Moscow is one of the largest capital cities in Europe and is full of history, fine dining and drinking and places to see. Moscow and the other host cities of the FIFA World Cup games are ready for visitors to explore their historical city. When you are not watching an exciting game of football, you’ll want to explore some of these beautiful Russian landmarks.
Red Square is Moscow’s and Russia’s main square, and features the colorful towers and cityscape that you’ll recognize from movies and pictures. The name of the Red Square comes from another meaning of the Russian word ‘Krasniy’ and this means beautiful. So, another name for Red Square should be ‘Beautiful Square’. Within the Red Square, you’ll find the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, The Lenin Mausoleum, GUM Department Store and State Museum. These sites alone will keep you busy.
GUM Department Store
You can find upscale shops, cafes, and a cinema at GUM Department Stores. It is customary to eat the famous ice cream by the fountain in the middle of the shop. You’ll find world famous brands like Breguet, Burberry, Cartier, Dior, Emporio Armani, Etro, GUCCI, HERMES, Louis Vuitton, Max Mara, Moschino, Omega, Piaget, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tiffany & Co, Van Cleef & Arpels. You’ll also find the official FIFA 2018 ™ Football World Cup store. The store is almost 2500 square feet and showcases more than 200 different official products.
State Historical Museum, the Kremlin, and Saint Basil’s Cathedral
This museum of impressive proportions holds artifacts of Russian and world history, from primeval times to the present. The collection holds close to 5 million items and 14 million priceless documents. The State Historical Museum, which owes its existence to Emperor Alexander III, took 11 years to be created. The building in Red Square opened to the public in 1883.
The majestic Saint Basil’s Cathedral is Moscow’s most readily recognizable temple. It was built in 1555 and is now a museum you’ll want to check out. Saint Basil’s is not one, but nine churches with 11 domes.
The Kremlin is also a museum complex that includes the Diamond Fund, the Armoury Collection of royal clothing and chariots, the Bell Tower, the Patriarch Palace, and several churches with their beautiful domes. The Grand Kremlin Palace is also the official living quarters of the Russian President and this historic palace has rooms dating back to the 16th century.
Christ the Saviour Cathedral
Christ the Saviour Cathedral is the tallest Orthodox church in the world. The Cathedral was blown up in 1931 by the order of Stalin. In its place, the Palace of the Soviets with a 328 feet high statue of Lenin was going to be built. That never happened and eventually the cathedral was rebuilt in the mid-1990s. The cathedral now has a museum underneath explaining its history and the area.
There is an old and a new Arbat street but they are very close to each other. These streets are full of souvenirs shops, cafes, and restaurants. The old Arbat street has an ‘old Moscow feel’ while the new Arbat street is full of exclusive shopping.
Patriarshiye Ponds (Patriarch’s Ponds) is a historic spot in downtown Moscow consisting of a pond, the park around it, and the adjacent streets. This was Kozye Boloto (Goat Swamp) before the 17th century, so named because of a goat farm next door. The farm produced goat wool for the Russian royal court. The swamp became property of Patriarch Hermogenes in the 17th century and became Patriarch’s Village. There are swans in the pond in summer. In winter it becomes a skating rink.
The Bolshoi building is one of Moscow’s main sights and was opened on October 20, 1856 for Tsar Alexander II’s coronation day. In 1776, Catherine II granted the prosecutor, Prince Pyotr Urusov, the “privilege” of “maintaining” theater performances of all kinds, including masquerades, balls and other forms of entertainment, for a period of ten years. And it is from this date that Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater traces its history.
When you are finished watching the World Cup and exploring Russia, journey over to France and discover these three luxury retreats outside of Paris.