Moscow

50 Reasons We Love Moscow

21 Mar 2018
1. Kremlin and the Red Square - there’s no going around it, this is the heart of Moscow and the entire country. Even Moscow natives look at it in awe each time they pass through here because something so grand and beautiful simply does not exist anywhere else in the world.

2. Beautiful Orthodox churches - architecturally, Russian Orthodox churches look like something straight out of a fairytale with their onion domes and sometimes bright colors. There are far too many of them in Moscow to list here so here are a few of the must-see Orthodox places of worship: St. Basil’s Cathedral, Christ the Savior Cathedral, the Kremlin’s Cathedral Square, Novodevichy Convent, the Church of the Intercession (Fili), Church of Saint Nicholas (Khamovniki), Church of St. John the Warrior and Donskoy Monastery.

3. Shopping in style - the opportunities for a hardcore spree are endless. The two most famous shopping centers are GUM and TSUM. Even if your wallet isn’t up to the task, you must go there to simply admire their stupendous swankiness and architectural grandeur. More affordable options can be found in the city’s many bustling flea markets or shopping centers like Evropeisky, OkhotnyRyad, Afimall or Mega.

4. The history - when walking around the city center (and beyond) you’d be hard-pressed to find a street corner that hasn’t witnessed some kind of significant historic event. History buffs can’t leave without a visit to the Red Square and Lenin’s tomb, Victory Park, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Lubyanka Square, VDNKh, Kolomenskoye and Tsaritsyno estates, the State Historical Museum, the Russian State Library, the Cold War Bunker, KitaiGorod and Krutitskoye Podvorye.

5. Moscow's metro - often dubbed the city’s biggest and cheapest museum, the Moscow Metro, with its luxury granite marble and granite, is more than just a means of transport. It is spread across 206 stations and is a tribute to Soviet engineering and new Russian efficiency. Some of the most beautifully and architecturally impressive stations are Kievskaya, Ploschad’ Revolyutsii, Komsomolskaya, Arbatskaya, Novokuznetskaya, Belorusskaya and Elektrozavodskaya.

6. Theatre scene - theatre-goers have lots of opportunities to spend a wonderful evening here. The recently renovated Bolshoi Theatre offers world-famous opera and ballet performances, while the Malyi Theatre, Lenkom, Satirikon, Moscow Art Theatre have wonderful drama plays. Of course we’re only scratching the surface here because Moscow has more than 150 theatre organizations!

7. Wide avenues - claustrophobia is certainly not a feeling people feel when walking down one of Moscow’s famous 10-12 lane avenues. Tverskaya Street, Leninsky Prospekt and Kutuzovsky are probably the most scenic of all of Moscow’s other main arteries.

8. Enormous cultural heritage at the traditional museums - Moscow has a great amount of exceptional museums and galleries that are home to Russia’s (and the world’s!) arts and cultural heritage. The most prominent of these are the State Tretyakov Gallery, the New State Tretyakov Gallery, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, the State Historical Museum, the Armory and the Kuskovo Estate.

9. Interactive immersion at the contemporary multimedia museums - some of Moscow’s coolest modern art and historical museums include Garage Center for Contemporary Art, the Multimedia Art Museum, the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, Historical Park Russia My Russia and Mars Center.

10. Lushness - over 40% of Moscow is covered in lush foliage, making it one of the greenest cities in the world and impossible to resist. There are many beautiful parks within the city center (Hermitage Gardens, Alexandrovsky Garden and the beautiful tree-lined boulevards of the Boulevard Ring) and even more visit-worthy spacious parks within the city limits (Kolomenskoye, Tsaritsyno, Kuzminki, Izmaylovo, Sokolniki, Ostankino).

11. VDNKh - often referred to as the “Soviet Disneyland”, VDNKh was the most grandiose exhibition park in the Soviet Union and a showcase of the country's economic achievements. It still wows visitors today with its eclectic mix of monumental Stalinist architecture and full range of historical styles from Gothic to Art Nouveau. In wintertime, VDNKh is home to the world’s largest ice skating rink!

12. Gorky Park - probably Muscovites’ favorite playground, Gorky Park is much more than just a park. There are endless recreational opportunities (in summer cycling, jogging, skateboarding, roller-skating, football, paddleboats, beach volleyball, yoga, fitness and much more; in winter snowboarding and ice-skating) as well contemporary art, open-air cinema, dining options for all tastes and budgets, concerts, cultural festivals and so much more. It’s never a boring day here.

13. Patriarch's Ponds - the setting for Bulgakov’s masterpiece “The Master and Margarita”, in the last few years this area has become uber trendy and is home to some of the coolest restaurants and bars Moscow has to offer. In summertime people spill out from the bars into the streets and swans cruise the pond, in winters the pond becomes a natural skating rink.

14. Former factories converted into trendy areas - many of Moscow’s former industrial spaces have been turned into bustling creative of clusters full of galleries, bars, cafes, shops, creative enterprises and much more. The coolest ones are Red October, Winzavod, Flacon, Artplay, Badayevsky Brewery and Distillery Cristall.

15. Summer - this is the time of year when the city’s streets become green, colorful and alive. Chill in one of the many parks, hop on a bike and cycle around the historical center, enjoy a movie at one of the open-air cinemas, have a long meal al fresco in a restaurant with a veranda, see Moscow from up high at one of the rooftop bars - the list goes on and on. Summer is truly fantastic in this city!

16. Winter - most are initially scared by the frigid temperatures that can sometimes occur in the Russian capital but, luckily, it’s a very dry cold so an extra layer solves most problems. Muscovites love outdoor winter activities such as ice-skating, sledding, hanging out at one of the Christmas markets and even ice-swimming!

17. Russian State Library - it is the largest in the country and the 4th largest in the world for its collection of books. It was named the V. I. Lenin State Library of the USSR from 1925 until it was renamed in 1992 as the Russian State Library. The library has over 275 km of shelves with more than 43 million items, including over 17 million books and serial volumes, 13 million journals, 350 thousand music scores and sound records, 150,000 maps and more!

18. Fountains - Moscow would not be Moscow without its gorgeous fountains. Some of our favorites are the DruzhbyNarodov, Kolos and Stone Flower Fountains (VDNKh), the Geyser and World Clock Fountains around Manezh Square and the Natalya and Aleksandr Fountain on NikitskieVorota Square.

19. Banyas - What can be more quintessentially Russian than a banya? Feel the heat at Sanduny, Vorontsovskie and Varshavskiebanyas.

20. Fantastic food - from traditional Russian restaurants to trendy, modern gastronomic spaces, Moscow has made huge leaps on the restaurant scene in the last few years.

21. Hip wine bars and craft beer pubs - much like the point above, over the past few years Moscow has has become heaven for wine and beer connoisseurs. Some of the coolest wine bars include I Like Wine, Vinny Bazar, Wine Religion and Grand Cru; lovers of craft beer should head to Beer & Brut, Craft Republic, SosnaiLipa, Beer Market, VseTvoiDruzya or Glavpivmag.

22. Muscovites - seemingly tough and cold at first, once you scratch their surface you will find that they are warm, passionate and proud people who know the true meaning of friendship. 

23. Vibrant nightlife - Moscow really is a city that never sleeps. From dusk till dawn seven days a week you will hear the city beckoning to you to come out and play. And there's something for everyone!

24. The Planetarium - here you can find more than just galaxies projected on the dome ceiling. It also has ancient star maps and a collection of rare meteorites. But its main attraction is the night sky of the remote past and even the future.

25. Views from up high - some would say that Moscow is even more stunning from up high. Enjoy the view for free from the top floor of the Destky Mir children’s department store or Vorobyovy Gory observation deck; for a fee go up to the observation decks of Ostankino, Imperia or Federation Towers or enjoy a meal/drink with a view at Sky Lounge, O2 Lounge, Sixty, Kalina Bar, White Rabbit or Time Out.

26. Mix of old and new - in Moscow you can travel through ages just walking through the streets. To see the beauty of ancient Russian architecture, visit the Kremlin or Kolomenskoe Museum. These places keep the unique Russian style, original and exceptional. Moscow City business center is a fine example of super modern skyscrapers.

27. The other Kremlin – Izmailovo Kremlin, Moscow's other, lesser known kremlin, is a fairytale-like cultural complex modeled after Old Russia. The colorful and bustling complex is home to several single-subject museums and a great souvenir market.

28. No bears in the streets - but if you want to see bears and other wonderful animals, go to the Moscow Zoo, which also happens to be an architectural masterpiece.

29. Arbat - Old Arbat, or simply Arbat, is one of Moscow’s oldest and most popular walking streets. Today Arbat is as important a landmark as the Red Square, the Bolshoi Theatre and St. Basil’s Cathedral. Admire the architecture, pop into one of the souvenir shops or refuel at one of the many cafes, restaurants and bars.

30. Pedestrian promenades - city authorities have really spruced up Moscow’s pedestrian streets. Some of our favorite car-free streets include Kuznetsky Most, Nikolskaya, Stoleshnikov Pereulok, Bolshaya Dmitrovka and Kamergersky Pereulok.

31. Moscow region - we love Moscow but sometimes it’s important to get away from the hustle and bustle for a day or two.
Segiev Posad (70kms from Moscow) is a UNESCO site and the home of the architectural ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra. Also worth checking out are Kolomna and, of course, the ancient towns that comprise the Golden Ring.

32. Moscow International Business Center - this modern business complex boasts three of Europe's tallest towers (Federation Tower, OKO Tower and Mercury Tower) and Europe's highest observation deck High Port 354.

33. Summer festivals - Moscow’s summer music festivals are on par with their European counterparts. If you’re around next summer, check out Picnic Afisha, Akhmad Music Festival, Bosco Fresh Fest, Usadba Jazz or Park Live.

34. Graffiti park in the Babushkinsky District - some of the coolest graffiti art you’ll ever see!

35. Zhivopisny Bridge - translated from Russian as “Scenic” Bridge, the name says it all. Also in that area you’ll find Serebryany Bor island with its beaches and recreational facilities.

36. The Seven Sisters – Stalin ordered their construction in the aftermath of World War II. There are seven of these so-called “wedding cake” buildings around the city and their mock-Gothic style is strangely reminiscent of Gotham City.

37. Moscow River cruises - thanks to the ice-breaking technology of the boats, you can admire Moscow’s main sights from the water all year around!

38. Soon-to-be-opened Zaryadye Park - the first public park built in Moscow in over 50 years proposes to introduce "wild urbanism" to the city center.

39. Historic hotels - Moscow counts five hotels that have been in operation for more than 100 years: the Metropol, the National, the Savoy, the Baltschug Kempinski and the Budapest. If the walls of these hotels could speak, they would have so many fascinating stories to tell.

40. Open-air swimming pool “Chaika” - this is one of Moscow's most atmospheric swimming centers; you can actually see the city while you swim. Chaika has two outdoor pools.

41. Park Pobedy - a grandiose memorial complex dedicated to Russia's victory over Nazi Germany. Here you can see the Triumphal Arch, a 142 meter obelisk that is the Victory Monument, the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War, an open-air exhibition of military equipment and more.

42. Kitai Gorod - a cultural and historical area defined by the remnants of now almost entirely razed fortifications, narrow streets and very densely built cityscape.

43. The public holidays and all the fireworks that come with them - depending on the year, Russians can enjoy anywhere between 14 and 18 public holiday days! New Year, Victory Day and City Day come with a spectacular fireworks display.

44. Ostankino TV Tower - this 504 meter tower has an observation desk 337 meters above sea level offering a magnificent bird's eye view of Moscow. In fine weather you will be able to see as far as 60 km away!

45. Boulevard Ring - a popular place to stroll or unwind in a cafe, this chain of ten boulevards actually forms a horseshoe and provides a glimpse of old Moscow in the midst of the bustling, modern city.

46. Literary homes - many of Russia’s most famous writers spent some time in Moscow. You can see where the likes of Bulgakov, Pasternak, Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy and Mayakovsky once lived.

47. Food markets - as Moscow aims to become a gastronomical hotspot, the food market culture has really started to boom. The city’s most food-conscious inhabitants flock to the recently renovated and super sleek Danilovsky Market with its fresh produce stalls and great little cafes. Just 5 minutes from Kievskaya station, Dorogomilovsky market covers almost an entire city block. Lambada Market boasts the best new Russian designers as well as the most delicious gourmet street food, which can range from crispy Lebanese falafel to exquisitely presented sushi.

48. Inspiration for classic Soviet movies - Moscow was the dynamic heart of the Soviet Union, inspiring so many Soviet cult classic movies. Our favorites are “Moscow Doesn’t Believe Tears”, “Pokrovsky Gates”, “Belorussky Railway Station”, “Walking the Streets of Moscow” and “Three Poplars on Plyuschikha”.

49. Constructivist architecture - there are about 50 structures that defined the ambitions of Soviet Russia in the years following the Russian Revolution. Some of the best examples are the Melnikov House, Shukhov Tower Tower and the Narkomfin and Izvestia buildings.

50. Beautiful railway stations - not only transportation hubs but also pieces of art, these railway stations are a must for any architecture aficionado: Leningradsky, Yaroslavsky, Kazansky, Rizhsky and Kievsky.
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