Moscow is known for its vibrant and colorful culture. That is why when in the Russian capital, its culture is something any tourist would have to see and experience for themselves. Otherwise, it would simply turn out to be a boring and dull visit.
Among the city’s culture that visitors need to immerse themselves with are the city’s architecture, festivals and celebrations, food, nightlife, shopping, sports, theaters, music, and museum.
Moscow’s architecture is known for being modern with state-of-the-art design, thus, never miss a chance to visit and take a photo to any of the city’s top structures. On the other hand, Moscow’s festivals and food would surely complete anybody’s visit to the city. Aside from getting a glimpse of the city’s past and festivity, taking part in any city celebration will also enable tourists to meet more people in the capital.
As the heart of the country, Moscow is also known for its number of nightspots and shopping centers. So for anyone who has wanted to experience the city from morning ‘til night, these two things should not be missed.
If you are on the athletic and entertainment sides, respectively, the city’s sports, theaters, and music will complete your Moscow experience.
Finally, if you want a trip that’s filled with learning and trivia about everything in Moscow, then head on to one of the many museums in the city.
There are a lot of things that make up Moscow culture, it is actually up to you how you want to spend it.
Architecture in Moscow is known throughout the world. Among the city’s well-known architecture sites are the Cathedral of St. Basil, Seven Sisters, and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Tourists from all over the world should always include visiting these sites in their itinerary.
Joseph Stalin and Moscow Modernization
For years, a large number of Orthodox churches dominated the city’s view. This however changed in the Soviet times, when Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin led a large-scale effort to make Moscow a modernized city. Stalin introduced roadways and avenues as broad as ten lanes in width.
Unfortunately, Stalin’s projection of Moscow as a modern city also compromised a great number of structures with historical and architectural significance. Among those destroyed during the modernization of the city is the Sukharev Tower, which was one of the city’s best-known symbols and landmarks.
Despite destroying many important buildings in Moscow, many would still commend Stalin for what he’s turned the city into. He is also credited for the construction of The Seven Sisters, which comprise seven, cathedral-like structures. All of the seven towers can be seen in the city’s skyline; they are among the central city’s tallest structures.
Because the Soviet times destroyed many important structures of the city, attempts are being made to bring back Moscow’s best-kept treasures during the pre-Soviet rule. Many of the restorations made though were criticized because it was perceived to have disrespected historical authenticity.
Organizations, such as the Save Europe’s Heritage and the Moscow Architecture Preservation Society were established to promote and support the preservation of historical and architectural sites of the city.
Aside from being Russia’s capital and one of the world’s populous cities, Moscow is also home to a wide range of museums that cater to almost everyone’s interest. Thus, when in the city, checking out one or two of these would definitely complete your travel.
Here are some of Moscow’s top museums:
Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
For fine arts fanatics, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts should be the place to be. With its rich fine arts collection, the museum is next to St. Petersburg’s The Hermitage as the country’s largest foreign art museum. Among the things to look forward to in Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts are the exhibits of Egyptian mummies, paintings by Botticelli, Rembrandt, Tiepolo, and Canaletto, among others. The museum is conveniently situated at the center of the city; close to the Kremlin and the Red Square.
State Historical Museum
Through the initiative of Russia’s scientific community, the State Historical Museum was established in 1872. Now the country’s largest historic museum, the museum is home to a treasure of artifacts and monuments that represent important events in the history of the Russian State. Constructed to provide a vivid view of the country’s history, tourists who will visit the museum will have a lot to learn and discover about Russia.
The Paleontology Museum
Moscow’s The Paleontology Museum was named after Yuri Orlov, a Russian professor of Physics. Considered to be one of the world’s largest natural science museums, the place will put anyone in awe with its wide collection of bones and teeth of ancient creatures dug/discovered from many parts of the world. The museum is a great place to check, especially for those with kids.
Moscow House of Photography
Photography lovers will not be disappointed in the Moscow House of Photography. Founded in 1996, the museum has then become the country’s first museum to provide a full and detailed presentation of Russia’s photographic art development.
These are just some of the museums you should not miss when in Moscow. Setting your foot in the city, you will learn that there are more of them to make you fall in love more with Moscow.
Moscow festivals happen all year-round. For tourists, this could mean a whole year of fun-filled and enriching experience celebrating with the people in the city.
Below is information on some of Moscow’s most anticipated and famous festivals:
Happening every February, Maslenitsa, which literally means ‘Butter Week’, is a celebration of Russia’s long winter. During this event, parties are held all over the city with a lot of sweet treats to everyone. Dating back from the pagan times, the festival culminates with the torching of the winter scarecrow, which marks the end of the harsh winter and welcomes the long-awaited spring.
If you happen to be in the city during this time, enjoy the festival’s centerpiece which is the pancakes, also called the bliny. Round, golden, and warm, the pancakes symbolize the sun. It is best eaten with honey and jam or with sour cream and caviar.
Defenders of the Motherland Day
Originally called the Soviet Army Day, the festival, which falls every 23rd of February, commemorates the country’s defenders. During this day, a solemn wreath-laying is held at Moscow’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – located inside the walls of the Kremlin.
An affair noted for being deeply patriotic, Victory Day is not just a celebration of the Soviet’s victory during World War II, it is also a time to remember the country’s fallen soldiers. Held every 9th of May, the festival is marked by a major parade at the Red Square and is followed by concerts and fireworks throughout the city.
Depending on the time of the year you visit the city, Moscow festivals will make any tour more worthwhile.
Food lovers will definitely not get disappointed with what Moscow has to offer in terms of dining. With its wide array of options that range from Mongolian to Scandinavian and Vietnamese among others, even the most fickle diner will find a place to eat in the city that will satisfy their food cravings.
Below are some recommended restaurants to try when in Moscow:
Protochny per. 11
Tinkoff is a 2-story restaurant with a very industrial design. It boasts of its own microbrewery sitting behind a glass barrier to give visitors a glimpse of the process. Every season, the restaurant features a new addition to its collection of house beers. Its huge menu provides diners with many options for all occasions; it even has its own sushi bar headed by a chef from Japan.
Ul. Tverskaya 18/2
(495) 694-39-21, (495) 650-24-97
The Moscow branch of the famous American chain has captured the hearts of many food goers for its jovial waiters dressed in funny clothes. Aside from this, its magnificent cocktails have been praised by a number of customers already. T.G.I. Friday’s offers a good venue for large (and noisy) groups who want to chat while they eat and drink.
Pushkinskaya Ploshchad 5
One of the city’s few teppanyaki restaurants, Benihana offers its diners its own notion of “food as entertainment”. Showcasing food artistically cooked on teppan, customers will have a time of their life in the food establishment.
Food has always been a part of one’s tour experience. So when in Moscow, make sure you make the most of this and try as much as you can the city’s wide offerings.
Since Soviet times, Moscow nightlife has added color and gist in the city. Today, the Muscovites have been enjoying the 24-hour pleasures that the country’s capital has to offer. However, tourists must learn that nightlife in Moscow does not come without a price. Whether you are up for fine dining or partying in the city, one must remember to set aside a good amount of money before going out for nightlife.
Moscow has a number of night restaurants and bars that open even until 6 am. If you are planning for a drinking session though, make sure you are at least 18 years old, or at least 21 to be able to purchase alcoholic beverages.
Below are some famous nightspots in the city:
Avtozavodskaya subway station, ul. Leninskaya Sloboda, 19/2
A 4-floored club, Zona has a capacity of 3500 people. It showcases three dancing areas with good DJs and laser shows. Exclusively for people 18 years and above, the club follows a strict dress code, too.
Strastnoy Bylvar, 8a
Among Moscow’s most popular and glamorous R&B nightclubs, B-club is a famous spot for younger night spot goers. A perfect getaway after a stressful day, a party in the club starts from 11 in the evening until early morning, every Fridays and Saturdays.
St Sadovnicheskaya, 33 (metro Novokyznetskaia)
A house-music club, Fabrique provides a comfortable place to chill out and have fun in the city. The club also has its own restaurant for customers who feel like eating while partying. It can accommodate up to 1500 party goers.
Bolshaya Sadovaya (Garden Ring), 8
With four floors and a number of dance floors, B3 is among the city’s best party spots. It has a huge room to chill and relax, and a restaurant to order some good food and drinks. In addition to these, the club also boasts of its pool rooms, cinema room, and café. Enjoy listening to different kinds of music – from British electronic music to Russian rockers.
These are just some of the places to be at night in Moscow. When you are in the city, you’ll see there’s a lot more to choose from and spend the night away.
Shopaholics will have a feast in Moscow! As the center of almost everything in Russia, shopping in Moscow is no longer a luxury to many of its people, it is already a lifestyle.
For tourists, a visit to the city is not complete without exploring the various shopping centers and boutiques in Moscow. Whether you are up to shop for food, clothes, shoes, and other souvenir items, you will definitely not be disappointed.
Here are some of the shops-to-go when in the city:
A candy company founded in 1997, tourists with a sweet tooth must include the shop in their shopping itinerary. Featuring handmade chocolates in its interior, customers will go back to their childhood enjoying the sight of candies and chocolates being displayed.
Moscow’s first shopping center, GUM is the tone of the places to be if you are looking for signature brands such as Morgan, Levi’s, Benetton, Christian Dior, NafNaf, Clinique, Yve Roche, and more. Located at the Red Square, the shopping center has a number of restaurants, cafes, and cinemas as well.
Bookworms should never miss Anglia. One of the city’s oldest English-language bookshops, the store will impress you with its wide selection of reference and contemporary literature books.
A great place to drop by for Russian souvenirs, Mantram is a small boutique that showcases a wide range of Russian designs that are mostly inspired by the mystic East. It sells clothes which are distinct for its exotic designs and rich colors. Tapestries, pillows, and slippers also sold.
These are just a few of the shopping stores found in Moscow. Enjoy your shopping!
With a wide range of sports facilities and venues in Moscow, sports enthusiasts will have a time of their life enjoying the city. Get ready to stretch your bones and cheer your heart out enjoying Moscow’s sports venues. Here are some of them:
CSKA Ice Palace
Leningrad Prospect 39
Catering to those with interest in ice sports, CSKA Ice Palace is an indoor arena with 5600 seats. Measuring 60 x 31 meters in surface area, the arena which was built in 1991, is also the place to catch ice hockey games in the city.
Formerly known as the Swimming Pool of the Central Lenin Stadium, the Olympic Pool is an aquatic center – part of the Luzhniki Sports Complex. Opened in 1957, the 10,500-seat venue has served as host of the 1980 Summer Olympics water polo events. A number of prestigious water sports events in the country have also been held in the center.
Trade Unions’ Equestrian Complex
An equestrian venue, Trade Unions’ Equestrian Complex has hosted the various equestrian events during the 1980 Summer Olympics.
Officially opened in 2010, the CSKA Moscow Stadium is a multi-use stadium with a seating capacity of 30,000 people. It was built mainly to host most of the city and the country’s football matches.
Druzhba Multipurpose Arena
Erected in 1979, the Druzhba Multipurpose Arena is an indoor arena with a capacity of 3,900. It hosted a number of major indoor sports events, including the 1980 Summer Olympics volleyball preliminaries and the 1986 Goodwill Games for judo, freestyle wrestling, and women’s basketball.
Complete your visit to Moscow by watching a match or two in any of the city’s main sports venues.
Considered one of the capitals in the theater world, theater fanatics would be very impressed with what Moscow has to offer. Whether you are eyeing for good performance or just looking for sheer entertainment at night in the city, theaters in Moscow will add color and life in your visit.
Below are some of the city’s top theaters:
Moscow Arts Theatre (MKhAT)
Founded in 1898, Moscow Arts Theatre (MKhAT) has also marked modern drama’s birth in the city. By bringing together radically new plays and method-acting techniques, MKhAT made way for fresh and realistic theater; breaking radically the classical tradition of European drama. This kind of approach to the theater has continuously influenced many theater productions throughout the world.
Although not as famous as some of Moscow’s top theaters, Maly Theater has gained popularity in the 19th Century as it held a number of political and social satires. Among the playwrights who made their first performance here are Alexander Ostrovskiy, Alexander Griboyedov, and Nikolai Gogol.
Home of the world-renowned, Bolshoi Ballet, the Bolshoi Theater was built by Osip Bove in 1824. It began as a dancing school for Moscow Orphanage in 1773. Although the theater has been overshadowed by St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater for years, Moscow’s restoration as the county’s capital gave its prominence.
Praktika Theatre Theatre
For fresh Russian theater productions with a lot of contemporary dance and new drama, the Praktika Theatre Theatre is the place to be. It also offers workshops in theater, yoga, and contemporary dance. Music is a huge part of every city’s culture. Thus, a visit to Moscow would only be complete if you were able to enjoy listening to its music. But where to go for some good Moscow music? Here are some perfect places:
29, Novoryazanskaya Ulitsa
A relatively small club, Arkheologiya Club is the place-to-be for pure ethnic music, mostly from the country. Defining themselves as the source for “folk-bard-rock” in Moscow, listening to the music played in the club will also enable you to get-to-know Russia’s culture more.
8a, Kazakova Ulitsa
Providing quality live music in the city, Ikra Club will definitely not disappoint you as far as music is a concern. Specifically designed to host concerts, the club has been attracting a number of international and national acts. It has a brilliant sound system and a good atmosphere that would make a decent-sized crowd feel comfortable.
A night of music in the city would not be a bad idea to complete your visit to Moscow.