With the Cold War lasting as long as it did, I am sure that many world travelers, no matter where their travels took them, never thought they may be planning a trip to Moscow someday. Things change and sure enough, more and more people are planning to do just that . . . adding the very beautiful capital city of the Russian Federation to the list of world cities they have seen.
There are many things to list in a travel article when it comes to things to see and do in Moscow. The first thing that probably comes to mind when anyone thinks of that city, though, is the Kremlin, so I will start there. In addition to the gorgeous bit of architecture that it offers, the Kremlin is actually a self sufficient city within its own perimeter.
What will you see in the Kremlin? First of all, keep in mind that the part called “the Senate” is actually where the country’s president lives, so be prepared to see heavy security all around this area. There are cathedrals and churches within the Kremlin, museums, and many other structures that have fascinating stories connected to them. You will see government buildings and you will see the State Kremlin Palace, a few other palaces, and many other things.
You can find out what the buildings and stories about them are while you are there, but it is always beneficial to know a little bit about the history before arriving. I often go to places I don’t know anything about and although I think I listen and read everything available while I am there, I always realize later that a person simply can’t retain everything that is heard while on vacation. Part of the time a guide will be talking, as one example, the visitor will be looking around to see the sights in the area.
While you are in the area where the Kremlin is located, you will surely want to spend more time looking around Red Square. You will see the incredible St. Basil’s Cathedral from the mid 16th century and you really won’t want to travel to Moscow without at least locating Lenin’s mausoleum.
You will not be seeing most of those types of buildings on part of “the square.” The reason is because it is taken up by a huge department store called GUM. Whether or not you can pronounce its name of Gosudarstvenny Universalny Magazin, it will certainly excite the shopper in you. Prepare to be sporting sore feet after shopping at these 150 shops and eateries. You will be able to find souvenirs here but also designer items and many other things that make shopping here so much fun.
If you still aren’t totally “shopped out” after spending some time at GUM, there is another shopping center that is three stories in size and also located near the Red Square area. This mall is called Okhotny Ryad and the most unique feature of it is that it is an underground shopping center. You will find shopping and dining here but also movie theaters, an internet cafe, a rec center, and even a bowling option.
If you want to experience some culture full of rich history while you are in the city, arrange to see a ballet, opera, or other show at the Bolshoi Theatre. Another alternative is to spend some time at one of the numerous museums around Moscow. Whether your interest is in art or history of the country, there will be a museum specializing in the topic.
To spend some time in nature no matter what time of year you are visiting, stop by the two mile long Gorky Park. You will be able to walk along the Moscow River and get a bite to eat. You may even want to ride a roller coaster found in the park.
A few other fun and interesting Moscow activities:
— Moscow Zoo
— Sandunovsky Banya (public bath and sauna where users clean with steam and beat themselves with veniki birch sticks to produce an increase in circulation. If you are traveling as a couple, be advised that male and female sections are separate).
— One of a variety of Russian circuses. You don’t have to be traveling with children to enjoy a fun evening at a circus.
— Victory Park for walking, boating, concerts, etc.