Moscow has tons of fun things to do. Combining 20% must do + 80% off the beaten path on a walking tour is the best option in summer.
Here we share with you some off the beaten path ideas from our tours: 12 architectural gems of Moscow, local hidden gems of the capital.
Here are some other fun ideas what to do in Moscow for less than $4.
Architectural Landmarks in Moscow
The pearl of Kitay Gorod.
Historic mansion in Moscow, located in Yakimanka street. The building of the mansion is an object of cultural heritage of federal importance
Mansion was designed in the pseudo-Russian style and built in 1895. Bricks for the construction were shipped from the Netherlands.
After the 1917 revolution, the house was the center of experiments on blood transfusion under Alexander Bogdanov control, from which he died. Subsequently, the mansion became the Moscow Institute of the brainю
According to one legend, Igumnov intended to live there with his mistress, but then he found out he was cheating on him and immured her within the walls of the mansion. According to another legend, once Igumnov decided to surprise guests and laid the floor in the front room with gold coins.
In 1938 the building was placed at the disposal of the French government for the French Embassy. In 1944, De Gaulle handed the rewards for pilots “Normandy-Neman”.
In 1979, after moving to a new embassy building next door (house number 45), it became the official residence of the Ambassador of France. Currently, there live the ambassador and embassy staff.
1880-1890-ies, B.Yakimanka 43
Moscow State University, the main building
Until 1990, MSU was the tallest building in Europe, then it was overtaken by Frankfurt Messertum.
MSU is one of seven Stalin skyscrapers that were built in 1950-ies to symbolize the 800th anniversary of Moscow (celebrated in 1947).
The decree on the establishment of the university was signed by Empress Elizabeth on January 23rd, 1755. Since then students annually celebrate St. Tatiana’s Day on January 25, devoted to Students.
In 2015, according to the rating of the British magazine Times Higher Education, Moscow State University was ranked 25th position among all universities in the world.
1949-1953 years, the Lenin Hills, 1.
Gorgeous at night. On our Moscow night tour you can take a drive around the city and see Moscow from completely different perspective.
Perlov Tea Shop
At the end of the XVIII century, when the Tea King Alexei Perlov a tea shop in Moscow, only a few knew about this drink. Moreover, the Orthodox Church in those times cursed “Chinese grass”, considering it a drug demon – like tobacco and coffee. But after half a century Russia was buying 360,000 pounds of tea a year.
“Tea Empire” of Perlovs already had 130 branded stores across Russia and abroad by the end of the 1890s.
Business barley with the East, particularly China, led to the alteration of the house facade into the Chinese style, making it exotic and very effective advertising for Moscow at that time. In addition, it was fashionable, as it replaced classicism, eclecticism and turned to the ancient architecture of the East .
Renovated facade was vibrant. The combination of colored plaster with numerous overhead ceramic parts, folded into a variety of Chinese ornaments on all the walls, changed the appearance of the house: polychrome it became.
Everything was delivered from China. But the most “Chinese” was one bunk turret “Pagoda”, crowning a building in the center of the facade, as well as highly developed relief of the walls with external shingles.
1890, Myasnitskaya, 19
One of the nine railway stations and the oldest railway station in Moscow. Located on Komsomolskaya Square. Built by the architect Tone (who constructed the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Big Kremlin Palace). Muscovites liked it – though not so much for the architectural merits, but as an unprecedented engineering innovation.
Leningradsky railway station is an architectural monument, protected by the state. The building was constructed in 1844-1849.
Here you can catch a train to St. Petersburg. Distance to St. Petersburg is 650 km.
184o-s, Komsomolskaya Square, 3
One of nine railway stations in Moscow, with the largest volume of passenger traffic, serving about 300 pairs of trains daily.
In the XVII century the site of modern Komsomolskaya Square was an extensive field. In the west it reached the center of the modern Bolshaya Spasskaya Street, where in the XVII century stood a wooden imperial palace.
As of June 2015 the trains of Yaroslavl station go to the towns of Golden Ring, Siberia and China.
The facade belongs to the first half of the 1900s, Komsomolskaya Square, 5
The third station on Komsomolkaya station, the other two are Yaroslavsky and Komsomolsky. The building was built almost the entire 20th century: started before the First World, some elements being finished until 1940, and then in 1980-90 Imperial Tower was completed. The original interiors of the station were designed by Roerich, Benoit and Kustodiev.
The first station building, which was then called Ryazan, was wooden and was opened in 1862.
Kazansky railway station is a complex composition with deliberately broken symmetry and different-sized masses of architectural volumes- all connected to each other. With the development, it was important to achieve the composition of visual unity. This function is performed by a tiered tower shifted almost to the corner, and dominating the entire structure.
The tower of the Kazan station is stylized after a Syuyumbike tower of Kazan Kremlin. Spire tower is crowned with a dragon Zilant, which was depicted on the ancient coat of arms of Kazan. The facade of the building is decorated with a clock with signs of the zodiac on its face. Clock Tower resembles the St Mark’s tower in Venice. The left tower of the station copies famous Kutafya tower of Moscow Kremlin. On the main facade are placed rare example of the early post-revolutionary heraldry – sickle and hammer together with a quill pen (a symbol of the intelligentsia).
The station is the only one in Moscow, with the built-in entrance to the metro from its platform.
1913-1940 years, then the 1980-90’s, Komsomolskaya Square, 2.
St. Basil’s Cathedral
The Legend of the creation of the Pokrovsky Cathedral is well-known: it was built by Barma and Postnik, then Ivan the Terrible ordered to blind the architect so that such beauty is never built anywhere else.
The building is shaped as a flame rising into the sky. The design has no analogues in the history of Russian architecture, being a completely unique masterpiece of Byzantine era.
We love talking about St Bail’s cathedral in detail on our Red Square and Kremlin Tour.
The middle of the XVI century, Red Square
It was built in the years of 1899-1905. The onstruction was initiated by a Russian merchant Savva Mamontov.
The building of Metropol plays a crucial role in layout of Theatre Square and Revolution Square. The hotel is the largest public building in the modern architectural era and is recognized as one of the most significant in Moscow historical and architectural monuments of this style. Due to the rich, extraordinary and exquisite decoration Metropol was perceived by contemporaries as the manifesto of the new art.
Vrubel panel “Princess of Dreams” is considered the most famous mural of Moscow. It was created on the theme of the drama in verse of Edmond Rostand «La Princesse lointaine». The premiere of the play on the Russian stage took place in January, 1896 in St. Petersburg. The romantic story about the quest for the sublime love and perfect beauty, the contemplation of which is achieved at the cost of death, had a sound success with the public. Then came the waltz “Princess of Dreams,” and even perfume and chocolate with the same name.
When drafting the hotel Savva Mamontov decided to repeat the “Princess of Dreams” in ceramics, and thus to forever put it on public display. The creation by Wrubel, depicting a dying boy, the knight and the princess bent over him, is available to everyone passing by. Painted panels are now on display in the hall of Vrubel in the Tretyakov Gallery.
In subsequent years, the hotel has hosted the Heads of State and Government, movie stars, pop music stars and sportsmen. Among the honored guests of Metropol Hotel are French President Jacques Chirac and Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, President Hu Jintao, couturier Giorgio Armani, Pierre Cardin, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Julio Iglesias and his son Enrique, opera stars Montserrat Caballe and Placido Domingo, filmmakers Francis Ford Coppola and Luc Besson, the actress Catherine Deneuve, Annie Girardot, Sharon Stone and many others.
A special event in the history of the hotel was the honoring of Galina Vishnevskaya and Mstislav Rostropovich. The restaurant “Metropol” in May 2005 marked the golden wedding of a renowned couple. Among the guests at the ceremony were the Queen Sofia of Spain, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the wife of the president of France Bernadette Chirac, the first president of Russia Boris Yeltsin and his wife Naina and others.
The end of XIX-beginning of the twentieth century, Theatre way, 2
Bulgakov’s Margarita House
The original design of the house was completed in 1900 by architect V. Kuznetsov, but in 1902-1903. The building got its Art Nouveau façade and eventually became like a medieval castle, crowned with a small peaked tower.
In the 1960s, the building housed the residence of the military attaché of the United Arab Republic. Now it houses the Egyptian attaché offices.
The house is known for being one the candidates for the mythical home of Bulgakov’s “Master and Margarita”.
In the heart of Moscow, directly opposite the exit from the metro station Arbat is an old beautiful mansion. This mansion was built over a century ago and now looks looks pretty exotic among modern architecture of Moscow. This building was designed by Victor Mazyrin commissioned by millionaire Arseny Morozov, nephew of Savva Morozov.
In the early 1890s, they both traveled to Spain and Portugal. Morozov was impressed by Portuguese Pena Palace in Sintra. After he came back to Moscow, Morozov was determined to build a house that would resemble the Portuguese palace. Already during the construction, the building was subjected to harsh criticism, being called “stupid unnecessary palace of a stupid man”.
There is a rumor that the mother of Arseny Morozov, visiting the mansion, said in her hearts: “Before it was just me who knew that you’re a fool, and now the whole Moscow will know!”.
In 1908, Morozov shot himself in the leg, trying to prove that a person is able to endure any pain. Three days later, he died of blood poisoning at the age of 35 years.
After the October Revolution, the house became the headquarters of the anarchists. In 1918, here moved the theatre troupe and stayed there until 1928. Later the building was given to the People’s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs.
From 1928 to 1940 it housed the Embassy of Japan, from 1941 to 1945 – the English edition of the newspaper “British ally”, and then – the Indian Embassy. In 1959, it hosted the Union of Soviet Societies for Friendship and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries.
Today Arseny Morozov’s mansion is used for meetings with government delegations, diplomatic negotiations, conferences of international organizations. The official name is the Reception House of the Russian Government.
Pertsova -Pepper – House, also known as “house-fairytale”, was built in 1905, based on sketches by artist Sergei Malyutin – the author of Russian nesting dolls.The attic of a house was previously used as artists’ studios, under them were the apartments and the basement was occupied with the famous artistic cabaret “Die Fledermaus”.
Teremok – “The Mansion”
Apartment building in 1st Khvostov lane is simply called Teremok, or “The Mansion”. Authors of the project created a traditional Russian wooden houses. Despite the fact that the critics are in no hurry to praise the building, Teremok has got into the list of architectural monuments of the capital.
Here are more ideas for authentic Russian Art and Cultural Experience.
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