Friday, March 11, 2016

RUSSIA: 10 things to tick off your list when you are in Moscow

Moscow is exciting, but you have to know where to head to! Here are 10 reason why I stop by in Moscow 2 times annually, and still planning on doing so for the years to come. One will never run out of things to do in Moscow, this list below is still expanding...


1. Moscow Metro

Photo credit: Aishu Anandha
Let's start with my favorite activity in Moscow. Apparently the Moscow metro is not merely a rapid transit system serving the city, it is a network of Art Museum! Let me rephrase that: it is a network of luxurious underground art museum made of marble and granite! Some of my favorite stations: Novoslobodskaya, Elektrozavodskaya, Komsomolskaya, and some new futuristic ones towards the end of red line. Stained glass panels, mosaic portraits, life-size statues, dazzling chandeliers... the Moscow metro never cease to inspire, and all of these for only 50 rubles entrance fee (metro ticket)!

2. Red Square

photo credits: Lee Siew Suan
Located right in the heart of Moscow, the Red Square is one of those place where you will want to revisit again and again and again. It is hard to imagine that the colourful candy-structured St Basil Cathedral, which looks like it came straight out of fairy tales was built by Tsar Ivan the Terrible, a Tsar famed for his cruelty. Also, don't miss the lavishly decorated GUM (State Department Store).

3. Kremlin

photo credit: Lee Siew Suan

It is the "White House" in Russia. Only one third of the citadel territory welcomes visitors, but even with only one third, the walls and towers, churches and cathedral, cannons and bells are enough to keep visitors busy for days. Note: the Kremlin closes on Thursday.

4. People watching

Arbat Street is a lively pedestrian street in the historical center of Moscow. The street is lined with souvenir shops and restaurants. Although I find most of the shops here are way overpriced, I do enjoy the fine arts showcased along the street. During my second visit to the Russian capital, I stayed in a backpacker's hostel on Arbat Street and I sat on the balcony all afternoon people watching.

5. the Nutcracker

Just like catching a Broadway show in New York and Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas, watching ballet performance in Bolshoi Theater is a staple in Moscow. The Bolshoi Ballet is one of the most renowned classical ballet company in the world, famed for their colourful and bold performing style.

6. Breathe the fresh air

photo credits: Cynthia Chee
I love green oasis in cities. To my delight, so do Moscovites. With over 100 gardens and parks covering almost 40 percent of Moscow territory, that is an impressive 16 meter square of greenery! Alexandrovsky Garden is situated just in front of the Kremlin wall, making it one of the most accessible and popular park in the city. If time is on your side, I suggest a stroll in Elk Island National Nature Park, home to huge variety of wild life including roe deers, elks, beavers and otters. To get there, take a metro to Ulitsa Podbelskovo.

7. Circus

The most famous 2 have to be Nikulin Circus on Tsvetnoi Boulevard and Bolshoi Circus on Vernadsky Avenue. Tickets range from 500 to 2500 Rubles depending on your seat, but let me assure you it is well worth the price.

8. Ice Cream!

Photo courtesy of Stoyn Ice Cream
In Russia, you do not have ice cream. Ice cream has you! Stoyn Ice Cream based in Moscow is a line of uniquely designed ice cream figures. My recommendation: Vladimir Mayakovsky and Dark Vader!

9. Take a day trip out of the city

Suzdal, Vladimir, Rostov Veliky, Sergiev Posad, Abramtsevo estate, Arkhangelskoe esate.... the choices are endless! But if it is your first time in Russia, I strongly suggest Sergiew Posad over others. Not only is it the former religious center of Russia, it is also the birth place of the widely adored "Matroshka" nesting dolls!

10. Fine art at Tretyakov Gallery

If you are an art-buff, Tretyakov Gallery will definitely be your next favorite spot in town ( obviously second to Moscow Metro). Those who are obsessed with fine arts would love Tretyakov Gallery to bits as it possesses a unique collection of Russian most sought-after masterpieces. Note: It closes on Monday.

Summer fun!

In the Summer, don't miss the towering ferris wheel in Gorky Park! Hoop on to get a fabulous vista of the park and Moscow river!

Thank You for Reading! 
Have you been to Moscow? Share your experience with us by commenting below!

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