One of the great cities of our age, Moscow is a modern megalopolis where big finance, power politics and figures of history loom large. Set along the banks of the Moskva River, it offers seemingly endless boulevards lined with iconic churches and palaces and a proud and historic culture, and find out what a population of nearly 12 million enjoy
A sobering introduction to the Cyrillic language for non-Russian speakers, Moscow’s public transport system is reliable, extensive and very affordable, and the city’s metro system is famed for its grand, temple-like stations decked out with marble statues and stained-glass windows.
Licensed taxis are ubiquitous and, like their New York cousins, obvious by their canary yellow hue.
At the very heart of Moscow is the iconic Red Square, lined by St. Basil's Cathedral, the State Historical Museum, the GUM department store and finally, to the West, by Lenin's mausoleum, which stands between the square and the Kremlin.
Once the site of bloody wars and grandiose displays of Soviet era power, today's Red Square is a lively hub of activity, a meeting point for tourists and Muscovites alike, and the perfect place from which to start exploring the city.
No trip to Moscow is complete without a visit to the Kremlin. The citadel that formerly housed grand dukes and tsars, and later Soviet dictators, is today the official residence of Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation. Within walking distance, you'll find one of Europe's most cherished collections of fine art at the Pushkin Museum and, across the Volkhonka Avenue, a monument to Russia’s enduring relationship with the Orthodox Catholic Church: the colossal gold-gilded domes of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour that pierce the Moscow skyline.
Covering more than 300 acres, Gorky Park stretches out along the bank of the Moskva River to the south of the city. Loved by locals of all ages, on a sunny day it’s a joy to explore on foot or bike. Izmailovsky Market, on the outskirts of the city, hosts a flea market on weekends and is just the place to find a kitschy souvenir.
Looking for a more macabre Moscow attraction? Lenin’s Mausoleum is open five days a week and will always provoke discussion. After all, where else can you see a revolutionary leader lying in state more than 90 years after his passing?
With the city streets snow-covered for months of the year, it might come as no surprise to learn Muscovites enjoy a diet of hearty food and soul-warming drinks. Goulash style stews and soups are popular year-round dishes and, for a taste of the real Russia, try the beetroot and tomato infused Borscht soup or cabbage-based Shchi soup, best accompanied with a slice of Russian black bread.
It’s no exaggeration to say vodka runs through the blood here. Expect to see it offered with almost every meal, always neat and perfectly chilled. The city also has a strong tea culture, and it’s traditionally served black with just a dash of sugar or honey.