Red Square is the biggest and most famous square in Russia. It attracts all visitors of Moscow as a magnet. Being on Red Square you will see the most remarkable buildings of the capital – the Kremlin, GUM department store, the History State museum, the Lenin’s Mausoleum. A real marvel is the elaborate brightly-domed Saint Basil’s Cathedral. It looks like an exotic stone blossom planted by the architects of the 16th century. All Moscow‘s main streets radiate from here in all directions. Red Square is not only the central square of Moscow but also the symbolic center of all Russia.
The history of Red Square goes back to the 15th century. In 1490s a new redbrick Kremlin was built in Moscow. The east side of the fortification was the most exposed side since it was neither protected by a waterway, nor any other natural obstacle. The area outside the ramparts was cleared in order to create a field of fire for shooting.
Red Square has always been the most important square of the city. Merchants from all over the world came to buy and sell here. The square became a big market. Public criers announced tsars’ decrees and people use to come to Red Square to listen to the news. On days of the most important church celebrations, there were religious processions here. The square turned into an open-air church.
After the Revolution, Red Square kept its essence. Lenin’s mausoleum was built close to the Kremlin.
An inconceivable event happened on Red Square in 1987. An amateur German aviator, Mathias Rust illegally landed next to the Red Square. How a 19-year old young man managed to break through the Soviet security system is still a mystery. Rust’s successful flight demonstrated that the aged Soviet system was not so efficient any more; Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms came just after and helped him to bring an end to the Cold War, witch made the square the ideological center of the Red Moscow. It was well-known as a theatre for military parades. Kazan Cathedral and Iverskaya Chapel with the Resurrection Gates were destroyed to create space for heavy military vehicles. It was foreseen to raze Gum and Saint Basil’s Cathedral. fortunately it never happened.
Red Square didn’t change much during the last 100 year. The Kremlin, The Church of St Basil, The History museum and Gum are still there. Travellers come to Red Square to enjoy its stunning architectural ensemble.
Red Square’s name has nothing to do with Communism or Soviet Russia. The ancient Russian word for “beautiful” and “red” was the same; Red Square signification is «Beautiful Square”.
Red Square is a must-see sight of Moscow. Your Moscow tour guide will tell you more about its captivating history.
St Basil’s cathedral
The Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin on the Moat is better known as the Cathedral of Saint Basil the Blessed. It is the most identifiable church in Russia.
St Basil’s Cathedral was built in the 16th century by order of Ivan the Terrible. Since that time it has been astonishing travellers coming to Moscow. Some found it strange; others were fascinated by its unusual exquisiteness. Many legends have been told about it. They say that the pitiless Russian tsar had the architect blinded in order to avoid him from building a more magnificent building for anybody else. Another legend tells of Napoleon, who, incapable to transfer the impressive Cathedral to Paris, wanted it destroyed. What makes people invent all those tales? The fairy-tale cathedral dominates the Red Square and also governs our fantasies.
The cathedral was specially made for Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the capture of the Khanate of Kazan, and built from 1555 to 1561. Saint Basil’s is in fact a gather of buildings – a central church surrounded by nine secondary churches, eight dedicated to Ivan’s eight victories over the Tatars and a small one dedicated to Saint Basil. A popular Moscow Saint was buried in this church and his name afterwards was given to the cathedral.
According to archives St Basil’s cathedral was designed by Barma and Postnik , two Russian architects. They were not blinded and in reality built other churches in Russia. But the cathedral on Red Square remains the most atypical church of Russia. It has become an mysterious emblem of Moscow. fortunately the cathedral survived the Revolution and was not destroyed during he Soviet period. Today it’s a museum. You can go inside to see the interior of the cathedral. However, it is undersized scale and is not so bright. Following a labyrinth of galleries snaking from chapel to chapel you will feel projected back to the cathedral’s medieval ancient times.
You will see St. Basil’s Cathedral during your tour of Red Square. If you have more time you can visit the museum with your Moscow tour guide who will tell you more about its history and architecture.
The leader of the Revolution and the first chief of the Soviet Union died in 1924.But he was not buried in a graveyard. The Soviet Regime came up with the most unusual initiative. His body was embalmed and a granite mausoleum was built for him on Red Square.
Lenin’s tomb takes you back to antique pyramids. Thousands of years ago people were familiar with the embalming practice. They believed in afterlife and constructed pyramids to immortalize their monarch. The Soviet government was atheist but they believed in the eternal life of Lenin’s ideas. The body with its face exposed was placed in a glass sarcophagus, and thousands of people came to see it each day. The figure of Lenin was immortalized by the Soviet propaganda.
The first mausoleum was made of wood. In 1924 no one knew if the embalming method used would preserve the body for a long time. The government wanted to keep it at least for quite a few months so that people from all over of the country could come and see Lenin. But when the embalming technique was proved reliable it was decided to keep Lenin in the mausoleum forever. A new stone building was built by architect Shusev in 1930.
Lenin’s mausoleum was used not only as a last resting place. A stand was constructed on top of it. During the parades communist party leadership appeared on top of the mausoleum and observed the parades. Official events were held here. Changing of the guard outside mausoleum became a popular site with visitors.
Lenin is not the only personality buried on Red Square. There is a necropolis close to Lenin’s tomb where the pro-Bolshevik victims of the October Revolution were buried in mass graves in 1917. When Stalin died in 1953 he was also buried inside the mausoleum, his sarcophagus was sited next to Lenin. Later after the denunciating of his crimes by Khrushev he was removed in 1961. Today his grave is behind the mausoleum together with the graves of other Soviet leaders – Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko.
What should be done with Lenin’s Mausoleum nowadays? In recent years there have been a lot of discusses about it. Isn’t it the time to remove Lenin’s body and have an appropriate funeral? Or should we keep the mausoleum as part of our history?
It’s very complicated to find the right answer.
By now it’s still open. The tomb can be visited between 10am and 1pm every day except Monday and Friday. The entrance is free, big bags and photography are strictly forbidden.
You can visit the mausoleum with your Moscow tour guide during the tour of Red Square.
The Moscow Kremlin is a magnificent architectural ensemble. Its monumental walls and towers, golden-domed cathedrals and ancient palaces stand high on the Borovitskiy Hill above the Moscow River. It’s like a whole city inside Moscow. Russian princes and tsars lived here long time ago. Nowadays it is the official residence of the President of Russia. Moscow Kremlin is the symbol of the Russian state.
Kremlin is the Russian word for “fortress”, “citadel”. In fact, some other ancient Russian cities have also their own Kremlin. However the Kremlin of Moscow is the most famous one around the world.
Kremlin keeps in mind the first inhabitants of Moscow. The founder of Moscow, prince Yury Dolgoruky ordered the construction of the first wooden fortress here in 1156. At that time the site was known as the city of Moscow. The word “kremlin” was first traced in the 14th century. The Kremlin we see in the present day was built in the late 15th century. Moscow prince Ivan the Great dreamed of building a capital which would challenge Constantinople in splendour and importance. He called his dream the “Third Rome” and brought architects from Italy. Most of their work is still standing.
“The Kremlin deserved a journey to Moscow”- this is what the French traveller Marquis de Custine wrote in the 19th century. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Kremlin. The places of interest include the Cathedral square, Ivan the Great Bell tower, the tsar-cannon, the tsar-bell. You can visit three cathedrals which were built in the 15th-16th centuries. The Assumption cathedral (1479) was the most important church of Moscow; all the Tsars were crowned there. The gilded Cathedral of the Annunciation was a family royal church; it has preserved numerous exceptional icons by Andrey Rublev. Cathedral of the Archangel Michael shelters the graves of the first Russian princes and tsars. There are a number of separate museums in the Kremlin. The most renowned ones are the Armoury chamber housing royal treasures and the Diamond Fund.
The Armoury Chamber is an exceptional treasury-museum presenting the possessions accumulated by Russian monarch from the 12th century until the October revolution of 1917. Meandering in the exposition halls you will have a trip through the centuries. You can see the life of Russian monarchs displayed in the precious stuff of applied art. Each object characterizes its owner as well as it reveals his status. The cradle of Alexander I studded with several diamonds, the measuring icon with saint patron of Ivan the Terrible’s elder son, Ivan are some of the bright examples.
The life of the monarch was intimately linked with religious rituals. Its essential part were the icons put in sumptuously decorated frames, gems-adorned covers for gospels, holy communion sets made of precious metal, and pearl-embroidered vestments of high clergy. The coronation ceremony was also held in the main cathedral of Moscow Kremlin. Up to the early 18th century, all the tsars were crowned with the Monomakh’s Cap which you can see on display. The other main attributes were scepters, orbs, ceremonial chains. The sovereign was blessed by the patriarch, the head of the Russian Orthodox church to ascend to the throne. The collection of real thrones, the ivory-plated throne of Ivan the Terrible, the Diamond throne of Tsar Alexis counting 900 diamonds, the Double silver throne of half-brothers Ivan and young Peter (future Peter the Great) are exposed there.
Peter the Great embodies the whole époque in the Russian history. Military and civil orders, new items of tableware (tea, coffee sets), new men’s and women’s outfits were borrowed from Europe in his time. The coronation dress of Catherine I, Peter’s wife confirms these novelties. Short sleeves, low-cut neckline, a narrowed waist, a wide bell-shaped skirt – all in suit with the European fashion. The entire coronation “wardrobe” of Russian Empresses is exposed here including the 47 centimetres in waist wedding dress of Catherine the Great.
You will be amazed Once again by a big collection of royal carriages decorated with paintings, ornamented with gems, upholstered with precious fabrics. Horses harnessed in such carriages were magnificently decorated during the ceremonial processions. The harness was often made of gold and silver incrusted with precious gems. Most of these objects were made in the Kremlin workshops the most important of which was the Armoury. It shaped arms and armour both for ceremonial and military needs. It gave the name to the entire museum which obtained the status of Imperial Museum in the early 19th century.
For many centuries It gathered a huge collection of gold- and silverware, weapons and horse harness, ancient state regalia, medieval Russian embroidery made in Kremlin workshops and brought to Russia as ambassadorial gifts. Among the most renowned gifts of the Armoury is Faberge Easter eggs. They were the Easter presents by two last Emperors of Russia, Alexander III and Nikolas II to their wives. Each egg held a surprise. Either it was a Music box, a clock with horrendous face or an egg with a reproduction of Trans-Siberian train.
Those interested in other secrets of Faberge Easter eggs or wanted to see all these treasures should without doubt visit the Armoury chamber.
The Diamond Fund of Russia is a collection of most precious items of the Russian treasury: exceptional diamonds, rare precious stones, masterpieces of jewellery of the 18th-20th centuries, gold and platinum nuggets.
The Diamond Fund goes back to the time of Peter I. In 1719 the Russian emperor declared the Imperial regalia property of the state. Peter’s gem collection was afterwards stored in the Diamond Chamber in the Winter Palace in St Petersburg. All following monarchs added their contributions to the Chamber.
The collection of regalia in the Diamond Fund consists of the Great and Small crowns, maces, sceptres, the Great Chain with the cross and star of the Order of St Andrew and clasps to fasten the coronation mantle. The masterpiece of jewellery is The Great Imperial Crown. It was made in 1762 for Catherine the Great by the court jeweller J.Pauzie. He bejewelled the crown with five thousand diamonds making a pattern of laurel wreaths and oak branches. The crown is topped by a huge red spinel, the second biggest in the world. It weighs nearly 400 carats.
The historical part of the exhibition contains “Seven Wonders”. These are seven world famous gems. One of them is the Orlov diamond. It once ornamented the sculpture of divinity in India. It was later found in Amsterdam where the Count Grigory Orlov acquired it and offered to Catherine the Great.
The Diamond fund has the world major collection of golden nuggets. The Big Triangle weighs 36 kilograms. It is the heaviest one in the world. Many of them have curious shapes that’s why their names are: Hare’s Ears, Camel, Mephistopheles.
The Diamond fund is in the same building where the Armory museum is. You can visit it after the Armory tour with your Moscow tour guide.
Take in account that during high season tickets can be sold out. It is better to buy them in advance or to book a guided tour with our Moscow tour guide.
Old Arbat street
“Oh Arbat, oh my Arbat! You are my religion,” Bulat Okudzhava.
This verse from a song was written by Bulat Okudzhava, Soviet-era folk singer, bard, and poet. For him Arbat street became the center of the universe, the heart of Russia, the homeland. What attracted him in this street?
Arbat is one of the oldest existing streets in Moscow. In the year 1493 the entire city was swallowed in a terrible fire caused by a candle in the Church of St. Nicholas in Peski which is located on Arbat. However, the first mention does not explain the origin of the street name. According to one of the versions the word Arbat draws from the Arabic word “arbad” meaning “suburb”. At that time the city center was inside the Kremlin walls and the surrounding areas were considered as suburbs.
Arbat district changed over the centuries. Formerly populated with craftsmen and merchants it became the favourite site of aristocracy in the late 18 century. The most famous aristocratic families settled here. One of such noble houses was rented by Alexander Pushkin after his wedding with Natalie. The Moscow high life was beyond his means. The couple had to move into the countryside leaving behind fabulous balls and luxurious assemblies.
In late 19th century a large number of poets, thinkers, musicians and actors lived in Arbat district. Most of them coming from impoverished aristocratic families shaped Russia’s cultural life.
The 20th century made its own changes: the wheels’ grumble of electric trams, first Metro station on Arbatskaya square, shared flats in the apartments to let, the construction of New Arbat street. Today Old Arbat street as we call it to distinguish from the “young sister” is a picturesque pedestrian street. It is alive with street musicians who play music of diverse genres; with informal whereabouts like Hare Krishna discipleS; with artists who are impatient to draw your portrait or caricature; with second-hand booksellers whose rows can not be passed unnoticed. Numerous cafes and various restaurants offer menus to fit any taste and any budget while souvenir’s shops are a good place to buy a fridge magnet (prices are more expensive than in Izmaylovo Market). Sparrow hills
Sparrow Hills is a hill on the right bank of the Moskva River and one of the highest sets in Moscow. On top of the hill, 85 m over the river is the observation platform, which gives a gorgeous panoramic view of the city.
Sparrow hills were immortalized by many Russian poets and writers. In old times travellers used to go up on top of the hill to enjoy the view and to see the ultimate point of their destination – Moscow. The name ‘Sparrow’ – in Russian ‘Vorobyovy’ was initially the name of the village located nearby.
Standing on the platform you can distinguish nearly all central Moscow – The Luzhniki Stadium (where 1980 Olympics took place), the domes of Novodevichy convent, the Kremlin churches, Christ the Savior cathedral, Stalin’s high-rise buildings.
Sparrow Hills fascinated not only the visitors of Moscow but also Russian architects. It was originally planned to built the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour here. That never happened but later, in the 20th century, another holy place was built on Sparrow Hills. It was the temple of knowledge -the well-known Moscow State University. It looks spectacular on top of the hill. Thanks to its location the University is seen from far away.
The view from Sparrow Hills is impressive both during the day and at night when Moscow sparkles with a thousand lights. The nearest metro station is Vorobyovy Gory, it is situated at the lower level of the metro-bridge. It’ll take you 15-20 min. to walk up the hill. You can also go there by car. Sparrow Hills are included in our city-tour and Moscow tour guide will show you numerous famous buildings scattered around our city.
Tretyakov gallery. Old building
The State Tretyakov Gallery is an art gallery in Moscow. It houses the largest collection of Russian art in the world. The museum has two separate buildings. The Old building of the Tretyakov Gallery (located on Lavrushinskiy Pereulok) houses the Russian icons and paintings since the 11th to the early 20th century. An exhibition of Russian 20th century art (avant-garde, socialist realism, modern art) is exposed in the new building (Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val).
The gallery is named after its founder, Moscow industrialist and patron of art, Pavel Tretiakov. He acquired works by Russian artists of his day dreaming to create a public museum of national art. In 1892, Tretyakov donated his already famous collection to the city of Moscow.
The Tretyakov gallery is famous for its exceptional collection of Russian icons. Here you can see mosaics dating back to the 10th-11th centuries, the icon of Our lady of Vladimir, the Trinity by Andrey Rublev and several other renowned images. The world revealed by mediaeval Russian artists is bright and beautiful. Here are the words of French artist Henry Matisse after he saw an icon exhibition in Moscow “I spent 10 years searching for what your artists already discovered in the 14th century. It is not you who need to come to us to study, but it is we who need to learn from you.”
The gallery tour is an interesting chance to see Russia through the eyes of its brilliant artists. The museum has a rich collection of Russian realistic paintings, beautiful examples of Russian impressionism and Russian Art Noveau. Portraits, landscapes, history images can help you to understand our culture, to solve the enigma of “the Russian mysterious soul”.
Tretyakov gallery might seem a surprise for you. You will find out a lot of great Russian artists. And your Moscow tour guide will tell you stories behind the famous paintings.
Tretyakov gallery. New building
The new building of the Tretyakov gallery houses the collection of the Russian 20th century art: avant-garde, socialist realism, modern art. It’s a branch of The State Tretyakov gallery. Here you can see paintings by the world-famous artists: Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagal.
In 1910s-1920s Russian art unexpectedly attracted the attention of the entire Europe. The avant-garde Russian paintings looked original, bright, and different from what was known in the west. The ideas of the Revolution inspired many brilliant people of the country: poets, architects, artists. Russian futurists, supremacists, constructivists believed in the great future of the country, felt the excitement creating the new art. The Russian avant-garde reached its creative and popular peak in the period between the Russian Revolution of 1917 and 1932.
In 1932 Socialist realism was declared to be the new state policy PIC (Yury Pimenov, New Moscow).
The avant-garde was rejected as it was too complicated for the working class to understand and thus could not be used by the state propaganda.
The gallery exposes not only the official Soviet art. Khrushchev’s reforms liberated people’s minds. Young artists felt free to express themselves, to experiment.
Lots of underground art communities came out in the 60s-80s. This movement was known as the Soviet Nonconformist Art.
The paintings of the 20th century echo the tumultuous atmosphere of our history. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val. Your Moscow tour guide will show you a lot of masterpieces of the Soviet and Modern Russian art.
Pushkin Fine Arts museum
Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts is the largest museum of western art in Moscow. It’s famous for it exceptional collection of impressionist and postimpressionist artists.
Tsaritsino is a landscape park and an impressive royal residence of the 18th century. It was built between 1775 and 1796. Tsaritsino means “Tsarina’s” (“Queen’s”). This unique architectural complex was designed for Catherine the Great.
Don’t miss the occasion to visit Tsaritsino, this royal estate looks really different from what you have seen before. The elegant red and white palace, cheerful and roomy pavilions are constructed in romantic “Gothic style”. It’s a mix of European and Russian traditions transformed by the imagination of two genius Russian architects.
Close to the palace there are several pavilions, pergolas, artificial grottoes, decorative bridges. They are scattered around a picturesque romantic park and the trees overlook the waters of quiet ponds.
It’s difficult to imagine that nobody has ever lived here.
In 1776-85 the architect Vasili Bazhenov built a new palace for the Empress here. A huge amount of money and energy was spent but unexpectedly Catherine changed her mind. She didn’t like it any more and ordered to destroy part of the complex. Until 1797 another architect, Matvey Kazakov was working on the construction, but the palace stays incomplete. Catherine soon lost her concern and after she died the architectural plan was not completed. The splendid ensemble turned into majestic ruins.
There might be some mystery hidden behind the story of Tsaritsino. We can only guess why Catherine didn’t like a residence of such magnificence, why any other sovereigns after her didn’t want to live here.
The palace and pavilions were ruined and in the 20th century alpinists used them for training. The palace construction was finished only few years ago. But today it’s not designed for living. It’s a museum of the history of Tsaritsino and all visitors are welcomed there.
You can walk around Tsaritsino on your own, enjoy the beauty of its parks or even have a picnic.
Home to one of the oldest, and probably the most famous, ballet and opera companies in the world Bolshoj theatre is definitely one of Moscow’s major landmarks.
The Bolshoi Theatre is famous all over the world for such brilliant ballet dancers as Maya Plisetskaya, Vladimir Vasiliev, Galina Ulanova, Maris Liepa. They contribute to the theater’s reputation and boosted their careers into the dazzling heights of international success. At present time the stage is glorified by new talents.
Nowadays the Building of Bolshoi theater is undergoing the restoration but all performances are set on a new stage specially built for this purpose.
If you are in Moscow with your family, the best idea to spend time is to go to one of Moscow circuses.
Everyone who once visited Red Square noticed the long building that confines Red Square from the East and creates a unique architectural picture together with the Kremlin and the Historical museum. It is GUM, the abbreviation for the State Department Store. It is a historical fact that the square close to the Kremlin wall has been animate with hustle and bustle of street vendors since the 15th century. It was known as a Great Mart. Later on because of intense fires these trading stalls were moved eastward thus creating a special trading quarter. The buildings replaced one another but the function of this area remained. As a result in late 19 century the Upper trading rows were constructed by the architect A. Pomerantsev. Three long arcades connected with a glass-roof, an exceptional construction at that time appeared on Red Square. The whole trading area was divided between the traders, but those were no longer shops, but the salons. To attract more clients, the trading mall offered additional services. Thus a branch of the International Moscow Bank, engraving and jewelry ateliers, hairdressing saloon, dental health office, post office, and restaurant were opened.
The stalls became the archetype of the modern European trading centers, where people not only trade, but also organize exhibitions, concerts. People came to the upper trading stalls not only for shopping. They meandered there, spent time watching goods, rested, and had fun.
Department store until Joseph Stalin was an office space. After reopening as a department store in 1953, the GUM became one of the few stores in the Soviet Union that was not inundated shortages of consumer goods, and the queues to purchase anything were long, often extending all across Red Square. It was also a favourite meeting spot. “At the fountain”as they said.
GUM is still open today, and is a popular tourist destination for those visiting Moscow with a travel guide or on their own. Many of the stores feature high-fashion brand names familiar in the west; locals refer to these as the “exhibitions of prices”, keeping in mind that no one could afford to actually buy any of the items on display. However, there is still a little which almost anyone can afford. Ice-cream or meal in a Soviet-style canteen (Stolovaya № 57) and in a café “Festivalnoe” are at reasonable prices.
You are blessed if you live on Tverskaya St. or in the neighborhood. This is a central Moscow street as well as one of the oldest ones, it is mentioned in ancient documents of the 12th century. Russian Monarchs entered Moscow through this street. It is hard to believe nowadays but Moscow started where Tverskaya Street did. When a tsar decided to close the city, it meant that the gates at the end of Tverskaya St. must be shut.
Let’s walk down Tverskaya St. from Red Square, where it starts. If you are more interested in architecture – choose the odd side. In case you prefer visiting boutiques and books shop the even side is yours. Tverskaya St. starts near The State Duma (the lower house of the Federal Assembly, the parliament of the Russian Federation). On the opposite side (odd side) you can see the renowned Hotel National, built in 1902. Before 1917, guests at the National included members of royal families, foreign diplomats and politicians. Continue moving, pass Ritz Carlton Hotel, and many small houses and pay attention on monumental Central Telegraph building.
On the opposite side from the Telegraph Kamergersky lane runs away from Tverskaya St. This is a pedestrian area, a very quiet and cozy island in the seething center of Moscow. The Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre is located here. Take pleasure in little cafes and restaurants. If your walk can be defined as romantic one, visit Ketamo, a Chinese restaurant. It is located in the end of Kamergersky lane, on its right side. This place is very mysterious and is not especially known. Locate a huge white door and enter inside. Obscurity runs here. You will enjoy time in Ketamo, sitting on the floor or lying on a low sofa. If you want to rent a private zone, you can pay extra for it. The balcony is open in summer. Enjoy delicious hookah, relaxing music and each other of course. Coming back to Tverskaya St., don’t miss building №9 on the opposite side. Its 1st floor was decorated by Finnish granite, which was confiscated from fascists in 1941 as a trophy. Building №13 is of particular interest as well (created by an architect M. Kazakov in 1782).
The City Hall today, used to be the residence of Moscow governor-general Z. Chernishev. In 1790 this building was acquired by the government and declared as a residence of governor-generals of Moscow. Walk down and you will see the next lane, cutting Tverskaya St. on its even side. Don’t miss the legendary Eliseevsky Grocery Shop, 14th Tverskaya St.. 5 more minutes of walking and you are at Pushkinskaya Square (Pushkin’s Square). Its Pushkin Statue is usually visited by lovers as the most popular dating place. All important premiers in Moscow are hold in Pushkinsky Cinema (Pushkin’s Cinema). Continue walking down Tverskaya St. which finally stops at Triumphal Square. For numerous centuries Muscovite welcomed Russian armies coming back as battles winners’ right there. Today Triumphal Square is proud of Tchaikovsky Concert Hall. Enjoy brilliant classical music given in the Hall. Choose the concert here: http://www.meloman.ru/?id=19. The website is available in English.
Eliseevsky Grocery Shop
While walking down Tverskaya st. don’t miss Eliseevsky Grocery shop (14th, Tverskaya St.). Enter the shop and you will find yourself shopping in a museum. Eliseevsky is a legendary grocery shop. It maybe hard to believe but your pictures taken here will impress your friends or relatives as much as pictures of the Kremlin and Lenin body. Ah, sorry, but taking pictures of the revolution leader, even though he is dead is forbidden.
The shop building was constructed at the end of the 18th century, when Ekaterina the Second ruled over Russia. In the 19th century it was visited by such famous Russian people as Alexander Pushkin (famous Russian poet), Vasily Zhukovsky (a poet, the father of Russian romanticism), Ivan Turgenev (a writer) as well as Denis Davidov (a hero of anti-Napoleonic War, 1812). You may ask why this place was so popular. Was the best beef in Moscow sold here? Unfortunately, it wasn’t. This building used to be a palace owned by various aristocratic families.
Splendid literary and musical evenings were welcomed here by Maria Volkonskaya, Volkonsky’s wife, a famous Russian Decembrist (participant of Decembrist Revolt, 1925). These parties attracted the Russian elite. In 1898 the building was acquired by Grigory Eliseev, a millionaire merchant from St Petersberg. He followed his ambition of opening the best-known and the most luxurious grocery shop in Moscow. Immediately the building was veiled under the scaffolding, making people wonder what Eliseev was intending to do. When the grocery shop was finally opened three years later, its first guests were absolutely enchanted: a huge hall was lighted by enormous cut-glass chandeliers, decorated by luxurious moulding and gilded décor items. After opening Eliseevsky grocery shop became the most famous one in Moscow, as well as all over Russia. The counters were full filled with delicacies, such as French cheese, oysters, truffles, the freshest caviar and meat. Each visitor could easily smell the local bakery.
Eliseevsky became one of the top-visited places in Moscow. Russians from all over the country came here to buy delicacies or at least to have a look at this legendary grocery shop. Foreigners didn’t leave Moscow before visiting it. Fortunately, Eliseevsky survived the Soviet epoch. During the years of overpowering shortage, its head Yury Sokolov provided the Russian elite with products that were in short supply. But finally he was arrested and executed by shooting in 1984. Today 14th, Tverskaya St. still has the spirit of old Moscow. Its luxurious interiors continue to stimulate the imagination of modern more spoilt visitors. Here you can buy highly rated products for a reasonable cost, as well as taking a photo, which is allowed here! Eliseevsky Grocery shop is open 24/7. You should avoid rush hour (from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.) in order to enjoy peacefully observing its interior.
Stoleshnikov Lane is a must visit place if you don’t mind of spending some hours doing shopping. This cozy pedestrian area hosts such boutiques as Dior, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Salvatore Ferragamo, Hermes, etc. You can get to Stoleshnikov Lane turning right near the end of 6/1, Tverskaya St. This lane used to be a trade place for centuries. In the second part of the 19th century shops and merchants’ stores became majority here. The Lane was crowded during the Easter week when a big sale occurred. Cloth and haberdashery were accessible at discount. In 2007 the Lane was rated by Jones Lang LaSalle as the second most expensive street in the world (after Champs Elysees in Paris). Walk down Stoleshnikov Lane, turn right and continue walking for five minutes. Now you can see TSUM, a multi-story luxury mall.
Enjoy shopping here! Of course if you still have the enthusiasm for shopping.
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary
If it is warm and sunny, have a lovely walk down Tverskaya Street, then Tverskaya-Yamskaya Street, into Bolshaya Sadovaya Street, move further to Sadovo-Kudrinskaya Street and finally turn to Malaya Gruzinskaya Street. All of this journey will take not more than half an hour. At Malaya Gruzinskaya St. you will find the biggest and the oldest Catholic Cathedral in Moscow – The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary (27/13, Malaya Gruzinskaya St.). It was built in 1911. There are two open catholic cathedrals in all. The masses are held in Russian, Polish, Korean, English, French, Spanish, Armenian and Latin languages. The worshiping of all confessions is welcomed here. You can also listen the concerts of organ and spiritual music. The organ here is surely the biggest one in Russia; it allows the playing of organ music of different epochs in a stylistically perfect way. Here you can find the schedule of the concerts: http://www.artbene.ru/eng. This website is available in English and French. You can also get to the Cathedral by metro (Krasnopresnenskaya station).
It is useful to know that going to the Cathedral you will be certainly passing Moscow Zoo (1st, Bolshaya Gruzinskaya St.). It opens daily from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m., except Monday. If you are not offended by animals locked-in cages, spend a couple of hours in Moscow Zoo. There is no doubt that it is a perfect recreation area full of trees and ponds. Did you decide to stay there for a while? If so, please find a moment to look around and feel sorry for the residents of neighbouring houses. These are the people who know first when the elephants wake up, early in the morning. By the way, noisy animals encourage sleepy Muscovites’ to sell up and move apartments!
Moscow Museum of Modern Art
If you are contemporary art lovers – walk down Strastnoy Boulevard which lies off Tverskaya Street, turn right after 16th, Strastnoy Boulevard, and find the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (25th, Petrovka St.) right away round the corner. The Museum’s extensive exhibition strategy aims at viewing the greatest range and diversity of the artistic process of the 20th and 21st centuries. You can visit exhibitions of emerging artists as well as conceptual displays and retrospectives on well-known masters. The majority of exhibits are by Russian avant-garde artists from the beginning of the 20th century. Many works have been bought in European and American auction houses and galleries, and successfully returned from abroad. The things to see include paintings by Kazimir Malevich, Marc Chagall, Natalia Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov, Aristarkh Lentulov, Vladimir Tatlin, Pavel Filonov and Wassily Kandinsky, as well as sculptures by Alexander Archipenko and Ossip Zadkine. The museum is proud of a unique collection of works by the famous Georgian artist Niko Pirosmani. An extensive section of the permanent display is dedicated to Non-Conformist art of the 1960s-1980s. Among them are Ilya Kabakov, Anatoly Zverev, Vladimir Yakovlev, Vladimir Nemukhin, Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, Oscar Rabin, Dmitry Krasnopevtsev,
Leonid Schwartzman and Oleg Tselkov. These artists are well known today as opponent to the Soviet ideology. The Museum’s collection of foreign art includes graphic pieces by Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, Joan Miró and Giorgio De Chirico, sculptures by Salvador Dalí, Armand and Arnaldo Pomodoro, paintings by Henri Rousseau and Françoise Gilot, as well as installations by Yukinori Yanaga. For more details of current exhibitions please visit http://www.mmoma.ru/en/ . The website is available in English. The Museum is open daily from noon to 8 p.m. Thursday: 1 p.m. – 9 p.m. It is closed on the last Monday of each month. You can also visit the other two buildings of the Museum (17th, Ermolaevsky Lane, 9th Tverskoy Boulevard). The opening times do not differ.
Bulgakov’s Memorial Flat
At the end of Tverskaya St. turn left. Now you are at Bolshaya Sadovaya Street. Walk down the left side of the street for approximately 7 minutes. Now you are near of one of the most famous flats of Moscow (10th, Bolshaya Sadovaya St., 34). This is the only Memorial museum of a famous Russian writer, Mikhail Bulgakov, the author of the legendary “The Master and Margarita” novel, which The Times has named one of the masterpieces of the 20th century. This flat is also an excellent example of a Soviet shared flat. In the ex- USSR such a flat was shared by numerous Moscow families. Each family owned just one room. Kitchens and bathrooms were shared as well. Separate flats were provided by the government only by the end of the 1980s. However some number of Moscow families still huddled together in shared apartments.
Mikhail Bulgakov and his wife livied in this shared apartment from 1921 to 1924. The couple occupied just one room. For a long time after the spirit of this flat stayed with Mr. Bulgakov. The image of this place was described in many books. Flat №34 is considered to be the archetype of the mysterious “Bad flat” in “The Master and Margarita”, occupied by Satan and Co. The attendants will be happy to tell you much more. The majority of the interior furniture here wasn’t owned by Mr. Bulgakov, however it helps to create the exact atmosphere the writer was immersed in. Visit the rooms in order to feel the spirit of Bulgakov’s times. However don’t stumble over the head of Berlioz in a corridor! By the way, the tram-killer is there as well. In Bulgakov’s room look out of the window. The view hasn’t changed, and you see exactly what the writer saw ninety years ago. Don’t forget about the kitchen! Primus stove, singing, accordion playing, chatting of its old lodgers – all these are the source of Bulgakov’s images and characters. In the flat you can also have a rest in a cozy café. The museum is opened from Tuesday till Sunday from 12:00 am till 7:00 pm and on Thursdays from 2:00 pm till 9:00 pm. Closed on Monday and the 1st Friday of each month. free entrance.
The tour of Moscow metro
(Beautiful example of Soviet realist art. Most of the stations are little museums featuring sculptures and mosaics which are testaments to the glories of the Soviet period).