The capital of Russia is one of those cities you could explore for days, weeks even and you still wouldn’t see the whole city and everything that it has to offer. Just a simple walk through the streets of Moscow centre can take ages because there is so much things to see – stunning Russian architecture and the famous Kremlin are just a tiny part of this gigantic metropolis. And although it ranks as the 9th most expensive city in the world, there are a lot sights you can visit for free, so let’s see which ones!
1) Red Square and St Basil’s Cathedral
Red Square, or as Russians call it, ‘Krasnaya ploshchad’ is the main and the largest city square in Moscow. It is located between the Kremlin (former royal citadel) and the residence of the President of Russia. The Kremlin and Red Square were included in World Heritage Site list in 1990 and became one of 16 UNESCO sites in Russia. The first thing you will come across is the State Historical Museum, the huge red building, mostly dedicated to the family tree of Russian tsars. Probably the most iconic sight on Red Square is St Basil’s Cathedral, the most colourful church you’ll ever see. The cathedral was built in the 16th century by the order of Tsar Ivan IV The Terrible. Some legends say he was so cruel that he blinded the architect of the cathedral on purpose so that no one can replicate the cathedral. Red Square also serves as a venue for various festivals, concerts, and other entertainment events. Every year during December Christmas fair and ice-rink open on Red Square where you can try traditional Russian dishes, drink mulled wine and buy souvenirs.
2) The Ostankino TV Tower
If you want the ultimate view of the city, then the Ostankino Tower is a must-visit for you. The tower was designed by Nikolai Nikitin and it is the highest free-standing building in Europe and 11th tallest in the world exceeding more than 500 metres in height. Although it is not possible to climb up all the way to the top of the tower, the visitors have access to specially designed observatory placed at height of 340 metres. Interesting fact is that some parts of floor are made of glass so you can see the ground beneath! Apart from observatory, you can have a lunch in one of three dining rooms below the observation deck, in restaurant called The 7th Heaven which serves traditional Russian dishes, such as okroshka soup and delicious russian salad. All of that with tables beside the windows so you could have a perfect view while enjoying your food.
3) Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
With an overall height of 103 metres, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world. The church took around 40 years to be built and in 1931 it was destroyed by the order of Josef Stalin, so the church you see today is not actually the original one. After the destruction of church the plan was to build a 400m tall palace with Lenin statue on top, but the plan never fell through. The church was rebuilt again in 1997 and since then it has been one of the most iconic symbols of Russia.
4) Izmaylovo Kremlin
Besides the Kremlin situated in the heart of Moscow, there is also another one, although not as known as the one in the city centre, it is certainly worth visiting. Izmaylovo Kremlin is located in Eastern Administrative Okrug and it is the centre of culture and entertainment. Almost fairytale-like, Izmaylovo Kremlin holds monthly events and festivals and various tours and workshops regarding Russian crafts. Visit antique markets, art park on weekends and try traditional food in restaurants or cafes.
5) Lenin Mausoleum
The famous Lenin Mausoleum is one of main sights on Red Square and it is a must-see attraction in Moscow. The preserved body of Vladimir Lenin has been on public display since his death in 1924 and every year millions of tourists come to see his tomb. Admission is free, however, you will need to pay if you have bags to check. If you’re tempted to take photos – don’t. Taking photos is forbidden and security won’t let you get in if you have a camera. The Mausoleum is truly a great piece of Russian history so don’t miss a chance to visit it.
6) Gorky Park
‘I follow the Moskva, down to Gorky Park…’ goes the famous Scorpions’ song, but have you ever really thought about the iconic park in Moscow? The park is situated along the Moskva River and it consists of two parts. The first part is designed for children and contains various rides and rollercoasters for children and you can even hire horses, boats or play tennis on nearby courts. During winter Gorky Park installs a huge ice rink with disco lights and music which then becomes an open air club. The other part of park is more restrained and it consists of two gardens, old buildings from 18th and 19th century and the so-called Green Theater which during summer hosts concert shows. And most important of all – the admission is free!