Moscow. A Return to the Culture Lessons

Moscow is huge, giant. The weather turns the city into a grey place, but its social and artistic life — and what a life! — paints it with bright colours. If you´re looking for a break from the Occidental influence, go East. And take a culture lesson in the Russian capital.
Moscow — the capital of Russia — has a population of 12 million. It´s one of most expensive cities in the world and one of the places with the most millionaires per square metre. In the last few years, there has been a big concern to preserve its big historical, cultural and architectural heritage — Moscow was founded in 1147 — and, above all, to position itself side by side with other modern and technological cities. But we´re going to focus on the old Moscow, the one we fall in love with. Let´s take a walk?

Almost everything in the city centre — literally

Teatralnaya is the name of a Moscow subway station. Here you will find the Bolshoi Theatre, one of the oldest ballet companies in the world. Founded in 1825, this was the debut stage of the classical ballet “Swan Lake”, by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. A difficulty: it´s very hard to get tickets to the shows. But, don´t be sad: there´s more to see.

The Red Square is your next stop and, believe us, you have to take some time for this. Lenin´s Mausoleum is mandatory — the founder of the Soviet Socialist Republic. This Mausoleum was an inspiration for some nations such as China (Mao Tse-Tung), North Korea (Kim Il-Sung) and Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh).

Two steps away, you can visit the State Historical Museum, a place with millions of works of art: Russian pre-historical relics and art collection bought by the Romanov Dynasty.
Don´t leave the Red Square just yet: take a look at Saint Basil´s Cathedral, symbol of the Orthodox Russian Church. Built in 6 years — from 1555 to 1561 — it is one of the postal cards of Moscow and World Heritage by UNESCO since 1990. You must visit this beautiful landmark. It´s an obligation.

The Kremlin building is also considered World Heritage by UNESCO. Besides being the Government headquarters, it´s a kind of a fortress in the heart of the city. Covering 30 hectares and housing several relevant monuments, it was built in the 15th Century and is one the main touristic attractions. Is partially open to the public and we recommend saving 1 hour just for this visit. 

Enough of Red Square! But still with ecclesiastical buildings: crossing Patriarshy Bridge you will meet the Christ Saviour Cathedral. Like Saint Basil´s, it´s a loyal representative of the Orthodox Russian Church. It was founded in 26th May 1883, same day of the coronation of the Emperor Alexander III. In 1931, it was destroyed by the communists, and rebuilt in 2000.

Museums, an university and palaces — sorry, we mean subway stations!

You must go to Pushkin Museum. The building is beautiful and, above that, a European cultural melting pot. The biggest in Moscow. You can find artists like Van Gogh, Cézanne, Renoir, Degas, Rembrandt, Picasso or Gauguin. There´s no room for negotiations: put this place in your to do list.

Russian Art? Something to bring us back to the artistic past of the country? Tretyakov Gallery is the answer for those two questions! In this house there´s the largest Russian collection of art in the world: Kandinsky, Malevich, Chagall and Rublev are some of the names you can find there. Relevant information: this Gallery and Pushkin Museum are closed on mondays.
Let´s continue with culture as the major theme: Russian State Library, formerly Lenin´s Library (from 1925 to 1992), is your next stop. It´s one of the largest in the world and has more than 17 millions of books. If you find a good book, read it in front of the big windows with a view to the Kremlin. Oh, we almost forgot: near the library, there´s a big statue of one of the great writers of Russia: Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Talking about writers, shall we take a walk to Moscow University? The most important school in the country, built in 1755, has 7 buildings known as “7 Sisters”. Its magnificence and importance to the investigation and higher learning in Russia is worth a visit.

These tours can be done by foot or…by subway. The subway stations are an attraction for those who visit the Russian capital. Some call them “Underground Palaces”. We agree with this designation! It´s not exaggerated. Running since 1935, they carry more than 7 million people a day. Only Tokyo and Seol have higher numbers. Explore Komsomolskaya, Mayakosvaya and Ploshchad Revolutsii, three marvellous stations…or palaces if you agree with our designation.
Entertainment: a park and thousands of options

All places suggested in this article have one thing in common: antiquity and a place in History. We stand firm on that! Gorky Park, founded in 1928, is our next stop. If the cold is not a problem, it´s  possible to make a picnic and enjoy the ice course in the winter. You can also have a beautiful boat trip.

Now, 3 suggestions for your nightlife. Kitay Gorod neighbourhood, Arbat Street and Chistye Prudy are the places to go. The best stores, restaurants — national and international gastronomy — bars, coffee shops and discos are all here. The options, like everything in Moscow, are diverse. Close your eyes and follow your senses.