary art in Russia’s capital. Opened in 1999, Moscow’s Museum of Modern Art houses the work of a fantastic number of 20th- and 21st-century masters. The beauty of the building itself is enough to dazzle any art lover. Once an 18th-century mansion home, the building’s architecture is a wonderfully preserved example of Neoclassical architecture, designed by the famous Kazakov. Pieces by all time greats such as Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro stand alongside paintings from the likes of Rousseau and sculptures from Salvador Dali and other incredible talents of the recent past.

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Petrovka Street 25, Moscow, Russia, +7 495 694-28-90

Picasso's famous Cubist style | © Ian Burt/FlickrPicasso’s famous Cubist style | © Ian Burt/Flickr

7. The GULAG Museum

Building, Museum

The GULAG Museum

For those seeking a little more history in their trip, an excursion to Petrovka’s GULAG museum is an absolute must. Harrowing, yet fascinating, in equal measure, this museum recounts personal stories of survivors from the Russian prison camps, houses artifacts from the camps themselves, and offers a compelling idea of the suffering undergone by many at the hands of the Soviet state. Discover this difficult, but important, part of Russia’s past in a very real way as you enter the museum greeted by barbed wire fences, an imposing watch tower, and guides dressed like guards, giving the building the aura of one of the camps themselves.

GULAG Museum, Petrovka Street 16, Moscow, Russia, +7 495 621-73-10

GULAG Museum | © whatleydude/FlickrGULAG Museum | © whatleydude/Flickr

8. The Former Home of Anna Annenkova at No 5

The Former Home of Anna Annenkova at No 5

Now a public garden, this site, at the junction with Kuznetsky Most, was once the home of 19th-century noblewoman, Anna Annenkova. This rich Russian lady’s eccentric impulses carried her notoriety across the whole of Moscow. For fear of being unprepared for a sudden ball, she would spurn her nightclothes and go to bed fully clothed in ball dress, shoes, silk stockings and all! The romance between Annenkova’s son, Ivan, and a local shop assistant became the material for the famous Alexandre Dumas novel: The Fencing Master. Legend goes that when he was exiled to Siberia for his revolutionary activities, Ivan’s lover followed him there so that the two could be married and, as a sign of her devotion, wore one of her husband’s iron shackles as her wedding ring. The chance to come and walk in the footsteps of these characters of history attracts many to Petrovka to this day.

Former Home of Anna Annenkova, Petrovka Street 5, Moscow, Russia

9. Petrvoka No 38

Petrvoka No 38

This former mansion was owned by Prince Shcherbatov in the 18th century, and the imposing structure still retains a sense of its glorious past. Petrovka 38 is also tainted by somewhat darker connections. From 1816 police barracks were housed here, and in 1837 the house was the site of the poet Ogarev’s arrest and imprisonment, about which he wrote his famous poem Jail. During the Soviet era, the house was turned into the Moscow Criminal Investigation Department, and today, still acts as the police headquarters. Visitors come to admire the sweepingly magnificent architecture and wonder about the dark secrets of the building’s past.

Petrovka 38, Moscow, Russia

Petrovka 38 | © Andres rus/WikiCommonsPetrovka 38 | © Andres rus/WikiCommons

10. The Theatre of Nations

The Theatre of Nations

Tucked away in a tranquil backstreet, just off the bustling Petrovka, the Theatre of Nations offers a unique range of performance and plays. The theatre aims to bring the best of European culture to Russian audiences and is a great supporter of up-and-coming new talent from around the world. Visitors to the Theatre of Nations can enjoy a fantastic opportunity to be entertained by the finest international troupes touring today. It also hosts numerous arts festivals every year.

The Theatre of Nations, Petrovsky Lane 3, Moscow, Russia, +7 495 629-37-39

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