Parks/Walking Routes, Moscow
There are multiple botanical gardens in Moscow -- which can be confusing in a city that has a metro station called "Botanical Garden" (Botanichesky Sad).
One night, we decided to explore the Botanical Garden of the Academy of Sciences, which is a short distance from the Vladykino metro station. It is Moscow's largest botanical garden, but it is largely unmarked. While it may be disappointing for flora enthusiasts, the Botanical Garden of the Academy of Sciences is a great place for urban outdoor enthosiasts. We were there at night and crossed many local people on their bike or roller skates.
There are also some kiosks where you can buy fast food and refreshments. In our limited time there (we were there at night, and even managed to get locked out of the garden as the park warden locked the gates at 10 p.m. on the dot), we also stumbled upon what seemed to be an upscale restaurant near the entrance -- the manager kindly showed us the way out so we wouldn't trouble his customers.
This is a copy of the first spaceship - "Vostok-1". One can see it at VVC.
Behind the roket there was the great museum of space exploration with real dublicates of many space systems - "Lunokhod-1", stations - Mars and Venera, interior of the space station "Salut" and many others. Where are those exhibits now I do not know. After "perestroyka" there is a market in this building :-((((((( This looks like a barbarin's stable in the Great Library.
P.S. I finaly have got an information about the fate of the most popular soviet technopark. All exhibits, incl. Lunokhod-1, were sold by international auction. I hope they are now in good conditions in world museums. Moscow goverment finally decided to remove all markets, and renovate and reconstruct all VVC area to compete for Expo 2015.
When in Moscow, walk with Phoebe Talpin, if you can catch her.
Or get The Moscow News and read ‘The Local’ section, that’s the only place where you will find Phoebe’s most thoroughly lay-out maps. I suspect they keep their on-line version poor to boost up circulation of printed copies.
Chistye prudy, or the Clean Ponds, is a beautifully peaceful park in the northern part of Kitay-Gorod that is easily accessible either be walking north from Pokrovka or by taking the subway to Chistye Prudy subway stop. This is a sort of oasis, where Muscovites can enjoy a quiet meal beside a man-made pond, or spend an afternoon idling away the time by sitting on the grass and contemplating the playing of children or the swaying of trees in the wind.
It's also a good idea to head out to places like this one (especially Chistye Prudy!) to see one of Russia's greatest traditions - the wedding party. We walked through this park almost everyday, as it was on the route from our hotel to the university. Saturday provided us with the most entertainment, when we got to watch a wedding party progress through. Despite it being illegal, participants will in fact drink vodka during the festivities, which adds to the boisterousness and fun of the entire occasion.
There is also a larger than usual concentration of Kazakh-related places in this area, including the Kazakh embassy, various Kazakh restaurants, and the statue to Abay, the Kazakh national poet.
Quite nearby the "Vostok-1" there is a very popular jet of 1950-s TU-154. Children are allowed to sit in a cabin.
The same planes but with modern avionics and engines are still in operation.
P.S. In 2008 this exhibit was ruined, cutted into parts and utilized as a scrap metal without any explanation after 30 years in the place !!! Vandalizm is continuing!!!
Ever seen a bee reality show?
The demo-hive is just one of the 40 beehives in Kuzminki park, Moscow. And if you come across one wearing a kepi, be sure to ask for a photo – it belongs to Yury Luzhkov, a most distinguished bee-master and the Mayor of Moscow.
Metro station Kuzminki , shuttle bus 48
Beware rush hour
All photos - courtesy http://www.kuzpark.ru/pages/7/
I know, I know, I already have a tip on Tverskaya Street, but I felt that I had to add this extra tip because I was so disappointed that I couldn't endulge in it more than I actually did. Tverskaya is a historical district, one that has always been known for its collections of intellectuals and ethnic minorities, making it a haven for creativity. A great joy for the independent tourist looking to really absorb old Moscow without running into the same tourist traps is to simply wander about Tverskaya. I started in at a Tverskaya Square and wandered about some of the streets and got a good few shots of interesting buildings and structures. Some are dilapidated, others are throwbacks to the roaring twenties, and another set include some interesting parks, like the one I found with a huge statue of Lenin. There's also a quaint little church, dedicated to Saints Kosmas and Damian of Shubin, that is tucked away, only its shining copulae pointing the way. The area is yours to discover, and you won't be disappointed!
I have yet to find out the name of this park, and I'm beginning to believe that it doesn't actually have one. The interactive map of Moscow simply lists it as "forest". This is a well-groomed greenspace that lies between Ilyinskye vorota and Slavyanskaya ploshchad (i.e. the Monument to St. Cyril and Methodus). There are plenty of trees and flower beds, as well as lots of benches for those looking for a quiet rest on the route between the bustle of central Moscow and the shops of Kitay-Gorod.
Kolomenskoe is an open-air museum set in a large park bordering the Moskva River.
The main attraction at Kolomenskoe is the Church of the Ascension, built in 1532 and added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994. Its construction was ordered by Vasily III to commemorate the birth of his son Ivan ("the Terrible"). Its importance lies in its shatior (tent-roof) tower, the first-ever to be built in brick instead of wood, which paved the way to the Red Square's Pokrovskiy (St. Basil's) Cathedral a generation later.
Unfortunately for us, in June 2007, both the Church of the Ascension and the Church of St. John the Baptist (located a bit further in the park) were undergoing renovation. Our favourite building turned out to be the Church of Our Lady of Kazan (1650), on the left side of the entrance, with its beautiful blue-and-gold domes. It is considered to be one of the earliest examples of Naryshkin Baroque architecture.
Other highlights include the front gate and clock tower, midway between the Saviour Gate (main entrance to the Museum-Reserve) and the Church of the Ascension, and the cabin of Peter the Great, brought in from Arkhangelsk in 1934. The oak trees behind the cabin are said to have been planted by Peter himself.
Also, see if you can find the 12th-century stone of Boris, on which "Boris the strong, the courageous, the saint" was inscribed. It lies beside a secondary path between the cabin of Peter the Great and the Saviour Gate.
Admission to the Museum-Reserve grounds, open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. in summer and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in winter, is free. There are also exhibitions in a small museum at the front gate that can be visited every day except Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The entrance to Kolomenskoe Museum-Reserve is a 5-10-minute walk from Kolomenskaya metro station. If you want to go through the entire park like we did, you can also get off at Kashirskaya (one station south of Kolomenskaya) and take Andropov Prospekt until you see a green space -- it's the back end of the park.
I found the parks in Moscow & St. Pertersburg to be rather poor. Mostly just small areas of the city where they let the grass (and dirt) grow where people lay out to take advantage of what few days of warm sunshine they may get. HOWEVER, I wasn't there for the parks. The people, of course. A couple of 'street' musicians (who started playing blues when I mentioned Chicago); the young woman lawyer on roller skates; the woman in the red scarf; the guy who bought me a drink (silly me, I was expecting vodka or something 'Russian' - tequilla!), and the young lady who walked me quite a ways to help get me unlost. "Off the beaten path"?...just walk any ol' direction and meet people!
Nearly in the center of the city and on the bank of Moscow river there is one of the most romantic Moscow parks - Neskuchnyi Garden. The Garden in fact is a small wood with large trees, ponds and hills. Some small stone bridges, a grotto and a few little houses remained here from the past times when the Garden was a part of a number of estates.
The Garden fascinated famous Russian writers. Pushkin's Contess - the misterious Queen of Spades - has her prototype in contess Golitsina, the owner of the estate on the territory of the Garden. For Mr. Bulgakov the Garden was the place where Voland sayd good buy to Moscow in the last scenes of 'Master and Margarita'.
Metro 'Leninskyi prospect'
Along Leninskyi prospect and between NN 12 -30. There are several entrances - near NN 12, 20, 24, 30.
In fact, I planned to add the tip about Aptekarsky Ogorod to Things to Do tips but found the Parks/Walking Routes subject for Off the Beaten Path tips only. It seems, there are so many parks and walking routes in Moscow that they couldn't be beaten by definition :)
Aptekarsky Ogorod is also known as Moscow State University Botanic Garden. It was founded in 1706 by Peter the Great decree for growing herbs. As the legend tells, Peter I planted 3 different conifers by himself and one of them - larch - is still growing there.
On the 1st of April, 1805 it was bought by Moscow State University and changed into the botanic garden.
Today its both botanic garden and park. Take the Prospekt Mira metro station (brown circle line) to visit the garden and walk for a few minutes to the left along Mira prospekt till you see the modern glass building (Vapiano restaurant and flower-shop), you need to pass through it to enter the Garden.
You may find more pictures of flowers and garden's landscape here
Rechnoy Vokzal is the city's southern river terminal. It's also a great river terminal building with a fancy restaurant and a disco.
Rechnoy Vokzal is a lively park, too - it's full of young and old people and families - all talking, laughing, drinking, having fun.
I think that someone told me that the building is one of the city's finest example of old time soviet architecture.
Metro: Rechnoy Vokzal
The Festival of Flowerbeds & Landscaping kicked off with the VE Day parades to celebrate the end of WWII and runs until September 17th.
This is the third year of the festival and each year it is held at a different location in Moscow. This year it is being held at the All-Russian Exhibition Center near the VDNKh Metro Station.
This year's flower show incorporates over two million flowers and shrubs. Its center piece is called The Floral Symphony and covers 4000 quare meters using 260.000 flowers and plants. Over 200 organizations from Russia, the former USSR, and nine foreign countries have contributed to the exhibition.
The weather this summer has not been totally agreeable, so you may want to plan your day out accordingly.
It was quite a delightful surprise for me when i came to the river station to book a ticket for a shport voyage along the Moskva river, when i saw a fantastic festival - Flower-beds Festival!!! So many kinds of flowers, colors, grass, varous designs, landscapes, cut out and decorated trees, and all was within the park just in front of the river station!!!
Amazing! Unbelievably beaytiful!!!
As I found out later they hold this festival each year app. the same time -- in late July - beginning of August, so if you happen to be there at that time, ask people if the festival is on and visit it. It is worth doing that, trust me!!!