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  • What To See in Moscow

    Museums and Galleries

    Tretyakov Gallery
    From icons to Kandinsky, this is the premiere collection of Russian art; most of it unjustly neglected or excluded from the Western canon of art history.

    10-12 Lavrushinsky Pereulok
    Tel: 238-1738/230-7788
    Metro: Tretyakovskaya
    Hours: 10a.m.-8p.m. Tues-Sun.

    Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
    This is to Moscow what the Hermitage is to St. Petersburg -- the major collection of Western art and antiquities. In 1995, it confessed to owning hundreds of works seized from Germany by the Red Army after World War II. These revelations fueled worldide debate regarding their restitution. In 1997, the Russian parliament passed a bill that made the art property of the Russian state.

    12 Volkhonka Ulitsa
    Tel: 203-9578/7798
    Metro: Kropotkinskaya
    Hours: 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Tues-Sun.

    Andrei Ryblyov Museum (inside the Andronikov Monastery)
    The museum is named for the monestary's most celebrated monk- fifteenth century icon painter Andrei Ryblyov. Strangely, there are not any of Rybylov's own icons here, but visiting is worthwhile to see the collection from the Moscow, Rostov and Novgorod schools of painting.

    10 Andronyevskaya Ploshchad
    Tel. 278-1467
    Metro: Ploshchad Ilicha
    Hours: 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. Mon, Tues, Thurs- Sun. Closed last Friday of the month.

    Some Private Galleries
    Moscow hosts numers private galleries that are open for public viewing. Most feature free admssion, and many retain the provocative style of Soviet art venues. The Gelman Gallery (7/7 Ulitsa Malaya Polyanka, Tel: 238-8492, Metro: Polyanka) has exibitions that are usually incorporated into some kind of "happening."

    The Armoury
    This is the principal Kremlin museum, with an unimaginatively rich collection that evolved from the royal weaponry and armour workshops once located here. Court carriages, thrones, crowns, and extensive ambassadoral gifts to Russian tsars are on display here. The "pieces de resistance" of the collection are undoubtebly the Faberge eggs, including one that bears a scale model of the trans-Siberian train in gold, by the famous miniaturist.

    Kremlin, Troitsky Most
    Tel. 202-3776/4526/2808
    Metro: Okhotny Ryad
    Hours: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon-Wed, Fri-Sun.

    Andrei Sakharov Museum and Community Center
    Located in a handsome park across the Garden Ring from the Andrei Sakharov Archives, the museum is a memorial to human rights activist and Nobel Laureate, Andrei Sakharov. It is funded by several Russian and U.S. based foundations dedicated to the development of civil society in Russia and promotes Sakharov's ideals of tolerance, democracy, and civil liberties.

    6/56 Zemlyanoi Val.
    Tel: 923-4401/4420/4115

    State Historical Museum
    The development of Russian civilization, from the early Neanderthal stirrings to the formation of the Kievan Rus, is exhibited here, giving a good idea of what the first and most ferocious tribes to roam the Russian plains actually looked like.

    1 Krasnaya Ploshchad
    Tel. 924-4529
    Metro: Ploshchad Revolutsii, or Okhotny Ryad
    Hours: 11 a.m.- 7 p.m. Mon, Wed-Sun.

    Central Museum of the Revolution
    This is the best twentieth century museum in Moscow. Exhibits range from stones thrown at policemen during the 1905 Revolution to a complete and level headed account of the revolution and coups of the early 1990s.

    21 Tverskaya Ulitsa
    Tel. 299-6724
    Metro: Tverskaya
    Hours: 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Mon-Sat, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Sun.

    Mayakovsky Museum
    Celebrated futurist poet Vladimir Myakovsky moved into a room in this modest communal appartment in 1919, and lived here intermitantly until 1930. Some rooms are preserved as they were when Mayakovsky committed suicide, and others illustrate a futurist chaos strewn with comics drawn by the poet, first editions of his poems and love letters to Lila Brik, with whom he lived for some time.

    3/6 Lybyansky Proyezd
    Tel: 921-9560
    Metro: Lybyanka
    Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon, Tues, Fri-Sun, 1-9 p.m. Thurs.

    Gorky Museum
    A spectacular example of the style moderne complete with ceramic tiles and a cascading marble staircase, this was the home of Maxim Gorky from 1931-36 after he was persuaded by Stalin to return to Russia, but before he was allegedly poisoned by Yagoda, one of Stalin's henchmen.

    6/2 Malaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa
    Tel. 290-0535
    Metro: Arbatskaya
    Hours: 12-7 p.m. Wed, Fri, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Thurs, Sat, Sun. Closed last Friday of the month.

    Russian Museums and Galleries Website

    Estates and Monestaries

    This pink neo-classical building was built of wood in the 1770s by the serfs of Count Sheremeyev, one of th richest landowners in Russia and also responsile for Ostankino. It is th only building of its kind to survive in Russia, and also features extensive gardens fashioned in classical eighteenth century style and marble sculptures imported from Italy. Also hosts a porcelian collection, some hand-decorated with Bolshevik slgans and portraits of the great leaders.

    2 Ryazansky Proyezd
    Tel. 370-0160
    Metro: Pervovo, then a 10 minute walk, or Metro Ryazansky Prospekt, then bus 133 or 208.
    Hours: 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Wed- Sun. Closed last Wed of the month.

    Ostankino Palace
    Built between 1792-98, this is another one of Count Sheremetyev's serf-built palaces. The interior boasts richly adorned ceilings and walls, and an oriental atmosphere in the main hall. The grounds often host summer concerts, and there is a separate pavillion that houses temporary exhibits.

    5 1-ya Ostankino Ulitsa
    Tel. 283-4645/286-6288
    Metro: VDNKh
    Hours: 18 May- 1 Oct 10 a.m.- 5p.m. Tues- Sun, Closed when it is raining, or when humidity is over 80%.

    Most of all, Kolomenskoye is a wonderful expanse of park that attracts many people but never gets crowded. Part of the area is taken up by the Museum of Wooden architecture, as which Kolomenskoye began life in 1667 when Tsar Alexsei erected a wooden palace on the premises. The haphazard arrangement of connecting corridors and bulbous domes was pulled down by Catherine the Great, but not before she ordered an exact model to be made, which is now housed in the museum.

    Metro: Kolomenskaya, exit at the front of the train, turn left in the underpass, then right and walk straight ahead up the hill.
    Hours: grounds- 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. Tues-Sun, museum-11 a.m.-5 p.m.Tues- Sun.

    Volkov-Yusupov Chambers
    The Volkov-Yusupov chambers are a rarity for the fact that they have weathered the test of time. Resembling a fairy-tale castle, the stone house at 21 Bolshoi Kharitonyevsky Pereulok dates back to the 16th century, with reconstruction and redesign continuing up until the 19th century. The powerful and influential have resided in its rooms and wandered in its gardens, including Ivan the Terrible and a very young Alexander Pushkin.

    21 Bolshoi Kharitonyevsky Pereulok
    Metro: Krasnye Vorota

    Novodevichy Monastery
    Established in 1524 to commemorate the recapture of Smolensk by Russian forces, Novodevichy (New Convent of the Maidens) is one of the most beautiful in the city. While the monastery is beautiful, Novodevichy Cemetary is one of the most fasinating spots in Moscow. Pre-revolutionary artistic luminaries, Communist generals and politicians who didn't quite make it ibto the Kremlin wall, as well as Soviet scholars and scientists. Many twentieth century giants are found here, such as, Mikhail Bulgakov, Vladimir Myakovsky, Sergei Eisenstein, Shostavich and Nikita Khrusckev.

    1 Novodovichy Proyezd
    Tel. 246-8526
    Metro: Sportivnaya
    Hours: 8 a.m.- 7 p.m. daily.

    Donskokoi Monastery
    Founded in 1591 by Tsar Fyodor Iannovich to house the Donskaya Icon of the Mother of God as a mark of gratitude for victories over Crimean warlords, the Donskoi Monastery has been plundered three times over- the Time of Troubles, Napolean and the Revolution- after which it became a museum to atheism. Russian tours by one of the monks are extremely rewarding, the charge being a contribution towards upkeep. Visitors should recognize that it is a working monastery and exercise respectful behaviour and modest dress while there.

    1 Donskaya Ploshchad
    Tel. 952-1646
    Metro: Shabolovskaya
    Hours: 7 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. daily.


    Lenin's Mausoleum gracing the edge of Red Square.

    Red Square
    Red Square and the city of Moscow were created simultaneously.While Moscow has changed dramatically, Red Square remains one of the city's constants. Sandwiched between Yury Dolgoruky's new Kremlin walls and the medieval shopping precinct that later became upper trading rows, the new Kremlin is just a little bigger and GUM just a little further back than the tangle of stalls that preceeded it.

    Metro: Okhotney Ryad
    Hours: Lenin's Mausoleum is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Access to the normally wide-open Red Square is restricted during the embalmed Soviet leader's visiting hours.

    St. Basil's Cathedral
    Confusion still exists over who actually built the catherdral. The legend goes, that Ivan the Terrible, who commissioned the construction to celebrate the victory over the Golden Horde, was so overcome with its beauty that he put out the eyes of its architects so that they could never create something to rival it's beauty. The twisting cupolas and clashing colors of the onion domes that make it the best known landmark in Moscow, is also said to exemplify the enigmatic spirit of the Russian people.

    2 Krasnaya Ploshchad (Red Square)
    Tel: 298-3304
    Metro: Ploshchad Revolutsii
    Hours: 10a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon, Wed-Sun. Closed first Mon of each month.

    Old Arbat
    Visitors who wish to understand Russia and her long struggle for freedom should make a point to walk the Arbat. The street existed as early as 1493, as records of a great fire that began in a church once located there confirm. During the reign of Ivan the Terrible it was the home of his sixteenth century secret police. By the seventeenth century it had become the chosen home of aristocrats, and later artists seeking patronage made it their home. It took on its current appearance at the turn of the twentieth century when elegant two and three story buildings were built for bourgeois families. After 1917, these were converted into communal appartments where several working class families lived.

    Metro: Arbatskaya

    The Church of Christ the Saviour
    No other site in Moscow chronicles the successive changing of the guard more than the site of the recently rebuilt Church of Christ the Saviour. The original cathedral was commissioned by Tsar Alexander I to honour Napolean's expulsion in 1812. It took 40 million bricks and 45 years to build and only one day to destroy. In 1931, the monument was imploded on Stalin's directives to make was for the grandiose monstrosity, the Palace of Soviets. Fortunately, this most resented construction never really got off of the ground, and by the late 1950's and Khrushchev's thaw, it had become one of the biggest swimming pools in the world. The original design was reconstructed as colsely as possible, although this time concrete was used and a huge parking lot was added.

    4 Volkhonka Ulitsa
    Metro: Kropotkinskaya
    Hours: 10a.m.- 6p.m. daily.

    Pushkin Square
    Pushkin, on par with Shakespeare and Goethe, was too great ever to be affected by changes in political fashions and was respected in communist and non-communist times alike. The square has been the site of pro-democracy demonstrations in the dying days of communism. Now it is a popular place to meet or rest one's feet after treading along the trendy shopping district of Tverskaya Ulitsa.

    Metro: Pushkinskaya

    Moscow Zoo
    The Moscow Zoo has recently been rennovated and is worth a visit. It is not as large as most city zoos, and is often crowded on pulic holidays and weekends.

    1 Bolshaya Gruzinskaya Ulitsa
    Tel: 254-4693
    Metro: Barrikadnaya or Krasnopresnenskaya
    Hours: May-Sept. 9a.m.-6p.m. Tuesday-Sun.

    Tsvetnoi Bulvar Circus
    The "old" circus is the smaller of the two, and produces fabulous shows that usually have a central theme. The show includes a variety of acts, from clowns to acrobats. The intricate costumes and colorful acts are second to none.

    13 Tsvetnoi Bulvar
    Tel: 200-6889
    Metro: Tsvetnoi Bulvar
    Performances: 7p.m. Mon, Wed, Fri; 3p.m, 7p.m. Sat and Sun.

    Circus on Sparrow Hills
    This new-ish circus has five interchangeable arenas. The acts change constantly, and guarantee a great spectacle for very little money.

    7 Prospect Vernadskogo
    Tel: 930-2815
    Performances: 7p.m. Wed-Fri; 11:30a.m., 3p.m., 7p.m., Sat and Sun.

    Reputedly the largest CD market in Europe, in a huge park. Gorbushka sells mainly pirated Russian and Western popular music, CD-ROMs, computer software and videos.

    27 Novozavodskaya Ulitsa
    Metro: Bagrationskaya
    Hours: 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sat and Sun.

    Izmailovsky Park
    All of the matrioshka dolls, lacquer boxes and Soviet memorabilia that you can handle, as well as some truely beautiful linens and crafts. Vendors are friendly and many speak English.

    Metro: Izmailovski Park, from here follow the crowds.
    Hours: 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. daily.

    Sparrow Hills
    Spectacular look-out point, with a view of Moscow from the south side of the river, overlooking Luzhniki Stadium and Moscow Staue University behind. Sparrow Hills features largely into the devil scenes of Mikhail Bulgakov's most famous novel "The Master and Margarita."

    Metro: Universitet

    Gorky Park
    In winter, Gorky Park is a good place to go ice skating. In summer, it hosts an amusement park.

    Metro: Oktyabrsksya or Park Kultury

    Victory Park
    This vast establishment was completed in 1995 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Soviet Union's World War Two victory. It is worth noting that is it located on the spot where Napoleon stood as he watched Moscow burning. On May 9, Victory Day, Muscovites gather here to celebrate the triumph over Nazi Germany The while crescent shaped building contains the Great Patriotic War Museum (open 10 a.m.-6p.m. Tues-Sun).

    Metro: Kutuzovskaya, then trolly bus to Victory Park

    Moscow River Cruises
    A two hour cruise on one of the boats on the Moscow River is truely a nice way to spend a hot summer day in Moscow. There is an open air top deck and an enclosed bottom deck with a snack bar. You can embark and disembark from any number of docks along the way.

    Piers are located at: Moscow State University, Gorky Park (both sides of the river), Bolshoi Karmeny Most (by the Estrada Theater opposit the Kremlin), Hotel Rossiya, Bolshoi Krasnoholmsky Most and the Novospassky Monastery (monastery side).
    Hours: 10 a.m.- 8p.m. daily at 30 minute intervals.

    There are also overnight cruises from 1 to 20 days departing from the Severny Rechnoy Vokzal (Tel:458-9163/9624) and from the Yuzhny Rechnoy Vokzal (Tel: 118-7811).

    VVTs (All-Russia Exhibition Centre)
    Established in 1937, and containing of more than 80 pavillions each representing one aspect of the great economic, industrial and technical might of communism,, the Exhibition of Economic Achievements functioned as such until the 1980s. Today, miniature trains ferry shoppers around this gigantic complex.

    Metro: VDNKh
    Hours: 9 a.m.- 8 p.m. Mon- Fri, 9 a.m.- 9 p.m. Sat, Sun, public holidays.

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