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Moscow Introduction Walk (Self Guided), Moscow

Moscow is the capital and the largest city in Russia. It is also a major political, cultural, economic and religious center. The city has a big number of places that worth being visited. Take this orientation walk to explore the best attractions Moscow has to offer.
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Moscow Introduction Walk Map

Guide Name: Moscow Introduction Walk
Guide Location: Russia » Moscow (See other walking tours in Moscow)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 13
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 Km or 3.4 Miles
Author: clare
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Red Square
  • St. Basil's Cathedral
  • Lobnoye Mesto
  • Lenin's Mausoleum
  • GUM Department Store
  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
  • Alexander Garden
  • Kremlin
  • Kremlin Armoury
  • Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
  • Cathedral of Christ the Savior
  • Monument to Peter the Great
  • Gorky Park
Red Square

1) Red Square (must see)

Red Square is a city square in Moscow that separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-gorod. It is often considered the central square of Moscow and all of Russia because Moscow's major streets—which connect to Russia's major highways—originate from the square.

The name Red Square does not originate from the pigment of the surrounding bricks (which, in fact, were whitewashed at certain times in history) nor from the link between the color red and communism. Rather, the name came about because the Russian word красная (krasnaya) can mean either "red" or "beautiful" (the latter being rather archaic. This word, with the meaning "beautiful", was originally applied to Saint Basil's Cathedral and was subsequently transferred to the nearby square. It is believed that the square acquired its current name (replacing the older Pozhar, or "burnt-out place") in the 17th century.

Why You Should Visit:
Flanked by the Kremlin on one side, GUM department store on the other, with St Basil's Cathedral at the end, this is a place you need to go to take in some of Russia's unique beauty.

Make sure to also see it at night as all of the buildings are lit up.
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Basil's Cathedral

2) St. Basil's Cathedral (must see)

One of the most recognizable landmarks in Russia, Saint Basil’s Cathedral features eastern style architecture and nine stunning chapels with onion-style domes. Originally named the Trinity Church, this structure was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century to celebrate the capture of Khanate of Kazan from Mongol forces. This stunning and picturesque former house of worship is now a museum that plays hosts to the yearly Day of Intercession service.

Located next to the Kremlin, symmetry and brilliant colors are the focal points of this holy place with eight of the chapels flawlessly surrounding the ninth and highest chapel. In addition, the mosque-like design reflects the influence of the Kazan region and perfectly blends eastern and western influences. The eight towers represent the eight battles on Kazan. The ninth tower, which was added in 1588, is the resting place for Saint Basil. Each chapel is named after a saint and interconnected with each other via passages. Highlights of the cathedral include a garden, 400 plus icons from the 16th and 19th centuries, 19th-century portrait and landscape artwork, and the tomb of Saint Basil.

Why You Should Visit:
The colorful onion-dome exterior and the multiple-chapel structure with many well-kept paintings and wooden carvings make this truly a precious gem for Russia and for photo geeks alike.
Oftentimes small choirs are on hand during the day to showcase the building’s superb acoustics.

Don't miss the chance to take the picture for both at noon and at night, which is simply stunning to behold.
There is a new expansive park along the river on the opposite side that has stunning views and camera angles of the Cathedral.
Make sure you check if their tours are open – schedules vary randomly during the week.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-7pm
Lobnoye Mesto

3) Lobnoye Mesto

Lobnoye Mesto, or the Place of the Skulls is a 13-meter long stone podium located in front of Saint Basil’s Cathedral on the Red Square in Moscow. Constructed in 1530 by Boris Godunov, this site was used during the tsarist era to make public proclamations and to conduct religious ceremonies such as the donkey walk procession. Vladimir Lenin also used this site to unveil a monument to Stepan Razin, a Cossack rebel who led uprisings against the nobility and the tsar in 1919. The monument was later removed. The round dais makes an impressive statement against the backdrop of eye-catching edifices of the Red Square and is striking when viewed at night against the Russian backlights.

Lobnoye Mesto is also the site where Prince Pozharsky proclaimed victory over Polish aggressors during the Times of Trouble in 1612. A statue of Kuzma Minin and Prince Pozharsky who helped to organize the army that defeated the Polish is nearby. One common misconception about Lobnoye Mesto is that executions were carried out at this location. Most executions were performed at Vasilevsky Spusk, a square between Saint Basil's and Moscow River. The original podium was brick. In 1786, architect Matvei Kazakov reconstructed the podium in white stone.
Lenin's Mausoleum

4) Lenin's Mausoleum (must see)

The final resting place of the illustrious former Russian Marxist activist Vladimir Lenin is located in the Red Square by the Kremlin Wall. Almost immediately after the Father of the Revolution’s death in 1924, the Russian people decided that a simple burial would not do. In response to the thousands of telegrams received urging the regime to preserve Lenin’s memory for future generations, the government began the task of constructing a proper resting place for the former radical. The first resting place for Lenin was a wooden tomb constructed by architect Aleksei Shchusev in 1929. The wooden tomb was eventually replaced with one made out of stone.

One of the most interesting facts about the mausoleum is the care taken to preserve Lenin’s corpse. Long rumored to be a wax model, it is indeed Lenin that mausoleum visitors will see. A special and complicated embalming process helps to keep the body presentable to the public. An interesting side note about Lenin’s tomb is that Joseph Stalin was briefly interred near Lenin until the government buried Stalin in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis during its de-Stalinization period.

No photography, video or audio recording of any kind is allowed in the mausoleum. All visitors are searched by staff before entry and visitors are expected to show respect during their visit.

Why You Should Visit:
You get to see Lenin for a minute or so!

Remember to keep moving – you won't be there to stop and stare.
It's also important to note that there is no charge for the mausoleum.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Wed, Thu, Sat: 10am-1pm (the earlier you get there, the shorter the queue)
GUM Department Store

5) GUM Department Store (must see)

GUM or Glavny Universalny Magazin, is a famous shopping center located on the Red Square. Formerly known as the State Department Store, or the Upper Trading Rows, this shopping center is well known for its exclusive stores that carry brand name labels that are well-known in the western world.

GUM was built in the 1800s by architect Alexander Pomerantsev and engineer Vladimir Shukhov. The top floor of the shopping center used to contain a secret store, Section 101, which only high ranking members of the Communist party could access.

The mall was converted into office space during the Stalin era. In the 1950s, GUM once again became a popular shopping center that, unlike other stores, did not suffer from shortages of inventory. In the 1990s, GUM was privatized and became the Mecca for many western vendors.

Shopping isn’t the only thing one can do. Many cultural events and artistic events take place at the center. Russian figure skaters are known to visit the grand skating rink. The food that one can enjoy at spots like Café Festivalnoe, Stolovaya № 57, or Gastronome № 1, makes the trip worth the wait. GUM is particularly brilliant at night when the numerous lights that line the building are in full display.

Why You Should Visit:
Huge amount of shops, many high-end shops, as well as some of the best meals near Red Square.
Architecturally it is very intriguing and mesmerizing, with the glass ceiling as the star of the show.
Worth visiting at night as well, when it is lit up magnificently.

Try lining up for the special & very popular ice cream kiosks to add up to the experience. Getting ice cream while walking under the amazing glass arcade is quite a treat.
Also, take a moment (and some cash) to 'enjoy' the luxury toilet in place.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

6) Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Situated near the Kremlin Wall, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a monument, erected in honor of the Soviet soldiers who died in the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945). The central feature of this memorial is a platform made up of big red granite plates.
Alexander Garden

7) Alexander Garden

Alexander Garden is considered to be one of the first public parks in Moscow. The garden occupies the whole length of the western Kremlin wall. Alexander Garden is subdivided in three smaller parks, it has also a river on its territory which makes of it a perfect attraction to contemplate the Kremlin wall.

8) Kremlin (must see)

Located in the heart of the city, the Kremlin is a historic complex and an important landmark in Moscow. It is famous for its citadels called kremlins. The complex consists of 8 cathedrals and palaces surrounded by the Kremlin Wall. The Moscow Kremlin complex also represents the official President's residence.

Why You Should Visit:
Surely a key feature of any Moscow tour and rightly so. Looking at it from any angle and you get huge walls and ornate towers.
Impressive and well maintained, including the park that goes with it and features lots of fountains and storybook sculptures.

Take your photos from the other side of the river or from the boat on the Moskva river.
You can also get a fantastic view of the East walls from the new viewing bridge in Zaryadye Park.
The lines to enter the Kremlin are usually quite long, and the area itself is large, so you'll need to account for that time.
For access to different areas in addition to Kremlin, such as the Armoury, the Diamond Fund, or church area, you will need separate tickets.
Kremlin Armoury

9) Kremlin Armoury (must see)

Established in 1808, The Armoury is one of the oldest museums in Moscow. The museum's initial charge was to produce and store weapons. It has a wide collection of treasures of the Golden and Silver chambers of the Russian Tsars. The museum also houses a unique collection of Russian jewelry called the Diamond Fund. The Armoury is not only the official museum of Kremlin but also an important representative of Russia's culture.

Why You Should Visit:
Every cabinet contains an incredible piece of Russian history, from Alexander the Great's boots to crowns, jewels and gem-encrusted items, splendid costumes, royal coaches, religious artifacts, state gifts, a beautiful Fabergé display and on an on...

Getting tickets online is a great time-saver because all you have to do is go to the ticket office and claim your pre-purchased tickets.
Tickets to the Armory are for a specific time and separate from the Cathedral tickets, so make sure you check for your entrance time.
Once inside, you can easily borrow audio guides (deposit required) and can stroll through the halls.
Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

10) Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts (must see)

The Pushkin State Museum, named in honor of the great poet Alexander Pushkin, the father of Russian literature, contains an extensive collection of fine arts from around the world. Located in the heart of Moscow, near the Kremlin, it is one of the largest and most prolific museums in Russia. Only the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg is larger.

Originally named the Museum of Fine Arts, the museum opened in 1912. In 1937, it was renamed the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Although the museum originally housed copies of international and well-known masterpieces, its collection grew to over 560,000 authentic works of art through donations from closed museums and art galleries, nationalized estates, and confiscated private collections.

An impressive collection of Egyptian mummies, Greek and Roman gods, and works from Van Gogh, Botticelli, Gauguin, Rembrandt, Picasso, Canaletto, Guardi, Dufrénoy, Tiepolo, Matisse, and others regally fill the rooms of the museum. There are also many private collections that show promise of being accessible to the public in the near future. The musical festival December Nights has been held at the museum since 1981.

Why You Should Visit:
Along with permanent collection, there are always several important temporary exhibitions (tickets for the latter are quite limited so check online).
The entrance price to the museum and all exhibitions is very affordable, however.
Small cafe in the basement with a blackboard menu in Russian and English.

You can buy one- or two-day tickets up to 30 days in advance (remember to print your voucher), or you could try buying tickets at the less crowded Museum of Contemporary Art next door.
Access to permanent collections does not require the wait – just go around the queue and buy a cheap ticket.
Also, try renting one of the audio guides, because the descriptions for each painting are all in Russian.

Opening hours: Tue-Wed, Fri-Sun: 11am-8pm; Thu, Fri: 11am-9pm
Cathedral of Christ the Savior

11) Cathedral of Christ the Savior

The Cathedral of Christ the Savior is considered to be the tallest Eastern Orthodox Church. Located a few blocks west of the Kremlin, the cathedral is built in a Neo-Byzantine design, which was approved in 1937 by the Tsar. The Cathedral of Christ the Savior is the largest and one of the most important representatives of Russian architecture.
Monument to Peter the Great

12) Monument to Peter the Great

Designed by the Georgian designer Zurab Tsereteli, Peter the Great Statue commemorates 300 years of the Russian Navy's start by Peter I. The statue has a height of 94 meters and is famous by being the seventh tallest statue in the world. The Statue of Peter the Great is made of a mix of materials which were prepared especially for the statue to maintain its impressive vision.
Gorky Park

13) Gorky Park

Situated across the Moscow River, Gorky Park is an amusement park called in honor to Maxim Gorky. The Park covers an area of 300 acres of land where children's playgrounds, carousels and old buildings from the late 18th and early 19th centuries are dislocated. The Park has a so called Graveyard of Fallen Monuments which represents a collection of old Soviet statues.

Walking Tours in Moscow, Russia

Create Your Own Walk in Moscow

Create Your Own Walk in Moscow

Creating your own self-guided walk in Moscow is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Popular Sights of All-Russian Exhibition Center in Moscow

Popular Sights of All-Russian Exhibition Center in Moscow

Also known as VDNKh, the All-Russian Exhibition Center in Moscow is a large complex that occupies a territory of 3 square kilometers and has 400 buildings. The complex provides commercial space for major exhibits, and houses Russia's most important monuments, such as Worker and Kolkhoz Woman, the Friendship of Nations fountain, monument to the Conquerors of Space etc. Don't miss the...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.2 Km or 3.9 Miles
Red Square Walking Tour

Red Square Walking Tour

Located in the heart of Moscow, the Red Square is regarded to be the central square of the whole Russia. It is also one of the most famous squares in the whole world. Spend 3 hours to this self guided tour and enjoy the sights of the heart of Moscow.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.9 Km or 0.6 Miles
A Walking Tour in Kitai-Gorod, Moscow

A Walking Tour in Kitai-Gorod, Moscow

Kitai-Gorod means China town in the Russian language. This is one of the oldest historical sites in the center of Moscow. In the past, Kitai-Gorod's territory was occupied by traders and craftsmen. Today the famous district is a preserved zone, due Gostiny Dvor, Moscow's first Print Yard, and other meaningful attractions that are presented in the guide below.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Moscow without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Moscow, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 4 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.4 Km or 5.8 Miles
Museum Walk in the Center of Moscow

Museum Walk in the Center of Moscow

Moscow is the capital of Russia and the cultural center of the country. The city boasts a large number of museums which reveal Russia's culture and development. Take this hour tour to visit Moscow's most representative museums in the center of the city.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 Km or 3.7 Miles
Most Popular Garden Ring Attractions in Moscow

Most Popular Garden Ring Attractions in Moscow

The Garden Ring is the major circular avenue around downtown of Moscow. Originally, the Garden Ring was built as a defensive fortification for Moscow. Today, the circumference of sixteen kilometers of the avenue is rich in architectural beauties, monuments, museums etc. The tour suggested below will help you get more familiar with Moscow's Garden Ring and its fascinating sights.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

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