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Even when Moscow sits at a considerable distance from the rest of the world it is a city that stands out in the minds of tourists of all sorts who get a chance to visit Russia. Moscow is a busy, New York-like capital complete with tenets of culture, business and just millions of people making up a sprawling urban scene.
Most tourists to Russia who will travel further out will fly first into Moscow as it is better connected globally. From there one can get a bus, train or a short flight up to St. Petersburg of which there are many especially with Aeroflot. All things considered if one wants to really get to know Moscow well a seven day trip is perfect. Averaging 5 days of straight up touring with a day for departure and arrival.
Even when arriving from Europe most flights can be three to five hours long and most are from much further so the first day is usually one of recovery. Moscow has three major airports which are soon due to be interconnected by a circular railway around the city. For now there are many buses and trains which provide access into the city. One cardinal rule to remember, the city is full of attractions but is not the most tourist friendly. Most things are posted only in Russian, people aren’t too disposed to help or give directions and customer service of any kind does not really exist. So plan ahead as much as you can with schedules, directions and logistics.
The Kremlin is certainly a must see, it is a city within a city and presents all the mystique of the cold war era and the grandiosities of the Church and State. It can get very full of tourists so go early as it opens around 9:30 or 10 am depending on the schedule. The museum is full of way too much stuff to explore for even a resident, so don’t get too lost in the galleries upon galleries of treasures, there is a lot more to see around the city. Just next door is Red Square here one can see the famed tomb of Lenin, Iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral with its candy colored domes and the GUM state department store for all things shopping and souvenirs. Pushkin Square and Izmailovsky park are also wonderful places on weekends to shop and enjoy the crowds.
New Moscow is a sight to behold and another city within the city. One can start by exploring Christ the Savior Cathedral. The church is massive, ornate and simply stunning. Nearby is the Ostozhenka neighborhood, home of the golden mile this is the place to see how the affluent citizens of today’s Moscow spend their cash with extravagant homes and the nearby Museum of fine art.
Moscow is a city that boasts cuisine from around the world and especially some of its far flung neighbors like Mongolia and Armenia, so be sure and check out the variety of restaurants and shops for these cultural encounters. Arbat street is an essential place to go and walk. This pedestrian street is the center of action for those looking for shops, restaurants, street performers and specially stylized art presentations. Finally many in the city like to catch a performance at the Bolshoi Ballet which is renowned for its world class performances.