Moscow was Russia’s capital before Peter the Great moved it to St. Petersburg. Even then, it never lost its spirit, its zest, and its intensity. This particular attitude was the guiding light of some of Russia’s greatest writers and poets. When the capital went back to Moscow, the mystique continues.
Even with the major historic upheavals to the country (1918 Communist Revolution, the dissolution of the union of the Republics, and the new power of Russia now, Moscow had always kept its spirit going amidst all the changes.
As the capital city of Russia, Moscow is home to over 10 million residents and countless non-residents living in the city proper alone. It is, in fact, the most populous city in Russia and all throughout Europe, and some people already baptizing it as a megacity.
In fact, some things stand out fro the city. It has the largest trolleybus system in the world, a major city with most forest around its borders, and has the busiest subway system in Europe (3rd, world wide).
At any season and any hour of the day, Moscow has some sites that can thrill visitors with its majesty, artistry and some history. The most visible would be the founding site of the city: the Kremlin and the Red Square.
Of course, the most magnificent of all is the one and only St. Basil’s Cathedral. Officially, it is known as the “Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat”. St. Basil, a Muscovite, was buried here at Trinity Cathedral before the present structure was erected.
It was constructed under orders by Ivan the Terrible in 1552 (finished in 1560) to celebrate the capture of Kazan from the Mongols. An urban legend had it that Ivan had the builders blinded so they cannot create anything to compare.
It is now a museum and the only service during the year is the Day of the Intercession held every October.
Classical performing arts in Moscow are still strong and still among the world’s best. Watch how a beautiful ballerina defies gravity and float as she leaps and spins across the stage at a performance of the splendid Bolshoi Ballet.
Or, perhaps shudder at the force of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture just some few blocks away from where it had premiered to world-wide acclaim more than a century ago. For the mundane, perhaps you cannot help yourself being mesmerized by the soaring movements of circus performers under a traditional circus tent.
Among Moscow’s shopping places, the busiest is the famous Tveskaya Street. At Kitai-gorod, the up-market boutique stores of Bulgari, Tiffany and Co., Armani, Prada and Bentley are lined up here.
At night, it becomes a glittering meeting place for the young. Moscow, as a matter of fact, is being flooded with clubs, bars, creative spaces, galleries, cafés and restaurants-turned-into-dance-floors with new openings every year.
In Moscow, you need not be as glamorous or high-heeled or deep-pocketed to enjoy the capital at night. The city has something for everyone – nostalgia-rich, retro, rocked out or contemporary, you can have all the let-loose dance clubs you want.
Yet Moscow has all its history and mystique all its own for everyone to be inspired about. It’s everywhere and yet the city is as modern as it can be. One cautionary sign you need to know, too – it is one of the more expensive cities in the world.