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Der Rote Platz mit der Basilius-Kathedrale, Bild: TTstudio / shutterstock

Moscow – an of contrasts

Moscow presents itself as a metropolis of superlatives and at the same time the most decadent in the world. The heart of Russia is intoxication and catastrophe, temptation and enemy – Moscow is more than a city. At night, it’s not just the Kremlin that shines.

Sparkling glass towers, aristocratic palaces, onion domes and confectionery buildings light up Moscow’s starry sky.

Past and present seem to magically attract everything: history, politics, power and tourists. On the Moskva River, the old Russian capital has grown to sprawling size. Moscow’s abundance keeps its visitors in suspense and on their feet. How nice that there are many places to rest.

Moscow, the capital of Russia – a planet in its own right

View of Moscow, Image: Sergey Dzyuba / shutterstock

“Yes! To Moscow! To Moscow as soon as possible!” This is what Anton Chekhov once wrote in his novel “Three Sisters”. To this day, legal and illegal immigrants from all over follow the call. Moscow is growing. Once poor and grey, today there is a new attitude to life – a hip wind is blowing. In what is by far the largest metropolis in Europe , there is a universe that never sleeps.

Heavy traffic rolls through the streets. Students and artists turn night into day – countless clubs and bars entice you to stop for a bite to eat. Western European tourists, curious Japanese, clichéd people with handbags and gold chains next to Indian turban-wearers, bearded Caucasians and “Barbies” stroll in front of the Kremlin walls.

Moscow at night
Image: mzabarovsky / shutterstock

Moscow looks European in the face of Asia. Stark contrasts are always present: on the dusty Tverskaya, the babushka wears her headscarf. Even in the depths of winter, she sells her homemade food in front of the subway. Workers shuffle by in their worn-out felt boots, while businessmen stumble by in sinfully expensive mink and elegant boots.

Discover and experience Moscow – places that take your breath away

Nowhere else in the world are there such luxurious metro stations as in Moscow: each is a work of art in itself – magnificently decorated with marble, mosaics, precious metals or stained glass. They were supposed to be palaces for the people, the metro stations built under Stalin. One of the most magnificent stations is the Komsomolskaya.

If cobblestones could talk

Moscow City
Moscow City, Image: mzabarovsky / shutterstock

Even under the tsars, Red Square was the centre of the city and a stage for political events. What the Place de la Concorde is to Paris, Trafalgar Square is to London , the “Krasnaya Plotschad” is to Moscow. The cobblestones could tell of thousands of soldiers, tank tracks, rocket transporters, state flags, red flags, sickles and Soviet stars. Often enough, the square attracted the worried eyes of the world.

The Red Square is impressively framed by mighty buildings: St. Basil’s Cathedral on one side, the Kremlin with its mighty gates and the Redeemer Tower on the other. A terrific ensemble is offered. St. Basil’s Cathedral is a fairy tale in the middle of Moscow. Of the 600 churches with their differently designed onion domes, it is undoubtedly the most beautiful.

View of the Kremlin, Image: Koray Bektas / shutterstock

No less impressive is the symbolic Iberian Gate on Red Square, which was once destroyed by the communists. It has been resurrected in its former glory.

Only a stone’s throw separates Red Square from the Kremlin, the mausoleum of Lenin, the communist founder of the state, from the tombs of the tsars. They were crowned in Moscow, even when St. Petersburg had long since ruled the empire. The golden domes of the Church of the Deposition of the Virgin Mary in the Kremlin are particularly impressive.

Kremlin – Welcome to the center of power!

Moscow in the morning, Image: f11photo / shutterstock

Everything is based on the Kremlin, the historic core, which lies on a hill 40 meters above the river. In 1150, Moscow’s history began with the Kremlin. The old castle of the Tsars, which has been expanded over the centuries into a monumental residential complex, forms the historic center of Moscow with Red Square. To this day, the Russian president has his official residence in the Kremlin. Therefore, the extensive area can only be visited to a limited extent by tourists. If you are in Moscow, you should not miss this extraordinary “open-air museum” with its churches and magnificent palaces.

Moscow – Shop or just be amazed

The GUM department store with its shopping arcades on three floors, spanned by a huge glass roof, impresses every visitor. The huge temple of consumption was built at the end of the 19th century in the then sophisticated historical style.

Moscow’s favourite places

  • Newly spruced up, the historic buildings of the former merchant quarter Kitaj-Gorod shine again in their old glory. The old district is only a few steps behind the GUM and acts as if it had never been anything other than the merchants’ quarter.
  • So close to heaven: A visit to the Kalina Bar is worthwhile. Here you feel welcome, the food is deliciously prepared and you can enjoy a breathtaking view.
  • In the Tsaritsyno district of the same name is the picturesque castle park and the park ensemble of the Tsar’s country estate.
  • Day after day, a colorful mixture of people romps around at Moscow’s farmers’ markets. Visitors are immersed in a frenzy of colours and scents. The atmosphere is unique.
  • Between Theatre Square and the Boulevard Ring lies Moscow’s most beautiful shopping district. The special flair has attracted countless traders since the 19th century.
  • Arbatstraße is a bustling pedestrian zone, characterized by small shops, cafes, street painters and musicians.
  • Old Moscow can be found in Samoskvoreche. Idyllic squares, narrow streets and beautiful churches. In the middle of it all, the Tretyakov Gallery inspires. Here, the arc spans from sacred art to the Russian avant-garde of the 20th century.
  • As in a fairy tale, the Kolomenskoye open-air museum appears. In the former tsar’s residence, you can enjoy a great insight into Russian architecture on 390 hectares.
  • The Bolshoi shapes the harmonious image of Theaterplatz. The name of the Bolshoi Theatre stands for the traditional Russian ballet worldwide. In 1877, the great theme ballet “Swan Lake” by Tchaikovsky was premiered here.
  • Gorky Park stands for culture and recreation. Among Moscow’s parks, it is one of the most popular.
The skyline of Moscow City, Image: Khoroshunova Olga / shutterstock

Tip: When the legs get heavy from all the walking, some people wish for a bike. Moscow may not be a Mecca for cyclists. Nevertheless, there are dozens of rental stations to rent a bike. As a rule, the first half hour on the bike is free of charge.

Once a culinary desert of the Soviet era – today the gourmet metropolis of the East

With its extravagance, Moscow outshines the restaurant scene of all Western metropolises. Cantinetta Antinori is the best example of high standards in terms of ambience and cuisine. But you can also enjoy terrific cuisine in the middle price segment. Dzhumbus is popular – excellent service, excellent hospitality and delicious food.