Theatre, Opera, Museum in Moscow


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.

Bolshoi Theater - 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.

Malyi 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 in 1897.

State 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:


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.

Tretyakov Gallery - 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.

The 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 2008.

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 name.

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.

Custom 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, Moscow's Kremlin. 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 of Russia.
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.

Lenin's Mausoleum 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 him.
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 Ploshad Revolutsii.

The Cathedral of Intercession of the Virgin on the Moat, better known as the Cathedral 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.

The 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.
Moscow Circus 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.

Update 10/07/2009


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