Winter in Russia is not for the faint of heart…or the under-dressed. While we spent about 4 days in Moscow, we did not get to see quite as much as we wanted due to our bodies being totally unprepared for the weather. But, we still saw some absolutely stunning architecture and symbolic monuments. Russia definitely filled up my memory card! Here is what we were able to do during our cold, but really neat stay in Moscow:
1) Window-Shop at GUM Shopping Mall
2) Walk Though The Red Square
Russia loves red! And why not? It’s a gorgeous colour that really makes the different buildings in the square so big and bold! You have the Kremlin, the Kazan Cathedral, the Iberian Gate, the State Historical Museum (pictured above) and Basil’s Cathedral.
3) Visit St. Basil’s
I think this picture pretty much speaks for itself. The cathedral is a gorgeous work of art (seriously, Russians are masters of beautiful art!) and has been turned into a museum to hold many byzantine and Middle Age reliquaries and religious artifacts. The structure is actually much smaller than it seems, with small winding staircases and corridors that I found pretty exciting!
4) Have Fun at the GUM Christmas Market
There was a christmas market right outside GUM mall, within the Red Square. I have seen over a dozen Christmas markets throughout Europe, and this one was one of my most favourite! Russians infuse space with their culture, and one of those ways is with music. Most Christmas markets I visit lack a bit more atmosphere due to the lack of Christmas music I would hope to hear. Not in Russia! It may not be Christmas music (fair enough, it was almost New Years) but there is music. Russian music radiates in traditional style through the stalls, by the small rides, and around every Christmas tree.
5) See Gorgeous Metro Stations
Before going to Moscow, my dad said to me “Oh, wait till you see the metro! It’s like a mini museum!” And he was right. Many Moscow metro stations are beautifully decorated, and no two stations are the same. The reason for this is because the metro was designed to be very deep and beautiful so they could act as shelters during times of war. I definitely would have a greater sense of safety in a place like this than a cold, industrial metro.
6) Celebrate New Years at Gorky Park
By the time we got to Gorky Park, it was dark and we were mostly concerned with getting a good view for the New Years countdown. It is a lovely park in the winter, and I can only imagine it in the summer! The grounds are massive, and there are usually fun activities to be had. In the winter, the most popular is ice-skating and tobogganing. In the summer, there are theme park rides!
7) Stroll to Christ the Saviour Cathedral
This Cathedral is gorgeous and the walk from the Red Square to this place is a lovely walk along the river where you can catch some picturesque views of the city. The church is quite beautifully ornate inside, and at the front, has one of the most beautiful Christmas trees I have ever seen!
8) Eat Russian Food
A trip to Russia is not the same without their amazing cuisine. We were extremely fortunate to have stayed with some family members, who prepared home-made russian dishes such as:
- Pelmeni (russian dumplings!)
- Olivie (russian potato salad)
- Red Caviar (usually spread on a buttered slice of bread)
- Shuba (Herring and Beet salad)
- Blinchiki (russian crepes)
And a few other dishes and desserts! All of it was simply delicious. Russian food never disappoints…
Russian culture is so rich and so beautiful, and the society thrives in its identity and cultural elements, from the art, to architecture, from dance to music. Everywhere you go, there is no doubt in your mind of where you are! There is so much more to see in Moscow, but that’ll all have to wait until next time!
Have you been to Moscow? What was your favourite part? Let me know if you plan to go one day in the comments below! Questions are welcome!