Moscow - Russia's Magnificent Centre of Power
Moscow, Europe's biggest city, is the political, economic and cultural centre of Russia. The metropolis impresses countless visitors with its Russian Orthodox churches and unique World Cultural Heritage sites such as the Kremlin, the Red Square and Novodevichy Convent.
Geography - Europe's biggest city
Moscow is the capital of Russia and the biggest city on the European continent with a population of about 11.5 million inhabitants. The metropolis lies at the banks of the Moskva River in the European part of the Russian Federation. The city has an area of almost 2,511 km², which is enclosed by a large local recreation area. Altogether a third of the city consists of green spaces. The greatest one is the Losiny Ostrov National Park with an area of 120 km². Moscow lies in the cool temperate climate zone and has continental climate. The summer is temperate, while the winter months can be as cold as -20 °C.
Culture - The Third Rome
Moscow is the country's political, economic and cultural centre. The city's founder was Yuri Dolgorukiy. Under Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584), Moscow became the capital of the Russian Empire. Since the 15th century, Russia's capital has also been called the "Third Rome". The fall of Constantinople and the marriage of the Grand Prince Ivan III to the Byzantine princess Sophia Palaiologa made the city the centre of Orthodox Christianity. Moscow is the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church to the present day with over 300 churches. Its greatest church building, which is the tallest Orthodox Christian church on earth, is the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour at the bank of the Moskva River near the Kremlin. The latter is the city's oldest complex and part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage as are the Red Square and the Novodevichy Convent. The impressive fortress and seat of the president consists of 20 towers, a triangular boundary wall, several sacred and secular buildings and more. The Kremlin, St. Basil's Cathedral, the Resurrection Gate and Lenin's Mausoleum are all located at the Red Square. There are 260 museums and exhibitions in Moscow, including the Pushkin Museum, the Tretyakov Gallery and the State Historical Museum.
Experience - Shopping in the GUM
Moscow offers various restaurants. Whether you prefer restaurants, fast food or cafeterias, international dishes or traditional Russian food - there is something for every taste. Many menus list popular Russian dishes like borscht, Beef Stroganoff, blin (or blintz), oladji and blintschiki. But the city does not only have a lot to offer to connoisseurs but also to shopping fans. There is a number of shops and shopping centres such as the GUM department store at the Red Square. You can spend money in noble boutiques and many specialist shops. And if all that shopping has not tired you out, you are ready to experience Moscow's nightlife. There are countless clubs, discos, bars and pubs in the Russian capital in which you can party with the Russians.
Activities - A river cruise on the Moskva and ice skating on the Red Square
Besides the classic sightseeing, e.g. on a bus tour, many tourists enjoy a boat trip on the Moskva River. Such a trip is a great way of getting to know the city from a different perspective. Ice skating is a popular leisure activity in winter. The large ice rinks on the Red Square or in Gorky Park make you feel as if you are part of a winter's tale. In summer, the natural parks near the city centre invite you to long hikes. The Kremlin in Izmailovo in the north-east of Moscow is another popular destination. This leisure and cultural park was built in the style of Russian architecture and accommodates several museums, handicraft and trading markets and shops with traditional Russian handicraft products.
Moscow has eight railway stations, three international airports and three inland harbours, which makes the city one of the country's most important traffic hubs. The most popular travel time is the summer but the winter too has its own appeal. Snow-covered roofs, ice skating in Gorky Park and a wonderful play of colours created by strings of lights await visitors in the cold season.
A trip to Moscow is the perfect adventure for culture enthusiasts, party-goers and shopping fans. Numerous cultural monuments, churches and museums invite travellers to unique sightseeing tours, while shopping centres, leisure parks and discos offer entertainment. Lovers of nature and active holidaymakers can pursue their hobbies in the adjacent natural and national parks.