Walking Tour of Moscow, Russia
Although a major world capital and political center of one of the most powerful nations in the world, the city of Moscow, at least its city center, is best seen on foot. My walking tour provides access to the majority of premier sights.
My walk begins at the heart and soul of the city, Red Square. The vast open space, once the scene of demonstrations of Russia’s military might, is home to some of the country’s most treasured sights. Visit the Kremlin first. The closest entrance can be accessed from the northwestern corner of the square, to the left of the Historical Museum if you are standing in the center of the square. Plan to spend much of a morning or afternoon in the huge complex. Although some buildings are not open to the public, must-sees include the Patriarch’s Palace, the Cathedral of the Assumption, and the State Armory. Other places to check out are the Cathedral of the Annunciation, the Tsar Bell, the world’s largest, and the Ivan the Great Bell Tower.
After your visit, walk back to Red Square through the Resurrection Gate, an impressive entryway. Museum-lovers may want to visit the Historical Museum, the twin-towered, red-brick building on your right as you enter the square. Along the western side of the square is the Lenin Mausoleum, and, behind it, the graves of several other prominent Russians.
Opposite the mausoleum is Russia’s largest department store (can capitalism ever be far away?), GUM, and, further to the southeast, the stunning masterpiece and centerpiece of the square, St Basil’s Cathedral. The church, actually a group of nine chapels, was built in the mid-1500’s by Ivan the Terrible. Admire the distinctive onion domes and then wander the glorious interior, noting, in particular, the intricate walls and ceilings of the gallery and the Main Iconostasis in the middle chapel.
Exit the square at the northeast corner, on Nikolskaya ulitsa. Immediately, on your left, is the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan, which dates to the 17th century, even though the present structure was completely rebuilt very recently. Now turn right on Bogoyavlenskiy. The Monastery of the Epiphany is on your right. It was founded in 1296 AD. At the square ahead you will see the former Stock Exchange (a pink building). Turn right onto Ulitsa Ulinka and then left on Krustalnyy Pereulok. Now turn left at Ulitsa Varvenka. The Old English Court is on your right, along with several churches and also the Palace of the Romanov Boyars. Proceed to Ipatevskiy and turn left. Visit the Church of the Trinity in Nikitniki. Next, turn right on Ulitsa Ulinka adn then left on Lubyanskiy. Continue on this road to Lubyanka Square, fomrer location of the infamous KGB Headquarters. The yellow brick building on the square was the KGB Prison.
From the circular square, turn left onto Teatralny, which leads to Theater Square where you will find the famous Bolshoy Theater (try to get tickets for a performance while you are in town). Continue through the square onto Okhotnyy Ryad ulitsa. The House of Unions, an elegant, old palace, is on your right. Now turn right onto Tverskaya ulitsa, Moscow’s "Fifth Avenue." Several blocks ahead is Tverskaya Square, where you will find Moscow’s City Hall, a red and white edifice to the west (left).
At the Boulevard Ring, further northwest, is Pushkin Square, with a statue of Russia’s favorite poet. Beyond this square you may extend the walk to the Mayakovskaya Metro Station, at Triumphal Square. This metro station is one of the finest of these interesting, underground architectural gems. After a look, return to Pushkin Square.
From Pushkin Square walk southwest on Tverskoy Bulvar to Ploshchad Nikitskiye Voruta and then turn left onto Bol Nikitskaya Ulitsa. A few blocks ahead, on your right, is the Moscow Conservatory. Later, as the street approaches the walls of the Kremlin, you will see the Old Moscow University, on your right.
Tuen left at the walls and stroll through the Alexander Gardens which run alongside the walls. Then enter Red Square by turning right. You have completed the full circuit and have returned to your starting point.