No matter its sad past and current political situation, the capital of Russia, Moscow, is genuinely one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Between the outrageous architecture, superb dining, and fascinating historical landmarks, Moscow is someplace that people only dream of going to. If you want to go outside the box a bit and visit this fabulous city, you really won’t regret it.
What to Do
There are some historical places you have to go to when you’re in Moscow, and the Kremlin is one of them. The Kremlin is a citadel that holds 5 different palaces, four cathedrals, Kremlin Towers, and the Grand Kremlin Palace which is where the former czars lived. Now, it is the official home of Vladimir Putin.
Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral is another must-see site, and it’s probably the site most well recognized by people even if you haven’t been to Moscow. St. Basils’ Cathedral is an enormous colorful and ornate building on the square and was built in the mid 16th century. Red Square is the true center of Moscow and it is so amazing to witness it in real life.
An unusual activity to do in Moscow which is not known by many is to experience a traditional Russian sauna and bathhouse called a banya. There are tons of banyas all over the city, but if you want to experience the oldest one in Moscow, go to Sanduny banya. This bathhouse has been around since 1808, and even if you don’t want to actually have a banya experience, you can take a tour of the beautiful building, which is just as fun.
You can’t go to Moscow without picking up a souvenir, and the best place to get one is at Izmailovsky market. This flea market is the perfect place to find a treasure to take home, including gorgeous artisan Russian nesting dolls called matryoshki.
Though there are many fabulous museums in Moscow, one of the most important ones to go to is the GULAG History State Museum, which commemorates the GULAG labor camp victims during Stalin’s dictatorship. Being there really makes you feel like you’ve gone back in time, which is heartbreaking but important to learn about.
Where to Eat
Russian cuisine was really affected by food rationing and other political measures during the communist ruling, and even before. But, there’s one restaurant that takes Russian food to the next level by looking to the humble farming past to create a stunning culinary experience. White Rabbit is a restaurant located in a glass dome, is one of the top 20 restaurants in the world, and serves traditional Russian food with a modern twist, using only what’s available locally and in season.
Everyone knows about the Russian cabbage soup called borscht, and although it usually doesn’t seem appealing, if you go to the right place in Moscow, you’ll be a believer. One place you cannot go wrong for borscht and other Russian classics is Dacha Na Pokrovke, where anything you get will de delicious and fresh.