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Destination: Moscow

Moscow is a city of superlatives: It has the highest density of billionaires, is the world’s most populated inland city and boasts six out of Europe’s ten tallest buildings, but it also supposed to be the most expensive capital city with the worst traffic. Fortunately for them, up to five million foreign tourists dismiss these myths every year and travel there. They tend to find that it is a much more enjoyable and friendly place than the stories indicate. It would perhaps be more accurate to call it a melting pot where history and future mix with the present day.

Geography

With over 11 million inhabitants Moscow is the European subcontinent’s second largest city after Istanbul. Geographically it has grown naturally around its river, the Moskva, with most of the points of interest being located by the north bank of the river.

History

The first official mention of Moscow dates as far back 1147 and it became the capital of the Russian Lands in 1328. Although this function was moved to St. Petersburg in the 18th Century, Moscow remained a place of cultural importance and hosts the oldest Russian university established in 1755. It regained its capital status with the establishment of the Soviet Union, a move that of course paved the road to its role as a world capital and a global actor in the Cold War era.

What to do

History buffs will enjoy exploring traditional Moscow. The capital’s status as the political, financial and strategic centre, first of the Tsardom and then the Soviet Union, has left its traces on many corners of the city. However, there is more to Moscow than the relics from the old times; there are the skyscrapers, the residences of the wealthiest people on the planet and modern and fresh entertainment complexes located next to tiny bohemian art galleries.

Art and culture thrive in contemporary Moscow, but again the old mixes effortlessly with the new. Moscow represents traditional Russia, and yet the city’s diverse and vibrant culture sets it free from all Russian stereotypes forming its own uniquely Moscovian culture.

Climate

Each season brings a special flair to the city, but it should be noted that the late summer can get very warm with temperatures averaging in the mid-twenties and possibly climbing up to over 30°C. May and June are likely to see more mild temperatures and therefore attract the most travellers. However, you should also consider a trip during the cold months, when the city is transformed into a winter wonderland. The warm beverages, hearty food and cultural activities happen aplenty in Moscow during this time of the year and let the magic of the Russian winter come alive.

Weather in Moscow

 

Cuisine

If you are into food, then Moscow is certainly the place to be. No matter if you wish to try traditional Russian meals such as Borscht (Russian beetroot soup) or blini (Russian pancakes) with chocolate on the go, or if a fashionable Sushi restaurant is more to your taste – be assured that you will find the ideal place to dine out in Moscow. Moreover, Muscovites love their bars – there are coffee bars, wine bars and beer bars.

How to get there

The city is Russia’s main air traffic hub and can be reached by three major airports: Sheremetyevo International Airport, Domodedovo International Airport and Vnukovo International Airport. All of these are located a little off the city centre, but they are served by various means of transport. An easy option are the quick and relatively cheap Aeroexpress trains and the airports are also connected to the city, and in some instances to one another, via shuttle buses and local transport.

Moscow is just as accessible by land, because also serves a major railroad hub and is well-connected to many Eastern European and the major Russian cities. It is the western-most stop of the Trans-Siberian Railway that connects the capital with Vladivostok on the Pacific and also with Beijing. St. Petersburg is connected via a high-speed train and the journey can be as short as four hours.

Why you should visit

All in all a trip to Moscow should be a no-brainer. With flights leaving from several London airports as well as Manchester it is the most accessible Russian city when travelling from the UK. However, a trip to Moscow is more than just a city-break in one of the world’s most exciting capitals. Despite being so easy to reach, it offers a cultural experience refreshingly different from the big European capitals. Steeped in history Moscow represents the future: Russia the way it wants to be, the way it will be: diverse, colourful, modern, but with a sense of culture and tradition.