The second stop of our Transmongloian tour took us to the nation’s capital, Moscow. It’s much more architecturally diverse than it’s cousin, St Petersburg, with a mix of traditional and modern buildings. It is also a lot bigger and there’s more room to move around on the streets. The best way to mooch around is by subway. Signs are in English and Russian and it is well mapped out.
We only had 2 full days in the city so we only saw the highlights.
The heart and soul of Russia is known as the Kremlin, where the president works and resides. Situated in the centre of Moscow, it is the epicentre of the country. The Kremlin is built inside city walls so the people who lived there in the past were protected from external threats. Most of the wall has been rebuilt since the revolution/war, but there’s still one piece of original wall left. Inside, there are four cathedrals, five palaces and some towers. Visitors are allowed to enter (500 Roubles p.p) and roam freely to take photos. For an extra fee, the public can visit the armoury. However, it isn’t an armoury filled with weapons or memorabilia from wars, it’s actually filled with antiques and items such as Fabergé eggs, so we didn’t both going in. If you walk to one side of the inside walls, it is built on higher ground. From here, there’s a great view overlooking the city. Surrounding the Kremlin are the ashes of generals and commanders who served Russia in different fields, including one of their most famous figures; Stalin.
St Basil’s Cathedral
Probably the most famous building in Russia is the beautiful St Basil’s Cathedral situated in Red Square. Photos here are a must as its colourful décor adds a touch of brightness and happiness to the city. The building itself was designed by many famous architects of the time. From the front, it looks like a hodgepodge of columns, but from the side, it is actually symmetrical. This is one of my favourite buildings, not least because the tops of the columns remind me of ice cream swirls. ?
Also situated in Red Square is the body of Lenin. This is only open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturdays between the hours of 10:00-13:00. Luckily, because we travelled in low season there was no queue. I imagine in summer it can be pretty busy. Unfortunately, you can’t take photos inside and you get ushered to walk through so you can’t spend too long in there. Nevertheless, it is well worth a visit to see the founding father of the revolution.
Opposite Lenin and the Kremlin is the famous Rym Mall. A beautiful building filled with designer stores and brands. It’s a nice place to walk through and admire (and probably shop if you have the £££). It’s a nice place to grab a coffee or even one of their famous ice creams which only costs 50 Roubles.
Next to the metro stops and a 5 minute walk from the Red Sqaure is the Bolshoi Theatre which just translates to ‘big theatre’. It’s a gorgeous building which houses many performing art shows from ballet to the opera. We didn’t get to a show, but it’s a very pretty building and wished we had been able to go in to see a performance.
Bunker42 (Tagansky Protected Command Point)
A must see in Moscow is the Bunker 42 museum which is situated a few metro stops from the centre. It was built as an anti-nuclear bunker in 1951 but now serves as a museum. It was built 65 metres underground (as deep as the metro) at the same time as the circle line. For many years, Moscovians did not know about its existence until it was opened to the public. It was built by the same people who constructed the subway, but because architecturally it is the same, no suspicions were aroused. It’s a great museum to gain an insight into what used to happen down there and to relive some of its histories. Tickets are pricier than most attractions (2200 Roubles p.p) but it’s worth the visit.