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What you can see in Moscow?Red Square.

Moscow is not only the largest city in Europe, and the Russian Capital, but the largest city in the country by a huge margin - with a population of 12 million, more than double that of St. Petersburg (5.5m), the second city. This is one place in the Russian Federation where an inquisitive visitor can see the legacy - and even feel the atmosphere of thousand years of Russian history. When visitors see it themselves and they invariably comment on the big difference between what they have read in the papers and seen on TV, and the reality of life in Russia. Before they come, most visitors ask me, "Is Moscow safe?" After their visit here, they have usually answered the question themselves with: "Yes, here we were safer than in any other capital in the World".

 

Basic programme of two-days tour.

 Our basic programme of Moscow tours consists of two days. The first day usually starts at 10 A.M. when the guide picks you up at the hotel. The traditional beginning of your journey through the city is the metro tour. The Moscow metro is one of the biggest and busiest in Europe, every day it carries more than 8 million passengers; it consists of 12 lines and about 176 stations! Most of stations were built under the Soviet regime when even the objects of everyday life served as a means of the propaganda. Every morning when a soviet citizen went to work and every evening when he returned home he had to be sure that he was living in the best and the most powerful country. That’s why many stations of the Moscow underground railway are so impressive and gorgeous! You’ll be able to see the best and the most beautiful stations such as Mayakovskay, Kievskaya, Belorusskaya, Novoslobodakay and many others. Some stations look like real art galleries – paintings on the walls and the ceiling, sculptures, mosaic, stained glass! You’ll be really impressed seeing architecture and sculpture masterpieces like this in such an ordinary place like the underground!

  At around 11.45 you’ll finally be on the surface! The next thing that's worth seeing is the Christ the Savior Cathedral. This is a very imposing and impressive building that is situated just near the metro station Kropotkinskaya. Built after the victory over the Napoleonic troops in 1812 as a way of showing the gratitude of the country to God, the massive and gigantic cathedral was blown up by the Bolsheviks in 1931. Instead of it they intended to build a new cathedral of a new religion – communism. The building was supposed to be called “the Palace of Soviets” and on the top it had to carry 100-metre high statue of “the leader of the international proletariat” – Lenin. On the whole the building was supposed to be 415 meters – higher than any building in the world. But this demonstration of power of the new regime didn’t happen to come true – the war against the Nazi Germany broke all the plans. After the war the Palace of Soviets wasn’t built either, but the previous cathedral was replaced by a swimming pool. And only some years ago, after the fall of the Soviet power, the Cathedral was reconstructed. Now you’ll be able to see the exact copy of the exploded cathedral made with the finest marble! As a real orthodox church, Christ the Savior Cathedral is very spectacular and pompous; especially the decorations of the interior are impressive. In the Cathedral there is also a museum where you’ll be able to see the history of this remarkable building. Today Christ the Savior Cathedral has the official status of the main church of Russia.   

  Afterwards, at around 12.30, you’ll go to the most beautiful pedestrian streets of Moscow – Old and New Arbat. The Old Arbat street is one of the oldest streets in the city – around 700 years old! It’s a real pedestrian paradise! In this street you’ll be able to see a huge amount of souvenir shops where you can buy a traditional Russian souvenir in order to remember your trip to this country! Moreover, in this street are situated both modern and old buildings of the XVIII-XIX centuries, for example, the house where for some time used to live the greatest Russian poet and writer Alexander Pushkin. Theaters, restaurants, pubs, museums, souvenir shops and ordinary dwelling houses built two centuries ago – all this is worth seeing for sure! At the end of the street you’ll be able to see the Ministry for foreign affaires – one of seven colossal “towers” built under Stalin, so-called “Stalin architecture” or “Stalin Gothic”.   

  The New Arbat Street completely is a result of the ideas of the soviet government. When the general secretary Nikita Khrushchev visited Cuba he was highly impressed by the skyscrapers in Havana. Shortly after that a similar street was built in Moscow, even if many old and beautiful buildings had to be destroyed. Nevertheless the street was built and now you’ll be able to see the skyscrapers of the soviet era. Nowadays the street is also full of shops, bars, trading centers, but especially impressive are casinos! The street looks very modern but carries till now some soviet features.

If you go down the New Arbat Street you soon (around 14.00) will find yourself near the Alexander Garden. This is a fairly large garden with much greenery. People like coming here and spending ours lying in the grass and talking, singing, drinking beer or just sleeping in fresh air! And certainly, the garden is surrounded by one side with a Kremlin wall! Near the gates to the garden you’ll see the Grave of the Unknown Soldier and the Eternal Flame – memory of the most terrible war of the Russian history – Great Patriotic War. The memorial is guarded with the guard of honor, it is changed every hour.

The Alexander Garden leads straight to the “heart” of Moscow, the most desirable place to see – Red Square. Right in front of the entrance to the Red Square you’ll be able to see the monument to the hero of the Great Patriotic War – marshal Georgy Zhukov on the horse. Behind him you’ll see a very interesting and imposing building – the Historical Museum, built in the pseudo-Russian style. And – al last – the Red Square itself! You’ll be impressed to see how large it is! The Square contains plenty of interesting objects, for example, Lenin Mausoleum where the body of the first leader of Soviet Russia is kept. Behind the Mausoleum, at the Kremlin wall, are buried all the leaders of the USSR. Then, right in the middle of the Square you’ll see one of the biggest shops of the country – Main Department Store (GUM). Before the constructing of this building this place was very well known as a shopping center. The GUM consists of three passages, each three-storied, and a round glass roof 14 meters in diameter will impress your imagination for sure!

 

At the end of the place is situated the monument to two Russian national heroes – Minin and Pozharsky who liberated Moscow from the polish troops in 1613. But surely your attention will be attracted by a real treasure of the Red Square – St. Basil’s Cathedral that has already become a symbol of Moscow. This precious edifice was built under Ivan the Terrible in honor of his military victories. Beautiful domes, bright colors and carving – the Cathedral is amazingly gorgeous and leaves no-one indifferent!

 It is also possible to make a pedestrian tour around the Kremlin wall! And then, around 15.30 you’ll be able to enter the “holy of holies” – the Kremlin! This great building in the center of the city used to serve many times ago as a defense against the enemies, but now it is a big museum and at the same time the residence of the Government. In Russia and in the world Kremlin is a symbol of Russian power. The Kremlin offers a large choice of museums; first of all it should be interesting to visit the Cathedral Square – right behind the Kremlin Wall! You’ll pass the modern State Kremlin Palace to two funny exhibits – a huge cannon called “Tsar cannon” and a huge bell called “Tsar bell”. Right opposite them you’ll find the Arsenal and the building of the Government but it’s forbidden to approach them for security purposes. And then you’ll be able to see a large Cathedral Square with many cathedrals, most important of which are Assumption Cathedral, Archangel Cathedral and Annunciation Cathedral.
The Assumption Cathedral was built by Italian masters in a Russian Renaissance style, Russian tsars and emperors used to pray here very often. The Archangel Cathedral also was built by Italian masters and it serves as a burial vault for all Great Princes and Tsars of Russia. Even Ivan the Terrible is buried here! The Annunciation Cathedral was built by Russian craftsmen and it contains the frescos painted by an outstanding and a well-known Russian icon-painter Andrey Rublev. The Square has other smaller churches and a famous Ivan the Great Bell Tower that used to be the highest building in Moscow. The Patriarch Palace will also attract your attention because it contains a collection of different artifacts (like silver and gold dishes, spoons, jewelry) that belonged once to the Russian royal family.
The city tour of the first day usually finishes at 16.30 and, having gained a lot of impressions, you’ll return to your hotel to have some rest.

The second day we propose to start with a river cruise on a boat. To see Moscow from the river – this is a very good opportunity to make nice pictures, to see different places of interest sitting in a comfortable chair on the deck of the boat! Besides, you’ll get a chance to see quickly the city what is a little bit difficult to do on foot. The boat goes through the downtown, that’s why Kremlin with its sights will be seen for sure! The river cruise usually lasts around an hour and a half.

 

 After the river cruise – the best museums of Moscow. First of all it’s worth seeing the museums of Kremlin, and the most well-known of them, the Armory. The Armory used to be a Kremlin workshop where splendid arms and armors were produced. But now this is a remarkable museum with a large and astonishing collection of treasures of Russian Tsars and Emperors. The collection of the Armory contains the works of Russian craftsmen and jewelers of the XI-XIX centuries, besides, there is here an impressive collection of royal carriages, robes, dresses, dishes, tables, luxurious thrones, crowns that belonged to the Russian royal family. One hall is dedicated to the cold- and firearms, the equipment of horses, military artifacts of different epochs and countries. But here are represented the masterpieces not only of Russian craftsmen, one hall contains the gifts to the Russian royal family from different European countries, for example, a precious dinner service presented by Napoleon to Russian Tsar Alexander I, also gold and silver presents from king of Prussia Frederick II, from the king of France Louis XIV, king of England George III and from other European monarchs. The collection of the Armory can impress on any imagination! Beside the Armory Kremlin has another interesting museum – the Diamond fund. It represents an outstanding collection of royal jewelry, precious stones that used to belong to most powerful and authoritative people of Russia! For the connoisseurs of precious stones this collection might be very interesting.

 Of course, Moscow is unthinkable without the richest collection of most popular paintings represented in the Tretyakov Gallery. Founded in the middle of the XIX century by a Russian merchant, now this gallery is known all over the world. The gallery counts more than 250 000 works of art, paintings and sculptures of Russian painters, mostly of the XIX century, ancient Russian icons, jewels, precious stones. Here are represented the works of painters known to any Russian citizen, like Kramskoy, Ivanov, Surikov, Kuindzhi, Shishkin, Roerikh and many others. Paintings of all possible schools are represented here: impressionism, realism, and symbolism, painters of land- and seascapes, battles, animals. In one word, if you want to learn something more about Russian painting – then you are welcome at the Tretyakov Gallery!

 

 Moscow is known not only for its museums and galleries, but also monasteries. One of the most known is Novodevichy Convent. This is the most beautiful monastic ensemble in Russia, besides, it served as a good fortress, towers with loopholes where the archers were hiding protected the monastery from the enemy. And the convent wasn’t a usual one, here were kept the widows of rich and noble men, princesses of the royal family who couldn’t find a husband and even wives of Russian tsars, when poor women fell into disgrace, had to spend the rest of their lives in this convent. The architectural composition of the convent is remarkable: mighty walls, impressive towers, pompous Smolensky Cathedral with its splendid iconostasis and a glorious 72 meters high bell tower really impress! Moreover, the monastery has some museums, for example, the house where was living one of wives of Peter the Great, another museum represents a fine collection of paintings and iconostasis, religious relics, cups, clothes of the monks and other interesting artifacts. Near the convent is situated a cemetery, where are buried many popular and well-known people, like, for example, the wife of the former General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachov, Russian actors, artists, scientists. In the Novodevichy Cemetery is also buried the first President of post-soviet Russia Boris Yeltsin.

 If you are tired of the noise of the city, then you’ll be surprised to discover a small island of peace and verdure – Kolomenskoye estate. This estate was the summer residence of Russian tsars and emperors, but the history of this place is much more ancient. The archeological excavations show us that already 2500 years ago the first people settled down here! Till the XVI century there was a small village here, and then the Russian tsars decided to build a summer residence. The churches of the estate are astonishing, especially a real masterpiece of ancient Russian architecture – the Church of the Ascension, built to celebrate the birth of Ivan the Terrible in 1532. Beside the churches you’ll find interesting the cabin of Peter the Great brought here from another town. This is a small house where Peter the Great, the founder of Russian Empire, used to live when he wasn’t in the capital of the country. And a museum representing the artifacts of everyday life of the inhabitants of the estate is very instructive. To have some fresh air, to listen to the music of the bells, maybe even to take part in some celebrations that often take place here – this all is possible in this remarkable Kolomenskoye estate!

 Of course, it’s impossible to see all these museums in one day, that’s why you should discuss the program with your guide. The program proposed by us is approximate, if you have any special wishes, if you want to change the order of the objects you want to see, if you prefer seeing something first, then you should discuss it with your guide or tell us beforehand about the changes in the programme you want to make.

 One-day tour

Though the basic programme ususally covers two days, also one-day tours are possible. We can offer you the following combinations of one-day tours:

  1. 10.00 - 11.45 - Metro tour;
  2. 11.45 - 13.00 - Alexander Garden and Red Square;
  3. 13.00 - 14.30 - Cathedral Square;
  4. 14.30 - 16.00 - Novodevichy Convent.

 

  1. 10.00 - 12.00 - River Cruise;
  2. 12.00 - 13.30 - Old and New Arbat;
  3. 13.30 - 14.30 - Alexander Garden and Red Square;
  4. 14.30 - 16.00 - Cathedral Square.

 

  1. 10.00 - 13.00 - Tretyakov Gallery;
  2. 13.00 - 15.00 - River Cruise;
  3. 15.00 - 16.30 - Alexander Garden and Red Square.

 

  1. 10.00 - 11.45 - Metro tour;
  2. 11.45 - 13.45 - Armory;
  3. 13.45 - 15.15 - Cathedral Square;
  4. 15.15 - 16.15 - Christ the Savior Cathedral.

 

  1. 10.00 - 11.00 - Alexander Garden and Red Square;
  2. 11.00 - 13.00 - River Cruise;
  3. 13.00 - 16.00 - Kolomenskoye Estate.

 You can choose a one-day tour proposed by us or make your one proposition. We are ready to arrange an one-day tour according to your wishes!

 If you want a tour that will last three or more days than you can follow the basic programme and devide it into three or more days. If you have any special wishes concerning your Moscow tours you can discuss them with your guide or tell us about them beforehand.

 We are glad to welcome you in the capital of the biggest and most mysterious country in the world – Russia!