Moscow Travel Guide

Russia  
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Moscow Area Map

Neighborhoods

Moscow is shaped like a large wheel, with highways, or "ring roads," circling the city and a series of smaller streets stretching outward from the city center like spokes. Moscow is further divided by six geographical districts, or okrugs, with most of the city's main attractions centered in the Central District.

The center of Moscow is surrounded by Bulvarskoe Kol'tso, or Boulevard Ring, and contains some of the most famous and recognizable Moscow attractions, including Red Square.

Moscow's Red Square is among the most famous and iconic public squares in the world. All of the city's roads radiate outward from the square, which is also home to the Kremlin, the residence of the Russian presidency. The Kremlin is more like a fortress than a residence, with a series of 16th-century cathedrals, including the famous Spasskaya Tower. Also within the Red Square is the instantly recognizable St. Basil's Cathedral, with towers shaped like a series of billowing flames. Many say that the cathedral's architecture is unparalleled in all of Russia.

Aside the Red Square is the small neighborhood of Kitai-Gorod, a quaint business district surrounded by medieval walls and containing several public squares, including Theatre Square (home to the famous Bolshoi Theatre) and the Lubyanka Square. The area also holds many small churches. One of Moscow's most bustling boulevards is Tverskaya Street, which runs northwest of Red Square and is surrounded by an abundance of nightclubs, cafés and restaurants, as well as the Gulag History Museum and the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. Be sure to visit nearby Pushkin Square for a glimpse of local Russian life. The area is a very popular meeting spot, and one of the most beautiful squares in Moscow, with the famous statue of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin at its center. The Pushkin Museum, located southwest of the Red Square, has a prestigious collect of Western European art, with works by famous painters, which include Van Gogh, Picasso and Matisse.

The second boulevard ring in Central Moscow is known as the Garden Ring and contains seventeen streets, fifteen public squares and many of the city's museums. One of the more popular sites in the Garden Ring is Old Arbat, a pedestrian street and tourist attraction, lined with street entertainers and souvenir stands. Within the Garden Ring is also the famous Tretyakov Gallery, which contains perhaps the most impressive and abundant collection of Russian fine art in the world. With more than 130,000 exhibits, the museum's holdings range from medieval iconography to modernist paintings. Near the gallery is the expansive Gorky Park, one of Moscow's most popular amusement parks. Travel writers recommend strolling around the park to take in sights like the famous Church of St. Nicholas of the Weavers or the Tolstoy Estate-Museum. 

Stay alert for pickpockets when using public transport and when visiting the main tourist sites. Many an unsuspecting traveler has been relieved of some rubles on the Moscow Metro and near Red Square. Also, make sure to exercise extra caution when leaving bars and clubs at night.

There have been cases of corrupt police asking for random fines -- if this occurs, get the officer's number and name and ask to go to the police station with him or her.

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