"Marvellous Moscow" Top 5 Page for this destination Moscow by TheWanderingCamel

Moscow Travel Guide: 4,161 reviews and 9,700 photos

City of contrasts

The star-spangled blue and golden domes of Moscow's churches are a wonderful metaphor for this amazing city. After decades of neglect for all but a few, they are being restored to their former glory, connecting the city and her people to their history and sparkling with an exuberant confidence for the future. Wherever you go you see them, and all around them there is the beat and the bustle of a vibrant, busy city -one of the world's greats - intent on moving forward at a breakneck speed.
Crazy traffic and the famous Metro; lovely old buildings and huge,soulless blocks of flats; smart shops filled with everything the world has to offer and old ladies begging for a few kopeks; graceful statues of world-renowned and loved figures of music and literature, and ramrod stiff guards in their Soviet-style uniforms; peaceful monasteries and parks and Revolution Square crowded every evening with people enjoying themselves; art galleries packed with glorious icons, masterworks and plaster copies of Greek and Roman statues; great restaurants, opera, ballet, theatre; all this and much, much more make Moscow, with all its contrasts, such an exciting place to visit.

Marx and a miracle

It was 34 years since I had been in Moscow - 1971, interesting - in a grim sort of way, but a sad and dismal place. Empty streets, empty shops, bad food, so many places off-limits or closed, huge murals of Lenin, Marx and Engels everywhere. Three days was enough - we'd seen the "biggest swimming pool in the world", craned our necks at the spires of each of Stalin's seven sisters (huge buildings that still dominate the Moscow skyline), been marched around the Exhibition of Soviet Achievement, failed to buy anything in GUM, had our photograph taken in Red Square outside a locked and barred St Basil's, been refused admittance to the only cathedral that was open in the Kremlin, queued to see Lenin in his crystal casket - the icecream was good, and the piroshki tasty but we weren't sad to leave.

And now? There are signs of the old days - roads closed for official motorcades, inexplicable barriers popping up, whistle-blowing guards at the Kremlin. The icecream and the piroshki are still good but the photo here says it all.

2008 took me back to Moscow for a few days. Autumn now, we struck it mild but everyone told us how very cold it had been the week before we arrived. MrL was working once more so I had days to wander at will. With far fewer tourists around, visiting places like the Treasury and Diamond Fund at the Kremlin was a breeze - with a little planning - and a boat trip along the river was a dazzling glow of gold and red. Negotiating the metro was not so daunting the second time around and I found myself venturing far and wide on the network and clear crisp days made walking city streets a pleasure. There was time this time for a few days outside Moscow too, a trip around the Golden Ring was a sojourn into rural Russia and the country's past. Updates, new tips and more photos for old ones are beginning to take shape.

Thank you, Ludmilla

She was the wife of Mr L's Russian colleague and my guide around Moscow for some of the time I was there. She would ask me where I wanted to go and what I wanted to see, and we would invariably end up somewhere entirely different as she showed me HER Moscow. With her as my guide I went to the top of the University vystony to the geology museum -the exhibits were rather dry and dusty but the view was spectacular! and ate lunch in one of the student cafeterias there. We paid our respects to Rublyov at a simple statue in a little park, and Pushkin and his bride at the fountain near the Church of Feodor Studit; got brilliant seats for the last night at the Bolshoi before the doors closed for three years whilst repairs are done to the building; were bedazzled by the decor of the Glazunov art gallery, visited food shops and wine stores and was taught how to buy the best chocolate and tea -and finally made it to the Gorky House (my agenda, at last). I might not have made it to some places I planned to see, but it was great to spend that time with someone who lived in, and loved Moscow, so again - thank you, Ludmilla.


  • Last visit to Moscow: Oct 2008
  • Intro Updated Dec 23, 2009
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Reviews (83)

Comments (36)

  • albaaust's Profile Photo
    Aug 1, 2013 at 6:14 AM

    Some great tips Leyle. Thanks.

  • elpariente's Profile Photo
    Apr 30, 2011 at 6:51 AM

    Great photos and very interesting tips Gracias !!!!

  • bugulma's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2011 at 4:22 AM

    very informative and useful page with interestin points of view. you saw all main sight-seeings it seems. glad you liked Russian chocolate :-) and Bolshoi will be open only this autumn :-))

  • DennyP's Profile Photo
    Feb 23, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    Thank you for sharing these really informative tips and pics..will return to look at more...

  • Mikebb's Profile Photo
    Jan 4, 2010 at 1:22 AM

    Hi Leyle, your page is a sensational work on Moscow. Have not read every tip , but we will have 3 days in moscow late August 2010.

  • Pablos_new's Profile Photo
    Dec 18, 2009 at 4:03 PM

    Great work! Very informative and exact tips.

  • Jenniflower's Profile Photo
    Apr 14, 2009 at 11:49 PM

    I love cathedrals... and gosh, Moscow has plenty! Love your gorgeous photos and informative write-ups. Thanks!

  • pcg821's Profile Photo
    Feb 20, 2009 at 12:06 PM

    Hi Leyle,wow excellent tips and photos on Moscow,I need to go back my only visit there was 2 short days,not enough to see all of this historic city

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Nov 3, 2008 at 4:47 PM

    So much information, and so beautifully written! You certainly have covered so much that I will have to return for more! I really have enjoyed what I've read so far.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Apr 7, 2008 at 7:58 AM

    Wow, what a nice description! I like your stories, THANX!

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