Moscow, founded in 1147, recently celebrated its 872nd birthday. As the city charges into the 21st century, travelers can expect a gigantic metropolis with multi-cultural arts and architecture to visit. Unfortunately, many travelers simply head to Red Square, a few famous boulevards, and then call it a day. While these common sights are incredible, Moscow offers much more for the researched traveler. This guide will take travelers to ancient Muscovy, the Gothic heights of the Soviet Union, and into the artful modern day mosaic of Moscow!
There’s more to Moscow than the Kremlin. Chistye Prudy is one of Moscow’s latest cultural hubs, and you’ll find some of the city’s most creative entrepreneurs opening shop in the ancient buildings in the district. Although the shops may be new, the buildings are classic to Moscow and feature bright pastel colors, Eastern frescoes, and that unmistakable Russian touch. Walk around the tree-lined pond (Chistye Prudy actually means Clear Pond,) before heading to Double-B for the city’s best coffee. In the many restaurants, try hachapuri (a delectable cheese filled bread) or classic dumplings, called khinkali, which are filled with meat, salmon, or potatoes. Afterwards, walk out and turn onto the recently renovated Myasnitskaya street which contains wonderfully anachronistic architecture and bold colors. Also, Chistye Prudy is one of the first areas in Moscow to contain newly designed bike paths and cheap bike rentals, making it an effortless place to explore!
Part science center and part Soviet-Disneyland, the giant exhibition park VDNKh (pronounced vi-dee-en-kah-sh) is now renovated and ready for exploration. Situated in Northeast Moscow, the park was originally designed to portray the wonders of Soviet scientists and architects, but as the empire began to fall, the park too began to crumble away. In the past few years, the park has been touched up, revitalized, and enhanced with new walkways so that locals and tourists can easily trek around the stunning displays of Soviet architecture. Lenin statues stand in front of pillared buildings, golden fountains surround giant stars, and numerous concerts and events make VDNKh one of Moscow’s most interesting year-round parks.
Yes, Moscow is a city, but Moscow City is the latest development area in “new Moscow.” This skyscraper development may be swarmed with setbacks and delays, but the buildings are on display for a beautiful nighttime vista. As with most buildings in Moscow, these skyscrapers are internationally unique including a twisting DNA-like structure, a sleek futurist golden tower, and shadowed by the tallest building in Europe. At night, ride to the top of the Imperia tower for a brilliant look at Moscow.
Stalin’s Seven Sisters
The Seven Sisters are a group of skyscrapers commissioned under Stalin in the early 1950’s. Each tower was chosen to represent Stalin’s fondness for Gothic and Baroque architecture, and they became the tallest structures in Russia at the time. While most travelers will catch a glimpse of the towers on the Kotelnicheskaya embankment near the Kremlin or at the end of Arbat, it is worthwhile to walk around each tower to see the intricate details scattered throughout. Visitors will find frescoes featuring unique Soviet socialist artwork depicting scientists, students, and farmers hand-in-hand along the walls. Statues of hammers and sickles, pointed stars, and other uniquely Soviet features beautifully decorate the imposing towers which make for a historical, yet entirely enthralling, visit. By visiting many of these spots and more, tourists will be able to see Moscow as the captivating city it is beyond the Kremlin walls!