Regardless of how you pronounce its name, Moscow is a must. From its gripping history to its contemporary ways of living, Russia’s capital offers plenty of notable experiences for its visitors. You will recognize that its past, as one of the former Soviet Union’s head nations, is deeply embedded in what you see today, especially in its architecture and art. Russia’s rich history is very intriguing and Moscow encapsulates it all.
The Moscow Metro | Most people would consider the metro as just that and nothing more, but many stations here in Moscow could be considered underground museums. In some stations, you will notice statues of workers, many dating back to the time of the Soviet Union when socialism was advocated. One of the most sumptuously decorated stations is the Komsomolskaya station, where you can find chandeliers and ornately embellished walls and ceilings. Metro tickets are affordable, but, if you really do not want to pay, there is a machine that can give you one for thirty squats at the Vystavochaya station.
Red Square and the Kremlin | Situated at the very centre of Moscow are the Red Square and the Kremlin. Red Square is a large area enclosed by the brick fortress, where, depending on the season, some activities pop up like ice-skating. The Kremlin is the massive complex of buildings on one side of Red Square sitting just outside the brick fortress. This is where the Russian government is based at and where the president lives. If the flag with the presidential insignia is raised, you’ll know that the president is there. Directly across Red Square, facing the Kremlin is a mall, Gum, which is one of my favorite malls globally because of its lavish interiors. At the top floor of Gum, you will find a canteen that serves Soviet cuisine, while at the ground floor, you’ll find some ice cream made using a traditional recipe preserved from Soviet times. There are so many things to experience here—it is a stunning area with so much to explore.
St. Basil’s Cathedral | An unmistakable icon of Russia. With its domes that emulate flames, or onions as many say, which is somewhat less cathartic, this church is one of the most famous across the globe. With colorful domes topped with golden needles and intricate facades, the cathedral itself creates a lasting remarkable impression.
Russian cuisine is actually quite flavorful contrary to what many might think. Although perhaps Russia is not really known for its dishes, but more so its beverages, specifically vodka. This drink will most likely help you deal instantly with the cold should you decide to go in the winter. But of course, you should have a somewhat full stomach, and this is where their food comes in. Sour cream is added to almost everything from soups to desserts, and I’m all for it.
Pelmeni | What is considered to be Russia’s national dish, pelmeni is essentially minced meat stuffed into a dumpling with a pasta-like consistency. As it cooks, the juices of the filling are sealed inside, which then creates an outburst of flavour as you bite into the dumpling. Pelmeni are similar to Polish pierogies, which are mostly just vegetarian versions of this pastry dumpling.
Blini | A crepe, but make it Russian. This is a fail-safe dish that is very popular in many restaurants. It can be either savory or sweet, depending on the toppings. It is enjoyed with any choice of cheese, jams, caviar, and of course sour cream. My classic go-to would be when it is drizzled with sweet condensed milk and powdered with some icing sugar, which creates a delectable dessert.
Moscow’s cultural heritage is very much reflected in its traditions, food, and architecture. This city has a range of aesthetics, from the simplicity of many people’s lives during the Soviet era, to the lavish lifestyles of Russian royalty. Whether you’re into history or not, their past will certainly intrigue you.