A Look at Moscow, Russia
By: Katy Dehavn
This week's Virtual Vacation is to Moscow, Russia! Many people are surprised to find out that I spent two weeks there during my junior year of high school on an exchange program.
We went in November, which I don’t recommend, it was cold and dreary most of the time. The best time for a visit is in April and May. This time of year the sun is shining for a significant part of the day and the hotel rates haven’t hit their summer peak prices yet.
Let’s see what the city has to offer!
The most iconic symbol of Moscow is Red Square, located in the heart of the capital and it is arguably the most visited attraction in Moscow. Once a market where traders would sell their goods, this key location in the city is surrounded by the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, and many other attractions. This short 360 degree video provides views of Red Square and has some quick facts and figures about a few of the buildings that surround it.
Be sure to follow the arrows.
Meaning “ fortress inside a city," the Kremlin is a former imperial residence, it was built during the 19th century during the reign of Nicholas I of Russia. The fortress has four gateways and a back gate that conceals a secret passage to the Moscow River. Today it is the primary working residence of the President of the Russian Federation.
Located next to the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral was built between 1555 and 1561 by order of Tsar Ivan the Terrible, and is Moscow’s most famous artistic work of architecture.
The Cathedral’s official name is Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat. Click here for an interactive history tour of the Cathedral.
Located in the heart of Red Square is GUM the most iconic department store in Russia, was built in 1893. Until the 1920’s it was known as the Upper Trading Rows. Today it includes luxury shops such as Louis Vuitton, Prada and shops selling gourmet food items, wine, chocolate, and classic Soviet products.
Also found in Red Square is Lenin’s Mausoleum, the resting place of the preserved corpse of communist leader, Vladimir Lenin. He is laid to rest beneath bulletproof glass, sharply dressed in a suit. There are strict no-talking, no-photography, and no-cell phones policies while in the mausoleum. The resting place of the Father of the Revolution is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular tourist destination.
Gorky Park, the central park in Moscow covers an area of 300 acres and offers visitors a wide variety of activities including walking paths, bike rentals, boat rentals, a carousel, a playground, food venues, outdoor movies in the summer and ice skating in the winter.
Arbat Street is one of the busiest and most popular streets in Moscow. This pedestrian only street offers shops, restaurants, museums, theaters and small amusement rides. The Pushkin Memorial House is also nearby. This was the residence of Alexander Pushkin and his wife Natalia after their wedding.
The Bolshoi Theater is Moscow’s premier opera and ballet house dating back to 1776.
It is one of the most respected performance venues in the world. Google Arts and Culture offers a wonderful in-depth look at this magnificent theater which I was fortunate enough to see a live performance of “Giselle" at.
I hope you enjoyed you time visiting some of the sites in this historical city. It was a fun trip down memory lane for me. Check out this One Day in Moscow video which offers a great virtual tour of the highlights of the city.