Novodevichy Convent, the “New Maidens’ Monastery” was founded in 1524 by Prince Vasili III, and was originally built as a fortress to help protect the southern portion of the city. During the 1920s, the Bolsheviks closed the convent and converted it into a Museum of Women’s Emancipation. It became a cathedral again in 1945 and nuns returned to the convent in 1994. Many famous Russians are buried on Novodevichy Cemetery including Anton Chekhov, Nikita Khrushchev and Boris Yeltsin.
– The Church of the Ascension is a 16th century structure with an octagonal tent roof. It is located inside the old Kolomenskoye Tsarist estate south of the centre of Moscow.
– Shopaholics will enjoy New and Old Arbat Streets, a true shopping paradise. In existence since the 15h century, Arbat Street is one of Moscow’s oldest streets and has historically attracted many artists and craftsmen who have played an important role in turning this area into a popular tourist destination. This pedestrian street is also home to many restaurants and cafes.
– The Seven Sisters are a complex of seven imposing highrise buildings that were built between 1947 and 1953 in the socialist classicistic style. Sometimes also referred to as “Stalin’s cathedrals” or “Stalin’s fingers”, they had an immense impact on Communist architecture and the style was widely imitated in many Eastern Bloc buildings.
– With a height of 540 metres, the Ostankino tower was for many years the world’s tallest free-standing structure (until it was surpassed by the CN Tower in 1976). It was constructed between 1963 and 1967 and suffered a fire in 2000. Finally, it was reopened in 2009 and has been one of Moscow’s most well-known attractions. It is still the tallest free-standing structure in Europe and the fourth tallest tower in the world today.
– Situated along the banks of the Moskva River, Gorky Park is an amusement park that features a Ferris wheel, a wide variety of rides and even one of the prototypes from the Russian space shuttle program. There are various playing fields and small ponds with rental boats as well. It is also the location of many open-air concerts.
– The Moscow Metro is the world’s second most used subway system (after Tokyo) with 6.6 million riders per day. It features some of the deepest tunnels and the world’s longest escalator with a length of 126 metres. With a network covering more than 305 kilometres and 185 stations, it is also one of the world’s largest underground transportation systems. Operation began in 1935 and during the Stalin years many works of art were installed that glorify Communist ideals. Many of the subway stations are beautifully constructed and are often referred to as underground “palaces of the people”.
Moscow is a fascinating metropolis. With its imperial past, its Communist history and recent Capitalist past, it is an often contradictory destination that will definitely leave you intrigued.