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Moscow on a Budget
The financial and political center of Russia, Moscow has a population of around 10 million – making it one of the largest cities in Europe. The capital city of Russia, it is the site of the Kremlin, which serves as the ceremonial residence of the President of Russia.

Although Moscow was named the most expensive city in the world in 2007, it's still possible to enjoy the sights and sounds on a budget.

Red Square

In the heart of Moscow, the first destination for most visitors to the city is the Red Square - arguably the most famous city square in the world and easy to reach from all hostels in Moscow. It is surrounded by St Basil's Cathedral, as well as the State History Museum, Lenin's Mausoleum and one of the Kremlin's long brick walls.

Interestingly, the name 'Red Square' is not, as you'd expect, a result of the color of the square's bricks or even the association of 'red' with communism - its Russian word krasnaya can mean either "red" or "beautiful".

It is free to enter – and to stand in the center of the square, taking in the 500 years of history that it boasts.

St Basil's Cathedral

The Cathedral of Intercession of the Virgin on the Moat, better known as St Basil's Cathedral, is a multi-tented church that sits on one side of the Red Square. It was commissioned by Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) to commemorate the capture of the Khanate of Khazan in 1552.

The cathedral originally featured a cluster of nine chapels, each dedicated to one of the saints on whose feast-day the Tsar had won a battle, although the construction of a single central tower unified later these spaces into the single building which stands today.

Inside, every chapel is filled with beautiful icons that are traditional to the Eastern Orthodox Church, medieval painted walls and varying artwork on the top inside of the domes. It is said that Ivan IV had the architect blinded to prevent him from building something similar for anyone else.

Novodevichy Convent

Novodevichy Convent is probably the best known cloister in Moscow and, unlike many others in the city, has remained virtually intact since the 17th century.

Built as a fortress in 1524 by Grand Prince Vasili III in commemoration of the conquest of Smolensk in 1514, it became part of the southern defense of the city. The convent is known to have sheltered many ladies from the Russian royal families, including Peter the Great's sister Sophia Alekseyevna as well as his first wife, Eudoxia Lopukhina.

A less popular attraction than the Red Square, this UNESCO World Heritage site is nonetheless worth a visit (it is also free to enter) and, thanks to the city's great metro system, is equally accessible for budget travelers from Moscow hostels.
About the Author
Before settling down and becoming a copywriter for HostelBookers.com Paul Scottyn did a backpacking tour of Russia, he checked out a variety of the country's budget group accommodation, including a number of most hostels in Moscow.
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