Moscow, the capital of Russia is one of the most vibrant cities in all of Europe. Moscow is a blend of contemporary and historical places that attracts many tourists throughout the year. This city came into existence more than 700 years ago and it features enough attractions and activities to keep any visitor busy. From old cathedrals to palaces to shopping malls, Moscow has it all. When you are in this city, you can either explore the beauty of hundreds of years old cathedrals or engage yourself in colorful activities as Moscow is popular for its theatre and music. You’ll definitely need time to fully explore this vibrant city but if you are visiting for just a short time period, here are the top 5 things you don’t want to miss in Moscow:
1. Red Square
You haven’t really seen Moscow if you haven’t visited its iconic Red Square which came into existence more than 500 years ago. This historical square is home to a number of iconic landmarks which attract the attention of thousands of visitors every day. By the end of 15th century, Red Square served as a market. Later, many buildings were added to the square including the most famous Saint Basil’s Cathedral and Lenin’s Mausoleum. Make sure to plan your tour to Red Square in advance as there is a lot to see in this iconic area.
2. Saint Basil’s Cathedral
Saint Basil’s Cathedral is one of the most famous attractions located inside the Red Square. The Cathedral was built by Tsar Ivan IV who decided to make it to mark the conquest of Kazan Khanate. According to the historians, when the cathedral was completed, the Tsar was so stunned by its beauty that he had its architects blinded so that they would not build any similar Cathedral again. Despite the horrific history behind its construction, the Cathedral is a fascinating blend of colors, shapes and patterns. The Saint Basil’s Cathedral features nine main chapels and each one of them was constructed in honor of a battle or event.
3. Lenin’s Mausoleum
Lenin’s Mausoleum is another site worth visiting in Moscow. The Mausoleum houses the body of Vladimir Lenin who was a Russian Revolutionist. Lenin’s Mausoleum was first opened to the public in 1924 and since then, it attracts over 2 million visitors every year. A large number of people stand in long queues to have a look at Lenin’s preserved body and get into the building. Lenin’s 93 years old body has been embalmed with certain chemicals by a team assigned by the Russian Government. You can view Lenin’s body for only five minutes under the eye of guards who are standing in every corner of his room.
Located on the eastern side of Red Square, GUM is the most popular shopping mall in Russia and one of the largest in Europe. GUM is not only famous for its shopping but also for its magnificent architecture that attracts thousands of visitors every day. The mall features many shops including high-end brands such as Dior, Burberry, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. There are also many restaurants and cafes inside the mall. GUM also organizes many exhibitions and events throughout the year. Make sure to check in advance about any ongoing event before you plan to visit.
5. Tsaritsyno Palace
Tsaritsyno Palace is another beautiful landmark in Moscow. The palace was initiated by Empress Catherine the Great but it was never finished. She sacked the first architect who worked on the construction of the palace for ten years. Later, she hired another architect but the palace project ran out of money which left it unfinished. The Russian Government finally completed the construction in 2007 and since then it has been attracting a large number of visitors every day.