17 Top Tourist Attractions in Moscow

by Alexander Maxim
St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, Russia

Russia is the largest country in terms of land area, spanning almost 5,000 kilometers from west to east. Its western neighbors are Norway and Finland; its eastern neighbors are Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine; its southwestern neighbors are Georgia and Azerbaijan; and its eastern and southern neighbors are Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. Although it is located mostly in Asia, the vast majority of Russia’s population resides in European regions, and European cultural influences can be seen across the country.

Russia has a diverse landscape, from the icy Siberian areas to the volcanic regions, and the busy cities in between. Moscow and St. Petersburg, the country’s two largest cities, have the highest concentration of tourist attractions and are thus recommended.

The capital city of Russia, Moscow, is home to several well-known attractions, including Red Square and the stunning St. Basil Cathedral. The Kremlin, the fortified government complex and official residence of the Russian president, is also close to Red Square.

The Winter Palace, a symbol of Imperial Russia’s riches and power, is one of St. Petersburg’s most popular landmarks. The Heritage Museum is the largest museum in the world, housing more than 3 million objects and artworks from Europe, Asia, and Russia.

The Kamchatka Peninsula is well-known outside of urban areas for its volcanic landscape, hot springs, geysers, and abundance of animals. Kizhi Island, in Lake Onega, is a big open-air museum where visitors can learn about the history of rural life in Russia.

The Russian train network is perhaps the best option for getting around the country. The Trans-Siberian Railway route crosses the whole width of Russia and passes through several stunning landscapes.

The Russian capital, Moscow, is a fantastic travel destination. Many tourists leave Moscow in awe of the city’s immensity and splendor, having been awed by the city’s many outstanding sites. The historical, political, and spiritual centers of Moscow and, by extension, all of Russia are located in and around Red Square and the Kremlin.

Staggering cathedrals, churches, and palaces sit next to harsh gray monuments and ruins from the Soviet era, making for an interesting city to stroll around. The museums, theaters, and galleries in Moscow are among the best in the world.

Moscow is world-famous for its magnificent ballets and stunning circus feats, so don’t miss a spectacle while you’re there. Everyone may find something to their liking among the city’s many excellent dining options, hip drinking establishments, and exciting nightlife.

17. Tsaritsyno Palace

Grand palace of queen Catherine the Great in Tsaritsyno.

The Grand Palace, located in the Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve in Moscow, Russia. Image source: Detyukov Sergey/Shutterstock.com

Tsaritsyno Palace is a beautiful museum-reserve that was formerly Catherine the Great’s summertime palace. The building itself is stunning, and the park in which it sits is beautiful.

The opulent interior, including the palace’s majestic halls and stunning staircases, appears better than ever after recent repairs. The palace, located in the southern part of Moscow, was commissioned in 1775.

Both the empress’s life and Tsaritsyno’s history are examined via the exhibits on view. The vast palace grounds are also home to a number of other charming structures, including a magnificent opera house and the beautiful brickwork of the Small Palace.

16. VDNKh

VDNKh park in the sunset.

The view of VDNKh Park during the golden hour in Moscow, Russia. Image source: Ivan Kurmyshov/Shutterstock.com

It was originally the “All-Union Agricultural Exhibition” in 1935, but VDNKh has evolved into the interesting outdoor museum that it is today. Surprisingly, there are currently over 400 structures waiting to be discovered inside its confines.

The enormous park has various pavilions from former Soviet republics, such as Armenia and Turkmenistan, and the unique architecture of each pavilion is always worth a look. In addition, the Moskvarium Aquarium is loads of fun, and there’s even a chance to swim with dolphins, as well as the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics, which is entirely devoted to space travel.

The Friendship of Nations fountain is fantastic since it is conveniently located near a wide variety of restaurants and exciting activities like horseback riding and ziplining.

15. Kremlin Armoury

Kremlin Armory Museum in Moscow, Russia.

The exterior of the Kremlin Armory Museum located in Moscow Kremlin, Russia. Image source: elina/Shutterstock.com

The Kremlin Armory is one of the city’s oldest museums and houses a variety of priceless artifacts, including the beautiful Imperial Crown of Russia and the elaborate Grand Siberian Railway egg, both of which draw large crowds of visitors who eagerly try to get the best shot possible.

The former royal armory now houses many interesting artifacts. You can learn a lot and have a good time browsing the many swords, jewels, and armor on display, and you might even wish you could pick up and use one of the blades yourself, such is their quality.

The museum was established in 1851 and is housed in the Moscow Kremlin.

14. GUM (Department Store)

Interior of GUM State Department Store on Red Square, Moscow.

The eclectic interior design of the GUM State Department Store on Red Square in Moscow, Russia. Image source: Alexey Pevnev/Shutterstock.com

GUM, which stands for “Main Universal Store” in Russian, is an impressive acronym. It blends in well with the other famous buildings around it on Red Square because of its gorgeous skylights and façade.

Inside, you’ll discover over 200 stores, boutiques, and upscale cafés, making it a shopper’s paradise while also satisfying the budgetary needs of your worried significant other.

Opened in 1893, GUM is the city’s premier department store. Even if shopping isn’t your thing, you should still go because of the beautiful architecture.

13. Moscow Metro

Prospekt Mira subway station in Moscow, Russia.

The interior of Prospekt Mira subway station in Moscow, Russia. Image source: Marco Rubino/Shutterstock.com

Very rarely does a means of public transportation also double as a beautiful piece of architecture. The beauty and sophistication of many Moscow Metro stations are sure to wow first-time visitors.

One of the longest metro systems in the world, the first stations of which opened in 1935, is a sight to see with its marble floors and wall-to-wall paintings.

It’s worth fighting the hordes of commuters on the subway to see the sights of Moscow, which are well worth the time saved.

12. Arbat Street

The Arbat is a busy street consisting of beautiful buildings that was formerly favored by the aristocracy, artists, and scholars.

The historic route used by Napoleon’s armies to storm the Kremlin began on Arbat Street, making it a significant historical site.

There are now several cafés, restaurants, and stores in the area, in addition to memorials honoring prominent citizens like Alexander Pushkin (who was said to have been the Russian Empress’s lover owing to his immense influence at court) and other historical figures.

11. Novodevichy Convent

The Novodevichy Convent is housed in a magnificent structure that was once a fortress and is replete with historical significance. While in Moscow, you must make time to see this fascinating place.

The convent was established in 1524, and it is home to four cathedrals; however, the Smolensk Cathedral is where you should focus your attention owing to the exquisite murals it features from the 16th century.

Simply exploring the grounds is like traveling back in time. Several prominent Soviet leaders, including Yeltsin and Khrushchev, are laid to rest at Moscow’s Novodevichy Cemetery.

10. Pushkin Museum

State Museum of Fine Arts named after AS Pushkin.

The facade of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, Russia. Image source: dimbar76/Shutterstock.com

In spite of being named in honor of the well-known poet after his death, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts has nothing to do with him. Featuring works by European masters such as Botticelli, Rembrandt, and van Gogh, the museum is a joy for art lovers.

Sculptures, graphics, paintings, and more can all be found in its stunning galleries, which are separated into several sub-sections that focus on certain topics and historical periods, such as the Renaissance, the Dutch Golden Age, and Byzantine art.

The clownish characters in Cezanne’s Fastnacht (Mardi Gras) and the graceful ballerinas in Degas’ Blue Dancers are only two of the numerous highlights. Similarly, Picasso’s Young Acrobat on a Ball is fascinating because of its innovative use of color and shape.

9. Christ the Savior Cathedral

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, Russia.

The iconic Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, Russia. Image source: Julia Perova/Shutterstock.com

Within walking distance of the Kremlin, you’ll find this stunning Russian Orthodox cathedral on the banks of the Moskva River.

The current church was dedicated in 2000; its predecessor was demolished in 1931 as part of Josef Stalin’s anti-religious campaign.

The Christ the Savior Cathedral is beautiful, with its golden dome, spires, and pristine white façade. Beautifully tiled flooring and an enormous altar make the inside just as interesting to explore.

8. Lenin Mausoleum

Lenin's Mausoleum on Red Square, Moscow, Russia.

The iconic Lenin’s Mausoleum on Red Square in Moscow, Russia. Image source: Marco Rubino/Shutterstock.com

Lenin’s Mausoleum is a must-see for every visitor to Moscow and was first opened to the public in 1924. The building is made of red granite and is situated in the city’s central Red Square.

Walking by the embalmed corpse of the former leader of the Soviet Union, Lenin, who is housed in a glass sarcophagus, is a strange but worthwhile experience since it is impossible to replicate anywhere else in the world.

When you’ve finished exploring the mausoleum, go on to the Kremlin wall next door to see the resting places of other prominent communists, including Stalin and Brezhnev.

7. Tretyakov Gallery

State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Russia.

The State Tretyakov Gallery, the foremost depository of Russian fine art in the world. Image source: Popova Valeriya/Shutterstock.com

The State Tretyakov Gallery is a must-see while in Moscow, since it houses the world’s largest and best collection of Russian fine art.

Originally the Tretyakov brothers’ private art collection, the museum today houses approximately 130,000 works of art. The Theotokos of Vladimir, an instantly recognizable symbol even if you’re unfamiliar with its name, and Rublev’s Trinity, widely regarded as one of Russia’s greatest artistic triumphs, are among the exhibition’s highlights.

The State Tretyakov Gallery is a fantastic destination for art enthusiasts.

6. Kolomenskoye

Aerial view of the Kolomenskoye Museum-Reserve, Moscow, Russia.

A stunning aerial view of the Kolomenskoye Museum-Reserve in Moscow, Russia. Image source: Andrey Nosik/Shutterstock.com

Located a short distance from the heart of the city, the former royal estate of Kolomenskoye is now a museum and nature reserve. an interesting destination with stunning views of the Moskva River and an abundance of historical artifacts on display.

There are huge gardens to explore, as well as tons of intriguing old buildings, the actual location of the former village of Kolomenskoye, and the spectacular Palace of Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich, which was once regarded as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”

The white Ascension Church, built in 1532, is without a doubt the most eye-catching of the numerous impressive landmarks.

5. Gorky Park

Central gate to Gorky Park in Moscow, Russia.

The central gate to Gorky Park in Moscow, Russia. Image source: slava17/Shutterstock.com

Huge and beautiful, Gorky Park can be found near the Moskva River. While the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art’s eclectic exhibits may not always feature such incredible sights as a balloon-covered rider on a zebra, they certainly always succeed in pushing back the boundaries of art, and the museum’s expansive gardens are home to a number of other cultural institutions as well.

The park often hosts festivals and pop-up exhibits, and it is home to an open-air theater and a wide variety of restaurants.

If you’re looking for a place to go cycling, table tennis, yoga, rowing, or even just to relax, Gorky Park has you covered. There is an enormous ice rink open to the public throughout the winter months.

4. Bolshoi Theatre

Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia.

The iconic Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia. Image source: TTstudio/Shutterstock.com

Russia’s national theater is the Bolshoi. Russia’s impressive history of opera and ballet performances throughout the years explains much about its illustrious cultural heritage in the field.

The Bolshoi Theatre was opened in 1825, but the Bolshoi Ballet Company was founded in 1776. The spectacular six-tiered theater is furnished lavishly and decadently, befitting the world-class performances that take place there.

The Bolshoi Theatre is a stunning venue for a night of ballet, and seeing a classic like The Nutcracker or Swan Lake there is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

3. Moscow Kremlin

Kremlin Armory, Moscow Kremlin

The Kremlin Armory is a museum in Moscow, Russia. Image source: elina/Shutterstock.com

The complex is the political, religious, and cultural heart of the city, and its famed fortifications are home to five palaces and four cathedrals. It is the president of Russia who lives in the Kremlin. Its massive size indicates that it has served as a fort in the past. The outside walls of the Kremlin were constructed in the late 1400s.

In the reign of Ivan III, sometimes known as Ivan the Great, the Kremlin was significantly renovated to serve as the administrative heart of a united Russia. From 1462 until 1505, he was Tsar of Russia, and during his reign, three cathedrals in the Kremlin were constructed. It was also during this period that the Deposition Church and the Palace of Facets were built. A bell tower named for Ivan the Great was constructed in 1508. In terms of height, at 266 feet, it is the highest tower in the Kremlin (81 meters).

Many artifacts from the tsarist and imperial eras were destroyed or taken by Joseph Stalin. The Tsar Bell, the biggest bell in the world, and the Tsar Cannon, the largest bombard by caliber, are two of the few relics from that time that have survived to the present day. Because it was founded over two centuries ago, the Kremlin Armory is one of Moscow’s oldest museums. The diamonds in its collection are quite magnificent.

Taynitsky, the Grand Kremlin Public, and Alexander Gardens, all located inside the Kremlin, are stunning. There are a great many old churches and cathedrals in and around the Kremlin because of its role as the spiritual heart of Russia. There are almost 60,000 artifacts from history, culture, and the arts housed at the museums. Those interested in the performing arts can think about checking out a concert or ballet performance at the State Kremlin Palace. It was finished in 1961, making it the newest structure in the Kremlin.

2- The Red Square

Kremlin and Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow

The Kremlin and Saint Basil’s Cathedral are two iconic landmarks of Moscow, Russia. Image source: Viacheslav Lopatin/Shutterstock.com

The Red Square, located in the middle of Moscow, is the city’s most significant and eye-catching public space. Due to its abundance of historical sites and cultural icons, it is one of the most visited places in the world.

The massive square, steeped in history, is home to amazing landmarks including the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, and Lenin’s Mausoleum. Thus, it is a must-see for every visitor to Moscow, since it contains many of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

The old marketplace has played home to several important events in Russian history, ranging from the coronations of Tsars and public ceremonies to rock concerts and Soviet military parades. One of the best ways to get a feel for a city is to take a stroll around its enormous central square.

1. Saint Basil’s Cathedral

St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, Russia

St. Basil’s Cathedral is a symbol of Moscow, Russia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Image source: dimbar76/Shutterstock.com

The beautiful St. Basil’s Cathedral can be found in the center of Red Square; its charming spires seem as if they were plucked straight from a fairy tale. Being the most well-known structure in all of Russia, the cathedral serves as a potent emblem of the country itself. Moscow is a beautiful city, and no trip would be complete without taking in its many fascinating sights.

St. Basil’s Cathedral was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in the middle of the sixteenth century, and legend has it that the tyrant had the architect’s eyes gouged out so that he could never create another cathedral more magnificent than St. Basil’s. The building, which takes the form of a blaze in full flame, is unprecedented not only for the time period in which it was constructed but for all times in the future as well. Napoleon and Stalin, for different reasons, tried to demolish the cathedral, but neither of them was able to.

St. Basil’s Cathedral, well renowned for its vibrant mosaics and intricate geometric designs, is really comprised of nine separate chapels linked by a maze of halls and stairs. The corpse of Saint Basil the Blessed is housed in a silver coffin in the chapel of the same name on the lower level. Numerous paintings, frescoes, wooden icons, and other works of art adorn the cathedral’s walls and ceilings. The bronze monument to Minin and Pozharsky, who led a volunteer Russian army to victory against Polish invaders in the late 16th century, is in a beautiful park outside the cathedral.

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