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Moscow

City orientation drive

The Alexander Garden, Manezh square, Kremlin, Sophia embankment, monument to Peter the Great, Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Bolshoi Theatre, Theatre Square, Tverskaya Street and Pushkin Square, New Arbat Street, Triumphal Arch, Kutuzov Avenue, The White House,Poklonnaya hill, the New Maiden Convent (without getting in), the Sparrow Hills. 

Kremlin

The street plan of central Moscow forms an impressively ordered pattern of concentric circles, clearly marking out the city's development outwards over the centuries. In the middle of this great Catherine wheel is the Kremlin, the fortified hill which formed the heart of the ancient city, and which to this day houses the political HQ of the planet's largest nation. Within the world-famous red walls nestles a collection of buildings of various of architectural styles, ranging from ancient Russian ecclesiastical, through Romanov imperial classicism, to 1960s soviet modernism. While much is out of bounds to tourists, being part of the Government and Presidential estate, there are easily enough treasures open to the public to make the citadel an essential conquest.
 
Kremlin Armoury

the 19th Century museum purpose-built to house the nation's gob-smacking collection of gold, silver, arms and imperial clothes and carriages. They also hold a collection of the infamous and rarely glimpsed Faberge eggs. 

Annunciation Cathedral

In the south-western part of Cathedral Square stands the graceful Cathedral of the Annunciation with its nine gilded domes. It was built in 1484-1489 by master builders from Pskov, as a royal family church for the Grand Duke of Moscow, where the sacraments of marriage and baptism were performed.
The cathedral was built in keeping with the traditions of early Moscow architecture, but also incorporated elements of Pskov architecture. There are two staircases with tall porches by which one can enter the cathedral from the square.
For a long time the cathedral was the main church of Moscow’s dukes. During grand ceremonies held in Cathedral Square the ruling duke (and later the tsar) and his retinue made their appearance from this cathedral. Inside is the oldest Russian multi-tiered iconostasis, with icons dating from the 14th-16th centuries, some of which were painted by Andrey Rublev, Theophanes

Cathedral of Assumption

The grandfather of all the Kremlin churches, the Assumption Cathedral is the oldest and the biggest. Built in 1475 by Italian architect Aristotle Fiorovanti, this is where Ivan the Terrible was crowned Emperor here in 1547 before becoming a stable for Napoleon's horses in 1812. Their soldiers made off with the chandliers now hanging overhead. The cossacks brought them back after they caught up with the lightfingered Frenchmen. In 1918 the last Easter service was held here. Services resumed in 1990. Inside the many hefty chandeliers, some weighing over 5tonnes.
 
Cathedral of the Archangel Michael

The five-domed Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel was the last of the great churches to be erected on the Kremlin's Cathedral Square and was the exulted burial place for the rulers of Muscovy, from the Grand Duke Ivan I (1328-1341) to Tsar Ivan V (1682-1696), the half-brother of Peter the Great.The cathedral was built between 1505 and 1508 by the Italian architect Alevisio Novi on the site of an ancient cathedral of the same name. Unlike the very traditionally Russian Cathedral of the Assumption, the Cathedral of the Archangel clearly reflects architectural influences from the Italian Renaissance, including Corinthian capitals and Venetian-style shell scallops along the building's gables.
Also rather uncharacteristic of traditional Russian ecclesiastical architecture is the cathedral's asymmetrical layout, the differing sizes of its silver and gilt domes, the addition of several smaller chapels in the 16th century and the attachment of buttresses along the south wall when it cracked in 1773.

Church of the Deposition of the Robed

Taking its name from an ancient festival where the Virgin's robes are transferred from Palestine to Constantinople (now Istanbul), this is a more modest cathedral nestled in a corner. Built in 1484- 1485 by artists from Pskov, this church notably has stained glass windows. Along with some fine icons, inside you can also find wooden sculptures from the 15th century. 

Lenin Mausoleum

The museum was opened in May, 1924, as a branch of the V.I.Lenin Institute. Since 1936 it has been called the Central V.I.Lenin museum. More than 12,500 exhibits are displayed in its three floors and 34 halls. The exhibits include the first publications of his works, photostat copies of his manuscripts, Vladimir Ilich's personal belongings, documentary photographs and presents from the working people. Also on display are several Soviet works of art-paintings. sculptures, graphics, and items of folk art dedicated to V. I.Lenin.

St. Basil's Church

The famous St. Basil's Cathedral was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible and built on the edge of Red Square between 1555 and 1561.
St. Basil's is a delightful array of swirling colors and redbrick towers. Its design comprises nine individual chapels, each topped with a unique onion dome and each commemorating a victorious assault on the city of Kazan. In 1588 the ninth chapel was erected to house the tomb of the church's namesake, Basil the Blessed.
In the small garden outside St. Basil's stands an impressive bronze Statue to Minin and Pozharsky, who rallied Russia's volunteer army during the Time of Troubles and drove out the invading Polish forces. They were an interesting duo - Dmitry Pozharsky was a prince, while Kuzma Minin was a butcher from Nizhny Novgorod. The statue was designed by the artist I. Martos and erected in 1818 as the city's first monumental sculpture. It originally stood in the center of Red Square in front of what is now the GUM Department Store, with Minin symbolically indicating to Pozharsky that the Poles were occupying the Kremlin and calling for its liberation. The Soviet authorities felt that the statue had become an obstacle during parades and after the construction of the Lenin Mausoleum Red Square, its position was considered rather ambiguous and was eventually moved to the garden in front of St. Basil's in 1936.


Vorobyevi Gory (Sparrow Hills)

Stand and survey over 1000 years of history. It might be hard to imagine the footprints of Napoleon when you are surrounded by kiosks and fast food vendors, not to mention the souvenir touts. Still, you can get an idea of the length and breadth of the capital from here, as well as seeing which of Stalin’s Seven Sisters you can make out or play at counting the gold onion globes. The parks on the way up from Vorobyei Gori provide an excursion into treachery come winter (ice on wooden steps is always going to be tricky) but in the summer months the park is a quick dip into nature. Turn around for a glimpse of the great promise of education for the people; Moscow State University (MGU) directly behind you. This building is grand, the rest behind it are frightfully unspectacular

Borodino Battle Panorama Museum

Founded 150 years after one of the most famous battles in human history the Borodino Battle museum is not to be missed. It has a collection of weapons, ammunition, uniform and graphics, but main feature is the round canvas painting, 115m wide and 15m high. Standing in the middle of this panorama you experience up close the heroic (and bloody) battle during the 1812 war between Russia and Napoleon’s Grand Army in the days before CNN. The epic battle, which took place September 07, 1812, west of Moscow, was one of the war’s decisive encounters. 250,000 soldiers took part, of which a minimum of 67,000 perished. After Borodino Napoleon took Moscow, the city he left soon after it was set on fire. The Russian army led by General Kutuzov then chased the French all the way to Paris. The Panorama museum is located at Kutuzovsky Prospekt, where you also can find the 28m high Triumphal arch devoted to the war with Napoleon.

Novodevichy Monastery

Monastery or convent, this place occupies a very specific place in Russian history. On the grounds surrounded by the Kremlinesque walls are four cathedrals including the majestic four-onion globes of Smolensky Cathedral. Founded by Ivan the Terrible in 1524, it was here that Peter the Great imprisoned his sister Sophia and executed her supporters from the Strelsty rebellion. Today it is a magnificient and peaceful cloister with an impressive icon collection.

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
 

The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (khram Khrista Spasitela) in Moscow may be the largest Orthodox church in the world. The building is magnificent, but not as old as it looks: it was rebuilt in 2000 after the original was demolished by Stalin

State History Museum

The largest historic museum of Russia, the State Historical Museum, was established in 1872 on the initiative of the Russian scientific community.
Today the collection of the Museum treasures archeological finds, manuscripts and black-letter books, old Russian icons, Russian and foreign arming, works of smith craft, jewelry, glass and ceramics, national clothes, collection of old furniture from the private estates and many more. Private belongings of Russian monarchs Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great and the last members of the Romanov family are especially popular with the visitors.
The Museum collection of fine arts that numbers over 500,000 items is quite impressive. It includes portraits of outstanding Russian and foreign politicians, landscapes of different regions of Russia, water-colors, drawings and lithographs. It is noteworthy that the Museum features not only the works of the celebrated masters but also paintings by unknown talented artists.
The permanent exhibition is designed so that each of the halls is devoted to certain period of history. The rich interior decor corresponds with the time and style of the exhibits placed there. Frescos, moldings, carvings and other decorations create the unique atmosphere of the past.

History of Moscow Museum

The Museum of History of Moscow is one of the oldest museums of the city. Its collection was based on the exhibits of the pavilion "Moscow" at the All-Russian Artistic and Industrial exhibition, which was held in Nizhny Novgorod in 1896. There the Moscow City Administration displayed its achievements in providing the city with all amenities, improving its medical and sanitary conditions, in a public education, charity. Just in this year the Museum of Moscow Municipal Facilities and Services was opened by the order of the Moscow City Duma. The Museum was located in one of the Krestovsky Towers. The Museum changed its name and location several times within a hundred years’ history. In 1921 the Museum was called Moscow Municipal Museum and was located in Sukhareva Tower - the restored monument of 17th century. Under the influence of the plan of Moscow’s reconstruction accepted in 1935 the name and an exposition’s character of the Museum were changed. In this time it was called the Museum of History and Reconstruction of Moscow and moved into the building of the Church of John the Theologian " under the Elm", were it is located now. Since 1987 the Museum is called the Museum of History of Moscow. 


Contemporary Russian History Museum

The Museum of Contemporary History of Russia is the largest museum establishment in the world devoted to New History. It was started as far back as in March 1917 when Russia had overthrown monarchy. Presently the Museum collection numbers more then 2 million plus items reflecting the most crucial moments and events that have shaped Russian society and State during the last one and a half century. The Museum exposition has on display the reign of the last three Russian emperors, political career of the statesmen and Party leaders, history and ideology of different political parties and public movements, life and work of well-known scientists and cultural figures; everyday life and customs of people are broadly presented.
The Museum collection is continually being increased to show the latest events in Russian history.

Great Patriotic War Museum 1941-1945

Dedicated to the Great Patriotic War, this museum opened in 1995 on the 50th anniversary of the Great Victory. The museum houses a set of evocative battle dioramas on the ground floor. Immediately as you enter, you see the Commanders Hall and Grand Staircase leading up to the Hall of Glory, a solemn memorial space. Further along there is the exhibition hall with exhibits about the different battles and parties involved.

Tretyakovskaya Gallery

For visitors anxious to uncover the mysteries of the famous 'Russian soul', the Tryetakov Gallery is the place to start. Founded in 1856 by influential collector Pavel Tryetakov, it is the world's number one museum of Russian art. Ranging from exquisite and mysterious 12th century icons to the politically charged and prescient canvases of Russia's favorite realist master, Ilya Repin, the collection is a rich and revealing insight into the history and attitudes of this long suffering yet inspired people. 

Tretyakov Gallery at Krymsky Val

The development of Russian art of the 20th century - from avant-garde of the 1900's to the creative quest of painters of the 1980's and 1990's - is presented in the new premises of the Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val. Masters of other styles are also widely presented - from the expressionism and traditional realism to social realism that became the official style of the totalitarian epoch of the 1930-1950's. The nonconformist art of the 1960-1970's, known as "The second wave of Russian avant-garde" is also presented. Special collections reflecting the newest trends in contemporary art complete the exposition.

Andrey Rublyev Museum of Ancient Russian Culture and Art

This unique museum is the resting place for some of the most precious examples of Russian Orthodox art.
This incomparable and unusual museum lies in the ground of the Andronikov Monastery, which was founded in the 14th century and long considered one of Russia's most important religious centres, involved in many of the country's defining historical and cultural events.
The museum's collection contains the greatest icons gathered from all over central and northern Russia. Here you'll find the richest collection of icons from the Moscow, Tver' and Northern schools of the 14th to the 19th century. Experts also praise the fragments of monumental religious art and the ancient wooden sculptures on display.

Moscow Museum of Modern Art

The great sculpture garden of sculptures by Tsereteli (Moscow's contemporary art guardian and self-promoter) offers the introduction to the contemporary Moscow art scene. Travel through the different phases of Russian art from the avant garde of the past with Malevich, Kandinsky, the Georgian Niko Pirosmani, Natalia Goncharova and some early offerings from the wundergroup AES group. The downstairs is devoted to temporary contemporary art, while upstairs you'll find a history lesson of the Russian avant-garde. The museum is located in an old merchant’s mansion, renovated to become an great exhibition space. Also there’s the odd exhibit from non-Russian contemporary artists. 

Moscow State Museum Burganov's House

Burganov’s House is first and foremost the functioning workshop of Alexander Burganov (1935 -), one of Russia’s most famous living sculptors. His contemporary masterpieces, which can also be seen in many European capital cities, greet you from trees, windowsills and the neighboring buildings surrounding the house’s courtyard - a type of open-air sculpture garden. Inside the house, Burganov’s smaller works, including several paintings, are on display.

Kolomenskoye Museum Estate

Old village of Kolomenskoye situated in the southern part of Moscow is a unique place where the relics of Russian history were created and kept for centuries. Close to Kolomenskoye there is the oldest on the territory of Moscow settlement - known as Dyakovo Gorodishche - that is 2,5 thousand years old. Nowadays Kolomenskoye Museum-Preserve is one of the most picturesque and popular places in Moscow.

Kuskovo Park and museum

Kuskovo park is one of the oldest country estates in Moscow. It was given to General Sheremetev by Peter the Great in 1715, but was left to fall into neglect before being plundered by Napoleon’s troops in 1812. Nowadays the estate has been restored to its former glory and is a good example of Russian 18th Century imperial architecture.

Tsaritsino

Tsaritsino, an architectural and landscape ensemble in Moscow's southeast, a specimen of the neo-Gothic style. At first, in the 17th century, it belonged to the Streshnevs, a boyar family and when, from the year 1712, to the Kantemir princes. Later, in the 18th century, Empress Catherina II acquired the estate for her country residence. The complex includes the Large Palace, The Small Palace. They linked by a gallery with a tracery archway of the gate, and the Grand Cavalry Stables form an architectural focus of the complex. The bread House stands back of these palatial structures. The ponds add to the charm, next to one of them, on a steep ground slope, stands the Opera House. The concerts are arranged in the Hall of Opera regulary. The scene is further enhanced by the ornamental bridge over the road to Kolomenskoye, the Smaller Palace of Catherine the Great, and the figures gate at the turn of the alley.

Sergiev Posad (Zagorsk)

The town is named in the honor of Saint Sergey Radonezhsky – the founder of one of the biggest and the most significant monasteries in Russia – Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra (XIV-XVIth c.). The architectural ensemble of Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra is included in the list of UNESCO; it is a unique museum in the open air. Many famouse icons, monuments of antiquity and treasures are stored here. Nowadays there are functioning monastery, seminary and Ecclesiastical Academy. 5 churches are opened to the public, and it is possible to listen to the choirs.

NB: women should cover their heads when they enter the cathedrals and churches. Visit to Sergiev Posad is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the Russian countryside, to see an overwhelming panoramic view of the holy Trinity from the “Pancake” Hill and to make some shopping.


Bulgakov House

Steeped in popular Moscow legend, this is where Bulgakov, the author of Master and Margarita lived and wrote his famous novel. Today it is an artist gathering place with exhibitions of contemporary Russian artists and a historical exhibition dedicated to the house' most famous inhabitant. 

Chekhov Museum

Chekhov never went out of favor even during the Soviet years. His museum opened here for the first time in 1953, and underwent a spring clean in 2003. The objects remain authentic, a little too authentic when you see the tiny metal bed he slept on. It was from this red castle-like house that he left to go on his epic jaunt to Sakhalin, at that time the journey took around three months. It was here that the music lover, who lived here with his mother, brother Mikhail and sister Maria, received patients, continuing his work as a doctor. Tchaikovsky came to thank him for the personal dedication in his book Gloomy People. Also upstairs there are exhibitions following the life of the great writer and a surprising number of photos and a display showing different dramatic productions of his plays around the world.

Mayakovsky Museum

This is one for fans of the great man. An ode to surrealism, this museum is a structural rendition of Mayakovski’s life and works and is spread out over four floors. It is a shame that tours are only available in Russian as the presentation of the exhibits is superb. From childhood, through to fame and his eventual suicide, there's industrial installations, theatre playbills, scraps of poetry and photographs and at the end, a collection of several Soviet busts of the poet.

Lev Tolstoy Museum

Dedicated to the life of the man behind War and Peace and Anna Karenina, this is a reverential place packed with personal and literary material. A complex and conflicted individual, the exhibits trace his life from childhood to death and the emergence of his major works. Easy to follow due to some great carded English translations, this is a good introduction to Tolstoy

Central Botanical Gardens

This 360-hectare park belonging to the Russian Academy of Sciences,  can be enjoyed in all seasons. In autumn, when the leaves are changing colors, it is worth the extra 30 rubles to visit the Japanese garden towards the rear of the park. Several Japanese-style pavilions give you a place to view the surrounding tranquility of the garden's rock-bridges and ponds. In the late spring, don't miss the blooming of the rose garden, which contains thousands of different species. In colder months, the snow-covered oak grove and the dendraium's tree-lined paths make quite enjoyable promenades. But if you are looking to escape the Russian winter for a few hours, the garden's the glass-covered orangery, which houses many tropical and sub-tropical plants, is open all year round. 

Cold War Museum (ZKP Taganski)

Museum of Cold War is a unique museum dedicated to important period in human history named Cold War. Museum transfers you to 50th when relationship between USA and Soviet Union became critical and world lived in expectation of atomic war. Museum represents a nuclear bunker which was built in 1951 by the order of Stalin. Bunker was built with the same techniques like a metro and actually bunker has a common tunnels with Moscow subway. Amazing fact that this really huge atomic bunker lays under center of Moscow city under Taganskaya square. This museum represents a spectacular example of modern and unusual museum. If you want to feel yourself in mysterious and scary time this museum is for you! Exposition of museum includes old radio-stations, chemical attack suite, oxygen masks and other radiation protection things. Before the unforgettable excursion every tourist gets red-pass of Soviet Ministry of Defense with his own name and with photo of unknown in oxygen mask.

Polytechnical Museum

 This enormous museum covers the whole of Russia’s advance towards the technological age. The history of the development of hundreds of everyday useful things such as the TV, radio, light bulb and the clock is illustrated with thousands of antique samples. As well as beautiful Zenit cameras, huge gramophones, original Thomas Edison photos and Pathe cinema projectors, there are also models of drilling equipment, nuclear powers stations and 50 year old space food. Fans of Soviet design will be beside themselves when they see the Soviet versions of the Sony Walkman and Yamaha keyboard. Up on the top floor there is one of the world’s oldest computers from the late 1950s along with the first (very ugly) Apple Mac and the museum’s very own robo-guide from the 1970s. 


Cosmonautics Museum

This museum, the only one of its kind, situated inside an enormous monument to the explorers of the cosmos, is well worth the visit, not least for the nostalgia it should inspire in anyone who grew up in the heady days of the space race.
The displays trace the history of space exploration, including the first interplanetary satellite flights, the first dogs in space and man's journeys to the cosmos. There's plenty of fun gadgetry, plus an excellently conceived display explaining how astronauts survive a space flight, all of which should be interesting for children.

Museum of Unique Dolls

The art of doll making in Russia, Germany and England over the last two centuries recieves special attention here. Even though there are just two rooms, these glass cabinets are packed with an army of traditional wax, plastic and cloth figures. Noteworthy exhibits are the Japanese dolls at their Shinto temple and the Swedish dolls with a three-faced head.


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