With its rich history, majestic architecture and unique art, Moscow is a rich and fascinating destination. Highlights are many and these sights are amongst those not to be missed during a visit to Moscow.
The former residence of the Tsars, and later of Lenin, Stalin and leaders of Russia, the Kremlin is the heart of Russia. In addition to welcoming heads of state, it also beckons travellers from all over the world, who come to stroll around some of Russia’s greatest museums, housed within. The unmissable Armoury Chamber (the oldest museum in Russia) showcases priceless collections of Russian state regalia and other valuable objects totaling around three million pieces! Another must-see is the State Diamond Fund, where a fabulous collection of Russia’s crown jewels from the 18th century is on display.
Red Square and St.Basil’s Cathedral
Providing the backdrop to Red Square is St.Basil’s Cathedral, the nation’s most recognizable landmark. The iconic octagonal towers and colorful onion domes are as stunning as its history is intriguing. Ivan IV, popularly known as Ivan the Terrible, ordered construction in the 16th century to mark his victory in the Russo-Kazan War and the Astrakhan Campaign. Legend has it that after the contruction, he ordered the eyes of the architect, Yakovlev, removed so that no structure would rival its beauty. Also in Red Square is Lenin’s mausoleum, which opens daily from 10am to 1pm, except Mondays and Fridays.
It may sound strange to recommend a visit to metro stations, but Moscow’s Komsomolskaya, Elektrozavodskaya and Mayakovskaya stations are among those well worth a visit. Under Stalin’s order “The metro stations embody a radiant future” (an allusion to Russia’s bright future), these grand stations were built with polished marble walls and high ceilings and decorated with great chandeliers and frescoes. These ‘palaces’ now serve up to nine million commuters a day!
On the eastern side of Red Square, fusing elements of Russian medieval architecture with its post-modern steel framework and glass roof, is the 200-metre facade of GUM, Moscow’s oldest and greatest luxury department store. It has a long and rich history dating back to the early 19th century and, having weathered the storms of economic and political turmoil, Gum rightly prides iitself in being the country’s prime destination for shopaholics. It opens daily from 10am to 10pm.
Borscht and Vodka
Russian cuisine is simple and often uses basic ingredients, a slice of hearty bread, rich cheese and a cucumber can make a meal. However, this is not always true as there are quite a few interesting dishes worth trying. Borscht, a healthy red soup made from beetroot, red cabbage and tomato is a national staple. Pickled herring, Siberian dumplings and caviar pair perfectly with Russian vodka of which there are countless choices.
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