The Heart of Russia
Moscow was capital of Russia before Peter the Great moved the capital to his new city, St. Petersburg. But Moscow never lost its intensity or spirit – one that has inspired authors and poets, ensnared the nobility with its charms, and proved to be the center of Soviet mystique during the Cold War. Moscow represents both Russia of yesterday and Russia of today.
Moscow, as a capital city, is home of over 10 million residents and countless non-residents. While the population consists mainly of ethnic Russians, other groups are represented in relatively small numbers.
Moscow has held a top spot in the world’s most expensive cities and may continue to do so. Moscow is an international business center, and global corporations have, with the fall of the Soviet Union, set up corporate branches in Moscow. Industries like hospitality have risen to meet the need, ensuring that Moscow continues to grow.
With the Moscow Kremlin located in the heart of the city, Moscow is the seat of Russian government. Just as the tsars once ruled over Russia, so now does the Russian president. Visitors to Moscow today can see architecture that dates to Ivan the Terrible’s reign (such as St. Basil’s Cathedral) and gain insight into how Russian way of life has long differed from that of the West.
Home of Russian Greatest Writers
Russian greatest writers were familiar with Moscow, and many lived in the capital city at some point during their lives. Some were born there, others died there, but they all left important traces of their lives for literary visitors to pay homage to. Moscow is home to many Russian author museums that seek to stop time for the writers’ greatest fans.
Center of Art and Art History
While St. Petersburg might arguably rival Moscow with its collection of art at the Hermitage, Moscow is home to the culturally significant Tretyakov Gallery. The Tretyakov Gallery is the world’s most important museum of Russian art. Famous Russian masters – Repin, Vrubel, and others – have special places in Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery.
The Armory Museum holds a special collection of jewels, crowns, thrones, and carriages from royal Russia The Armory’s State Diamond Fund preserves these important symbols of Russia as a tsardom and and empire.
Moscow is famous for its harsh winters that sometimes last until April. Summers are hot but not unbearable. Fall begins early, so the best times to travel are from May until September. However,Maslenitsa takes place during February or March, so sometimes it’s well worth it to brave the Moscow cold.
Moscow’s metro system is fast and efficient. While its unforgiving crowds and system of stops may take some getting used to, it’s possible to travel all over the city inexpensively and easily using the metro. A bonus is the Moscow’s metro stations are attractions in themselves. Opulently decorated in fine materials by master craftsmen, the Moscow metro stations are the unique and impressive aspect to Russian transit system!
Staying in Moscow
Russian capital city is expensive, and the closer to the center you stay, the more expensive your accommodation will be. For travelers on a budget, it’s prudent to stay on the outside of the city and take the metro to get into the center.