Not all of the Kremlin is open to the public. It is, after all, the functioning international capital of a superpower. You can pay some money to go to the part that is open to the public, where they have seven very nice churches you can see. To me they kind of all looked alike except for one. The crowds are kind of hard to handle. If you see one or two of the churches, that's enough, the rest is mostly more of the same. The displays of medieval insignia and heraldry in one building are very interesting. The arsenal is across from these churches and I would have liked to seen it. It is open in a limited way but I couldn't find out where to buy tickets. When I approached the building, soldiers warned me off, as they do from the other restricted areas. Really, only a small part of the complex is open to the public. Watch out for those crowds though.
The Secret (Tainitskaya) Tower
The central tower of the southern Kremlin's wall. Built in 1485 by Anton Fryazin instead of the old white-stone Kremlin's Chushkov Gate of the epoch of Dmitry Donskoi. In the end of the XVth century, after it was built, the construction of new fortifications was started in the Kremlin. In 1862, a decorative strelnitsa in the XVIIth century Russian architectural style was attached to the tower. It was dismantled during the renovation of 1930-1933.
The height of the tower is 38,4 m.
some may come, some may leave
INCOMING FOREIGN TOURISTS
Country 2004 - 2003 - 2002
01 Poland 353,986 - 956,188 - 979,613
02 Germany 351,099 - 288,551 - 287,255
03 China 283,839 - 203,264 - 266,984
04 Finland 242,816 - 242,075 - 229,863
05 USA 181,721 - 125,553 - 110,079
06 France 141,113 - 118,548 - 80,322
07 Italy 125,397 - 114,443 - 101,675
08 Britain 115,622 - 90,831 - 67,202
09 Ukraine 84,320 - 236,289 - 260,053
10 Estonia 74,165 - 53,884 - 43,936
Total number of tourists 2,860,802 - 3,151,915 - 3,105,563
Visitors from W. Europe are increasing, but this figure is inflated due to businessmen who take toursist visas which are easier to get. Numbers from Poland, Ukraine and some CIS countries are falling due to new Russian visa requirements. Many Chinese visitors are likely suitcase traders and other businessmen rather than genuine tourists. Reasons given for the decline in tourist numbers is often given as corruption, visa problems, poor infrastructure as well as high costs.
Russian visas are very expensive. My last multiple entry visa cost me EUR 800 including invitations, visa and service fees. My last single entry visa cost me EUR 200.
Source: Federal Border Service OUTGOING RUSSIAN TOURISTS
Country 2004 - 2003 - 2002
01 Turkey 1,445,815 - 1,038,593 - 690,098
02 China 941,032 - 687,521 - 617,130
03 Egypt 586,375 - 368,405 - 239,712
04 Finland 377,067 - 327,246 - 406,236
05 Poland 322,030 - 422,003 - 635,451
06 Germany 255,954 - 278,094 - 208,977
07 Spain 190,891 - 227,870 - 227,870
08 UAE 175,187 - 145,796 - 172,558
09 Italy 156,093 - 118,981 - 149,710
10 France 138,459 - 112,149 - 87,363
Total number of tourists 6,557,116 - 5,678,447 - 5,051,305
More and more Russian tourists are traveling. Although visa restrictions play an important role in where Russians take their vacation, as incomes increase they are being welcomed farther afield than ever before.
Cyprus slapped visa restrictions on Russian tourists in 2004 and the resulting visits plummetted. Since then Cyprus has hired additional staff for their embassy and consulates in Russia and reduced the time needed to get a tourist visa to one day. There is now no cost for the visa either.
Source: Federal Border Service
Strange Animals everywhere!
Keep your eyes open when you wander around Moscow...you may see some unusual animals hanging about!
Just near Resurrection Gate there was some men standing around who had a couple of huge eagles and some monkeys. I assume it was some sort of tourist attraction/money making venture.
Tourists were lining up to have their photo taken with an eagle sitting on their shoulder (ouch, you should have seen it's talons!!) or to feed a monkey. I assume they were paying for the privilege.
I also came across a selection of large lizards & snakes sunning themselves by a pond in the park at the rear of the Kremlin. One guy was trying to wrap one of the snakes around a not so-keen-looking girl.
Needless to say, we steered clear of all the animals.
In Russia, beer (and wine) is not considered an alcoholic beverage. You can drink it on the street at any time day or night. You can buy it as a teenager, you can buy it in kiosks or from coolers. It is absolutely not uncommon to see people drinking beer in parks and especially in the afternoon while they wait nearby public transportation.
Russian beer runs the gamut of quality from the very best to the very worst, with 98% of it conforming to premium American or mainstream European quality. For the most part, it is simple lagers with some variety. They have a few fortified beers, like Baltika 9. Baltika is one of the more popular brands of Russian beer, and is rated on a scale from 1-9, with 9 beign the strongest. Generally speaking its a can't go wrong. Only one brand (Laut) struck me as really bad.