Day One -
Tourists usually start from Red Suare. One
must-see is St.Basil's Cathedral, right on Red Square. It's open from 11
a.m. to 4 p.m., but keep in mind that you can purchase tickets till 3 p.m.
The cost 150 roubles for foreigners.
The Lenin Mausoleum is no longer the tourist
shrine it used to be, but some visitors are still curious enough to check
it out. The continuing interest in this odd place, where you can walk through
and observe what remains of first Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, is fueled
by the constant talk of its permanent closure. The mausoleum is open to
the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m.
to 1 p.m., and entrance is free.
Red Square is also home to the State Historical
Museum. Here you'll see an enormous collection of archeological finds that
tell the fascinating tale of Russia's history. But keep in mind that while
some love wandering around museums, others get so bored they're ready to
fall asleep the moment they walk through the door. The museum's hours are
11 a.m. to 7 p.m., while tickets are sold until 6 p.m. every day except
Tuesdays and the first Monday of the month. Tickets cost from 50 to 150
Once you're through all the main tourist attractions,
move on to Alexandrovsky Sad (Garden). But first, stop by the Kilometer
Zero mark in front of the gates, throw a coin and make a wish - legend says
thet your wish will come true.
Once in the garden, stretch out on a bench
and enjoy the sun for a while. Don't forget, though, to approach the Eternal
Flame and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, both memorials to the brutal
fighting and Russian victories in World War 2. The guards around the Unknown
Soldier change every hour, to the beautiful sound of Kremlin bells - an
experience you won't to miss. During Soviet era the guards were in front
of the Lenin Mausoleum.
Walking around Manezhnaya Ploshchad, directly
behind the park, is best on weekdays; on weekends it fills with thousands
of teenagers, interrupting its usual peaceful atmosphere and leaving you
The Kremlin itself, with its museums and cathedrals,
is also a must-see. But if you have less than 2 hours free, it's probably
better to find something else to do, because you don't want to hurry through
some of the most beautiful pieces of Russia's architecture and history.
For the moment, foreigners are allowed inside only in groups. The Kremlin
is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the week except Thursdays. A
regular entrance ticket costs 70 roubles. Visiting the Armory and the Diamond
Fund costs extra.
- combine leisure with tourist attractions
First, get on the metro and head for the recently
reopened Vorobyovy Gory (Sparrow Hills) station, formerly known as Leninskiye
Gory. This is the only metro station in Russia located on a bridge, and
through its glass windows you can see an incredible view of the Moscow River
and Luzhniki Stadium. As you leave the station, head in the direction of
Moscow State University (one of seven Moscow so-called Stalin skyscrapers;
Stalin wanted to build 8 skyscrapers to commemorate 800 anniversary of Moscow
in 1947). Near the University walk toward the rever to the observation point
and be amazed by gorgeous view of the capital - Luzhniki, Novodevichy convent,
the Kremlin and a huge array of tiny pushcarts with souvenirs starting with
traditional matryoshka dolls and ending with antique cameras.
Stock up on souvenirs here, then head for
a gondola lift, which is a new form of entertainment in town and operates
round the clock. For 30 roubles, you'll be carried down to the Moscow River
embankment, where you'll find a reverboat berth. The boats operate from
April to the end of September, from 10 a.m. to midnight. Buy a ticket which
costs 80 roubles on weekdays and twice as much on weekends, and take a ride
on the river.
The first stop is Gorky Park. The park itself
is not worth spending much time in; it has fallen into disrepair over the
past few years. But do get off for the Ferris wheel and its bird's-eye view
of Moscow. Tickets cost 50 roubles, plus a park entrance fee of 40-50 roubles.
Return to the boat - you'll have to purchase
a new ticket - and watch for the following sites: the Central House of Artist
on the right; the Peter the Great monument, also on the right; the city's
oldest chocolate factory Krasny Okyabr (Red October), where the smell of
melted chocolate will stay with you for days; the Christ the Savior Cathedral
on the left; and a great view of the Kremlin.
- cultural picnic
Stock up on your usual picnic supplies - a
blanket, a basket of food, a bottle of wine and other accessories, depending
on your preferences and your budget. Then decide on your cultural entertainment;
choose either the Kuskovo, Kolomenskoye or Tsaritsyno estates.
KUSKOVO was built in the 17th century and
was the residence of Count Sheremetyev. It has a gorgeous park witn a number
of lakes and canals, as well as a huge array of architectural monuments
of various periods and styles. Visit the main museum and the museum of ceramics.
It is one of the best-kept parks in Moscow, but is hard to get to, and even
having a car doesn't help, since it's far from downtown and doesn't have
a decent parking lot. Koskovo is open Wednesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m.
to 6 p.m., but is closed on the last Wednesday of the month.
KOLOMENSKOYE, to the south of the center, is an
eclectic spot with a collection of architecture beginning from the 14th
century. The buildings include a cabin of Peter the Great brought to Kolomenskoye
from Arkhangelsk, the Nikolo-Karelsky Monastery tower and the church/bell
tower of St.George. If the weather is good, you can also visit the crafts
museum, where you will find objects from the 17th to 19th centuries. The
park has a beautiful view from the banks of the Moscow River and the Church
of the Ascension but one drawback is the crowds.
TSARITSYNO is the estate of the unfinished
palace of Catherine the Great, which was built on her orders by the architect
Bazhenov. Catherine hated the design, however, because Bazhenov didn't follow
her instructions to he letter. Unfortunately, the palace is in deteriorating
condition. The park around the palace is as gorgeous as ever, though, and
is best viewed on horse-back. The park has a riding stable, which rents
horses out by the hour. Tsaritsyno has an array of activities that also
include boat rentals, but the park is, unfortunately, not the cleanest spot
you'll find in Moscow. It's open Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to
6 p.m. and until 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.