Moscow

A City with a Unique Face

Moscow is a place you definitely must visit. It’s a place where architecture, local people, culture, and traditions reflect different eras twining together in a wonderful mosaic. It’s a city of big money, expensive cars, and beautiful women. It’s a city of architecture, art, theater, and cinematography. It’s a city of national and religious diversity, communism, and tsarism; a city of thousands of beautiful streets, squares, and buildings. Moscow is not a subject to talk about. Moscow is a place to go.

What to See/Do in Moscow

There are thousands of restaurants in Moscow, hundreds of museums, dozens of parks, and millions of wonderful streets, and each one is different from another. We are sure that it’s impossible to see and try everything at once in this city! Now, we will tell you about the most important things and we’re going to add something new to this list every day:

Walk around the Red Square and take a selfie in front of the Saint Basil's Cathedral
Go on an excursion to the Kremlin
Admire the jewels of the Russian tsars in the Armory Chamber
Visit the State Tretyakov Gallery and learn more about Russian art
Watch a ballet performance in the Bolshoi Theatre
Discover the Zamoskvorechye District – take a walk in the Ordynka, Polyanka, and Pyatnitskaya street

Some Facts

Moscow is a home to the biggest number of billionaires in the world
Moscow turns 870 in 2017
Moscow loves to be on fire. There have been more than 100 major fires over the course of history.
The number of native people in Moscow is less than 2%. Those are the people who have been living in the city for 4 generations
Moscow subway is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world
Moscow is declared Hero City

Peter the Great in Moscow

One of the most ambiguous monuments in Moscow is the statue of Peter the Great. It was erected at the end of the 90’s and caused a rather diverse response of the public. First of all, Moscow people couldn’t understand why they had to honor the person who moved the capital from their city to St Petersburg (in 1728-1732). Second of all, there was a rumor that the monument was nothing but a remodeled monument of Christopher Columbus, which the author didn’t manage to sell in America. Last of all, the monument looked really bulky and kind of awkward. Nevertheless, the statue stayed in its place, and it’s impossible to imagine the center of the capital without it now.

Safety

How safe is New York, Paris, or Rome? What about Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, or Bangkok? The answer is on the surface. Big cities always attract millions of people and get you on the alert.

Moscow is a modern, developed city, which can be compared to any European city in terms of safety. Of course, here, just like anywhere else, you need to follow usual rules: watch your possessions, try not to carry much money with you (every hotel will offer you a safe), keep your phone with you, and don’t take anything for free (keyrings, flags, pens).

It’s better not to walk alone at night, but it’s fair for any other city. Also, you’d better use official taxi services (learn more about them here) and not get in the car with private taxi drivers.

Following these rules, you can safely walk around, explore everything, take pictures, and don’t worry as Moscow is a comfortable and calm city.

For How Long Should You Stay in Moscow?

It’s never boring in Moscow! For sure! This city is perfect both for a pleasant weekend full of fun and for a week-long stay full of new discoveries. We recommend planning a trip for at least three days. Still, we are sure this time is not enough to explore everything, so you will definitely want to come back!

A Little Bit About Weather

There are many myths about Russian weather, and particularly about Moscow. They all exist only because many people have heard that Russia is a cold place and Moscow is a part of Russia. This is supposed to mean that winter, felt boots, and bears (we’ll talk about them later) are here all year round. Such thinking is logical but not really correct.

Let’s not forget that Moscow is located in the European part of the country, not in Siberia, which is why the climate here is rather mild and, of course, seasonal. What does it mean? Well, it means that it does snow in Moscow during winter. It can also be rather cold and slippery. In summer, though, the weather is warm, the sun shines, and flowers bloom. Now, let’s talk about the weather in detail:

  • Winter.

It actually starts in November and ends in March. Winters can be different, but the temperature ranges from 0 to -10°C. Usually, the coolest month is January. Sometimes there are a couple of weeks with lower temperatures – the so-called frosts – from -15 to -25°C. However, such weather doesn’t last all three winter months – it happens once in a while.

 

Cold weather in Moscow is bearable more easily than in Saint Petersburg and some European capitals because the humidity levels aren’t that high here. Sometimes there’s no snow even in December. But when it starts falling, it can fall non-stop for an entire week! Actually, such type of weather is typical of the Alpine regions like Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. So, don’t be afraid of Moscow weather, dress warm, and dare to come here!

  • Spring.

Oh, Moscow spring is something absolutely elusive. It practically doesn’t exist. The real spring lasts only for a couple of weeks. That’s when the snow starts melting fast and all the trees start blossoming at the same time. It usually happens in May. In March, there’s still winter in Moscow, and temperatures range from -10 to +5°C. It gets warmer in April, but sharp temperature drops accompanied by rain and strong wind are still possible. So, you can relax a bit in April and allow yourself to forget about blizzards and frosts but still be cautious. A coat, a sweater, a thin hat, and sometimes rubber boots – that’s what you need for a pleasant stroll.

  • Summer.

Moscow summer is green. It’s a perfectly nice season, although abnormally high temperatures do happen sometimes. Usually, we are always ready for +20°C and a light rain. However, it’s not Saint Petersburg, meaning the summer is warmer, cozier, and drier! It’s like the late European spring. The hottest month is July, when the temperatures can reach +28-29°C! It’s just about the time to drink cold kvass!

  • Autumn.

During this period, everything in Moscow is beautifully orange. September is usually warm, +15°C. When the temperature rises to +20°C, it’s a real Indian summer. By the end of September, it usually gets colder, it rains more often, and slight frosts happen. The average autumn temperature is +10°C.

Will I See a Bear on the Red Square?

Unfortunately, no! There are no bears in Moscow, or Moscow region, or especially on the Red Square! However, you will see Stalin, Lenin, Peter the Great, and Catherine the Great. There are many monuments in the city to honor these people. It will cost some money to take a picture with them, though.

Transportation

You can get to Moscow from pretty much any part of the world. There are 3 international airports located quite far from the city. To get to the city from the airport, people usually use the Aeroexpress railway (500 rubles) or take a taxi (1000-1400 rubles). It’s important to know that Moscow airports haven’t adopted a European system of taxi calling – there are no queues leading to the taxi cabs. Everything is a bit different here. Local people use taxi apps like Uber and others or simply call the inquiry office. There’s also an official taxi stand in the airport building, and we recommend that you use it. You will also see many private taxi drivers standing inside and outside of the building and shouting to the public about their services. But don’t ever get in their cars and don’t use their services. Remember: the estimated cost of the ride must be approximately 1200-1800 rubles.

Read more about Moscow transport here - http://russiawayin.com/info/local-transport

A Little Bit About History

Moscow was first mentioned in 1147, and this date is the formal beginning of the city’s history. In Moscow history (just like in the history of Russia), the main role was played by two dynasties – Rurikids and the House of Romanov. The first ones ruled Moscow and the rest of Russia from 13th to 16th century. During this period, despite the Mongol invasion, plague epidemics, and various inland wars, the city secured its position as a cultural, economical, political, and religious center of Rus’.

Moscow then was nothing but a typical Russian fortress – Kremlin. It’s a defensive building with fortress walls, towers, and internal buildings, including residential and religious ones. Simply put, Kremlin used to be the city itself, and people lived behind its walls. Initially, all the walls were made of wood, and later – of bricks. Nevertheless, this didn’t save the city from fire, which happened there from time to time.

By the end of the 15th century, the majority of Russian lands joined Moscow, and so it became the capital of the entire Rus’ under the leadership of Ivan the Terrible – the first Russian tsar. At that point, Moscow grew far past the Kremlin walls and turned into a rather big medieval city.

After having survived the turmoil of the 17th century and having put the Romanov dynasty on the throne, Moscow became the center of a huge state. Yet, it wasn’t the capital anymore – newly rebuilt Saint Petersburg was chosen as the capital instead. Despite that, Moscow was still the main aim of Napoleon Bonaparte in the 19th century. After his invasion, the city was burnt down and devastated. All the forces were used for reconstruction, so the city was reborn with its new temples, cathedrals, and mansions. By the way, not only Russian but also European architects have been invited to make Moscow look like a beauiful European city.

Moscow returned its capital title with the Bolsheviks in 1917. The 20th century changed the city’s appearance: it was the time of destruction of temples and historical buildings, the time of the Cold War and the Second World War, the time of communism, technological progress, and new fashion. Still, the 20th century gave Moscow the most beautiful subway, first tall buildings in the country, transport network, numerous monuments, and that unique spirit you may admire today.