Theater and Opera
Russia is well noted for the excellent performers it has produced and Moscow
spotlights the arts with a plethora of theaters and performance. There are over
ninety theaters, and twenty-four concert halls in Moscow.
- This theater has housed masterpieces of Russian composers of the 20th century.
In the recent years, the Bolshoi has introduced the audiences to the operas
The Gambler and The Fire Angel by Sergei Prokofiev, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
by Dmitry Shostakovich and ballets such as The Bright Stream by Dmitry Shostakovich.
Theater - The oldest theater in Russia, it was founded by the Moscow
University in 1756. Founded in 1921 under the direction of the Soviet actor
and director Eugene Vakhtangov, this theatre's season runs from September to
June. Tickets cost 20 rubles-120 rubles.
Moscow Art Theater
- Created by Russian theater practitioner Constantin Stanislavski with
playwright and director Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, this theater was founded
Central Concert Hall Rossia - Famous for ballet performances, this is
also the place of pop concerts.
Novaya Opera -
Set within the Hermitage gardens, operas take place most evenings, starting
at 7PM. Tickets are normally available from 200RUB. Ticket office is open from
12PM-3PM and then again from 4PM-7PM.
Moscow International Performance
Arts Center - Opened in 2003 and also known as Moscow International
House of Music, it is known for its performances in classical music. It also
has the largest organ in Russia installed in Svetlanov Hall.
For a complete list of theater, reviews, and more theater info: www.theatre.ru/emain.
Russia has continually shown prominence in both the arts and sciences and has
many museums dedicated to these subjects, as well as other areas of interest.
- One of the most notable art museums in Moscow. It was founded by Pavel Tretyakov,
a wealthy patron of the arts, who donated a large private collection to the
city. Split into two buildings, The Old Tretyakov Gallery houses the
works of classic Russian tradition. The New Tretyakov Gallery was created
in Soviet times and features Soviet artists, as well as a few contemporary artists.
The new gallery includes a small reconstruction of Vladimir Tatlin's famous
Monument to the Third International and a mixture of other avant-garde works
by artists like Kazimir Malevich and Wassily Kandinsky. Socialist realism features
can also be found.
The State Historical Museum
of Russia - A museum of Russian history, its exhibitions range from
relics of the prehistoric tribes priceless artworks acquired by members of the
Romanov dynasty. The total number of objects in the museum's collection numbers
in the millions.
The Polytechnical Museum
- Founded in 1872, this is the largest technical museum in Russia. There
is a wide array of historical inventions and technological achievements, including
humanoid automata of the 18th century and the first Soviet computers. Its collection
contains more than 160,000 items.
Borodino Panorama Museum - Offers a unique view of a battlefield with
a 360 degree diorama. It is a part of the large historical memorial commemorating
the victory in the Patriotic War of 1812 over Napoleon's army.
Holidays and Festivals
All public holidays are based on RF Government Resolution No. 877 of 26 November
January - The year starts in Moscow with several days of celebration.
January 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are generally included as all part of New Years holiday.
This is closely followed by January 7th's Russian Orthodox Christmas (in accordance
with the Julian Calendar). This usually means that New Years and Christmas holidays
will last 10 days, through the 10th of January.
February - Defenders of the Fatherland Day make the 21st, 22nd, and
23rd of February non-working days. The day of the armed forces has been observed
since 1918 as Red Army Day in commemoration of the victorious operations on
the Russo-German front. In 1992 this holiday was given its present official
March - International Women's Day from the 7th to the 9th has been celebrated
as an official holiday since 1917, as was suggested by Clara Zetkin.
May - The Holiday of Spring and Labor the first 3 days of May are also
known as May Day. Observed in most countries as Day of Labor, it is celebrated
in Russia as the International Day of Solidarity of the Working People. Starting
from 1992, following the disintegration of the USSR, May 1 is also celebrated
in Russia as Day of Labor. Victory Day, on the momeorates 9th, 10th, and 11th
was first celebrated on May 9, 1945, marking the end of hostilities on the European
front of the Second World War. By tradition cannons are fired in Moscow and
all hero cities of Russia in commemoration of the victory won by the Soviet
Army in the Great Patriotic War.
June - From the 12th to the 14th there is a celebration of the first
anniversary of the nation-wide democratic elections of the first President of
the Russian Federation held in June 12, 1991.
November - It was officially proclaimed on November 7, 1996, as a day
of reconciliation of society split as a result of the revolution of October
25 (November 7) 1917. Until then, November 7 had been celebrated as the day
of the Great October Socialist Revolution which was effected by the Bolsheviks
and which split Russian society into the "red and the "white."
December - Constitution Day is recognized on the anniversary of the
referendum held on December 12, 1993 which resulted in the adoption of the first
Constitution of the Russian Federation. Till 1993 Constitution Day was observed
first on December 5, and then, from 1977, on October 7, also in commemoration
of the days of the adoption of previous Soviet Constitutions.
Architecture and tours
Moscow is full of amazing sights, new and old. Once dominated by numerous Orthodox
churches, the city skyline was transformed during Soviet times and now hosts
many modern designs. These renovations have come at the extreme cost to historic
buildings and monuments. Even recent additions of luxury apartments and hotels
have come at the expense of landmarks such as the 1930 Moskva hotel and the
1913 department store Voyentorg. The Moscow Architecture Preservation Society
and Save Europe's Heritage are working to draw international attention to these
problems and preserve this magnificent center. Despite these losses, Moscow
remains a cultural, spiritual, and world leader. Whether your interest be in
the arts, Soviet history, or simply in the amazing architecture of the city,
Moscow has it all.
There are many tour companies in Moscow that can help visitors make the most
of their visit:
The newly opened Hop On
Hop Off Tour Bus Service is an easy way to view the many diverse sides of
Moscow. Buses depart every 30 minutes in a loop around Moscow and stop in front
of most of the major hotels. Live English speaking guides on board will answer
all your questions. 750 rubles buys a ticket valid for 24 hours.
For all inclusive tour packages of Moscow, Moscow
City Tours, arranges for accommodation, transportation, and sightseeing.
Tours of Moscow offers both package tours and custom-made tours of the capital
city of Russia. The greatest advantage of a custom tour is that you can make
your own tour of Moscow that will fit your desires and requirements, as well
as your budget.
The must-see sight in Moscow is undoubtable the UNESCO World Heritage Site,
Built between the 14th and 17th centuries, the Kremlin, is a historic fortified
complex at the heart of Moscow. Though all Russian citadels are known as kremlins,
this is the most well known with four palaces, four cathedrals, and the enclosing
Kremlin Wall with Kremlin towers. It is the official residence of the President
Tickets are 300 Rubles (an additional 50 to visit the Armoury). Tickets go on
sale at 9:30 for 10am entry, 11:15 for noon entry, etc. Large bags must be left
at a luggage office (costs 60 Roubles). Metro: Ohotnii Ryad, Ploschad Revolutsii.
Red Square is the most famous city square in Moscow. Between the Kremlin
and the former royal citadel, many major streets radiate from here.
contains the embalmed body of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the founder of the Soviet
Union. Oddly enough, Lenen was empathic that he did not any monuments to be
built for him. This fuels the continual debate if the body laid at rest is really
Free admission. Cameras, phones and bags must be left in the luggage office.
Open 10AM-1PM, closed Mondays and Fridays. Enter by Manezh Square near Metro
The Cathedral of Intercession of the Virgin on the Moat, better known as the
of Saint Basil the Blessed which features distinctive onion domes. This
is one of the most recognized building in Russia and is an international symbol
for the nation and for the city of Moscow.
The Church of the Ascension at Kolomenskoye dates from 1532. It is another
UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular attraction.
Seven Sisters is the English name given to a group of Moscow Skyscrapers
designed in the Stalinist style. Muscovites never use the name "Seven Sisters"
and call these buildings "Vysotki" or Stalinskie which means "(Stalin's) Tall
buildings". A defining feature of Moscow's skyline, their imposing form was
allegedly inspired by the Manhattan Municipal Building in New York City. All
seven towers can be seen from most elevations in the city.
The Old Arbat is a picturesque pedestrian street in Moscow, running
west from Arbat Square. This is one of Moscow's most touristy street with souvenirs
and street performers. Prices vary from reasonable to rip off. Speaking Russian
tends to garner lower price tags and bargaining is acceptable.
New Arbat runs parallel to Old Arabat and is lined with Soviet skyscrapers.
This is where Moscow's rich come to play in the most expensive restaurants and
nightclubs. The street is lavishly lit up at night and is always very lively.
Novodevichy Convent is both a convent and a fortress. Built in the early
1500s, it has remained nearly intact since the 17th century, making it one of
the best preserved historical complexes in Moscow. The adjacent Novodevichy
Cemetery holds several famous people such as Anton Chekhov, Nickolai Gogol,
Konstantine Stanislavski, Nikita Khrushchev, Raisa Gorbachev (the former President's
wife), and Boris Yeltsin.
More of an experience then a place to visit, a Russian bathhouse truly
can't be missed. A banya is an important Russian tradition and many Russians,
especially over 40 years old, go at least once a week. Hot steam, whipping by
birch branches, and sauna may not sound like fun, but many Russians swear to
the treatments many attributes.
The circus is popular in Moscow and there are two from which to choose from.
The Great Moscow State
Circus was opened on April 30th, 1971. There are seats for 3,400 visitors
and performances are held each day in the afternoon and evening. There are 5
arenas of equestrian, water, illusionist, ice rink, and light-effects. This
remains a state-owned enterprise, despite a 2007 attempt to privatize.
was the only circus in Moscow between 1926 and 1971 and still remains the most
popular one. Known by a variety of names during Soviet times, the troupe was
awarded the Order of Lenin in 1939. Among the famous performers who worked there
were the clowns Karandash, Oleg Popov, and Yury Nikulin, who managed the company
for fifteen years and whose name it has borne since his passing in 1997. In
front of the building is a remarkable statue of Nikulin, whose son has been
in charge of the circus ever since his death.
The Moscow Zoo
was founded in 1864 by a group of professor-biologists from the Moscow State
University. In 1919, the zoo was nationalized. In 1922, the ownership was transferred
to the city of Moscow and has remained under Moscow's control ever since. It
is a very popular attraction with more than 1.2 million visitors a year.
In 1990, the zoo was renovated to include an entrance in the shape of a large
rock castle, streams and waterfalls, an aquarium, an aviary, and more. Most
notably, a footbridge was added, connecting the old (1864) and new (1926) properties
of the zoo. Previously, the two had operated separately because of the intersecting
Bolshaya Gruzinskaya Street.
Entrance Fee is 100Rubles for adults (Children under 18, students, servicemen,
disabled, pensioners and parents having three and more children are offered
free entrance). For the additional exhibit of the Zoo Exotarium, an additional
50 Roubles per adult and 5 Roubles for children, parents having three and more
children, students, disabled, and pensioners.