“Moscow had this incredible, intense atmosphere of intrigue and darkness and secrecy.” Alan Furst

 

Think of a city that is among the largest in the world, brimming with good-looking people, replete with museums, parks, restaurants, night clubs, monuments, and visited by 17 million tourists every year.

 

But it is also the northernmost and the coldest capital city in the world (55*latitude N). The record low temperature was recorded at -43*F.  This is Moscow, an 800-year old megapolis, and the heart of the Legendary Russian Federation.

 

Moscow was “founded” in year 1156, by Yuri Dolgoruky, on the bank of the 311-mile long Moskva River. Since then, it has always been the capital of Russia, barring a two century-hiatus (1712-1917) during which it was replaced by Saint Petersburg, its Northwestern competitor.  Today, Moscow covers an area of 2511 square miles, and is home to 12.5 million residents (92% are Russians, 2% are Ukrainians, etc.).

 

Moscow is known as the Third Rome.  It has succeeded Rome and Byzantium, as the heir of true Christianity. This is after Ivan the Terrible ended the Mongolian rule on the city and married the niece of the last Byzantine emperor.

 

Moscow had a protracted war against the Mongol and Tartar invaders. It was burned to the ground, three times, last one during the 1812 Napoleon invasion of Russia. It lost 100,000 Muscovites to famine in 1601-03.  It saw the advent of the Romanov dynasty, with Czar Mikail, the first Romanov, in 1613. It lost 80% of its citizens to the 1654-55 plague epidemics. It witnessed multiple riots, protests, uprisings and two revolutions.  It was besieged by the Germans during World War II. It attended in first-row the spectacle of the demise of the Soviet Union.

 

Moscow is revered for its architecture, its numerous historical sites, its beautiful women.

 

Every day, 2.6 million cars are driven in the streets of Moscow, and traffic is abominable, mostly around the city center.  Therefore, as a visitor, it may be a dreadful idea for you to drive the streets of Grandiose Moscow, to discover its sites, its secrets and its venues.  You should use a tour company, a private guide with a car, or the metro and your map.

The metro is regarded as the best in the world.  The 206 stations are decorated like museums, 44 of them are on the list of UNESCO Cultural Heritage sites.  Trains arrive every 90-second, on the dot; never miss. And the ride is only 55 ruble, i.e. $0.84.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of attractions, venues and sites you may be interested in:

 

Red Square

Saint Basil Cathedral

Kremlin (and the Armoury)
Lenin Mausoleum

Gorky Park

Kolomenskoje Park

Izmaylovskiy Market

Victory Museum

Astronaut Museum

Kitay Gorod

Arbat Street

The Seven Gingerbread Buildings
Cathedral of Christ the Savior

Bolshoi Theater.

Gum Department Store (1,000 stores, well decorated).

Metro ride

Boat ride on the Moskva River.

…and if you want a bride, you will come home with one.

 

It is unfortunate that so few people speak English outside of the tourist industry, and that Russia is so hard to pronounce let alone to learn.

 

It is very unlikely that you will be contented after one week in Moscow.  The conurbation is 500-year older than New York city, and has three times more attractions than the City that Never Sleeps.

 

From the Courtyard Marriott, this is the Traveller reporting from Saint Petersburg, capital of the former Russian Empire…

 

(Odler Robert Jeanlouie, Monday June 25, 2018)

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