moscow  |  st. petersburg    


View of the Moscow State University.Looking back to the 12th century to find out that during that time Moscow was only a small wooden town.

oday the capital of Russia is one of the biggest cities of Europe with the population over 13 million people.

Moscow is a political, scientific, historical, architectural and business centre, from which power and might of the Russian state developed.

If you've heard of Moscow, you've probably heard of the famous Red Square and the Kremlin.

Kremlin. The Intercession Cathedral.
Kremlin. The Intercession Cathedral.

There are, currently, about 200 hundred active churches in Moscow. In the beginning of the 20th century there were, totally, 677 churches within the city borders, but they were distroyd during Revolution.

Moscow today, April 2003.
Moscow today, April 2003.

oday Moscow is a tourist city. Many people in Moscow speak, or understand English. It is quite normal if you stop any stranger on a street and ask for directions. Most people will spend all the time needed trying to help you.

Click here to learn more about traveling to Russia.

Moscow, Red Square, View from the airplane.

The Arbat

The Arbat is Moscow's most charming and lively pedestrian street. Once a bohemian quarter of the city, littered with cafes crammed full of the capital's intellectual elite, the Arbat still retains a vibrant and artistic air today, with souvenir stalls selling traditional Russian gifts, artists offering original canvases and street performers entertaining the shoppers.

Street performers on Arbat. Street performers on Arbat.

The street boasts an impressive selection of cafes, restaurants and bars, where you can sample everything from a decent cup of coffee and a French pastry, to a genuine Lebanese shawerma (kebab) or a tasty thick milkshake in a genuine 1950s American Diner. The Arbat is a symbol of old Moscow and its name is mentioned in the city chronicles as far back as 1493. In that year the whole city was engulfed in a terrible fire, thought to have been sparked by a candle in the Church of St. Nicholas in Peski, which is situated on the Arbat.

Arbat Street in Moscow, June 2002.From the second half of 18th century the Arbat became the most aristocratic quarter of the city. The Muscovite intelligentsia settled in this area. There have never been any factories here, nor any workers' huts. Muscovites used to say: 'For money, go to Zamoskvorechye, for a career, go to St. Petersburg, but for knowledge and memories, go to the Arbat.'

House number 2 features the famous Prague Restaurant, opened in the 1870s by the merchant Tararykin and famed as one of the best dining establishments in Moscow. It was here in 1901 that Chekhov toasted the first performance of his play "The Three Sisters", and here in 1913 that the famous Russian painter Ilya Repin celebrated the restoration of his painting "Ivan the Terrible and his Son Ivan", which had been slashed by an icon painter of the Old Believer sect whilst hanging in the Tretyakov Gallery.

Arbat Street in Moscow.On the other side of the Arbat stands Kaloshin Lane, where the residence of a Madame Malinovskaya used to stand, the aristocratic lady who stood in as the mother of the bride in the poet Alexander Pushkin's marriage. The same house was later owned by the geologist, geographer and member of the Academy of Sciences, Obruchev, the principal designer of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Just around the corner stands the "Wall of Viktor Tsoy", built and adorned with messages to honor the famous Russian rock legend who died tragically in a car accident in 1990.

At the junction of Krivoarbatsky Lane and the Arbat stands the oldest building in the area, a mansion dating form the 18th century. In the 1820s it came under the ownership of Count Bobrinsky, the grandson of Empress Catherine the Great and her lover Count Grigory Orlov, and who came under secret police scrutiny for failing to disclose information about the early 19th century Decembrist Secret Society.

Scriabin House-Museum on Arbat.Further along the Arbat, Nikolopeskovsky Lane was home to the composer Alexander Scriabin between 1912 and 1915. It was here that he composed his famous Divine Poem and Prometheus and died at the age of 43.
Pavel Nashchokin, one of Pushkin's closest friends.He was buried in the neighboring Church of St. Nicholas in Pesky.

t number 5 along the same street lived Pavel Nashchokin, one of Pushkin's closest friends and the man who lent the poet the dress coat in which he was married and later buried.

At the end of the lane used to stand a small square, where in the 16th and 17th centuries the Tsar's hunting hounds were kept.

Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow.House number 53 on the Arbat was built in the mid-18th century and was home to the newly married Pushkin and his young wife. It was here that the poet held his stag night, to which he invited his friends Denis Davydov and Pavel Nashchokin. The flat was later home to the cousin of the great composer Tchaikovsky. Between 1920 and 1921 the building housed the avant-garde Red Army dramatic theater. In February 1986 after considerable reconstruction, a museum was opened in the mansion to celebrate the life and works of Pushkin.
Click here to see Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts official site.

Sivtsev-Vrazhek Lane used to be the residence of Pushkin's eldest daughter, Maria Gartung, on whom Tolstoy modeled his famous character Anna Karenina. The house just around the corner, at the junction of Plotnikov and Bolshoi Mogiltsevsky Lanes, is adorned with a marble sculptured frieze depicting the Pushkin, Gogol and Tolstoy surrounded by mythological characters, that was originally intended to decorate the portico of the future Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts.

Not far from the Arbat in Glazovsky Lane at the junction with Smolensky Boulevard there is a magnificent mansion # 32. In the late 18th century General Glazov lived here, and his name is perpetuated in the name of the street. At the end of the last century the mansion was bought by Mikhail Morozov, a renowned patron of the arts and founder of the Morozov picture collection. He graduated from the history and literature faculty of Moscow University, and was a highly educated man with refined tastes. While still a student he started collecting paintings by European and Russian masters. Morozov was highly regarded in artistic circles. His wife, Margarita is depicted in Vrubel's paintings Venice and The Swan Princess (which are kept at the Tretyakov's Gallery).

The Swan Princess. Mikhail Vrubel. Detail. 1900. Oil on canvas. The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.The Morozovs financed the Moscow Conservatoire and the Stroganov Art School, and it was his funds which were used to build the hall of Greek sculptures in the Museum of Fine Arts. However, Morozov's fame and prestige pale in comparison with his remarkable wife, Margarita. She was a splendid woman with an extraordinary intellect who was able to gather brilliant people around her. The poet Andrei Beliy and the statesman Milyukov worshipped her. After the death of her husband in 1903 she continued to live in the mansion and opened a salon. It had nothing in common with the high society salons where people merely indulged in idle chatter. The meetings at Madame Morozov's house were a place for political discussions and literary readings. Her guests embraced a broad political spectrum, from the liberal Milyukov to Bolsheviks, who used to read their lectures on Marxism.

Together with the philosopher Trubetskoi she founded a Religious and Philosophical Society in memory of Vladimir Solovyov. The best Russian philosophers like Berdyayev, Florensky and Bulgakov became members. The group advocated the moral cleansing of the personality on the basis of religious consciousness, and looked for the sources of its philosophy in the works of Dostoyevsky.

In 1910 in conjunction with the Society Margarita Morozova set up a publishing house called Put ('The Way'). That same year in accordance with her husband's will she gave his collection of paintings to the Tretyakov Gallery (later some of the paintings were transferred to the Hermitage and some to the Pushkin Museum).

To the right of Arbat runs Spasopeskovsky Lane. At #10 there is a sumptuous mansion in the neo-Empire style. It was built in 1914 by the architects Adamovich and Mayat for the millionaire financier Vtorov. Vtorov's mysterious death in his study gave rise to various rumours: it was suggested that he had been murdered by the Red Guards, or that his own son killed him in order to get his hands on his father's money. Whatever the truth was, the mansion had a bad reputation, and appeared in the pages of Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita" as the house in which Satan's ball was held.

After the revolution the mansion was expropriated and used as an office for the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs. Today it is the American Ambassador's official residence.

In the second half of 19th century Yelizaveta Kiselyova, nee Ushakova, lived at No. 42. Pushkin had been deeply in love with her and in her album he wrote his famous "List of Don Juan's Women".
Moscow, the Twin Towers.
Moscow, the Twin Towers.

Bolshoi Theater

The foundation of Bolshoi Theatre traditionally dates back to the 6th of January of 1825, when a fine classical building with 8-columned portico crowned by the carriage of Apollon appeared in the Theatre's Square. The new theatre is considered to be the second largest of Europe after the famous "La Scala" Theatre of Milan.

Bolshoi Theater at night.
Moscow. Bolshoi Theater at night.

The late 19th, the early 20th century was the golden age of Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre. Its repertoire boasted best operas and ballets by Russian and foreign composers. All productions were unique with the settings designed by Konstantin Korovin, Alexandr Golovin, Appolinary Vasnetsov, Mikhail Vrubel and other well-known painters. Choreographers Marius Petipa and Alexandr Gorsky worked wonders on stage. Despite the turbulent political developments of the first two decades of the 20th century - World War I, the 1917 revolution and the subsequent civil war - the Bolshoi was at the peak of its fame.

A ballet "The Sleeping Beauty".The most favorite operas of that time were works by Michael Glinka "The Life for the Tzar" and "Ruslan and Lioudmila", which could survive and win the italianomania tendency of that time. And till now traditionally every Theatre season begins one of the operas of Glinka.

For 24 years, since 1898 and until his emigration in 1922, Shaliapin sang in two theatres - the Mariinsky Theatre in St.-Petersburg and the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Before the revolution both theatres were administered by a joint board of directors.

As for the Ballet the performances based on Russian themes were replaced by Western romantic themes in the middle of the 19th century. "Sylphide", "Gizel", "Esmeralda" were performed in Russia very soon after premieres in Europe.

Interior of the Bolshoi Theater.
Interior of the Bolshoi Theater.

The season usually began in September and lasted till the end of May (as now). However, the performances used to be presented twice a week. And only in the middle of the winter when all the nobility came back to Moscow, the operas and ballets were put on the stage more often. That was also a time of masked balls.

Opera "Boris Godunov"Today the ballet and opera fans attend the theatre every night. The radical turn of the tastes of public happened in 1870, when gradually appeared the Russian operas "Demon" by Rubenstein (1881), "Eugeny Onegin" by Chaikovsky (1881), "Boris Godunov" by Mysorgsky (1888), "The Prince Igor" by Borodin (1893) and other. In 1899 Fedor Shaliapin, great Russian singer, became a member of the company.

Great Russian Opera Theatres are not only musical cultural centers, but also academies of professional acting technique.

To learn more about Bolshoi Theater please visit their official website at

Moscow's Subway

Moscow Metro.

The Moscow's subway ( Metro) is not the oldest one in the world, its stations welcomed their first passengers in 1930 only. However, the architectural style and the fascinating design of many Metro stations deserved the name of the "Underground Palace".

Nearly all stations are decorated with various natural stones having unique structure and beauty.
Moscow Subway Station.The natural stone materials used for the Moscow's Metro stations (about 3/4 of the total area of walls and more than half of the area of floors) contribute to the architectural expression and, moreover, make the stone decoration of the underground palaces practically eternal.
The most ancient decorative material used to fascinate the "Underground Palaces" of Moscow is a coarse-grained pink marble from the southern shore of Baikal Lake. The age of marble is about 2 billion years, i.e. about half of life of our planet. The Moscow Metro is the most popular and, that is why, the most overcrowded public transport facility of the city.

Moscow subway token.The first line of the Moscow Metro covered the distance from Sokolniki to Gorky Park and included 13 stations. Currently, there are over 150 stations (including transition stations) of the Moscow Metro.
Click here to view Moscow Subway map.

Tretyakov Gallery

Tretyakov Art Gallery in Moscow.Moscow owns great historical, literary and artistic treasures, not only of national, but of world importance. They are represented in the museums covering the history of the revolution, the natural sciences, the history of art, literature, and the memorial museums.

The Tretyakov Gallery is a national treasure of Russian visual art. The best of various periods and schools can be seen here. Works by Rublev and Dionysius, Ivanov, Brullov, Fedotov, Venetsianov, Perov, Aivazovsky, Kramskoi, Vasnetsov, Vereshchagin, Vrubel, Savrasov, Levitan and Yaroshenko.

Once a month children under the age 18 can visit Tretyakov Gallery for free.

Paintings and Sculptures at Tretyakov Gallery.

To learn more about Tretyakov Gallery please visit their official website.(russian only).

Weather update in Moscow

You can see the current weather conditions in Moscow and the forecast for the next day.

International country code:
+ 7 (Russia)
Area code: 095 (Moscow)

o see more pictures and learn more about Moscow please go to,, websites. To read Moscow Times, English-language daily newspaper, click here.

moscow  |  st. petersburg

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