If you have only a few hours in Moscow, you can visit only this 3 main sites of the capital to form your own opinion about contemporary Russia and its history. Here’s a ready walking tour in Moscow.
Teatralnaya Square: Russian ballet, Art Nouveau and Stalinist Empire style
Start from the square of the legendary The Bolshoi Theatre. Built between 1821 and 1824 in neoclassical style by Italian-Russian architect Joseph Bové, the theatre became one of the symbols of Russia. The Bolshoi is recognized as one of the foremost ballet companies in the world that combines dance’s technique and athleticism with expressiveness and dramatic intensity. On your left from the Bolshoi theatre you will see the Maly theatre which positions itself as a traditional drama theatre that produces classical Russian heritage plays. On your left from the Bolshoi theatre there is the main high end department stores in Russia — TsUM — Central Universal Department Store. Erected there in 1908 in the Gothic Revival style, nowadays this store is the ultimate fashion destination in Russia.
Cross the street and just in front of you you see the monument to Karl Marx. On your left you see one of the rare historical hotels in Moscow – the Metropol hotel. Built in 1899–1907 in Art Nouveau style, the Metropol became famous for Mikhail Vrubel’s “Princess of Dreams” mosaic panel and as one of the first residences of Soviet administration. On your right from the monument of Karl Marx there is a rebuilt Soviet hotel “Moskva” (Four Seasons hotel).
The Red Square: Russian medieval history
Just in 3 minute’s walk see the complex of 2 red buildings which is include the Museum of the Patriotic war of 1812 and the State Historical Museum. Built in neo-Russian style between 1875 and 1881, the State Historical Museum is the main historical museum in the country. Its exhibitions range from prehistoric times through priceless artworks acquired by members of the Romanov dynasty. Passing by the Voskresenskie gate (Resurrection or Iberian Gate) finally you are in the Red Square. You are in the heart of the country! The historical complex of Red Square includes Saint Basil cathedral, Kremlin with Lenin Mausoleum (from 1930) in front, State Historical Museum and GUM store. Hardly seen are Voskresensky gates just to the right of museum, Kazan Cathedral just to the left of GUM store and the Minin-Pozharsky monument in front of Saint Basil.
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour: spiritual heart of Russia
The neo-gothic tower Nikolskaya marks the east end of the Red Square. Follow down and on your left find the main entrance to the Alexander Garden where you will find the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with an eternal flame. It is a commemoration to Soviet Union’s human losses in the World War II (over 26 million). Follow the Kremlin’s wall and you will find the new-erected the statue of St. Vladimir who converted Kiev Rus to Christianity in 988. Turn to the Moscow River and you see the golden cupola of the main Russian Orthodox cathedral – this of Christ the Saviour. The current church is the second to stand on this site. It was built in Russian-Byzantine style as a memorial to the sacrifices of the Russian people and as a commemoration of the Napoleon invasion of 1812 and consecrated in 1883. The original cathedral was destroyed in 1931 to make way for a colossal Palace of the Soviets to house the country’s legislature whose construction was halted. The present church was rebuilt on the site between 1995 and 2000. Visit the inside of the cathedral.
Behind the cathedral you see Patriarshy Bridge with a beautiful panorama on the Kremlin, Moscow-City, and the Peter the Great Statue alongside with the building of New Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val and the beginning of Gorky Park.
You can come back in the district of the Red square and visit a new-constructed Zaryadye Park with a futuristic “floating bridge” over the Moskva River or go forward to Gorky Park. If you want to have a drink or visit some fancy places, go to the island where the statue of Peter the Great was erected. In the island there are a lot of bars, restaurants, and night clubs.