Moscow Weekend City Break - Attractions


Moscow
Moscow

Moscow may not be at the top of everyone’s city break wish list, but once you’ve visited the Russian capital you’ll begin to wonder why. Admittedly you’d be hard pressed to describe Moscow as beautiful, although it does have some breathtaking moments, but the city’s real charm lies in its soul; which the Muscovite authoress Svetlana Alliluevya described as a ‘smouldering lava of passion, ambition and politics… always thirsting for something new’ way back in the 1920s.

Map of Moscow (Москва)

http://www.moskva.ru/english/title_en.html - Official tourist site for Moscow.

Architecturally Moscow has something of a split personality. Tourist brochures are stuffed with glossy pictures of ornate churches crowned with swirling minarets and plump onion domes; what you don’t see are the acres of monolithic concrete tower-blocks thrown up during the communist era.

The Kremlin is Moscow’s geographical and historical heart. Surrounded by pedestrian streets; Ivan the Great’s ‘city within a city’ is surprisingly relaxed place to take Moscow’s temperature. People watching is the main pastime here and there’s no shortage of tea houses, buskers and hawkers selling anything from one-week-old puppies to (you guessed it) plastic Kremlins. At night ballet and opera draw the more cultured visitors whilst performing chimps entertain the rest.

A Moscow city break isn’t complete without trip around neighbouring Red Square. Although it’s neither red, nor square; Moscow’s civic centrepiece never fails to impress. Attractions run the gamut from gawping at the indigestible wealth contained in a Faberge egg, to the equally unsavoury experience of touring Lenin’s mausoleum.

Moscow has an ambivalent relationship with its soviet past. Although Stalin’s towering seven sisters still ring the city; many communist relics lie all but forgotten. The Graveyard of Fallen Monuments is an eerily photogenic place that corrals together statuary form Moscow’s recent past, including the likes of Stalin and Brezhnev.

Today Moscow is a proud city that’s keen to show off the best of what it’s got. In a bid to make Moscow more tourist friendly, the government has opened the first Tourist Information Centre and established a tourist police force to focus solely on assisting visitors. Another weapon in Moscow’s armoury is to embrace the power of the smile. This government-sponsored initiative is aimed at encouraging the notoriously glum Muscovites to crack their faces once in a while.

If you’re planning a Moscow break come with an open mind, buy a furry hat and give yourself some time to discover the real city. For every architectural monstrosity you’ll find a beautiful history-soaked building, and for every blank stare (with any luck) you’ll find a smile.

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