Russia's walled fortress contains much of the country's history, politics and religion. The walls were originally built from white stone, but were rebuilt in the late 15th Century with their distinctive red brick. Visit historic religious sites including the Cathedral of the Assumption (Uspenskii Sobor), Archangel's Cathedral (Arkhangelskii Sobor), palaces (most notably the Patriarch's Palace (Patriarshii Dvorets), museums, and of course the official residence of the country's President. Entry to all attractions is via the Kutafia Tower (Kutaf'ia Bashnia) on the southern side.
Pavel Tretiakov, collector of some the best work of contemporary artists in Moscow and St. Petersburg, founded this gallery in 1856. His brother Sergei collected French and Dutch masters, and in 1872 they combined their collections and opened this extremely popular museum named as The State Tretyakov Gallery (Tret'iakovskaia Galereia). In 1892 it was donated to the city of Moscow, and lives on with works by famous Russian painters such as Vasilii Perov, Ivan Kramskoi and Ilia Repin.
The roll-call of those who have been laid to rest in this fascinating cemetery says something about its prestige—the writers Nikolai Gogol, Anton Chekhov, Mikhail Bulgakov, the poet Maiakovskii, singer Chaliapin and composer Skriabin, plus Stalin's wife and last but not least, the bizarre black-and-white headstone devoted to former Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev. The cemetery complex can take up a good couple of hours of wandering and picking out the most interesting graves; one WWII commander has a model tank atop his grave.
The Alexander Gardens were developed between 1820 and 1823 and run along the west wall of the Kremlin. The gardens occupy an area of about 865 meters (2838 feet). In his attempt to make the gardens as distinctive as possible, Osip Bove combined an orderly plan with the free arrangement of trees plus elements of romantic-style gardens. The gardens are bordered by decorative iron railings. Locals and foreign tourists often come to the gardens to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Being a popular public spot, the garden is open throughout the year.
Gorky Park (referred to as Park Kul'tury i Otdykha or Park of Culture and Recreation) stretches along three kilometers of the Moskva river to the southwest of the city center. The park became known to the Western public thanks to a blockbuster movie based on Martin Cruz Smith's (Cold War) best-selling book, Gorky Park, and the Scorpions' famous song. Laid down in 1928, the original ornamental gardens are now accompanied by an entertainment zone, hosting everything from science lectures to rock concerts in its auditorium.
This is possibly the most famous central square in the world. It is a humbling sight both day and night; beautiful in winter when it is covered a pristine blanket of snow. Originally an expanse of nothing more than mud, and populated by a ragged collection of hawkers, beggars and outcasts, Red Square acquired its present size and stature gradually. The square and its surroundings exude the drama of Russia's past and present. The walls of the Kremlin (Kreml') (The) loom on one side, their blood-red height belittling the pale GUM department store opposite. At the southern end of the square towers, is the onion-domed exuberance of St. Basil's Cathedral (Sobor Vasiliia Blazhennogo).