17 Top Tourist Attractions in Moscow

Martina Rosado
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Tsaritsyno Palace

This is the oldest and maybe the most beautiful of Moscow’s imperial palaces, as well as the tallest building in Russia.

At 115 m (380 ft), the Palace is spread over a total area of 111,000 sq m (1.7 million sq ft), while the park with its attractions occupies another 50,000 sq m (550,000 sq ft). The construction of the Tsaritsyno Palace began in 1824 and was completed in 1894, during the reign of Nicholas II of Russia.

The palace’s opening was delayed for a decade while the Grand Kremlin Palace and the Crystal Palace were built, but was finally inaugurated on 1 December 1894.

Like the Grand Kremlin Palace and the Palace of Facets, the palace was built from the designs of Yevgeny Voronikhin, the architect of many Moscow churches and cathedrals.

The Danilov Monastery was built inside the Tsaritsyno Park adjacent to the palace and the Kiev Gate was built to link the palace with the park. Throughout the 19th century, Tsaritsyno was considered one of Europe’s most magnificent royal residences.

VDNKh

Kremlin Armoury

The Kremlin Armoury, also known as the Armory of the Senate, is an official depository for the Kremlin Armoury collection of Historic Arms and Armour, which was established in 1557 by Ivan the Terrible.

The Kremlin Armoury was where the famous “suitcase nuclear bomb” made famous by the film Yes Minister was kept during the Cold War era.

During the Cold War, the Armoury was threatened by possible nuclear attack and the need to protect and preserve these historical arms also drove further research into the role of the collection in the history of artillery.

The Armoury offers the public the opportunity to see where the weapons used throughout history were made and how they were used.

There is a collection of over 200,000 items that are available to the public for up to 30 days and are housed in rooms which are primarily based on seasons.

The Armoury was constructed in the 16th century under the direction of Andrey Bogolyubsky, a Russian Grand Duke and fashioned in the Renaissance and Early Baroque styles.

Ever since, it has been an integral part of the Kremlin, meaning it is highly secure. Only members of the Russian Presidential administration have access to the collection and only for the purpose of retrieving important historical collections.

GUM (Department Store)

Moscow Metro

(Subway)

The first ever subway in the world opened on 12 May 1935. It connected present-day Ploschad Revolutsii ( Revolution Square) and Kropotkinskaya stations.

Until 1935, a giant, fire-engine red Gomeloe-built electric tramway, or trolleybus, operated in Moscow by the Moscow Cooperative Society (MCCS). In November 1935, the trolleybus system was replaced with the electric Moscow Metro. It was extended from Kropotkinskaya station to Okhotny Ryad on 21 September 1955.

Moscow Metro opened as part of the Soviet Union's effort to create a complete subway system by the end of the 1930s. Construction of the first section of the metro had commenced by 1929, and was ordered by Stalin.

The planning and construction of the network was carried out in secrecy, away from public scrutiny, because the central authorities were concerned that subway construction would be viewed as a self-indulgence and therefore distract Soviet resources from the pressing needs of agricultural and industrial development.

Because the routes of the first lines were chosen to serve key Metro stations and government construction buildings along the new system's main artery, the Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya Line, Metro construction often directly affected the side streets.

Arbat Street

Novodevichy Convent

A monastery in Pushkin, was founded in 1524 by the wife of the first Russian Tsar Boris Godunov.

You can climb the bell towers to admire a natural area of Moscow, which is called the ‘City of the Sky’. The territory of Novodevichy is in fact only 2 metres underground. The whole territory of the cemetery has been turned into a large sky area, where there are approximately 200,000 gravestones. With the passage of time, all inscriptions on the gravestones have bled into the environment and now the cemetery has a unique natural character.

Novodevichy is not only the center of religious life for the Russian capital. There is also a palace of the last Russian Tsars and the Olympic stadium.

Guided tours of Novodevichy take you to the stone chapel of the Deposition of the Robe, the architectural ensemble of the Cathedral of the Dormition, including the bell tower with 5 bells weighing up to 2 tons each, the Palace of Catherine the Great, the interior of the old Tsarist court and a hammer-and-sickle-shaped Olympic arena.

Novodevichy is a remarkable place for lovers of history, architecture, nature and of course, photography.

Pushkin Museum

Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts is a museum of European art, established in 1862, located at the Presnya Square in Moscow. The museum was designed by Leo von Klenze in the style of a Italian garden.

The collection contains works by Botticelli, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian, Tintoretto, Raphael, and Zeuxis.

During WWII, the Red Army decided that the museum was posing a theoretical threat to the Russian capital of Moscow, and the Pushkin suffered many attacks on its walls.

Even with the constant damage, the museum’s walls have been able to restore several works by artists. The museum’s original glass collection was also damaged during Stalin’s revenge after he found out that the museum had been holding works by many artists including Picasso and Matisse. Once again, the glass was replaced after the museum was renovated.

Since its establishment, the museum was housed in a number of buildings before it was permanently moved into its current location in 1995. From its permanent location, the museum has become one of the largest art institutions in the world, as it houses a large collection of over three hundred thousand works.

Christ The Savior Cathedral

The first church on the site of what is now the Christ Church was built in the 17th century when the Moscow boyar Nikita Mihajlovich, known as “Bigas Otrepyev” (referring to a large stone he had to roll through the city) granted the first church to his subjects as a sign of charity.

The church complex was burnt and destroyed by a riot of Moscow people in 1671. Though the inner walls were spared, the wooden chapel was completely burnt.

The reconstruction of the destroyed church took place over 20 years. The small Monastery of the Transfiguration of our Lord was founded by the architect Kalinin in 1789 to commemorate the church’s reconstruction. The belltower is dated to 1804.

In 1917, after the October socialist revolution, the church was secularized and turned into a cinema. It has been a cinema ever since, including during the Soviet period.

In the fall of 1997, the church’s upper tiers were rebuilt based on the old design. The church received a new altar and iconostasis. All the existing icons were preserved. It can be visited for the fourth time since the October revolution.

Lenin Mausoleum

This is one of the top favorite sites of those who visit Moscow. It is a gift of Pavel Tretyakov to the Russian people. The founder set up an art museum. It is one of world’s most renowned museums of modern art, permanent fine arts collections, and the national heritage of Russia. It is located in a classic building of neoclassical style in the prestigious Kropotkinsky Avenue. It is home to works by master painters such as Sverchkov, Petrov-Vodkin, Filonov, Neoclassicism and Russian neoclassical tradition and by other masters of Western and Soviet art.

See the greatest works of such artists as: Ilya Repin, Ivan Kramskoi, Vasily Perov, Karl Briullov, Konstantin Korovin, Isaak Levitan, Isaac Levitan, Nikolai Ge, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Zakhar Stepanov, Konstantin Antropov, Piotr Vasiliev, Ilya Repin, Alexander Kopylov, Valentin Serov, Boris Kustodiev, Vladimir Ogdenov, Pavel Chistyakov and others.

Kolomenskoye

House of the Tsar; 16th Century;

The layout of the city coincides with that of a regular checkerboard. The district of Kolomenskoye is to the south and is completely surrounded by Moscow. Since 1679, the historic estates of Kolomenskoye have served as the meeting place of the Moscow Zemsky Sobor (Great Council). The building is also known as the Palace of the Declaration of the Rights of Imperial Russia. Today, Kolomenskoye is a museum town, and there are currently no living quarters in Kolomenskoye.

Take the tram or bus to the Kolomenskoe station. It takes about 15 minutes by bus from the city center to get to the village. Open: May 8-September 30, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is R120, students R50, schoolchildren R25, visitors under 18 years of age are free.

Beloselskoe: Imperial Estate; 17th Century;

Gorky Park

Gorky Park is a huge green area at the very heart of Moscow. The park used to be known as Gorky Central Park and the place of the famous May Day parades. It's covered with big oak and horse-chestnut trees, some of which were planted during the rule of Catherine the Great.

Gorky Park has undergone changes in the past. In 1935, the monument to the victims of the Bolshevik revolution came to the park’s field. New buildings and plantings were triggered as Russia moved to the New Economic Policy.

Today, Gorky Park is one of the most beautiful representations of Moscow’s Georgian era. Magnificent 18th and 19th century buildings of wood and stone, grand mansions, an elegant gazebo, gardens, and restaurants are waiting to be explored.

Gorky Park is easily accessible by the subway. It’s very close to Slavyansky Bulvar, one of Moscow’s busiest avenues, upon which you can find a large bus-stop.

Bolshoi Theatre

(Большой театр)

The Bolshoi was built in 1776 with a French opera company that gave the theater its original name, the Bolshoi Kamerny Theatre (…bol kamerny… means …more private…). It’s the venue for many of Russia’s most important performances…Along with the Mariinsky Theatre, it’s one of the world’s oldest and most famous opera houses.

The Bolshoi is rated as the third most visited cultural landmark in the world after the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s renowned for its productions of ballet and opera, as well as for its ballet school, its opera theatre, and its orchestra‑the first permanent orchestra in the world. Its old building, consisting of two theaters side by side, was rebuilt in 1837 and was greatly expanded in 1889.

Architects of the Moscow Conservatory

The legend of the Bolshoi Theater is alive and well inside its walls. The Bolshoi Theatre is a beautiful building from all sides. Inspiration comes from poets, great artists, and great architects.

Moscow Kremlin

In the beginning, the Kremlin was simply a wooden fortress. However, as the number of Russian states grew, its importance soon grew and the Kremlin became its own town. In the 13th-14th centuries, during the rule of the Moscow princes, the Kremlin was referred to as the "Little Moscow". The word "kremlin" is derived from the word “kreml” (council). When the Moscow princes met here as officials, they were seen as representatives of the whole Russian nation.

Today, the Kremlin serves as the official seat of the President of Russia and as the operating headquarters of various federal agencies. The Kremlin is the official residence of the President. However, he hasn't lived there for several years.

The Kremlin now has a square in front of it. The Red Square is the heart of Moscow and everyone from Russia comes here to celebrate when an important event happens in Moscow. The Red Square used to be surrounded by wooden edifices, only one of which remains today. The most famous of these sculptures used to be an equestrian sculpture of Peter the Great on horseback, but it's now standing in a museum.

Today, the Kremlin's Red Square is the northern and western border of the Kremlin. The famous St. Basil’s Cathedral, housing the tombs of Russia's greatest royals, is located on this square.

Red Square

Saint Basil's Cathedral

A UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Built between 1555 and 1561, the St. Basil’s Cathedral is the world’s largest cathedral both in terms of height and volume.

It is renowned as the tallest building and one of the best examples of Russian Neo-Gothic architecture. It is also admired for the richness of its decoration, the originality of its interiors, and the great number of artists who worked on it.

Saint Basil’s Cathedral stands in Red Square, Moscow. It took the architects and builders only 26 years to complete the construction. Despite its enormous size and dazzling beauty, the Moscow basilica does not rank amongst the world’s seven largest churches. It is fantastic, yet modest.

It is one of the best examples of the architecture of the eighteenth century … a unique combination of Greek and Russian traditions. The main cathedral is the largest and most characteristic building in the group of the adjacent buildings, which was designed by Ivan Mashkov and Y. Gayev in 1668. This cathedral remains a place of worship despite the fact that, in 1720, the government moved the seat of the Patriarchate to Kiev and the cathedral of St Basil to the newly-built building, which also had to serve as a place of worship due to the successful opposition of building the Moscow Kremlin.