“A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” - this excerpt from a quote by Winston Churchill about Russia could not have summed up this fascinating nation more aptly.
Russia is a mystery indeed; a conundrum of sorts. It’s perhaps this quality of being mysterious that intrigues people from all over the world to visit the largest country in the world. Personally, Russia had always allured me, perhaps because that’s where my name originated!
With this blog, I’m taking you to Moscow, the enchanting capital of Russia. You will be charmed, for sure, just like I was.
The sea of non-English speaking denizens of Moscow includes the poor and needy, as well as those who account for the world’s highest sale of Mercedes-Benz. Such is Moscow; the city of many contrasts.
I entered Moscow from Sheremetyevo International Airport, one of the main airports in the city, the other one being Domodedovo International Airport which is also the largest airport in Russia.
Although both these airports are not in the best infrastructural conditions currently, there are massive future development plans in place for the two.
After leaving the airport and on my way to the hotel, I was greeted by a massive traffic jam which made me feel no different than what I feel each day on the roads of New Delhi! However, I didn’t crib for too long as like its other European counterparts, Moscow too suffers from its share of traffic congestion and chaos.
After successfully cutting through all the maddening chaos and traffic, I parked myself at one of the many hotels, most of which were built during the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics. However, hotel accommodation in Moscow can be very expensive. No surprise there because Moscow is quite an expensive city! An important tip for those planning to visit Russia; you will require an original document as proof of accommodation booked at the hotel in order to obtain a Tourist Visa. Remember, a photocopied or email version of the same will be no good.
While there’s a lot to see and do in Moscow, there are few things that you just have to do on a trip to the city. Some of my favourite Moscow must do’s include:
The Kremlin and the Red Square
The Kremlin and the Red Square, two of the most famous and momentous sites of Moscow are located right next to each other. The Moscow Kremlin is a massive complex in the heart of the city that includes four palaces and four cathedrals and it’s also the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation. Not to be missed at the Kremlin is the Kremlin Armoury Museum, the oldest museum in Moscow and also home to ten beautiful Faberge eggs in addition to Russian Imperial regalia and treasures of gold and silver.
Saint Basil’s Cathedral
Saint Basil’s Cathedral is perhaps the most well-known and well-recognised icon of Russia. The magnificent structure, the splendid colours and the fascinating shapes and patterns are every bit glorious as they are in all the pictures we’ve seen over the years. See it yourself to believe it.
For all you history buffs out there, paying a visit to Lenin’s Mausoleum (or Lenin’s Tomb) and the Russian History Museum would make for an interesting experience. While I am no history buff but couldn’t give these spots a miss! Also worth a visit is the GUM Departmental Store, the oldest in Russia and now an impressively constructed shopping mall.
When I stepped inside one of the metro stations in Moscow, I got a feeling of being inside a museum or some sort of grand palace adorned with crystal chandeliers, Murano and cut glass and fascinating murals. With their fine architecture, interiors and sheer magnificence, the metro stations of Moscow are perhaps the most beautiful in the world. One of the highlights of my trip was the metro tour, a great way to visit different stations in the city and to learn what went behind constructing them. Did you know: the Park Pobedy metro station, 84 metres, is one of the deepest stations in the world. Also at this station is the longest escalator at 126 metres. When I stood at the bottom of the escalator, I couldn’t see the top!
Moskva River Cruise
Another delightful way to explore the city of Moscow, albeit from a distance, is by taking a Moskva River cruise. I took the cruise on a fine, sunny day and enjoyed many wonderful sights including Moscow Kremlin, Saint Basil’s Cathedral and Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
For a ‘sparrow’ eye view of Moscow, go up to Sparrow Hill also called Lenin Hills. Located on the right bank of Moskva River, Sparrow Hill is one of the highest points in Moscow and offers spectacular, panoramic views of the entire city.
That’s all the love from Russia, for now. Watch this space for more from the land of vodka, ballet and the Russian circus and be ready for a trip to another incredible city in this enchanting country!
Amit's love for photography, travel and adventure takes him places, sometimes alone and mostly with friends. So if you are looking for a companion to travel with you to an uncharted territory, he is the man to ask!