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Moscow Travel Guide - Sights to See
Transportation: A fast, efficient metro system is the only way to go. The stations are marked with a large "M" and they are all very beautiful inside. Pick up a map and learn to use the system. It's very cheap and not difficult even though the stations are in the Russian language.

The Kremlin: This is the oldest, most characteristic part of Moscow... the site of its finest architectural monuments, and the symbol of the old Soviet power. The Kremlin is surrounded by walls - in some places, 65 feet high and 10-20 feet thick. The walls are reinforced by 20 towers, five of which are entry gates.

Sobakina Tower: This tower is more than 180 feet high and was once an important part of the Kremlin's defenses.

The Arsenal: This huge building was built in 1701 by Peter the Great. Today it houses government offices.

Troitskaya (Trinity) Tower: This massive inner tower is the tallest in the Kremlin walls, rising 240 feet above the garden.

The Armory (Oruzheinaya Palata): Located near the entrance tower, this is the oldest museum of the Kremlin. It houses arms, armor and the exquisite Faberge Egg Collection.

Grand Kremlin Palace: This is actually a group of several buildings and is the seat of the Supreme Government. It is open to visitors on special occasions.

Square of the Cathedrals in the Kremlim: There are 3 large churches in the old Russian style on this square, and some smaller ones. This square is "unreal".

Uspensky Cathedral (Assumption): This is the oldest... built in 1747. It is topped by 5 gilt domes and has a spacious interior illuminated by two rows of narrow windows.

Rispolozheniye (Church of the Deposition of the Robe): A smaller church built in 1484. This was the favorite church of the Patriarchs of Moscow.

Blagoveshchensky (Annunciation) Cathedral: This is a remarkable monument of Russian architecture, linking 3 centuries of art and religion. Its foundations were laid in the 14th century.

Cathedral of the Archangel: Located on the opposite side of the square. This 5-domed buildings was begun in 1505. Its ornate decorations have distinct elements of the Italian Renaissance. Between 1540 and 1700 this was the burial place of the Russian princes and the Czars.

Ivan The Great, Bell Tower: This is the tallest building of the Kremlin... 263 feet high and 329 steps. Tradition maintains that this tower must remain the tallest building in Moscow.

Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon: This is the world's largest bell, which has never been rung, and the world's largest cannon, which has never been fired.

Red Square: Red Square is located outside the Kremlin Walls, next to the Spassky Gate/Tower. Its history goes back to the 15th century when the area was a market place. In the 16th century it became a ceremonial place.

Cathedral of the Intercession (St.Basil/Pokrovsky): This is the oldest building on Red Square, built in 1555-60 on orders of Ivan the Terrible. It is a unique achievement...a combination of 9 churches. The central structure is 107 feet high and is surrounded by 8 tower-like chapels linked by a gallery. Each of the onion-domed towers has a different patterned exterior. This beautiful building, opposite Savior Tower is the most famous church in Moscow. It is a photographers delight!

Lenin Mausoleum: At the center of Red Square, in front of Senate Tower, this tomb contains the remains of the founder of Communism. His embalmed body is on view Tue/Wed/Thu/Sat from 10-2, and Sun 10-6. The lines waiting to enter will be the longest you've ever seen. The body supposedly represents the highest degree of the embalmer's art. They are said to remove the body once a week and re-embalm it to maintain the preservation. Behind the mausoleum, the remains of many leading politicians, including Stalin, are buried in the Kremlin walls. From the balcony of the Mausoleum, Soviet leaders watched the great Moscow May Day military parades. There are frequent changing of the guard ceremonies at the tomb. Very interesting... goose-stepping guards in slow unison. (Today there is a movement to bury Lenin's body).

Gum Department Store: This is the world's largest Department store, on the border of Red Square. The store is "mall-like" with different wings and numerous small stall-like shops, stocked with what used to be inferior goods. It used to be very interesting but you couldn't find anything that you would care to buy. If you did, you make the selection and a clerk wrote the sales slip. You took this slip to the cashier and paid, and then returned the slip to the original clerk who would be waiting with your wrapped item. Probably much better stock today!

State Historical Museum: At the north end of Red Square. Built in 1874, this is the oldest museum in Moscow... with an interesting collection of coins, medals, furniture, the robes of Ivan the Terrible, and Napoleon's bed. It's located opposite St. Nikkolas Tower.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: Located just off Red Square, outside the Kremlin Walls behind the Arsenal Building... near the Corner Arsenal Tower. There's always interesting activity here.

Tretyakov Museum: 10 Lavrushinsky, behind the Novokuznetskaya Metro Station. Hours, daily 10-8. This is considered Moscow's finest gallery devoted to the history of Russian art. The part to see contains the famous collection of Russian Icons. Expect long lines. Skip the very boring Russian art and see the Icons.

Moscow Circus: 13 Tsvetnoi Boulevard. This is, perhaps, the world's best circus. It's truly outstanding and a great experience - unlike circuses in the U.S. It's more like vaudeville with animals. The theatre is small and intimate (and the halls/corridors smell like animal dung and urine). It is well worth the effort to see this unique Russian cultural event.

Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theater: Located on Sverdlov Square. There are generally no performances during the summer months because the companies are on world tour.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels Museum: 5 Marx-Engels Street. Mon/Wed/Fri 1-7, Thu/Sat/Sun 11-5. Closed Tue. The exhibits include letters and photographs.

Museum of the Revolution: 12 Gorky Street. Tue/Sat/Sun 10-6, Mon/Wed/Fri 12-8. Closed Thu. The six-inch gun in the yard was used by the revolutionary troops to fire on the Kremlin in 1917. The 37-room museum guards the important relics and mementos of the Revolution.

Leo Tolstoy Musuem: 11 Kropotkinskaya St. Thu/Sat/Sun 11-5, Mon 10-3, Wed/Fri 2-8. Mementos of the famous author.

Tolstoy Home: 21 Lev Tolstoy Street. Daily 10-4:30. Closed Mon.

Pushkin Fine Arts Museum: 4 Marshal Shaposhnikov St. Daily 11-8, Sun 11-6. Moscow's best museum with a collection of International art and a very outstanding collection of the French Impressionists. Don't miss this museum!

Moscow University: Go see it. The location on the hill affords grand views of the city and the river. The architecture is terrible.

Central Lenin Museum: 34 halls containing Lenin's works and personal effects, as well as photos, books and sculptures associated with his life.

Donskoy Monastery: A remarkable architectural ensemble of the 16-19th centuries.


Excursions

Lenin House Museum In Gorky Leninskiye: 35 Km from Moscow. This memorial museum housed in a mansion where Lenin often went in 1918, and where he lived in 1923-24, contains his personal effects and has been preserved as they were during his lifetime.

Tchaikovsky House - Museum In Klin: 84 Km from Moscow. This museum contains materials about the great composer,

Tolstoy Estate Museum in Yasnaya Polyana: 200 km from Moscow. The great author was born here, lived here most of his life, and is buried here.
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Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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