Tourism in Russia > Moscow city
Moscow is the capital of Russia as well as the center of Russia's business,
science, culture, and tourism. The first historical mention of Moscow dates
back to the year 1147. The city's unique appearance took many centuries to form.
Among its incredibly beautiful monuments are the Moscow Kremlin, St. Basil's
Cathedral, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, the Novodevichy and the Donskoy
Convents, the Kolomenskoye, Kuskovo, and Ostankino palace and garden complexes.
Moscow is a cultural center of worldwide significance. The city has over 70
theatres; among them the Bolshoi is the most famous. Some of the priceless collections
of painting and sculpture reside within the walls of almost 100 museums: the
famous Tretyakov Gallery and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts are among them.
The entertainment industry is well developed here and the city plays host to
numerous cultural events.
They are both state-owned and private collections of different items i. e. Russian household articles, Soviet monuments, industrial culture artifacts, etc. Multimedia museum centers and fashionable art
clusters occupying former factory or plant shops present contemporary art. They host art exhibitions, film libraries, theaters, lecture halls, animation centers, bookstores, bars and restaurants.
The new Moscow museums are interactive sites interesting for both children and adults. They are not 'art temples' any more. People come there to socialize, experiment and have fun. Interactive installations, per-formances, festivals, museum nights and audio guides make museum displays more comprehensible for visitors.
An image of Moscow without Red Square and the Kremlin would be like Paris without
the Eiffel Tower or London without Big Ben. But the Russian capital also includes
the Moscow Metro, its historic railway stations, the cosy Arbat, its ancient
churches, the monumental Stalinist high-rises, the elegant spire of the Ostankino
Television Tower, the mansions of bygone centuries in the central streets and
long-established parks with their manors and palaces. Moreover, residents and
tourists might have different ideas about what the symbols of Moscow are. For
a native-born Muscovite it might be a cosy little courtyard where his ancestors
lived and where he himself grew up, while a tourist is more likely to name Red
Square. And they would both be right in their way. Because Moscow, like any
town or city, is individual to each person. You can look at Moscow through the
eyes of a tourist v guide and take snapshots for souvenirs, or you can spend
a lifetime walking through it, always looking and learning... Over the past.decades
the capital has seen the growth of high-rise business centres, elite residential
complexes, modern shopping and entertainment centres, and new bridges spanning
the Moskva River. History will be the judge of whether they will become the
new symbols of this ancient city.
The well-known tea parties of the Moscow merchants may have given î quick
meetings over cups of tea in a cafe, but many Muscovites still enjoy urely steam
in the banya, taking their time, with no thought of rushing, raditions have
also gained a foothold. Young people make a wish by tossing coins ) the new
“Kilometre Zero” flagstone, have their wedding photos taken at Tsaritcino Park,
attend festivals and concerts in Red Square and look forward to Moscow .y Day,
when the central streets are turned into pedestrian zones and the city’s squares
become venues for fun fairs and concerts... Muscovites still celebrate finishing
their last day at school by greeting the dawn in Red Square, sail along the
Moskva River on riverboats, arrange to meet up at the Pushkin Monument, rub
the nose of the bronze dog at Ploshchad Revolyutsii Metro Station for luck and
on Victory Day file into the city centre or go to Sparrow Hills and give flowers
to the veterans, and in the evening welcome the colourful fireworks with cheerful
Young Muscovites know the time will soon come when they will go to Moscow Zoo
with their own children, and then without fail the Tretyakov Gallery, and the
theatre, and, taking a walk in Sokolniki Park, looking over to the open-air
dance floor for the elderly dancers whose traditions lie far behind them, the
whole family will realize that, for them, many are yet to come. * Musical Performance
in Vasilievsky Spusk. Photo by V. Kupriyanov There are still plenty of singing
and dancing groups in Russia which sing folk songs and dance folk dances wearing
traditional garments. Truly folk costumes can be found in museums and in Russian
little outof-the-way places. The concert version of folk garments is simplified
and stylized, it still produces the impression of national clothing. During
national holidays at all concert spots you will certainly see folk performances.
126 ˆ Ë? *
The stylized image of a seagull was presented to A. Chekhov as a gift by famous
Moscow architect F. Shekhtel in the honor of the first-night performance of
the play “Seagull”. Since then, from 1898, a seagull has been the symbol of
the theatre: you can see it on the curtain, playbills and on the decorative
lattice in front of the theatre in Kamergersky Side-street.
Mood of a city
What does the mood of a city and its people depend on? On a slushy winter,
hot summer, golden autumn, or early spring? A mood may be good, festive, businesslike,
dismal or just plain foul. It can be spoiled, or it may be lifted. The main
thing is to have a formula for getting the mood right. You can phone your friends
and meet up in a cafe. Go together to see an exhibition that all Moscow is talking
about. Or why not go horse-riding in the park, or indulge your passion for horse-racing
at the racetrack? If your friends are busy, you can always find a partner for
a game of billiards in one of the billiard halls. The city’s big (and its more
modest) green oases provide Muscovites with a haven from the noise, pollution
and traffic, and they are sometimes hidden away from the usual tourist trails.
They are no less famous than Moscow’s architecture, and their names reveal their
history: the Hermitage Garden, Patriarch’s Pond, the Pharmaceutical Garden (Aptekarsky
Ogorod park), the Merry Garden (Neskuchny Sad), Chistye Prudy (Clean Ponds).
And they are in the very heart of the city. Here you will be able to relax a
little. Or you can go a bit further out - to Izmailovo, Fili or Yasenovo and
wander along forest paths, collect mushrooms, feed the squirrels, go skiing
and in the summer go swimming and sunbathe. And understand that mood is not
dependent on the weather.
Muscovites are a sharp-tongued and observant people. Just one small detail,
an unusual decision on the architect’s part - and a building instantly gains
a name with which it goes down in history. The mid-18th century baroque mansion
of Count Apraxin was christened the “Commode House”, the huge building with
the clock tower-pipe became the “Steam Engine House”, architect Konstantin Melnikov’s
avant-garde house was called the “Cylinder House”, the longest residential house
is called the “Boat House” and a house without the customary ground floor -
“on skewed legs" - was christened the “Spider House”, while one of the
architects’ latest extravagant creations was quickly named the “Faberge Egg”.
Other innovative modern buildings have also been given their own folk names:
“Penguin House” and “Ear House”. But there are .some details which you cannot
see or appreciate on the run, you have to stop and take a good look. For example,
the church bell tower that has developed a lean over time, the tiles of the
tower chamber whose colours have been miraculously preserved, the openwork cast-iron
gate of an old manor house, the sweet smile of a menacing lion, a concealed
window... A random ray of sunlight, the reflection of a street lamp, descending
fog, snowfall - and it is as if the architecture comes to life, recalling the
legends that almost every old house possesses.