Moscow: Main Sights
More than just Fur and Vodka
Moscow has inspired operas, paintings and musical masterpieces in its gloriously decorated history, and it won’t take you long to fall in love with this stunning city. To make sure your stories about this cultural paradise are as eloquent as the city, make sure you visit these unmissable highlights.
The Kremlin stands tall at the centre of Moscow and simply oozes historical prestige and culture. One of the ancient wonders, it is over 3000 years old in terms of occupation, though its structure has differed throughout the years. It was the only thing left standing when Moscow was burned to the ground by the Crimean-Tatars in 1571 and was renowned for its strong military position, overlooking the Moskva River. Famously Joseph Stalin’s residence for top-secret World War II liaisons, it stands now as a pillar of Russian history.
Red Square is arguably one of the most famous squares in the world and separates the Kremlin from a historic merchant quarter known as the Kitay-gorod. It is considered the central square of Russia and all major streets in Moscow radiate from it. It was originally meant as Moscow’s main marketplace and serve as a coronation platform for Russian tsars. These days Red Square is used for the occasional pop concert, a meeting place and as a place for celebrations. Despite the obvious link to communism, the ‘red’ part is derived from a linguistic link.
St. Basil’s Cathedral
St. Basil’s Cathedral is an iconic piece of Russian architecture and stands at the southeast end of Red Square. It stands as a pressing symbol of the Russian Orthodox Church and is not to be confused with the Kremlin with its more distinctive domes and multi-tented structure. It was completed in 1561 at the request of Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the capture of the Khanate of Kazan. St Basil’s was famously featured prominently in the Nintendo smash-hit, Tetris.
Ever wanted to see the man who effectively invented communism? Vladimir Lenin’s ideological views inspired a rejuvenated Russia to dispose of their dictatorial Tsar Romanov dynasty in order to live in a socialist utopia. Unfortunately for Lenin, his deteriorating health and subsequent death in 1924 meant that he could never steer the ship in the correct way, yet his influence and legacy lives on to this day. So influential was he, that six days after his death, his body was embalmed and put on public display, such was the overwhelming demand. Be respectful when visiting the mausoleum, even wearing a hat is considered rude and it is guarded at all times.
Fallen Monument Park (Statue Park)
Fallen Monument Park is a unique collection of sculptures which visit important elements of Russian history. Featuring over 700 sculptures, the park is located outside the Krmysky Val building in Moscow. It includes images of workers, former Soviet leaders and such themed propaganda of the regimes. Statue Park is one of the most fascinating collections of art within Moscow and is free to visit. Unfortunately its future looks uncertain due to recent building plans, but remains a must-see venue for any Moscow visitor.
Located along the western wall of the Kremlin, this tranquil public garden was completed in 1823 as a tribute to the reigning Russian emperor. Alexander’s Garden stands on the former riverbed of the Neglinnaya; it was one of the first public parks in Moscow and stretches 865 meters. The park prominently incorporates the Kutafya Tower of the Kremlin and its cast iron gate commemorates Napoleon’s failure to lead his army through the harsh Russian winters (or the Russian victory).
The Ostankino Tower is officially Europe’s tallest building and has been for 42 years, standing 540 meters tall. Built in 1967, its main use is for observation, telecommunications and of course, tourism. The imposing structure serves as a broadcaster for numerous Russian television and radio stations and is illuminated at night to create a pleasing twilight glow.