The nearest vicinities of the Red Square, including Manezhnaya Square are the places most attended by Muscovites for the last four centuries.
In XV century in the old Moscow here lived handicraftsmen and shopkeepers selling the products at the entrances of their workshops. In the beginning of Peter the Great ruling period there were set up the trading lines where fabrics and foodstuffs were sold. And quite close to it there was another trading line for selling meat and game built and it still preserves its old name “Okhotny Ryad”.
The square devoted to the 5th anniversary of the Patriotic War of 1812 was constructed given the name “Manezhnaya Square” after the name “Manege”. Some years later, in 1923 Alexandrovsky Garden was open for visitors. Walking alone the Manezhnaya square you are surprised at a special vicinity of historical monuments, heavy creations of ubiquitous Tsereteli and a Trade Centre 'Okhotny Ryad', an underground trade centre purposed to satisfy your desires and whims.
Fondest memory: Today «Okhotny Ryad» is a modern retail center. On its three underground floors more than 100 shops, restaurants, bistro, bank branches, exchange offices, travel agencies are located.
Unique interiors and neighborhood with the Red Square and Alexandrovsky Garden attract Muscovites and visitors of the capital to visit the trading complex.
Moscow road system is structured with sequences of radial and ring roads.
The first and innermost, Bulvarnoye Koltso (Boulevard Ring), built at the former location of the 16th century city wall around what used to be called Bely Gorod (White Town).
Fondest memory: Boulevard Ring is technically not a ring — it is not connected and has a horseshoe-like shape.
Lubyanka Square in downtown Moscow is the site of the site of the Lubyanka head-quarters of the KGB.
KGB directors from Lavrentiy Beriya to Yuriy Andropov had their office on the third floor of the building.
The Lubyanka actually consists of three buildings (each takes a block).
Fondest memory: The center of the square was dominated centre by a statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, founder of the first communist secret police, the Cheka.
Like many others, the statue was removed in August 1991.
During it you'll see picturesque places of the Moscow River embankment and also such architectural monuments as:
The Russia Hotel
The Kremlin wall and St. Basil's Cathedral
The Church of Christ the Saviour
The Monument to Peter I
The Variety Theatre
The Crimea Bridge
Central Park named after Gorky
"Luzhniky" Sports Complex
The Moscow State University
"Nord-Ost" is a great musical show, unfortunately notorius of the hostage seige in 2002.
I consider Nord-Ost as the most valuable theatrical event of the last 5 years. I saw it twice - before and after sorrowful events. Last time with my 8-y.o. son. When I heard that show will be closed I thought that he must see it. And I was right - he was delighted and remember it now.
Now a days musical is restored in a mobile version. First 10 shows will be in Moscow in September-October 2004 and one can book tickets here: Nord-Ost and than across many towns and cities of Russia.
Fondest memory: Video fragments could be seen here: Click on picture thumbnails.
There are so many theatres in Moscow that living here for the whole life it is hard to be in each of them. Classic and modern plays, musicals, and of course classic ballet and opera.
There is no strict dress code for visiting theatre, nevertheless it is not recommended to go in sportswear, t-shirts or shorts. You will see that many people are in suits and evening dresses - this shows their attitude to the show. Last is preferable if you are on classic opera or ballet.
Fondest memory: "Bolshoi Theatre" could be called "beaten path" as many of tourist companies include the show into tour programm. The price is astronomical (as everything just for tourists).
If you want to be on a classic opera or ballet, my recommendations is - "New Moscow Opera" theatre. It is situated in small but wonderful park - "Hermitage Garden", st. Karetnyi Ryad. (http://www.novayaopera.ru/)
In Soviet times this area was called "the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy" shorted as [Ve-De-eN-Kha].
Now it is called VVC - All-Russian Exhibition Centre.
There is not only good shopping and exhibition place, but is is famouse with its remarkable architecture of 1930-s.
Now a few words about places which are not centrally located.
Fondest memory: 11. Kolomenskoye. Estate of Russian Tsars, where Peter the Great was born. Very scenic place! See my travelogue on it.
12. Kuskovo. Another estate, east part of Moscow, with beautiful pond, nice museum.
13. Ostankino, Sheremetevsky Dvorets. This is one of the most famous palaces, which used to belong to Duke Sheremetev, the founder of the famous theatre. The interior is just splendid. Nice area around.
14. Triumphal Arch and the Borodino Panorama. A museum devoted to victory over Napoleon in 1812, in Kutizovsky Prospect.
15. Tsaritsino. Another estate of Catherine the Great, which she never lived in. Partially destroyed during the II World War. Beautiful area for rest, with a pond and boats.
I am uncertain about these tips: maybe better to move them to Cultural tips? But anyway, it's good to know about the opportunities all at once. I will expand on them in Cultural tips later. Moscow has some traditions, including musical ones. Those who are fond of music can follow the ads for the halls below, and use the opportunity to listen to great music in famous halls
Fondest memory: 16. Moscow State Conservatory. Its Big Hall is famous worldwide. The best musicians play there.
17. Chaikovsky hall. Located at Mayakovskaya square, this is another place for wonderful music and performance.
18. Big Kremlin Palace (not Great one, where President resides). Another good concert hall.
19. If you want to listen to quality Russian church music for free, go to the church at Tretyakov Gallery on some Saturday night: one of the most famous choirs sings there, it is the Tretyakov Gallery Choir.
20. Another thing that you can hear only in Russia, is Russian monastic singing. For that, visit Danilov Monastery for some church service.
So, I am continuing... If you have more than 2 days in Moscow, I suggest you use your time for exploring its museums, estates and just streets a bit better...
See my 'MUST SEE ACTIVITIES' for more information on certain activities.
Fondest memory: 6. History Museum. Located in the Red Square. Gives you the idea of how the Russians used to live many centuries ago, how the city was growing, what it looked like, what people looked like.. But its collection covers not only Russian history, but, literally, the history of the world.
7. Arbat Street. Both new Arbat and Old Arbat are worth visiting, but go first to Old one, and you will know why...
8. Novodevichy Convent and cemetery. Convents and monasteries are the intergal part of Russian life, both in the past and now. They are islands of beauty and piece in the crazy modern environment. The Cemetery is famous for the people who are buried there.
9. Pushinskaya Square. Beautiful square to sit in the trees, watch people, have a dinner. Good for an evening stroll, with beautiful buildings along Tverskaya street.
10. The Bolshoi Theatre. No comments needed. Just get a ticket and go!
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