An iconic landmark in the city: a visit to Red Square while in Russia is an opportunity not to be missed. Let yourself be charmed by this picture post-card view of extraordinary rainbow domes of St Basil’s cathedral, the striking crimson of the Kremlin walls, and the glistening lights of the exclusive department store, GUM. Red Square is best appreciated at Christmas time when it is transformed by humongous fir trees, kaleidoscopic lights, artisan markets, dazzling decorations, even an out-door ice rink! The Square is also home to Lenin’s Mausoleum which offers a unique opportunity to see the preserved body of Russia’s first Socialist leader, Vladimir Lenin.
The Moscow Kremlin is comprises the city’s most fascinating museums, stunning cathedrals, fascinating palaces, and the current seat of government. The complex simply bursts with interest. Sights include the notorious Tsar Bell, the largest bell ever created, the tsarist gem collection in the Diamond Fund, the Imperial family’s treasures in the Armoury, the breathtaking view over the whole city from the top of the Kremlin’s bell tower, and, of course, the home of Mr Putin himself.
The Moscow Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, +7 495 697-03-49
Yeliseev’s Food Hall (Yeliseevsky’s Gastronom)
A stone’s throw from Tverskaya metro station towers the impressive structure of Yeliseev’s Food Hall, one of Moscow’s most famous shops. The awe-inspiring Neoclassical architecture, soaring columns, and sumptuous decoration make a visit to Yeliseev’s one of the most surreal grocery shopping experiences. The almost museum-like building houses a mind-boggling array of fruit, vegetables, cakes, pastries, and hand-made chocolates. Many Russian delicacies such as borscht, sturgeon, and caviar are available to buy here at Yeliseev’s.
Yeliseev’s Food Hall, Tverskaya Street, 14, Moscow, Russia, +7 495 650-07-60
A site of historical interest and a buzzing hive of culture, Pushkinskaya Square lies at the very heart of Moscow. The square is dominated by the colossal statue of Alexander Pushkin, celebrated poet and Russian cultural icon. Literature lovers flock here to admire the monument to this great name. Art galleries, theatres, cinemas, and even the Ministry of Culture: Pushkinskaya Square is simply bursting with creative atmosphere. The Pushkinsky cinema, or Rossiya Theatre, is one of the biggest in Western Europe and most of the nation’s film premiers occur here. Jam-packed with restaurants and cafes, Pushkinskaya Square is one of the city’s most popular meeting places.
The best of Moscow’s dining scene
With a range of restaurants to match any in the world, Tverskaya has become synonymous in Moscow with ‘foodie heaven’. Its incredibly diverse range of options, from budget to haute-cuisine, means that Tverskaya caters to the needs, and stomachs, of all. The district’s most notable restaurants include the iconic Café Pushkin, Moscow’s most famous. Visitors travel miles to make this pilgrimage to the temple of haute-Russian cuisine that is Café Pushkin. Housed in a breathtaking 19th century building and styled like a traditional Russian aristocrat’s home, dining doesn’t get much finer than this. The lavish interiors of Turandot also merit a mention, as do the fantastic vegetarian options at Café Fresh and the authentic flavors at restaurant Scandinavia.
The Moscow metro
For those exploring on a budget, come and admire this incredible feat of human achievement. One of the world’s deepest metro lines: with 196 stations and over 300km of track, exploration of the Moscow metro provides no end of sights. Famous for its lavish magnificence and superb efficiency, the metro is a sight in its own right. Each station boasts of unqiuely ornate decoration, different from every other in Moscow. Glistening chandeliers, masterpiece mosaics, and gleaming marble, accompany commuters on their daily journey. Aside from its beauty, the metro, and the Soviet statues adorning its interiors, offers fascinating insight into Socialist history. Reflecting on the harsh labor under Stalinist rule that, in a mere few years, completed this masterpiece of engineering certainly provides food for thought.
One of Moscow’s most exclusive cocktail bars, a visit to Noor Bar promises elegance, glamour, and mouth-watering flavors aplenty. The tantalizing menu and famous DJ names here attract Moscow’s trendiest residents. Come and rub shoulders with billionaires and celebrities in this chic hang-out. The staggering menu will simply blow your mind, but for those with more specialist tastes, Noor’s expert mixologists can perfectly craft cocktails to suit your every whim. This winning combination has not gone unnoticed: Noor Bar has been awarded prestigious accolades such as TimeOut’s Best Bar of 2010 and Afisha Magazine‘s Best in Moscow.
Noor Bar, Tverskaya Street, 23/12, Moscow, Russia, +7 903 136-76-86
The Museum of Contemporary Russian History
Come and discover the political upheavals that shook Russia, and the world, over the past 150 years in this fascinating museum. Russia’s turbulent history holds unending interest and this museum explores in detail the oscillations from tsarist rule and imperial magnificence, through the bloody 1917 Russian Revolution, to Lenin‘s socialism, Stalinist terror and the birth of the world’s first Communist state. A mind-blowing array of exhibits will draw you into a world of revolutions, imperial palaces, bloodshed, lavish opulence, and everyday suffering. The building even houses the actual stones thrown by workers in protest at police during the 1905 revolution.
Tchaikovsky Concert Hall
The site of Moscow’s Philharmonia, the historic Tchaikovsky Concert Hall is more than 70 years old and boasts of a prestigious reputation in Russia’s musical history. Come and revel in the idea of the musical geniuses and celebrities that have performed in its hallowed halls. Sweeping white marble staircases and shining floors will dazzle while the delightful sounds of classical music will whisk you away. Enjoy some of the best musical performers of the day in this stunning building.
Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Tverskaya Street 31/4, Moscow, Russia, +7 495 232-53-53
Rivalling the likes of New York‘s Fifth Avenue and Paris‘s Champs-Élysées, Tverskaya is Moscow’s chicest shopping street and one of the most expensive streets in the world to live on. With everything from high-street favorites to some of the most exclusive jewelry shops in the world, the range on Tverskaya is show-stopping. The street is also home to the infamous Moskva bookshop. The shop’s colossal size, superb range of books, scheduled readings, and other literary events, make it a tourist attraction in its own right. Whether you’re looking to invest in fine quality products, or simply ogle at the designer delights – Tverskaya is the place to go.
By Marianna Hunt
Marianna is a languages student and travel blogger with an eye for the unusual, a heart for exploration, a stomach for food adventures, and a penchant for a pun. Visit her blog, A Hunt Around Russia, to discover more.