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A Day in Moscow

By: Cityseeker
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State Historical Museum

You'd have to try hard to miss this museum, given that it sits right on Red Square. At the entrance there's always someone dressed as Ivan the Terrible or Lenin offering themselves for a photo with you. The museum was established in 1894, and was closed for ten years until the mid 1990s for extensive renovation. Inside, there are various exhibitions dedicated to the sweeping richness of Russian history, from mammoth tusks and bronze age relics to Soviet era posters. The museum is closed on the first Monday of every month.

Moscow, Russian Federation
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Lenin's Mausoleum

Architect Alexei Shchusev (who built this imposing mausoleum on Red Square in 1930) modeled it on the ziggurat terraced temples of the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians. Inside, visitors file round the embalmed body of the leader of the Russian Revolution, Vladiamr I. Lenin. The material used for the exterior is mostly dark-red granite and grey and black labradorite. The colors are in perfect harmony with the red bricks of the Kremlin Wall that looms in the background. It measures 12 meters in height and 24 meters in length.

Moscow, Russian Federation
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St. Basil's Cathedral

A convoluted collection of vivid hues and patterned domes, St. Basil's Cathedral looms at the southern end of the Red Square, one of Russia's most widely-recognized architectural monuments. Originally built between 1555 and 1561 to commemorate the victory of Ivan the Terrible over the Tatars in Kazan, the cathedral was a vision in white stone with gilded domes; the riotous milieu of colors and patterns were not added until the 17th Century. Little is known about the architects of the of this majestic edifice and for a time legend had it that Ivan the Terrible had the duo blinded to prevent them from replicating the spectacular design. Originally composed of nine chapels, a tenth was added a few years later where the tomb of St. Basil "the holy fool" lies. Although officially named the Cathedral of the Intercession, this historic jewel's more popular moniker derives from this. Today, St. Basil's Cathedral is a museum attracting droves of visitors each year, inspiring awe in the all those who lay their eyes upon its rich facade.

Moscow, Russian Federation
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Kremlin

This world-famous fortress was the political and religious focal point for much of Russia's history and remains at the heart of the nation's government as the official residence of the president. The walls of the Kremlin were originally constructed out of white stone and were later rebuilt in the 15th Century with the now distinctive red brick. An amalgamation of architectural styles, around every corner of the Kremlin await gleaming domes, stately facades and generously ornamented turrets. The fort comprises historic religious sites like the Cathedral of the Assumption (Uspenskii Sobor), Archangel's Cathedral (Arkhangelskii Sobor), and Patriarch's Palace (Patriarshii Dvorets). Also onsite are other palaces, museums, towers and monuments, each a defining piece of Russia's rich architectural heritage and cultural legacy. Entry to all attractions is gained via the Kutafia Tower (Kutaf'ia Bashnia) on the southern side of the Kremlin.

Moscow, Russian Federation
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Kutafia Tower (Predmostnaya)

Architect Aloisio da Carezano from Milan built this tower in 1516 to protect the far end of the Moscow Kremlin's main bridge-way across the River Neglinnaia. The construction in 1685 of a crowning wall with big, open windows brought the tower to its present-day height of 13.5 meters. The tower is strong with a greater width, giving the whole brick-and-limestone structure its characteristic squat look and hence its name kutaf'ia, which literally means, 'obese woman' in Russian dialects.

Moscow, Russian Federation
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Alexander Gardens

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.

Moscow, Russian Federation
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Sanduny Bathhouse

Originally established by the actor Sila Sandunov in 1808, Sanduny is Moscow's oldest bathhouse; a local landmark that is as much revered for as a cultural icon as it is for its lavish design. The bathhouse was revived in 1896, redesigned by the Viennese architect, Boris Viktorovich Freidenberg. Inside, Sanduny is an opulent affair that blends time-honored traditions and old-world grandeur with modern facilities for a top-notch experience that is well worth the rather steep price. The bathhouse features separate areas for both men and women, including steam rooms, pools, a beauty salon and spa, a restaurant serving Russian, Uzbek and Chinese cuisines, and several private rooms for a more intimate experience. Rich carvings, elegant interiors, and gilded embellishments complete the picture of Sandunov - a quintessentially Russian experience.

Moscow, Russian Federation
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The State Tretyakov Gallery

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.

Moscow, Russian Federation
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Folk Graphics Museum (Muzei Narodnoi Grafiki)

The museum was founded in 1992 on the initiative of artist Viktor Penzin. It is located in a building formerly occupied by an art and publishing centre. The museum is dedicated to a traditional form of Russian engraving - lubok - that originated in the 18th century. The history of this particular way of making pictures is an important aspect of the history of Russian visual arts. The permanent exhibition presents early Russian engravings from the 18th century. Highlights include the only lubok copy of the Bible, and engravings by notable artists such as Venetsianov and Malevich.

Moscow, Russian Federation
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Gorky Park

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.

Moscow, Russian Federation
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Dostoevsky Apartment Museum

This building was once the home of the novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky (from 1821 to 1837 where he spent his childhood before moving to St. Petersburg at the age of 16). This apartment (in the former Moscow Marinskii Hospital for the Poor) holds a few clues to Dostoyevsky's personality and beliefs. The museum was founded right after the October Revolution of 1917. Its interior still contains the original furniture, which was donated by Dostoyevsky's widow and brother in 1928. While the apartment is typical for the beginning of the 19th Century, it has unusually dark corners and wooden partitions instead of doors, befitting the brooding nature of the author's works.

Moscow, Russian Federation
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Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics

The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics is located under a stunning 100 meter (328 feet) high titanium monument, built in 1964 and dedicated to the first artificial satellite launched from Earth. Six main displays illustrate the major events in Russian astronautic history. You can see the first satellites, a vehicle for research on the surface of the moon, landing apparatus, space suits, and even food for the astronauts. Also of interest is the hallway of the fascinating sci-fi artwork painted by famous and young Russian artists. The cinema hall shows short documentary videos and a slide film about astronautics.

Moscow, Russian Federation
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