Just like numerous European cities, Moscow is built on a concentric circles model. The Kremlin its cornerstone, then the Boulevards Belt, Boulvarnoye Koltso, surrounded in turn by the Gardens Belt, Sadovoye Koltso. The most desired living districts are situated inside the Gardens Belt: the Patriarchs’ Pond, Tchisti Proudi, Tverskaya and Arbat-Kropotskinskaya. Each district plays a particular role in the history and the life of Moscow.
The Boulevards Belt is the most charming of the city, as it is located in the historical center of Moscow. The Moscow’s boulevards were organized so that traffic lanes follow a magnificent park, provided with paths and benches for the walkers, with ponds and playgrounds for children.
Kropotkinskaya – Arbat
The old Arbat district is the living symbol of the former Moscow. The area located between old Arbat and Prechistenka leads us into a world of small alleys, where every house soaks in the atmosphere of the former Moscow. Arbat Street, the most popular of Moscow, is permanently led by street shows. It is a paved, tree-lined, and enlightened by streetlights, the Moscow Montmartre.
Kropotkinskaya is one of the most beautiful district of Moscow; near the main attractions of the city, but without the noise and the influx constraints. The Christ-the-Saviour cathedral is a copy of the one destroyed by Stalin in 1931. It is a huge monument, the biggest cathedral of the Russian church, the symbol of the orthodoxy, with its 22 000 square meters of painted surface, and its 105 meters in heights. Near the Cathedral, spreads out a district where the charming Art nouveau of the beginning of the XX th century mingle with houses designed by modern architects.
Numerous places in Moscow are perceived in an ambiguous way. One of them is Chistie Prudy. In the middle of the big Chistoprudny Boulevard, spreads out a pond surrounded with old lime trees, sweet chestnut trees, shrubs and manicured lawns. This place is particularly cherished by informal young people, but also by football teams’ fans and supporters. The pond is in a historical district with some modern buildings, which are perfectly integrated into the townscape. The pond and the small neighbouring park are source of energy for the former town of Moscow. A place steeped in history, unique and coloured.
Chistie Prudy is a very attractive district for a foothold. Quiet, clean and very close to the city-center, it is ideally served by transport. It is also one of the oldest and greenest districts of Moscow.
With a very particular history, Chistie Prudy can be proud of its ancient and magnificent buildings which reflect the urban trends of the pre-revolutionary period. This district has always been very densely built, but very few towers were settled there, allowing the preservation of the authentic atmosphere of the ancient city of Moscow.
Today new buildings arise in this district, but the modern architecture of Chistie Prudy is so well thought that it does not alter the historical face of ancient streets, and integrate perfectly into this culture island.
It is also a very pleasant district for a walk. It is an authentic district of Moscow, far from the image of postcards: hectic and busy streets adjoin quiet alleys and patios in the traditional architecture.
Kitai Gorod is doubtless the most interesting district of Moscow, as it is at the same time the cultural center and the clubs district of the city. Most of the buildings mix traditional, Art nouveau and the impressive Soviet architecture. This district presents architectural masterpieces, as the magnificent Nikitniki church of the Holy Trinity, dating from 1630.
Located in the heart of the former Zariadé trading district, Varvaka Street is the oldest of Moscow. Witnesses of bygone days, the two oldest civil buildings of the city are still there: the Romanov Boyars Palace and the former English house.
Chistoprudny Boulevard is the second longest boulevard after Tverskaya. Beautiful buildings of the XVIII and XIX th centuries overhang a charming pond of a park on the Boulevard ring. The Anouchka streetcar, recognizable by its colours, stops in front of the station of the same name. Its journey circled around the pond.
Frunzenskaya is an exclusively residential area, without any industrial buildings. Along Moskva River, the Frunzenskaya quay offers quiet green spaces. Gigantic buildings are surrounded with apple trees and cherry trees which give to this place an unforgettable charm, particularly during spring.
By crossing the Moskva across the pedestrian Andreyevski Bridge, you arrive at the Neskoutchny Garden and at the Gorki Park, crossed by the Moscova. Fruzenskaya is an ideal district for families with children thanks to the profusion of re-creation areas and the closeness of Gorki Park adapted to the roller practice, ice skating and long walks. The park also proposes attractions such as roller coasters and a Ferris wheel witch offers a magnificent panoramic view of Moscow.
Near the city center, Novodevichy convent, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a very beautiful architectural ensemble founded in 1524. Contrary to other monasteries, it remained almost unchanged since the XVII th century. It is a charming place by a lake. Legend has it that it is on the banks of this lake and in front of Novodièvitchi monastery that Tchaikovsky had the idea of the “Swan Lake” ballet.
The Moscow subway is a real underground palace, and the elegant Frunzenskaya subway station is a brilliant expression of it. It was one of the last to be completely built in the Stalinist style which dominated the Moscow stations architecture since the middle of the 1940s.
This district is in transition phase, mainly with the Moskva-City project development, the future international business center of Moscow, just a few minutes from the city center. The constructions take place on Krasnopresnenskaya bank, on former industrial sites. The whole project is about one square kilometre. The purpose of Moskva-City is to create an area combining business, entertainments, and residential spaces, a first in Russia and in all the Eastern Europe. These 60 hectare’s ambition is to assert itself as one of the biggest business centers in the world and to compete with districts such as Battery Park (New York), Canary Warf ( London) or still The Defense (Paris). However the 2007-2008 crisis slowed down its construction, and two projects of highest skyscrapers of Europe, even of the world, were abandoned.
The transport plan of Moskva-City includes roads, air routes, but also waterways. The district will be connected in particular with Sheremetevo, Vnukovo and Domodedovo airports, and will have a heliport.
Krasnopresnenskaya also include the Moscow zoo, the White House and the American embassy. Nearby you find numerous restaurants, bars, cafés, shops and clubs.
Streets and alleys names of Tagan Mount remind those of the craft villages. In a potters’ district, there were three churches generously decorated to the great displeasure of armours manufacturers, typographers, and weavers. Magnificent tiles floor furniture that we can also admire in Krutitskoye area was made in this village.
An increasing number of companies are re-locating in this district situated in the eastern area of the city. It is a more and more popular night-destination. The Tagankaya square looks like Las Vegas, full of neon, casinos and clubs.
The famous Kotelnicheskaya Stalinist skyscraper – Which is in ten minutes walking from both Taganskaya and Kitay-Gorod subway stations – stands proudly at the crossing of Moscova and Yauza rivers. Kotelniki, as call it the Muscovites, is the most spectacular of the three residential skyscrapers of Stalinist period. It took twenty years to build it. Its top is 26 floors high and it includes more than 700 apartments. Most of its windows and of its balconies offer the most beautiful views of Moscow: the rivers, the Kremlin and the Christ-Saviour Cathedral. The building includes garages, grocer’s shop, beauty salon and even a post office. The “Illusion”, unique cinema in Moscow where you can see rare world and European classics, is on the ground floor of the building. Famous Russian actors and Galina Ulanova legendary ballerina had their apartments there. Today, it is a popular address with numerous expatriates.
There are several theatres in the district, including two branches of the legendary Taganka theater, the Russian Dramatic Theater, the Vouisotsky center and the Moscow State Puppet Theater.
From May till September, it is possible to make a river trip, a little known and pleasant cruise to visit the capital in 1h30.
“Tsvetnoy” means “flower” in Russian and refer to the floral market nearby. This boulevard is a central part of Moscow, where shops and the business center border green spaces. Located between Sretenka Street and Tverskaya Street, this district is ideal to find a cheap accommodation.
The boulevard is known to house the Moscow State Circus, which was the only circus between 1926 and 1971 and which remains the most famous.
Most of the former buildings along Sretenka Street kept their original facades but were completely turned into business centers and residential areas. Petrovsky and Rozhdestvensky Boulevards, with their hundred-year-old trees remarkably well preserved, offers magnificent summer strolls.
In the XIV th century, it was the road which linked Moscow to Tver. Magnificent luxury hotels and mansions were built there, and the Kremlin is only five minutes walking.
The Kremlin, which overlooks the Moscova left bank, is a real fortified city, a Russian Forbidden City, with its 28 hectares of cathedrals and palace. It is also the Mecca of the Moscow tourism even if it continues to house the power system.
Tverskaya Street is a wide central avenue, full of energy, lined with wide buildings shops, clubs, cafés and diverse restaurants. You cannot be more central! It is the best district to have fun and treat yourself. Tverskya Street is the Muscovite “Champs-Elysées”.
During the national holidays, the traffic on Tverskaya is forbidden and streets turn into a permanent festive place. Pushkin square, the Mecca of meeting, is one of the most majestic places of the city. It is very appreciated by young people who like meeting for rock concerts there, for example. The privileged persons who have windows overlooking the street can take advantage of festivities from their balcony.
The Pouchkinsky cinema, one of the best of Moscow, is also located on the square. On the left of the cinema, in Malaya Dmitrovka Street, you reach the very beautiful Nativity church and the very popular Lenkom theatre.
Zamoskvorechie is a former district of Muscovite merchant. Zamoskvorechie can be translated in French as “Behind the Moscova River”, witch describes exactly where it is located. Many green spaces – and thus less traffic – wrap this district in a nature and peace thick coat. A very particular atmosphere reigns there, and it is a real pleasure then to walk in the narrow streets and the patios.
Today, it is a ‘trendy’ district of Moscow, and also the head office of numerous Russian banks. We find there very interesting living districts. The area around Zamoskvorechye saw a very dynamic real estate development.
On the right bank, this district possesses beautiful churches and former houses, as Danilovsky monastery, the first fortified monastery of Moscow, situated in a soothing and invigorating place, to breathe far from the center.
Culturally, this district offers not less that one of the biggest museum of the world, the Tretiatov gallery, the “Russian Louvre “, which redraws all the Russian art history and houses the famous Roublev Trinity; and the New Tretiatov gallery, situated between the two banks in a spacious and bright framework.
The Kutuzovsky Avenue is the main artery starting from the city center. It is surrounded with impressive residential condominiums which were the representational housing of numerous politburo members (the communist party executives). Today, the first floors of these buildings houses international fashion boutiques and luxurious retailers.
The Victory Park, located on Poklonnaya Mount, is one of the best sites to admire Moscow. The park honours the memory of million persons killed during the Second World War as well as the survivors. The Triumphal Arch arises on the eastern side of the park, in the middle of Kutuzovsky Avenue. It was built at first in Belorussky railway station in 1834 to commemorate the Russian victory over Napoleon.
The eastern part of the avenue, in Dorogomilovo district, developed between 1938 and 1963 is a high-quality residential area, where the elite live. The western part of Podeby Park is less expensive, with apartments built in the 1950-1980’s, with the exception of the luxurious Edelweiss Tower, built in the 2000’s.
Leningrad Avenue is one of the main avenues starting northward from Tverskaya Street to Sheremetyevo airport road. Since 2005, this artery is in transition phase: the City of Moscow is funding a 38 million dollar project to turn it into a highway with service roads.
In the 1920’s, the Soviet artists and writers received as a gift private houses and studios in a village adjacent to the avenue. At the end of the 1940’s, impressive Stalinist buildings were built in this street in growing at the time. Apartments were mainly offered to veterans, outstanding scientists, and musicians.
Today, the avenue houses the Anglo-American school, the Petrovsky palace, and borders Pokrovsky hills and Chaïka sport complex.
The neo-Gothic style Petrovski palace stands on the avenue. It was built between 1776 and 1780 in honour of the imperial Russia victory over the Ottoman Empire.
From this Avenue you reach the “Sparrows Hills” district, with its magnificent panoramic views, and near the Moscow State University and Neskouchny Garden. The University of Moscow has a special place in the intellectual elite heart: a romantic spirit reigns there. This city in the city, created by Mikhail Lomonosov in 1755, was the epicenter of the Russian liberal thought. The university is an educational center of excellence which trains audacious researchers. It is the peak of Sparrows Hills, and offers a fantastic view of Moscow.
Music festivals regularly take place in Neskouchny Garden. The music lovers go to it with family or friends.
Léninsky Perspective also aligns upper-class hotels, cultural and scientific institutes, such as the Science Academy of Russia, and department stores.
The Patriarchs’ Pond
The Patriarchs’ Pond district is ideally located: five subway stations, among which four are reachable within walking distance.
It is also one of the most romantic and mysterious places of the former Moscow. Numerous luxurious renewed apartments of western style are located all around or nearby the pond and a magnificent park. The most privileged have an apartment with a view on the pond. The park is really adapted to the children who come to play, for a walk with your dog or for a jogging as it is strewed with paths which invite to a walk. The Patriarchs’ Pond is thus a haven of peace right in the middle of the built-up area and during winter, it turns into an ice rink.