explore Moscow, Russia

What to see in Moscow, Russia

Museums and religious buildings

  • Red Square- The heart of Moscow and the first destination for most visitors to the city. Surrounded by St. Basil’s Cathedral, the State History Museum, Lenin’s Mausoleum and one of the Kremlin’s long brick walls. The cobbles that make up the square are black and not red; the name comes from another gloss of the Russian word “krasniy”, meaning “beautiful”. Metro: Ohotnii Ryad, Teatralnaya or Ploshad Revolutsii. Red Square can be closed during the big events, such as Victory parade, Military Orchestra tattoo and others.
    • Lenin Mausoleum- in the centre of the Red Square. Walk past the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin (who actually did not want any monuments to be built for him) and join the debate: is it really him? You must leave all cameras, phones and bags in the luggage office. Free admission. Open 10AM-1PM Tu, W, Th, Sa; closed on Su, M, F.
    • St Basil Cathedral- in the south part of Red Square. Built in 1555-61. Inside is a museum, although it looks best from the outside, but if you have the time, take a peek inside.
    • The Monument to Minin and Pozharskyis a bronze statue on Red Square in Moscow, Russia, in front of Saint Basil’s Cathedral. It was built in 1818. It reminds of the events in 1612 when Polish invasion occured in Russia and 1613 when Romanov dynasty was established.
  • The Kremlin Museum Complex. An ancient city and citadel, the former residence of Russian tsars and Soviet rulers is still used today. Visit the three unique cathedrals built in the 15th and 16th centuries. There are also several separate museums in the Kremlin, with the most famous ones being the Armory Chamber (A unique treasury-museum displaying the wealth accumulated by Russian rulers from the 12th), which houses royal treasures, and the Diamond Fund. You can also visit three 15th-16th century cathedrals. The Assumption Cathedral (1479) was the main place of worship for Moscow, and the place of coronation for all the Tsars. The gilded Cathedral of the Annunciation was a domestic royal church; it has several unique icons by Andrey Rublev. The Cathedral of the Archangel Michael is the final resting place of the first Russian princes and tsars. Includes the Armory Collection of royal clothing and chariots, the Diamond Fund, several churches, the Patriarch Palace and the Bell Tower (open only in the summer). Guided tours fill up fast and should be booked early. The Cathedral Squarewith all the historical cathedrals is the main site to visit inside the Kremlin, besides the Armory and the Kremlin Palace, with the offices for the Prime Minister and the ministers. Tsar Bell: World’s largest bell sits on the grounds of the Kremlin in Moscow. Photography is prohibited in virtually all exhibits.
  • The Grand Kremlin Palace. The official residence of the Russian President. A historic palace with rooms dating back to the 16th century. The exterior can be seen as part of a visit to the Kremlin Museum Complex. The interior is only open to the public by group tour two or three times a month and must be booked in advance.
  • Tretyakov Gallery – One of Russia’s greatest museums, this is probably the one to choose if you only want to visit one museum in Moscow. In contrast to the worldwide collection of the Pushkin Museum, the Tretyakov is mostly a collection of Russian art. It has the best collection of Russian icons and many of the most famous pieces of modern Russian artists like Ilya Repin. Metro: Tretyakovskaya or Novokuznetskaya. There are two Tretyakov museums: the classic one and the 20th Century one. The 20th Century one is in the Artist’s House Cultural Center across from Gorky Park. They charge separate entry fees.
  • Pushkin Museum(ulitsa Volkhonka, 12) is dedicated to Western art and has one of the world’s most significant Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections, along with some Old Masters. The Impressionists and Post-Impressionists were rather unfortunately relocated to an annex in 2007 across the street from the main building. Metro: Kropotkinskaya.
  • Novodevichy Convent– Both a convent and a fortress, Novodevichy was built in the early 1500s and has remained nearly intact since the 17th century, making it one of the best preserved historical complexes in Moscow. The adjacent Novodevichy Cemetery is one of Russia’s most famous cemeteries. Famous people buried there include Anton Chekhov, Nickolai Gogol, Konstantine Stanislavski, Nikita Khrushchev, Raisa Gorbachev (the former President’s wife), and Boris Yeltsin. Metro: Sportivnaya. Open from 9am until 5pm. If you want to locate the graves of famous people, a large map by the main entrance lists many of the most significant – in Cyrillic writing only, but each name also features their birth/death years and occupation which makes the searching easier. Stanislavski (213 on the map) and Chekhov (249) are buried next to each other, and Yeltsin’s grave is a large colorful design of the Russian flag.
  • Church of the Ascension. Built to commemorate the birth of Ivan the Terrible, Kolomenskoye’s Church of the Ascension upended the Byzantine style with its wooden conical tower, and proved to be a milestone in the history of Russian ecclesiastical architecture. Since 1994, it has enjoyed a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Metro: Kolomenskaya or Kashirskaya, then walk through Kolomenskoye park. 
  • Institute of Russian Realist Art, Derbenevskaya street 7, building 31 (Metro: Paveletskaya, Proletarskaya. Opposite to the Moscow New-Spassky monastery),  (info@rusrealart.ru). Tu-Su: 11AM-8PM, closed Mondays. Contemporary paintings by Soviet and Russian artists. Free on the first Tu and last Sa of each month. Kremlin in Izmailovo(Izmaylovsky Kremlin) – 890-y Proyektiruemyy pr-d (metro: Partizanskaya) – The complex called “Kremlin in Izmailovo” is located on the bank of Serebryano-Vinogradny pond. City holidays, fairs and festivals take place in Izmaylovsky Kremlin. It has inside it various small museums (russian dresses, bells, history of vodka, etc.); there you can find also a wooden temple: Santifier Nikolay’s Temple. If you are nearby, it worth a visit.
  • Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines, Kuznecky most, 12 (Metro: Kuznecky most). 13:00-20:00. Great new space full of old soviet fun! Go hunting, shoot torpedoes, drive cars, check your strength and much more… Price includes 15 15 kopek coins to enjoy the games. It also features a cozy cafe/burger place. Fill out the survey and leave them your e-mail address for 3 additional coins. Free tour in Russian included in the price if you specifically ask for it. 
  • Moscow Museum of Modern Art, ul. Petrovka, 25 (Metro: Trubnaya green line; or Chekhovskaya on grey line). 7 days/week: Noon–8PM. Exhibits art of the 20th and 21st centuries. 
  • Garage Museum of Contemporary Artis an independent platform for new thinking locating in Gorky Park. Through an extensive program of exhibitions, research, education, and publishing, Garage reflects on current developments in Russian and international culture, creating opportunities for public dialogue and the production of new work and ideas. Founded in 2008 by Dasha Zhukova in Moscow, the institution is building a unique research archive focusing on the development of contemporary art in Russia while pioneering diverse educational projects for families and professionals that are the first of their kind in the country. These provide the foundation from which experimental exhibitions, events, and screenings are initiated.
  • VDNKh, aka VVTs. The Russian acronym “VDNKh” stood for “Exhibit of the People’s Economic Achievements”. It has been since renamed “All-Russian Exhibition Centre” (“Vserossiyskiy Vystavochniy Tsentr”). However, it is popularly known by the Soviet abbreviations. Previously this was a massive exhibit of the advances and progress of the USSR. Now it is largely a marketplace for everything from computers to bicycles. However, many of the monuments and fountains here make the area a nice place to stroll. Bicycles and roller skates rent is available.
  • Christ the Saviour Cathedral– This cathedral, the tallest Orthodox church in the world (the largest being the Temple of St. Sava in Belgrade), was blown up on orders from Stalin in 1931, with the view of building the gargantuan Palace of the Soviets, to be crowned by a 100 m high statue of Lenin. The project ran into engineering and geological difficulties (the area used to be a swamp), then the War intervened, and the place was ceded to a year-round open-air swimming pool. The pool was razed and the cathedral rebuilt only after the fall of the Soviet Union, in the mid-nineties. There is an extensive museum underneath the cathedral documenting its history (the original was started in 1839 and consecrated in 1883). Metro: Kropotkinskaya.
  • Garden of Fallen Monuments– Where many infamous statues in Moscow were placed after the Soviet collapse. See Dzherzinsky, Stalin, Brezhnev, and others. Adjacent to the New Tretyakov Museum, which houses 20th century art. After the Pushkin Museum and the Tretyakov Gallery, this is worth seeing. Metro: Oktyabrskaya.
  • Russian State Library, Vozdvizhenka, 3/5 (Metro: Biblioteka Im.V.I.Lenina/Alexandrovskii Sad/Borovitskaya/Arbatskaya (Dark Blue line, east exit)). M—F: 09:00–20:00; Sa: 09:00–19:00; Su: closed. One of the largest libraries in the world. Anyone (Russian or foreign) over 18 can view electronic media for free, other items may be viewed by purchasing a “Reader’s Card” (a photo id to gain access to physical materials). Previously received a copy of every book, musical score, and map published in the USSR, it now only receives a copy of every Russian book. The military reading room receives over 15,000 readers a year.
  • Bunker-42, Baumanskaya ulitsa 11. Decomissioned cold war era soviet underground military nuclear bunker; now a museum. Entrance by guided tour in Russian. 
  • Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center- ulitsa Obraztsova, 26 building 1. Newly opened in Nov 2012. Located in the famous building of Bakhmetievsky Garage designed by Konstantin Melnikov and Vladimir Shukhov, the two classics of the Russian Constructivism. One of the most technologically advanced museums in Russia, this institution tells the history of Russian Jews primarily through interactive media. Metro: Maryina Roshcha.
  • Central Museum of the Armed Forces. Decent-sized museum filled with militaria and exhibitions from the last few centuries of Russian warfare. The best bits are in the park at the back though (head downstairs and out) where there is an impressive collection of armory – mostly WW2 and Soviet era including a couple of SU-27s, and SS-20 launcher, a bunch of tanks and an armored loco. English is close to non-existent though. 
  • Battle of Borodino Panorama Museum. 10.00 a.m. — 6.00 p.m, Thursday 10 a.m. — 9 p.m, closed Friday. Museum covering some of the history of the battle, in Russian and a large painting showing the scene of the battle.
  • State Museum-Reserve Tsaritsyno. A beautiful reserve in the southern part of Moscow, its nucleus being the largest palatial ensemble in Russia. Constructed between 1775 and 1796 to be the residence of Catherine the Great, the ensemble was abandoned after her death and turned into ruins during following centuries. A decision had been reached in 1984 to completely restore Tsaritsyno architectural and park ensemble. Majority of the architectural monuments have already undergone restoration, Grand Palace having completed by 2007. Exhibitions and expositions of the museum demonstrate various pages of Tsaritsyno history and rich collections of arts and crafts. Metro: Tsaritsyno, Orekhovo.
  • Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Bolotnaya emb., 3/1. The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography is a private exhibition organization located in the former chocolate factory Red October in Moscow. Since its foundation in 2010, the center aims to explore and promote Russian and foreign photography, support emerging Russian artists and explore beyond the medium. The center’s exhibitions were shown at the State Russian Museum in St-Petersburg, Krasnoyarsk museum center, Cherepovets museum association, Kazan city hall, and Ekaterinburg museum of Fine Arts. The center’s exhibition programme aims to explore and present photography to a wider audience. The program has been built around the center’s collection and collaborations with archives, contemporary photographers, private collectors and photography associations. Metro: Kripotkinskaya, Polyanka.

Famous streets

  • Varvarka Street / Kitai-Gorod and Ulitsa Varvarka– Varvarka is one of the oldest streets in Moscow. If you are going to spend just a few days in the Russian capital, then you definitely need to walk along this street. Varvarka Street is located in Kitay-gorod and embraces many historical aspects. It is a part of the trading quarter near the Kremlin which is surrounded by the Kitay-gorod defensive wall. Varvarka Street is rich in cathedrals that were visited by the Russian tsars on their way from the Kremlin. This street welcomed the victorious army and became the battlefield in several wars. Varvarka Street begins right behind the Pokrovsky Cathedral situated on Red Square near the Spasskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin which is better known as Saint Basil’s Cathedral. Varvarka Street is quite short and can be walked through in ten minutes. The first building is the Church of the Martyr Barbara belonging to classic style (1804). The second building is the Church of Maxim the Blessed (1699). Later the church got its bell tower (1829). In the 19th century, bell towers were usually attached to ancient churches so that they would be seen in urban areas. While walking further on Varvarka Street you will see several buildings which form the architectural ensemble of the Znamensky Monastery (since 1631). See the Chambers of the Romanov boyars (since the 16th century). It is believed that the first Romanov tsar spent there his early years. Then you will come across the beautiful Church of Saint George on Pskov Hill(1626). A bell tower was built-on near the church. The left side of Varvarka Street begins with the Middle Trading Rows (1893). At the end of the street step down to the subway (Metro) and look to the left just at the end of the stairway. You can see the basement of ancient “Varvarskaya tower” – the entrance to the Kitay-gorod and mystic place of ancient Moscow.
  • Old Arbat Street– Walk down this kitschy street and don’t forget to look at the small by-streets around the Arbat. They allow you to feel the “old Moscow spirit”. Arbat is full of souvenir vendors, tourist cafes, lousy restaurants, artists, etc. The prices of the souvenirs vary from reasonable to rip-off, but vendors are open to negotiation. Metro: Smolenskaya (both blue lines), Arbatskaya (both blue lines, from Dark Blue line take west exit).
  • New Arbat Street– Located near Old Arbat Street, this street offers a contrast from the touristy pedestrian-only thoroughfare. New Arbat is perhaps where Moscow’s rich are the most visible, as some of Moscow’s most expensive restaurants and nightclubs are located here. There are some reasonably priced cafes, however. The street is lavishly lit up at night and is always very lively. Also, check out Dom Knigi (House of Books) on New Arbat. It’s not as impressive as the St. Petersburg store, but probably the best bet for books in Moscow. Metro: Arbatskaya (both blue lines, take west exit for Dark Blue line).
  • Tverskaya Street– This street starts from the Kremlin itself and runs northwest in the direction of Tver (hence the name) and Saint Petersburg. For that reason the road was a very important thoroughfare in Tsarist Russia. It is now Moscow’s most fashionable street, with several prestigious boutiques. It is also lined with cafes, restaurants, coffeehouses, a couple of theaters, and several hotels, including two locations of the Marriott. Most of the street’s architecture doesn’t actually have much history to it, though along the way you will find Russia’s first, and the world’s busiest, McDonalds. The statue of Pushkin at Pushkinskaya Square is a very popular meeting point. Walk its length. From Red Square to Belorusski Train Station is about one hour and is a great way to see the most famous street in Moscow. Take a peek inside the Yeliseev Grocery Store, Moscow’s answer to Harrod’s food halls, to see the restored ornate interior. Metro south to north: Ohotnii Ryad/Teatralnaya, Tverskaya/Pushkinskaya/Chehovskaya (Puskinskaya Square), Mayakovskaya (Triumfalnaya Square, sometimes called second Theatre square, containing Chaikovskii Concert Hall, Satire Theatre and nearby Mossovet Theatre), Belorusskaya.

Viewpoints

  • Vorobyovy Gory– The best place for a view of Moscow from the ground. Near the main Moscow State University building, there is a popular lookout point where one can see much of the city on clear days. Metro: A walk from either metro Universitet or Vorobyovy Gory. As alternative, trolleybus #7 (only before about 21:30) can also take you from/to Kievskaya, Leninskii prospect or Oktyabrskaya metro
  • Ostankino Tower. 540 meters tall, with an observation deck 340 meters above ground. 

 Other Famous Places

  • Luzhkov Bridge– Luzhkov Bridge appeared in Moscow when Yuriy Luzhkov was the mayor of Moscow.Another name is Tretyakov’s Bridge because this bridge is a part of architectural ensemble of Tretyakov Gallery. Around 2007, the first metal love tree appeared here, since then it’s now a famous place for newly married couple, they come here and put metal locks together to a tree here to swear their bondage. Close to Tretyakovskaya metro station.
  • Peter the Great Statue, 10 Krymskaya Naberezhnaya, Moscow. One of the world’s tallest statues is also one of its most hated.
  • Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics- also known as the Memorial Museum of Astronautics (in English) or Memorial Museum of Space Exploration) is a museum in Moscow, dedicated to space exploration. It is located within the base of the Monument to the Conquerors of Space in the north-east of the city. The museum contains a wide variety of Soviet and Russian space-related exhibits and models which explore the history of flight; astronomy; space exploration; space technology; and space in the arts. According to the Russian tourist board, the museum’s collection holds approximately 85,000 different items and receives approximately 300,000 visitors yearly. Russian Space Dogs, Belka and Strelka and Yuri Gagarin’s space suit as well as the vessel that we he traveled in. They also have information on NASA and Michael Collins space suit.
  • Sparrow Hills, the highest point in the city for a panoramic view of Moscow.
  • Cathedral of Christ the Savior: The Cathedral of Christ the Savior is a Russian Orthodox cathedral in Moscow, Russia, on the northern bank of the Moskva River, a few hundred meters southwest of the Kremlin. With an overall height of 103 meters (338 ft), it is the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world. Christ the Savior Cathedral – This cathedral, the tallest Orthodox church in the world (the largest being the Temple of St. Sava in Belgrade), was blown up on orders from Stalin in 1931, with the view of building the gargantuan Palace of the Soviets, to be crowned by a 100 m high statue of Lenin. The project ran into engineering and geological difficulties (the area used to be a swamp), then the War intervened, and the place was ceded to a year-round open-air swimming pool. The pool was razed and the cathedral rebuilt only after the fall of the Soviet Union, in the mid-nineties. There is an extensive museum underneath the cathedral documenting its history (the original was started in 1839 and consecrated in 1883). Metro: Kropotkinskaya.
  • Church of the Ascension. Built to commemorate the birth of Ivan the Terrible, Kolomenskoye’s Church of the Ascension upended the Byzantine style with its wooden conical tower, and proved to be a milestone in the history of Russian ecclesiastical architecture. Since 1994, it has enjoyed a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Metro: Kolomenskaya or Kashirskaya, then walk through Kolomenskoye park.
  • Lomonosov Moscow State University(MGU): Lomonosov Moscow State University (MGU) was established in 1755 and has more than 40,000 students (graduate and postgraduate). It is considered one of the oldest universities in Moscow and is part of “Stalin’s Seven Sisters,” a group of Moscow skyscrapers built in the Stalinist style of architecture.
  • Novospassky MonasteryThis monastery complex dates back to the 12th century and is surrounded by thick walls originally built to protect Moscow from foreign invaders. Basement of the cathedral is the tomb of the Romanovs, the last kings of Russia. In addition, the monastery has a miraculous icon of the Mother of God “Vsetsaritsa”, which helps in case of cancer. Look skyward to see the sunlight catch the gold and blue domes. The bell towers are stunning and the feeling of awe is all around. At the time, this monastery’s importance was second only after the Kremlin churches, mainly – the Assumption Cathedral. It was considered famiy church for the Romanovs’ Royal dynasty, although it began before their ascension to the throne, even under the Zakhar’ins, the ancestors of Romanovs. They even arranged a family necropolis here, and then this fashion was picked up by other famous boyar surnames from the first range. To the elitarism of the monastery contributed its relative remoteness from the center of Moscow – formally it was not Zamoskvorechye, but in fact Krutitsky hill, on which stood the monastery, was even further. The wealth of the monastery had played with it a bad joke. When the Bolsheviks came to power, they destroyed and looted most of the monastery and took out the main values, and in the monastery itself they set up a concentration camp and placed other penitentiaries nearby. Here teven tortures and executions took place. Now the monastery was transferred to the Russia Orthodox Church and partially restored. The former luxury does not exist already, but, however, here remained still much to see and admire. Very tall bell tower (81 meters) , adjacent to each other Spaso-Preobrazhensky, Pokrovsky and Znamensky cathedrals, outer walls with towers (originally the monastery was built also as a fortress to protect the city), the famous Romanov’s cross Address: Krest’yanskaya Ploshchad’, 10, Moskva
  • House with Animals: Its front wall is striped with a menagerie of fantastic beasts and magnificent monsters. This striking building in is nicknamed for the fantastic animals that frolic amid a swath of its front-facing wall—familiar critters like owls and ducks alongside make-believe beasts from chimeras to dragons. Fittingly, the locals have taken to calling the building the “House with Animals,” as its terracotta bas-relief is crammed with a collection of curious creatures. Against the backdrop of soft blue-green paint, the white figures look as though they belong in a gallery rather than on the streets of Moscow, and they’re sure to stop any passerby. The closest metro station is Chistye Prudy.
  • Monument to the Conquerors of Space: Moscow’s imposing monument to the space age.
  • Miniature Moscow: Back in the tiny USSR. The key element of the exhibition is detailed interactive scale-model of Moscow. It is 368 sq. m and shows 20 000 buildings within Sadovoye Ring. Light shows and exhibitions are held daily in the pavillion. Created in 1977 by 300 workers for the 60th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, Miniature Moscow is a very detailed depiction of the USSR’s capital. The 400-foot model is a scaled piece of propaganda by Russian diorama artist Efim Deshalyt that was designed to be visited, admired and ultimately exhibiting that the Soviet Union’s capital was more magnificent than any Western capital. Hours: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm. Address: Mira Ave., 119 | VDNKh, Sirenevaya alley, pavillion Maket Moskvy
  • Laika Monument (Pamyatnik Sobake Layke): It took over half a century but a Russian monument to a famous and tragic space pup finally stands in Moscow. Strangely, the famous mongrel did not receive her own monument in the Russian capital until 2008. The (surprisingly small) monument that now stands near a military research station is shaped like an abstract rocket that morphs into a hand, cradling Laika towards the stars. If only her actual fate had been so peaceful. Address: Petrovsko-Razumovskaya Alley, 12A, Moscow 127083
  • Hotel Ukraina (Radisson Royal Hotel): The tallest hotel in Europe. Address: Kutuzovsky Ave, 2/1, стр. 1, Moskva
  • Sokol: An early-20th-century “dacha” village of quaint cottages curiously located in a modern part of Moscow. If you happen to stumble across Sokol while exploring Moscow, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d somehow left the city. The quaint dachas (Russian country cottages) that dot the tree-lined streets make this neighborhood look more like a rural village than an urban settlement.
  • Public Museum of the Moscow Metro: Hidden in a metro shop under a shopping mall, this small museum tells the story of one of the world’s largest urban transit systems. It’s not the easiest place to find either, once you’ve got to the top of the escalator and just before you exit the station there is a door on your right with a museum sign next to it. It doesn’t look right but let yourself in and then go up 4 flights of stars and you have arrived!! It is free to enter and to be honest I walked around the small rooms in about 30mins. It’s only a 10-15 minute ride out of Moscow from the center on the red line. Free entry, good display, great for young ones and old, they have a virtual drive Metro train. Come up escalator and put doors and it is straight ahead. Address: 36, Khamovnicheskiy Val, Str, Moskva, Russia, 119048. Near: Vystavochnaya Metro station on the light blue Metro line. Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 1pm–4am / Sunday Closed / Monday Closed
  • Old English Court: The “Mystery and Company of Merchant Adventurers” – an Elizabethan era hangout in Moscow. The Old English Yard is not a name for a landmark one would expect to encounter in the very center of Russian capital. Tucked away, beyond the far side of the Red Square this unimposing building is overlooked by most of the visitors. However, old English yard hides a fascinating history. Hours Tue – Wed 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Thu 11:00 am – 9:00 pm Fri – Sun 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. Address: Varvarka St., 4, Moscow 109012
  • Borodino Panorama / Muzey-Panorama Borodinskaya Bitva: A 360 degree battlefield experience. The highlight of the museum is the panorama Borodino created by Russian battle-painter Franz Roubaud in 1912. The museum exposition is dedicated to the Russian victory over Napoleon’s Great Army in 1812. The panorama was commissioned in 1912 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino with Napoleon. Current museum opened in 1962. Centerpiece of the museum is the 360 degree painting of the Battle of Borodino on Sept 7, 1812. The painting is 115m long and 15m high. It was the deadliest battle in the Napoleonic Wars with over 70-80,000 casualties in 1 day. Metro stations: Park Pobedy, Kutuzovskaya. Address: Kutuzovskiy Ave., 38 | Metro Kutuzovskaya or Park Pobedy, Moscow 121170
  • Garden of Fallen Monuments (Fallen Monument Park)– Where many infamous statues in Moscow were placed after the Soviet collapse. See Dzherzinsky, Stalin, Brezhnev, and others. Adjacent to the New Tretyakov Museum, which houses 20th century art. After the Pushkin Museum and the Tretyakov Gallery, this is worth seeing. Metro: Oktyabrskaya. Everyday open 24 hours. With the fall of the USSR, the thousands of Soviet statues were destroyed or dispersed. Some ended up here in the Fallen Monument Park. Also known as Art Muzeon or Park of the Fallen Heroes, the park has mutilated busts of Stalin, as well as those of Lenin and a statue of Dzerzhinsky, the founder of what became the KGB. There’s a massive Soviet emblem, and clusters of modern art contrasting with the very non-conceptual Communist monuments. There is a small charge to enter the park. Due to development in the area, its future is currently uncertain. Know Before You Go: Take the 5 (brown line) to Oktyabrskaya and exit to Main Street. Turn left and cross the street and continue downhill until you’re across from Gorky Park and keep going further down the street. Address: 10/4, Ulitsa Krymskiy Val / at New Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow 119049
  • The Tretyakov Gallery / The State Tretyakov GalleryWith the largest collection of Russian art in the world, the gallery is a wonderful way of seeing the culture of Russia develop through its art. Highly recommend to take a guided tour. It takes 5h to see the whole exhibition so better to come before afternoon. This is a large art museum filled with Russian Art from various ages up to early 20th century. Well worth your time and easily accessed from Metro. As a bonus there is a square outside of the Metro that offers several places for a meal including McDonalds. The museum is a lot bigger than it looks and offers a comprehensive history of Russian Art. We had a guided tour and I would highly recommend getting one – as the guides are passionate about the gallery and bring the paintings to life. Metro ride from Red Square and the neighborhood is quite pleasant as well. Arrive early as it is very busy and the line to enter is always long. We arrived when it first opened and had to wait 20 minutes to get in and when we left over three hours later the line was just as long. We know why and after you go, you will as well. Also the park is a great place to stroll around. Address: Lavrushinskiy ln, 10, Moscow 119017, Russia. Hours: Sun – Sat 10:00 am – 9:00 pm.

Note that the main building houses the collection of “classic” era — from old Slavonic icons to the end of XIX century. The modern art section (also very impressive) is separate, located in the Central House of Artists (next to the Garden of Fallen Monuments and the Gorky Park; metro Oktyabrskaya); admission is also separate.

  • VDNKH. This magnificent park in the north of Moscow features more than 250 Soviet-era palaces and pavilions, impressive arches and numerous fountains, Vostok rocket and the Soviet aircraft. The Space museum museum traces the history of space exploration: the first satellite (in Russian “Sputnik”). Space museum traces the history of space exploration: the first satellite (in Russian “Sputnik”) launched in 1957, the first dogs in space, the first human flights, first spacewalk, missions to Moon, Mars and Venus. Standard Communist era tour of Moscow.
  • State Museum-Reserve Tsaritsyno: A beautiful reserve in the southern part of Moscow, its nucleus being the largest palatial ensemble in Russia. Constructed between 1775 and 1796 to be the residence of Catherine the Great, the ensemble was abandoned after her death and turned into ruins during following centuries. A decision had been reached in 1984 to completely restore Tsaritsyno architectural and park ensemble. Majority of the architectural monuments have already undergone restoration, Grand Palace having completed by 2007. Exhibitions and expositions of the museum demonstrate various pages of Tsaritsyno history and rich collections of arts and crafts. Metro: Tsaritsyno, Orekhovo

Day Trips

  • The Central Air Force Museum- The Central Air Force Museum, or CMAF as it’s also known, is located about 25 miles east of the Yaroslavsky Railway Station in Moscow. It is approximately 1 mile south of the train station in Monino. There are infrequent signs to the museum if you walk. The best way to get there is either by taxi or by using a map with a GPS. If you start out in Moscow, take the Metro to Komsomolskaya station. You have to walk over to the railway terminal and buy a ticket for the local train service to Monino. The ticket booth is outside the main ticket building. Look for the windows (3) that have hand-written signs near them with time tables (in Russian). Just ask for a ticket to Monino. There is service every 20-30 minutes, except for the middle of the day (1.5 hour gap). There are both local and express trains. The express trains are more like intercity/international trains (with individual seats) and they are painted differently. There is no notable time difference between them though – for both types it takes about 1h 15m to get to Monino. Monino is a commuter suburb of Moscow. It mainly just has high-rise apartment buildings and a few shops near the train station. Walk south from the station until you hit the museum boundary. Then walk around the east side so you don’t go several miles around the wrong way. Admission was only about R250 (~$4 or so). The museum itself is a very interesting contrast in modern and old-style Russian. Some parts of it are very new while other parts were probably designed in the 60s-70s. There are several dozen aircraft outside in various states of repair. Some are set up like the A&S in Washington. Others are fairly neglected. There is a large indoor hangar with many WWII aircraft and displays that get wet from a leaky roof. Overall this is a place to visit mainly if you enjoy aviation, especially since it is off the beaten path. I spent 2 1/2 hours there, which was enough to see the indoor and outdoor displays. If you enjoy military aircraft, plan on 2-3 hours. Some of the plaques are in English, but not most. The Monino Central Air Force Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on every day of the week except for Mondays and Tuesdays.
  • Sergiev Posad – Sergiev Posad is a picturesque town 75km to the northeast of Moscow. The town is famous for the 14th century Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius , one of the most important centers of the Orthodox religion and a major destination of pilgrims. Sergiev Posad is the only town of the Golden Ring located near Moscow. The Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius was founded in the early 14th century by one of the most venerated saints of Russia St. Sergius. For centuries, Russian czars and common people set out on pilgrimage to the monastery. Today the Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius is home to over 300 monks. The monastery houses a theological college, spiritual academy and an icon painting school. The Trinity cathedral, built in the early 15th century is one of the oldest churches in Moscow Region. You’ll see other fascinating buildings of the monastery. The Assumption Cathedral commissioned by Ivan the Terrible rises in the center of the complex. Its blue domes with golden stars are seen from afar. The elegant baroque bell tower was built in the 18th century. Today it houses the biggest working bell in Russia. The Chapel over the Well standing nearby was built over a spring discovered in 1644. Pilgrims come here with empty bottles to fill with holy water. Sergiev Posad is the birthplace of matryoshka, known in the west as the Russian doll. You can see some rare nesting dolls and other wooden toys and dolls in the town’s Toy Museum (upon request) or do some matryoshka shopping in the market square near the monastery gates. Matryoshka painting master class might be added upon request.
  • Vladimir and Suzdal- Vladimir is most famous for its three 12th century monuments: the five-domed Assumption Cathedral with magnificent frescoes of Andrey Rublev, the warrior-like cathedral of St. Demetrius notable for its unique carvings and the Golden Gate, which used to be a tower over the city’s main gate. A real wonder of the trip is an ancient Russian town Suzdal. It was once the capital of Rostov-Suzdal principality. This town is like a museum under the open sky; its medieval monuments can tell you its old story. This place is very quiet for there are no train stations or industries. Gazing at its Blue River, wooden houses, picturesque meadows you may feel that time has stopped here. The tour of the central part of Vladimir includes Assumption cathedral interior (it is open), St Demetrius cathedral (outside), Golden Gates (outside). Sightseeing tour of Suzdal includes the Museum of Wooden Architecture, famous for beautiful 19th century wooden houses of wealthy peasants, St Euthimius monastery where you can listen to bell ringing (or Intersession convent), Suzdal Kremlin and trading square where you can buy something from locals. Driving back to Vladimir to take 17.59 train back to Moscow which arrives at 19.40. In summer time it is possible to stay a bit longer and go to Bogolyubovo famous for the beautiful Pokrova-on-the-Nerl church which is located in the meadows. 15 – 22.00 Train back to Moscow.
  • Yaroslavl – Yaroslavl is a picturesque town on the Volga River, famous for its beautiful 17th century churches, parks and gardens, luxury merchants’ mansions and the oldest drama theatre of Russia. It will appear a real highlight of the Golden Ring. Yarolslavl is one of the oldest Russian towns, founded in the 9th century by Prince Yaroslav the Wise. In 2010 Yaroslavl celebrated its millennium. For the beauty and unique character Yaroslavl is nicknamed the ‘Florence of the North.” During the private tour you will explore the charming historic centre which is the UNESCO World Heritage site, learn about the city turbulent history. 17th century is the golden age of the Yaroslavl. During that period 35 stone temples were built by wealthy merchants or city authorities. The best Russian masters of mural paintings worked in Yaroslavl, making each church a unique monument of the Russian art. A real wonder is the Church of Elijah the Prophet. Its architectural forms, tiles and brick decorations dazzle the eye and the murals might appear a real encyclopedia of evangelical and biblical scenes. 7.35 am (3.18h) train to Yaroslavl. During your walking tour of Yaroslavl you will visit Transfiguration monastery, the oldest monastery in Yaroslavl. If you would like to capture some great views, you might climb the bell tower (optional at the extra cost). You will continue by walking along the embankment to see the stunning views of the Volga river. You will have a stop at the Church of Elijah the Prophet, one of the masterpieces of Yaroslavl architects which can be visited only during the summer time. You can drive to a local village to discover a unique museum of Russian dolls. You’ll see its rare collection of dolls, learn about the life in a village, get involved in a doll making master class and have a Russia tea accompanied with pirozhki (Russian pastries). Catch the 19.34 train back to Moscow which arrives at 22.53. In Yaroslavl you might climb on top of the bell tower of the Transfiguration monastery, which gives an impressive view of the city center, however it might appear rather tiring to climb the stairs.
  • Bogdarnya- You can drive there for 3 hours. Besides rural views with the winding Klyazma river and vast meadows you might enjoy numerous countryside activities like horse-riding, fishing, mushroom and berries picking (in summer), cheese or meat master classes to name a few.
  • Bogolyubovo- You can drive to Bogolyubovo famous for the ancient Pokrova-on-the-Nerl Church of the 12 century located on the Nerl River among picturesque meadows. It is a 15 minute walk the church and 15 minute walk back but it is absolutely worth doing on a good day.
  • Kostroma- You can go by car. The town is located at the confluence of the Volga and the Kostroma Rivers. During the tour you will visit the Ipatiev Monastery, once the shelter of Mikhail Romanov, the first tsar of the Romanov Dynasty. He was offered the Russian throne in 1613 thus ending the Time of Troubles and Polish Intervention in Russian. You will also see the Trinity Cathedral, known for its frescos as well as walk through the central part of Kostroma to admire 18th century architecture of provincial town.
  • Pereslavl Zalessky- Drive to Pereslavl Zalessky, the town known since the 12th century. Sightseeing of Red Square and the remparts This town is famous for some unique museums like Museum of Iron, Museum of Kettle, Botik Museum ( This museum contains the only surviving boat from Peter the Great amusement flotilla)
  • Rostov- Kremlin of Rostov, a walk along Nero Lake, Rostov enamel exhibition. 7.35 am train to Rostov the Great. Rostov Kremlin tour, stunning panoramic views from the top of the bell tower, the exhibition of Finift (painted enamel).
  • Yuryev-Polskoy- Drive to Yuryev-Polskoy, the town founded in the 12 century by Yuri Dolgoruky (founder of Moscow). The chief landmark of the town is St. George Church, brilliant example of pre-Mongolian architecture. During the tour you will also visit the grounds of the walled Archangel Michael Monastery, as well as enjoy picturesque views from the bell tower.
  • Serpukhov— an old city to the south of Moscow, which has its own kremlin, Vysotsky Monastery, and Vladychny Convent