I Spy With My Russian Eye…

Saturday 29th June 2019 (and the evening before)

‘The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page’, Greta’s Travel
We have landed in Moscow, the capital city of Russia!

Approximately 13.2 million people live here. It is additionally the second most crowded city in Europe and the eleventh biggest city on the globe!

Today Moscow is not only the political centre of Russia but its also the country’s most populous city and its industrial, cultural, scientific and educational capital.

It is viewed very much as a traditional Russian city.

On arriving yesterday and on the drive to our hotel the view was that of skyscrapers – enormous, sombre looking concrete blocks. These are what houses the many people.

As a country that was transformed into an urban society in a matter of decades, the Soviet Union housed its people upwardly and cheaply in communal apartments.

They say they are way nicer on the inside than on the outside however.

Our hotel is an approximate 30 minute walk from the city centre and has every amenity you need.

So after getting here just after 5pm, checking in, sorting ourselves out, we decided to stay put for the evening and eat here.

We relaxed for the evening, had a short walk outside and decided to keep the exploration for the next day – today!

View from window over the lit up city

So wandering down town in the morning Moscow already feels like a city of tremendous power and energy.

Moscow must be one of the most vibrant European capitals with a powerful mix of history and edginess, full of world-famous sites and attractions.

On arriving we have already saw golden glittering domes peeking over the rooftops, hundreds of churches, cathedrals with exteriors of buildings embellished with stone carvings.

It is something else.

Firstly we hit ‘The Metro’.

I had read so much about Moscow’s metros to finally be heading into one was pretty amazing.

Outside the entrance of our first metro visit in Moscow

The Metro in Moscow, dating back to the 1940’s are breathtaking, resembling underground palaces more than they do your average metro station.

With marble walls and floors, bas-reliefs, chandeliers, and even mosaics and stained glass windows.

I would recommend taking the Metro even if you don’t need to just to see some of the stations.

The Metro in Moscow is a tourist attraction in itself and they are absolutely spotless.

I was reluctant to leave the metro but we had more to see.

There is a new modern face of the Russian Capital – a striking contrast to the onion domes of the Red Square, radically altering the Moscow skyline.

Begun in 1992, Moscow’s City now boasts a dozen soaring skyscrapers.

We then head to Arbat Street an elegant historic street right in the city centre.

Arbat is one of Moscow’s most touristy spots with lots of cafes and restaurant’s, live music performers and caricaturists, as well as shops, monuments and a theatre.

Arbat Street, mainly referred to in English as the Arbat, is a pedestrian street about one kilometer long in the historical centre of Moscow.

The Arbat has existed since at least the 15th century, which makes it one of the oldest surviving streets of the Russian Capital and it’s absolutely beautiful.

People wrote and sang a lot about the Arbat. This is the street where many famous people lived and many great writers walked….and there are still elements, lots of elements of its once elegant past!

From here we done a whistle stop tour of the streets of Moscow and the main sights we want to check out upon our return which included:-

Red Square and The Kremlin

Lenin’s Mausoleum

St Basil’s Cathedral

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign Icon

We then went to the GUM, Russians main department store.

Now I’m not one for shops but this was something else.

With stunning interiors it houses a variety of high-ended boutiques.

The glass roofed arcade faces Red Square and there was no expense spared.

From here we wanted to check out a new area of the city.

The capital now has its first purpose-built area to combine business, living and entertainment.

Within this area the Federation Tower can be seen.

This is now the tallest building in Europe, topping out at 3737metres.

This is significantly taller than the Shard (306m) in London. The ‘Tower’ is a complex of two skyscrapers built in Moscow’s International Business Center.

It certainly does create a monumental feat of architecture worthy of Russian status as a great power.

So with that whistle stop tour of the city, I have fell in love with Moscow.

And tomorrow we leave this great city to head to the mountains…but we will return!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Theresa Skelhorn says:

    Todayโ€™s the day Mary I imagine you didnโ€™t get much sleep last night I will be thinking about you when Iโ€™m on my walk today. Moscow looks more modern than I thought it would be, looks as if there is mixture of the old and the new. The colours of St Basils cathedral is something else also the Metro. Look as if you got a good look around Moscow the pictures are lovely ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Theresa xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So today we have arrived in Mineralyne Vody…great to see a ‘country town’ away from the city of Moscow….very very different! We start our hike tomorrow. Met up with the rest of the group now so that’s been great…buildings etc so beautiful and well looked after it appears. X

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  2. Helena Brogan says:

    Hi Mary Enjoyed your Moscow blog & photos. Moscow has changed a lot since the 80s. A lot more high rise modernistic buildings….very impressive. Your hotel looked quite upmarket too. Our hotel was quite basic as I remember with two single beds built into the wall. No plugs in the sink๐Ÿ˜‚ and a concierge on each floor. The metros are magnificent though. Imagine the blood sweat & tears that went into building them under Stalins rule. Hope the food has improved over the years? Anyway youโ€™ll be at Mineralnyne Vody by now getting ready for the big hike. Good luck. Look forward to your next blog, but maybe best save you energy for your climb!,.๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ” Love Auntie LenaXx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I bet it has….we maybe need to compare pictures as I would be intrigued to see how it was when you were there! We deliberately went to some of the new parts of the city so we could compare and contrast them to that of the old city….my heart is with the old city….so so beautiful…with many stories behind them!! Yes our hotel is posh ๐Ÿ˜‚ you surprised that I can do posh too ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ™„…you sounded like you were roughing it and things were very basic when you were here! Ow yes there’s a very sad part to the history of Russia and we have definitely been thinking about all of that on our travels so far! The food btw is amazing…I’m going to try and remember to take pictures of this as I keep forgetting!! In Mineralyne Vody now and just finalising packing…I just want this hike started now!! X

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  3. Alice Reid says:

    Amazing to see all those very modern buildings in Moscow. Everyone has heard of the Moscow underground stations but it’s sobering to think that they were built during the Stalanist era and probably slave labour was used in building them. I’ve always been fascinated with Russian history and have been to a few courses , one run by an Israeli lady married to a Russian and she introduced us to lots of Russian literature . Lots about the Gulags….the prison camps run by the Government and people were iimprisoned for the least thing, many of them were sent to work on projects like the Moscow underground and building canals etc. Russian people have really suffered down the ages both under the Tsars and the Communist regimes. There, I’ve given you a little lecture on Russia !!! One thing I Will give them praise for ,is the way they reconstructed their historic buildings after the war. Looking forward to your next blog when you’ll see a bit of the Russian hinterland . Most people visit Moscow and St Petersburgh so it will be interesting to see what the villages etc are like. Hope you get some sunshine soon.
    Love/God Bless . Aunty Alice xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there…I’m really amazed with what I have saw so far here in Russia…the new builds are something else…very very extravagant and pictures couldn’t capture everything! As we wondered around the underground’s we did talk and think about how things must have been for those poor souls down there digging those tunnels…quite a lot of sadness in the Russian history! Your comments/knowledge is really interesting and now that I’ve been here I will certainly be out to learn more about their history…it’s pretty fascinating! We deliberately visited the new area so we could compare it to the old area when we go back as we will hopefully spend more time in the old area on our return! In Mineralyne Vody now and it’s very very different to the City! Their buildings (old buildings) are so beautifully restored and these have to be my favourite parts…also the city is spotless…I haven’t saw one bit of litter….even their fallen leaves are briskly swept away…no.joke….her in the country town pretty much the same…no litter at all. Almost finished FINALLY repacking my rucksack then we’re off tomorrow…just want to get started now! X

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    2. Should have also said to everyone I’m not sure about signal on the mountain…so if you don’t hear from me there’s none!! I’ll be back either 7th, 8th or 9th weather dependent…here goes ๐Ÿคž x

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