Moscow is a fascinating city with lots of attractions. Most visitors will visit the usual places including Red Square, The Kremlin, St. Basils Cathedral, GUM Department Store and The Moscow Metro but here are five things to do in Moscow which are a little less common destinations.
Since the late 14th century, a church has stood at the southwest corner of Sobornaya Ploshchad. The first was a wooden church, constructed by Vasily I, which was rebuilt over five years in the late 15th century by Ivan III. Initially, the Orthodox Annunciation Cathedral was the personal chapel of the royal family. After Ivan the Terrible took power, it was extended and the Archangel Gabriel Chapel was added. This was so he could watch services in the main church, which he was forbidden to enter under Orthodox rules. These rules stated that a person who had married more than three times was not allowed to enter the main body of a church. The venerated icons of Theophanes the Greek, the great artist, are housed here.
Since 1924, the embalmed body of Vladimir Ilyich (better known as Lenin) has been lying in state in a mausoleum at the Kremlin wall. This is despite a declaration by the founder of the Soviet Union that he wanted to be buried beside his mother in St Petersburg. There seems to be a perpetual queue to view his body, constantly supervised by guards, which forms at the northwest corner of Red Square. Cameras are forbidden – drop yours at the State History Museum’s left luggage office. After you exit the mausoleum, the Kremlin wall itself is worthy of examination, as a number of prominent communists are buried here.
Although it had been making chocolate and other confectionary for over one hundred years, the Krasny Oktyabr Chocolate Factory was forced to relocate several years ago. This was part of an initiative to make Moscow’s old centre industry free. In acknowledgement of the building’s historic status, however, it was preserved and turned into Krasny Oktyabr Chocolate Factory & Museum. Here, you can learn about the story of the company before it relocated, and the complex itself – which today is part occupied by Art Strelka. This is a group supporting artists in finding workshops and galleries. The building boasts an enviable position facing the Church of Christ the Saviour, as this gives it Moscow’s best view of the Kremlin.
You cannot possibly miss the Cosmonautics Museum – mainly because it is situated in the base of a 328 feet high titanium pillar. Erected in 1964 when Sputnik was launched, this pillar honours “The Conquerors of Space”. There are many displays here on the achievements of the Soviet space program, with memorabilia such as the space suit that Yuri Gagarin wore and the Soviet Union’s first rocket engine. There are also many diagrams, charts and fascinating video footage from a number of orbit missions.
If you want a romantic night out in Moscow, you can do much worse than heading to the Bolshoi Theatre. The glamorous, six tier main hall is still a joy to behold and the ambience is infectious. Opera and Ballet companies both perform here, offering works from both native and foreign composers. Book your tickets either over the phone or on the Bolshoi Theatre’s website. You can also purchase from their box office a few days ahead.