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The Traveller's Magazine
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Today many Westerners don’t realise that importance of Moscow as a political and spiritual centre for Russians. It is an interesting city for its old and extensive metro system, the Kremlin, historical sights, a chance to glance around Stalin’s old regime. Moscow isn’t necessarily a budget holiday destination, but one that shouldn’t be skipped! More Russian than St. Petersburg, Moscow is the beating heart of Russia, always has been and always will be.

First glances from the air, Moscow is a quickly expanding metropolis. It is the country’s largest city and doesn’t stop growing. It is the core of Russia, where politics, arts, creativity and ideologies are formed and expressed. The country’s greatest theatres and film studios make themselves at home here, prospering.

Moscow is the centre of transport in the old Soviet world as well. Still today airline companies stopover in Moscow before heading to other former Soviet countries. The city itself may not be as much of a budget option but there are great deals on cheap flights to Moscow this summer on

Compared to many quaint European cities and towns, Moscow seems like a monster, one that is capable of swallowing anyone or anything up in a mouthful. The avenues are huge, the traffic is jammed at every hour of the day and the city lives a life that doesn’t seem to sleep, not unlike cities like London or Los Angeles.

Not even locals know the whole city: this is both reassuring and frightening. Don’t panic if you find yourself in a part of town you didn’t expect after taking a wrong turn, it happens to locals too and if of course part of the fun of discovering a city. The city is laid out in a fairly straightforward way, as if it was just a collection of small villages, stitched together like the squares of an afghan.

Red Square by night

Russia’s capital transforms when night falls. Red stars glow from the top of the Kremlin towers and flood lights bring St. Basil’s Cathedral aglow. Magical and mystical.

Music masters and worldly entertainment

Once suppressed, the arts scene is exploding in Moscow and it’s very easy to get a part of the action. Attend a play at Moscow’ Art Theatre, an opera performance or a ballet at Bolshoi Theatre, a rendition of  Tchaikovsky piece at the Conservatory (or maybe Chekhov)….

Gastronomic pleasures easily satisfied

Dining in Moscow is unlike dining in most other capitals around the world. The food is delicious and prepared with skill that only comes from time-old traditions. Share a drink (preferably vodka) with new friends alongside a spread of zakuski, small appetizers. On the go, a blini will do the trick. There is never a shortage of warm bowls of borscht and meat dumplings (called pelmeni in Russian).

Losing the way is no sweat

Getting lost in Moscow’s small streets is the best way to discover the hidden treasures of this city… a glimpse at a stunning building around the corner (Melnikov house), a church that didn’t make it on the tourist list but should have or a quiet square with a pond (Patriarch’s Pond).

The metro in all of its glory

The first metro line opened in 1935 and is stunning, to be frank. Starting with crystal chandeliers, marble floors and columns, sculptures, fine art, stained glass windows… it’s easy to confuse the metro with a museum and all the more reason to explore it. The most notable stations are Mayakovskaya station, open in 1938, Novoslobodskaya, open in 1952, and Ploshchad Revolutsii (an example of Soviet style)…

Have you ever had the opportunity to explore Russia’s capital? What were your impressions?

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