Home to over 12 million people, Moscow is the largest city in Russia. Known for its complicated history and tremendous architecture, this Soviet capital is a fascinating city to explore!
The main draws of Moscow definitely centre around the Red Square and the metro system.
One of the most iconic sites in the world – Saint Basil’s Cathedral – sits at the end of the Red Square, looking as impressive in person as it does in photographs.
- The church was built from 1555-61 and along with the rest of the Red Square, was named a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1990.
At the far end of the Square lies the State Historical Museum which was opened in 1883.
As you can see, the Red Square covers a pretty huge area and up on the left (pictured above) is the Lenin Mausoleum! If you arrive before 1pm, you’ll have the privilege of waiting in line for 30 minutes for a 10 second glimpse at (an extraordinarily preserved, mind-you) Vladimir Lenin.. Totally worth it in my opinion! Obviously no pictures are allowed. However, as you leave, you get to see the tombstones of other prominent Soviet members.
After exploring the Red Square, I would recommend checking out the impressive Moscow metro system!
Opened in May of 1935, 285,000 people rode the metro the very first day of operation! Today there are 198 lines, almost all of them underground. The deepest section reaches 240 feet below the surface, making the Moscow metro one of the most cavernous stations in the world!
In addition to being extremely deep, this is likely the most lavish metro system you’ll ever see!
While the complete lack of English (if you’re like me and can’t read Cyrillic) can be quite intimidating at first, don’t shy away from getting a day pass to simply cruise the lines!
It’s like an adult version of choose your own adventure!
- The above station commemorates the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, part of a common theme you’ll notice throughout the city.
- Incredibly, every station has its own style and layout, making each stop just that much more intriguing!
- If marble floors weren’t enough, why not add some chandeliers?
- Or statues carved into each curved entrance?
- Now on to the end of hallway murals..
The Moscow metro is an unbelievable site to behold and it really shows the amount of pride Russia has placed in the appearance of its infrastructure. Do not miss this unique gem of Moscow!
Furthermore, walking the streets of one of the most important cities in the last 200 years is an absolute treat.
The ‘onion’ dome style of architecture is common on a number of churches and apparently this technique dates all the way back to the 13th century in some cases!
Moscow is renowned for being a very expensive city but I found it quite easy to spend less than $50 cdn/day. Hostels are $10-15 and cheap meals are not difficult to stumble across either.
- Even when I mistakenly ordered two meals (thinking one was a side), the total came to under $9 cdn! Before you start to judge me, take a quick look at this receipt to see how impossible it is to read the menu ; )
As long as you avoid going out to expensive night clubs (pretty much the case anywhere really), getting by on a tight budget is totally doable in Moscow! It helps that the Russian currency (ruble) has continued to see a sharp decline in value…
Additionally, if you are heading to St.Petersburg, Russia (or vise versa), there are a number of overnight sleeper trains that arrive early the following morning.
While not the roomiest mode of transportation, the trains are fairly quick, not very expensive and you might even catch a couple zzz’s. If you’re as lucky as I was, you’ll even score a free breakfast in the morning! Who says Russian’s aren’t nice?
Overall, I really enjoyed my time in Moscow. While it doesn’t have the same quality of tourist attractions that St.Petersburg has, Moscow seems a bit more authentic in my opinion.
Put it this way: If I had 4 days and could only visit one of these cities, St.Petersburg would have to be my choice. However, if I was moving to Russia for an extended period of time, Moscow would be higher up on my list!
But nevermind what I think.. Get there and check them out for yourself!