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*'''Riksha Ivan''' Chinese cuisine.
 
*'''Riksha Ivan''' Chinese cuisine.
 
*'''Teremok'''  These brown-colored kiosks sell large ''blinchiki'', or Russian pancakes (actually these will remind you more of crêpes).  They have a wide variety of fillings.
 
*'''Teremok'''  These brown-colored kiosks sell large ''blinchiki'', or Russian pancakes (actually these will remind you more of crêpes).  They have a wide variety of fillings.
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One shall be advised against risking a shawarma (sold on every second corner), though. Anyway, in Russia it has little in common with the Mediterranian namesake.
  
 
====fast food====
 
====fast food====

Revision as of 14:04, 19 May 2008

For other places with the same name, see Moscow (disambiguation).

Moscow [1] is the capital of Russia.

St. Basil

Contents

Understand

Moscow is the financial and political center of Russia and its biggest сity. The city has a population of around 13 million, and covers an area of around 1080 km².

Moscow is in UTC+3 time zone.


Geography

Moscow is a huge city located on the Moskva River, which bends its way through the city. Most of the main sites are on the northern bank of the river. The other major waterway is the Yauza River, which flows into the Moskva east of the Kremlin.

Much of Moscow's geography is defined by the numerous 'Ring Roads' that circle the city at various distances from the centre, roughly following the outline of the walls that used to surround Moscow. With Red Square and the Kremlin forming the very centre, the innermost ring road is the Boulevard Ring, built in the 1820s where the 16th centuries walls used to be. It runs from the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in south-west central Moscow, to the mouth of the Yauza in south-east central Moscow.

The next ring road, the Garden Ring, derives its name from the fact that landowners near the road in Tsarist times were obligated to maintain gardens to make the road attractive. In Soviet times the road was widened.

The recently constructed Third Ring is not much use for tourists but is a heavily used motorway which absorbs a bit of Moscow's traffic. It roughly follows the outline of Kamer-Kollezhsky val, the customs boundary of Moscow in the 18th-early 20th century. The outer edge of Moscow is largely defined by the Moscow Ring Road, a motorway which encircles the entire city (similar to London's M25 and Paris' Périphérique). Finally, a Fourth Ring is due to be built between the Third Ring and the Moscow Ring Road in the next years.

Get in

As elsewhere in Russia, strict visa requirements apply. See Russia#Get in for details.

By plane

Moscow has four airports:

  • Sheremetyevo International Airport, (IATA: SVO) +7 495 232-65-65, [2].
  • Domodedovo International Airport (IATA: DME) +7 495 933-66-66, [3].
  • Vnukovo International Airport (IATA: VKO) Tel: (Head Office) +7 495 436-71-9, [4].
  • Bykovo Airport (IATA: BKA) +7 495 558-47-38.

Moscow is, by far, the main air traffic hub of Russia and will continue to be as both Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo are undergoing major development plans (both are due to build brand new and large terminals in the next years) and Domodedovo plans to more than double terminal space to 225,000 m² in 2006 and to invest a further $300 million into construction and upgrades in 2007-2008.

In 1980-1991 all international flights to Moscow landed at Sheremetyevo International Airport, commonly called Sheremetyevo II and soon to be renamed "Terminal B". The home base of Aeroflot, Sheremetyevo II was built before the 1980 Summer Olympics. Sheremetyevo I is actually Terminal I of the same airport; however, it is located across the runway from Sheremetyevo II and for practical purposes is a separate airport. Sheremetyevo I and its new Terminal C handle only domestic flights and flights to Belarus. A new Sheremetyevo-III ("Terminal A") is under construction for completion sometime in 2009.

However, in recent years Sheremetyevo has been eclipsed by Domodedovo, which is rather more modern and has better transport links to the center. Many international carriers, including British Airways and Lufthansa, have switched to Domodedovo and since 2005 it has catered to more passengers than Sheremetyevo. Aeroflot's biggest competitors S7 (Sibir) and Transaero, along with a slew of minnows, are based at Domodedovo.

If you prefer to go to the airport by car, it is best to call a taxi agency and book a cab. There are many agencies that can provide this service, and the cost ranges from $30-40 or more. All airports have taxi kiosks where you can get yourself a driver at a fixed price. Don't listen to people offering you a taxi around the terminal, it will all end up in a major rip-off. For public transportation see below:

Sheremetyevo II

Sheremetyevo north of the city centre is the closest airport to downtown Moscow but the major thouroughfare leading to it, Leningradskoye Shosse, is one of the busiest in the city and is normally a giant traffic jam most of the day.

The surest way to get to Sheremetyevo is to take a non-stop Aeroexpress train from Savyolovsky Station (see below). These depart from a dedicated terminal (facing the railway station, turn left and round the corner) on the hour from 7 am to 11 am and from 2 pm to 10 pm, with an extra serivce at 1 pm on weekends. The train doesn't go all the way to the airport yet. The terminus is Lobnya station where passengers transfer to a bus that first goes to SVO1 and then to SVO2. The train fare is 70 RUB and the bus fare is 15 RUB (payable to the driver; it's slightly cheaper to buy your bus ticket at Saviolovsky Station before boarding the train). The train ride takes exactly 25 minutes; busses are scheduled to depart Lobnya 15 minutes after the train arrives and take another 15 minutes to SVO1 and 20 minutes after that to SVO2. Thus the whole trip is 1 h 15 minutes. However it is possible to take a taxi from the rank in front of Lobnya station at a fixed rate of 120 RUB to SVO1 and 180 RUB to SVO2, shaving off a good half an hour from from downtown Moscow. A new train station is being built directly in front of SVO2. Once it completed, it will take as little as 30 minutes by train from Saviolovsky Station to Sheremetyevo II.

It is also possible to reach Sheremetyevo from metro (subway) stations Rechnoi Vokzal or Planernaya, the termini for the green and purple line respectively. This route, though recommended by major English-language guidebooks, however, only makes sense if you start your journey somewhere in the north of Moscow or have to be at the airport when the train is not running (see schedules above). There are slower buses (#851 from Rechnoy Vokzal, #817 from Planernaya) and faster shared, fixed-price taxis called Marshrutka from both stations. Buses depart very regularly (about 15-30 minutes). Without jams (a very rare occasion) the trip takes about 30-40 minutes and costs 10-40 R, depending which one you take and amount of your luggage. If you have plenty of bulky luggage, you should not take Marshrutka. Be careful because the same bus/Marshrutka goes also to Sheremetyevo I and remember to make sure which terminal your bus or Marshrutka goes first to. During the rush hour the Planernaya route will be slightly less prone to traffic jams.

Most flights from/to Sheremetyevo II are operated either by Aeroflot, or by its partner international carriers, mostly members of the SkyTeam alliance. Check-in starts 2hrs before departure time (3 hours for the US-bound flights).


Apart from a handful of airlines operating out of the new Terminal C (next door to Sheremetyevo I), most international flights depart Sheremetyevo II. Ground-floor is arrivals level, with departures being one level above. In the pre-check-in area on the departuers level there's only TGI Friday plus 6 to 8 no-name cafes/bars/coffee shops. TGIF can serve coffee to go, but charges ab. 360 rub for mid-sized cafe latte and serves it in Coca-Cola-branded paper cups; they also have free Wi-Fi which can be used outside of the restaurant as well. The TGIF serves the same menu as in America, which may come in handy on your way out if you have grown tired of salty smoked fish and warm drinks. There's a cheap self-service cafeteria two levels up (use the elevator or the stairs), where all the airport workers eat and a more formal 1980's Soviet-retro-chic restaurant above it. Both have nice view of the tarmac. Most cafes and restaurants beyond passport control are faceless and overpriced. Club Bar boasts Ronnefeldt teas and decent pancakes, however. Note that you have to clear customs before check-in so there's practically no going back after you check-in to the cafeteria or the restaurant upstairs.

The airport has banking and bureaux de change, and ATMs are available in both the Arrivals and Departures areas. Remember to change your rubles into Euros or USD before departing Moscow for other countries as almost no other country will cash in your rubles for you. Duty-free shops operated by Aerofirst Moscow Duty Free [5] cover a large space, but merely repeat the same choice in 5 or 6 outlets. As elsewhere, only most popular local souvenirs are sold, still with a huge margin. This terminal also has a hairdresser, pharmacy and a medical office as well as at least two travel agencies.

The information desk is in the main hall and sometimes you are lucky enough to get someone that speaks reasonably good English. The number is (495) 956 4666. You can also call an Intourist representatives (available in Terminal 2) that can provide tourist information (495) 578 5971.

A new Terminal A is being constructed next to Sheremetyevo II. All Aeroflot flights (including domestic destinations currently operated out of SVO1) as well as other SkyTeam carriers (Delta, KLM, Air France, Alitalia, CSA Czech Airlines, Korean Air) will relocate there after its completion in November 2007.

Domodedovo

Domodedovo is located south from city centre and is most conveniently reached by AeroExpress train from Paveletsky Train Station (near a metro of the same name). The trip takes about 40 minutes and takes you directly into the airport. Trains depart every hour starting at 6AM (every 30 minutes in peak hours) and cost about 150 rubles. Several per day of them reach Kurskaya metro station. In late 2006 another express to Belorusskaya station was launched, giving another edge against Sheremetyevo. When catching a train from DME to the city, note that there are both regular old suburban trains and dedicated non-stop services from the same platform. Alternatively, you can go to the Domodedovskaya metro station and catch a bus 405 or a shuttle from there--neither is operating at night. There is an express bus connection between Domodedovo and Vnukovo airports, which departs about every 90 minutes. Note that Domodedovo is the farthest airport from the centre and cab fares are particularly high; if you arrive after the trains stop running, you'll pay through the nose for the privillege of being transported to downtown Moscow.

Vnukovo

Vnukovo is located southwest from city centre. Take bus 611 or Marshrutka to/from metro station Yugo-Zapadnaya. Buses depart about every 15 minutes with a trip time of about 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can take an express train from Kievsky Train Station, which departs every 60 minutes in peak hours (with intervals of about 4 hours out of peak hours). There is an expressbus connection between Domodedovo and Vnukovo airports, which departs about every 90 minutes.

Bykovo

Bykovo is a regional airport located southeast from city centre. It only serves a few short-haul domestic flights due to its short runway. Take the "elektrichka" train from Kazansky Train Station. It takes about 50 min and runs every 15-20 minutes. Get off at the Bykovo Station. Bykovo Airport is about 400 meters away.

By train

Moscow lies at the western end of the Trans-Siberian Railway from Beijing, Ulaanbaatar and Vladivostok. You can reach here from almost anywhere in Europe and Central Asia. Moscow is also the main railway hub of Russia.

You can buy tickets to any long-distance train by Internet from JSC Russian Railways, but you need to formalize it before trip in manned booths within the stations ("kassa"). Now it's working in Russian language, but JSC Russian Railways promise the English interface by the end of 2007.

Moscow has nine train stations, each (except Savyolovsky one) offering long-distance and local train services. Savyolovsky Station offers local train service only. All are located relatively in the center of Moscow and have metro stations nearby.

By car

The direct way to drive from Germany, Poland, or Bielarussia is along E30 road. However EU or American citizens have to get Belarussian visas to pass through Belarus, so it could be more convenient to go via Latvia (the nearest border crossing between EU and Russia on this direction) using E22 road (starting in Riga).

Easy access from Finland through St. Petersburg and Novgorod is along E18 road. Road from St. Petersburg to Moscow is also known as Russian Federal Highway M-10. Traffic on M-10 is heavy and driving less relaxing.

Foreign cars – especially expensive ones – might attract unwelcome attention, and there is cumbersome paperwork involved.

By bus

Intercity busses to Russian and some former Soviet Union cities depart from the intercity bus station (автовокзал) at Shelkovskaya Metro station (the last station of the dark blue line, in northeast Moscow). This is the only place in Moscow from which public transportation is available directly to Suzdal. Also, some intercity buses depart from Komsomolskaya, Tushinskaya, Yugo-Zapadnaya, Vykhino, and Domodedovskaya Metro stations.

By ship

Moscow is also served by passenger ships. Most of them are used for river cruises, but there are still some that serve as ordinary public transport, like train. There are two river terminals in Moscow.

Get around

By Metro

Central Moscow is best explored on foot, but as the distances are huge, the visitor will most likely use the famous Metro system. It is comprehensive, boasts some great architecture, and is relatively cheap. As of January 2008, a single trip costs 19 rubles, independent of the length of the trip. Tickets are sold only at manned booths within the stations ("kassa"). In several stations there are tickets vending machines. A convenient way to avoid queuring is to buy a multi-trip card for 10 or 20 trips (10 at 155 RUB; 20 at 280 RUB). There are no day tickets or similar offers directed to visitors.

The metro is open from 5:30am to 1:00am - Stations close at 1:00am so your journey must be completed by then (more precisely, at 1:00am the last train starts from the end stations, the entrances are officially closed and the escalators are stopped). Before 7am and after 7pm the metro is never busy. Between these times on work days it can be a real squeeze, especially within the ring. Some escalators are a 2 minute ride as the stations in the city centre are very deep. On the escalators stand on the right.

It's important to know that colours in the underground's signs don't necessarily correspond to the ones on the maps, so the green line is not necessarily indicated by a green sign (that could be the sign for the gray line). To not miss your path refer to numbers, that is to say: line 3 is line 3 whatever colour is on the sign! There are no English signs inside so have your itinerary ready beforehand or learn to read cyrillic, which is not impossible. Don't let yourself be stressed by the huge masses of people. The Russians also take their time to study the tiny signposts to see where to change trains or which exit to take. Don't use the metro if you are claustrophobic as the air is getting thick especially at rush hours. The most interesting in terms of decor are Komsomolskaya and Novoslobodskaya on the ring line, Kropotkinskaya on the red line, and Mayakovskaya on the green line (watch out for the mosaics on the ceiling).

By Taxi

In Russia and Moscow the difference between hailing a cab and simply hitchhiking is blurry. It's an old Russian tradition for drivers to offer rides to strangers, for a fee. For many Russians it's like a second job. Generally, wherever you are, at any time of day or night, you can get a 'cab' in a matter of minutes or seconds by holding out your hand. Hold your hand out low by your hip, not up high as they hail cabs in American films. Normally, you tell the driver where you're going, and negotiate an amount with you naming the first price. For many locations, giving the closest Metro stop is the best plan of attack. If you don't like the amount one guy is charging, you'll doubtlessly find another driver in a minute or two. Sometimes, when you tell the driver where you're going, he'll decide he's not going in that direction and drive off. Keep in mind, though, that very few drivers will speak English.

You should be able to get between most destinations within the Garden Ring for RUB 200 or less, unless it's not a national holiday or hours when metro doesn't work. For example a typical charge for a New Year Eve is RUR 500.

There are several taxi services operating in Moscow, the most noticeable on the streets being The New Yellow Taxi (Novoye Zholtoye Taxi) - the cars are yellow Fords or Volgas (Russian car brand). They will charge the minimum rate of around 250 roubles no matter the distance. It is however possible to negotiate the price with them as well - the driver will basically switch off the meter and pocket the fare. You can call a cab over the phone, too, but most Muscovites will only do it during the night or to get to an airport.

Other means of public transport

Although it is often neglected, there is more to Moscow public transit than the metro. Moscow has wide network of bus, trolley-bus and tram lines. These get stuck in traffic at rush hour, so worth only taking if you live far away from a metro station. If you are at a reasonably major stop, buy a ticket at the silver kiosks near the station - 1 ride is 17 rubles (multi-ride cards are available too), whereas a ticket bought on-board is 25 rubles. Exact change helps for the latter. Board the bus, trolley-bus or tram from the front door through the turnstile.

There is also a monorail in Moscow, running from VDNKh to Metro Timiryazevskaya. A ticket costs 19 rubles (same as Metro), but the gates currently don't accept standard Metro multi-trip cards. Monorail does not run as frequently as the metro (every 6 minutes at peak hours and around 16 in the rest time), opens later and closes earlier, however recently intervals between trains were reduced.

See

Main sites

Red square, Lenin Mausoleum
Inside the Kremlin
  • Red Square The heart of Moscow and the first destination of most visitors to the city. Surrounded by St. Basil's Cathedral, the State History Museum, Lenin's Mausoleum and one of the Kremlin's long brick walls. Suprisingly, the cobbles that make up the square are black and not red.
  • Lenin Mausoleum Walk past the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin, join the debate if it is still him. You must leave all cameras, phones and bags in the luggage office. Free admission. Open 10:00-13:00 closed Mondays and Fridays. Enter by Manezh Square near Metro Ploshad Revolutsii.
  • St Basil Cathedral Built 1555-61. Inside is a museum, although it looks best from the outside, but if you have the time, take a peek inside.
  • The Kremlin This gigantic site can not be missed. The Diamond collection in the Armoury is worth a visit on its own. There are several stunning churches that warrant a visit. Choose one or two to go inside, then enjoy the rest from the gardens. If you get a chance, the ballet in the Conference centre has some very cheap matinee performances (and you can change seats in the interval). Tickets are 300 Rubles (350 if you want to visit the Armoury). Large bags must be left at a luggage office (60 Roubles) Metro: Ohotnii Ryad, Ploschad Revolutsii.
  • Old Arbat Street Walk down this kitschy street full of souvenir vendors, tourist cafes, lousy restaurants, artists, etc. The prices of the souvenirs vary from reasonable to ripoff. Many of the vendors offer a very high price but can be talked down if you speak Russian. The stores tend to offer the same stuff but with fixed high prices. Metro: Smolenskaya, Arbatskaya (Light Blue)
  • Bolshoi Theatre Sit in front of the famed theater near the fountain, or catch a show inside if you can. Currently under renovation. Tickets start at around 1000 Rubles. Metro: Teatralnaya
  • Tretyakov Gallery One of the world's great museums, this is probably the one to choose if you only want to visit one museum in Moscow. In contrast to the worldwide collection of the Pushkin Museum, the Tretyakov is mostly a collection of Russian art. It has the best collection of Russian icons, and many of the most famous pieces of modern Russian artists like Ilya Repin. Metro: Tretyakovskaya

(NB: There are actually two Tretyakov museums now, the classic one and the 20th Century one. The classic one is where it has always been, the 20th Century one is in the Artist's House Cultural Center across from Gorky Park. They charge separate entry fees.)

  • Pushkin Museum is dedicated to Western art and has one of the world's most significant Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections, along with some Old Masters. The Impressionists and Post-Imppressionists were rather unfortunately relocated to an annex in 2007 across the street from the main building. Metro: Kropotkinskaya
  • Novodevichy Convent Both a convent and a fortress, Novodevichy was built in the early 1500s and has remained nearly intact since the 17th century, making it one of the best preserved historical complexes in Moscow. The adjacent Novodevichy Cemetery is one of Russia's most famous cemeteries. Famous people buried here include Anton Chekhov, Nickolai Gogol, Konstantine Stanislavski, Nikita Khrushchev, Raisa Gorbachev (the former President's wife), and Boris Yeltsin. Metro: Sportivnaya

Other Sites

Less essential sites, but very worthwhile if you have the time, include:

  • New Arbat Street Located near Old Arbat Street, this street offers a contrast from the touristy pedestrian-only thoroughfare. New Arbat is perhaps where Moscow's rich are the most visible, as some of Moscow's most expensive restaurants and nightclubs are located here. There are some reasonably priced cafes, however. The street is lavishly lit up at night and is always very lively. Also, check out Dom Knigi (House of Books) on New Arbat-not as impressive as the St. Petersburg store, but probably the best bet for books in Moscow. Metro: Arbatskaya (Light Blue)
  • Tverskaya Street This street starts from the Kremlin itself and runs Northwest in the direction of Tver (hence the name) and Saint Petersburg. For that reason the road was a very important thoroughfare in Tsarist Russia. It is now Moscow's most fashionable street, with several prestigious boutiques, and is also lined with cafes, restaurants, coffeehouses, a couple of theaters, and several hotels, including two locations of the Marriott. Most of the street's architecture doesn't actually have much history to it, though along the way you will find Russia's first and the world's busiest McDonalds. The statue of Pushkin at Pushkinskaya Square, near the KFC is a very popular meeting point. Walk its length-from Red Square to Belorusski Train Station-about 1 hour and a great way to see the most famous street in Moscow. At least look in the Yeliseev Grocery Store, to see an interior which is far more ornate than most grocery stores. Metro: Tetralnaya, Tverskaya/Pushkinskaya, Mayakovskaya, Belorusskaya (depending on what part you want to exit at).
  • Gorky Park Easily the best known of Moscow's many parks, Gorky Park is packed with a number of theme-park rides, cafes, places to stroll, and a quaint-looking pond, all straddled alongside the Moskva river. Gorky Park is a very popular place for Muscovites of all ages. In winter it's a popular place to ice skate, and it hosts an ice sculpture competition. Metro: Park Kulturi
  • Kolomenskoye This former imperial estate is now a very popular weekend destination for Muscovites. It is a vast collection of churches and other buildings from the 16-17th centuries, including some wooden architecture that was transported here by the Soviet government from Karelia. Kolomenskoye is located in the south-east of Moscow near a metro station of the same name. Metro: Kolomenskaya
  • Victory Park This massive memorial to WWII was built for the 50-year anniversary of V-E day in 1995. On weekends, it is very popular with newlyweds. The park now has its own metro station of the same name. There is also a museum to WWII worth visiting if you like military history.
    VDNKh
  • Vorobyovy Gory 'Sparrow Hills' in English, this the best place for a view of Moscow from the ground. Near the main Moscow State University building, there is a popular lookout point from where one can see much of the city on clear days. Metro: A walk from either metro Universitet or Vorobyovy Gory.
  • VDNKh, aka VVTs. The Russian acronym "VDNKh" stood for "Exhibit of the People's Economic Achievements". It has been since renamed "All-Russian Exhibition Center" ("Vserossiyskiy Vystavochniy Tsentr"). However, it is popularly known by the Soviet abbreviations. Previously this was a massive exhibit of the advances and progress of the USSR. Now it is largely a marketplace for everything from computers to bicycles. However, many of the monuments and fountains here make the area a nice place to stroll. You can also visit the adjacent Botanical Gardens. VDNKh is at a metro station of the same name.
Christ the Savior Cathedral
  • Christ the Savior Cathedral This cathedral, the tallest Orthodox church in the world (the largest being the Temple of St Sava in Belgrade), was blown up on orders from Stalin in 1931, then rebuilt in the mid-nineties. There is an extensive museum beneath the cathedral documenting its history (the original was first started in 1839 and consecrated in 1883). Metro: Kropotinskaya
  • Garden of Fallen Monuments Where many infamous statues in Moscow were placed after the Soviet collapse. See Dzherzinsky, Stalin, Brezhnev, and others. Adjacent to the New Tretyakov Museum, which houses 20th century art. After the Pushkin Museum and the Tretyakov Gallery, this is worth seeing. Metro: Park Kultury and walk over the bridge.

Do

Moscow has really many attractions, but most of them are not friendly to non-Russian-speaker. English-language newspapers like The Moscow Times, Exile, element, Moscow News and others can help to navigate towards English-language friendly attractions and services.

Moscow has two circuses, the Nikulin circus on Tsvetnoi Bulvar (metro Tsvetnoi Bulvar), and the new circus near the University. Tickets can be bought for as little as 200Rbs, and even these seats are good. Touts may be selling tickets outside and can save you a lot of queueing, and they'll speak more English than the ticket office. Sometimes they are selling tickets at the cover price, and sometime at double price - just ask and make sure before parting with your cash.

The Obraztsov puppet theatre at the very north part of the Garden Ring has performances during the winter in the evening. Everything is in Russian and meant for children, but the stories are simple and quite understandable even if you don't understand Russian. The building has a large clock on its front with a box at each hour from which a puppet appears on the hour for a little performance. At 12 midday all of the puppets appear for a short but entertaining appearance.

The Novy Opera (new opera) in the Hermitage gardens features operas mainly in Russia most evenings, starting at 7PM. Tickets are normally available from 200Rbs. Ticket office is open from noon-3PM and then again from 4PM-7PM.

  • Quantum Health Club and Spa, Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow Hotel, 4 Neglinnaya Street,, +7 495 783 1234 (), [7].

Learn

  • Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, [9]. The Russian MIT.
  • Bauman's University.
  • Moscow Medical Academy, [10].
  • People Friendship University.
  • Russian State Medical University.

Work

You will need a work visa. Not an easy process. Needs to be arranged in advance of travelling. Is a lay to work just need get a good company to support to you

Buy

Credit cards usage is becoming more and more widespread but many cheaper stores and restaurants won't accept them, so cash is a necessity. And be sure to break your 5000 or 1000 RUB notes where you can, as the smaller merchants, street vendors and even many metro clerks will likely refuse them. While you are able to get some smaller vendors to accept US dollars and Euros, it is always best to change currency, which is not a problem as currency exchange spots are everywhere in the major cities. Don't forget to check the change returned to you and do not simply say yes to what you do not understand. You might just get an extra Apple Pie after simply ordering French Fries from McDonalds.

Buying souvenirs can be quite a chore if you do not stay in the centre of Moscow. You can get cheaper souvenirs from Izmaylovskiy Market in Izmalylovo Park and other markets meant for locals [ed...Izmaylovskiy Market is NOT a locals' market. The performing bears at the entrance tell all you need to know. Its an expensive tourist trap, although if you want a paperweight with a picture of Stalin in a snow storm its perfect.] Walking out in the middle of a bargaining session will NOT, most likely, get you the price you want; instead insults will be hurled towards you.

  • Evropeiskiy: A new shopping mall opened in 2006 next to Kievsky station, right next to the metro. Lots or international brand-name shops e.g. Marks and Spencer, Next, Levis, Calvin Klein, Swatch. There is also a multi screen cinema, food gallery, supermarket, opticians, and probably everything else if you care to look for it.
  • Ikea: There are 3 large Ikea stores in Moscow, all just outside the ring road, and located in large shopping malls (Mega, also operated by Ikea). They all offer free bright yellow buses from the nearest metro stations. Metro: Rechnoi Vokzal
  • GUM Adjacent to Red Square. Once filled with Soviet-era goods of mediocre quality, now has international labels and expensive boutiques. Even if you don't buy anything, highly recommended to go inside and look at the architecture. Metro: Ploschad Revolutsii
  • Detskiy Mir "Children's World." Has lots of toys but other stores selling books, DVDs, and Peruvian souvenirs. Again, even if you do not buy anything, worth it to explore this building. Metro: Lubyanka

Eat

Most tourists will find eating out in Moscow quite expensive. It does not have to be that way, but the most visible options generally are.

There are a number of American franchise restaurants, such as McDonald's and TGI Friday's.

Great American-style breakfasts can be had at either of the American Bar & Grill locations, as well as thick juicy cheeseburgers.

A huge and quickly growing range of restaurants, with a matching range of prices, has developed in Moscow. The average cost per person for a middle to top class restaurant will be $30 to $200 (more if one goes for vintage wines). A quick 'canteen' style meal in a 'Stolovaya' can cost about $3. Lately a lot of new "middle-class" restaurants have opened, sprawling with families on weekends. The omnipresent McDonald's have outlets near many metro stations.

Ethnic food

Georgian: Besides Russian cuisine, one variety of ethnic food that is strongly recommended while in Moscow is Georgian. This cuisine is generally spicier than Russian food, and there are a number of reasonably priced Georgian restaurants in Moscow.

Japanese: Moscovites are obsessed with sushi since late 1990s, and the boom is not over yet. Japanese restaurants are probably most popular among young Russian women, easily competing with Italian and French restaurants.

Thai cuisine can be found only in few restaurants, and authenticity is well arguable.

Vietnamese and Chinese cuisines are not popular with Russians, but can be found if you are aimed to find it. -You can find "authentic" Chinese and Vietnamese food in Vietnamese/Chinese Markets such as Cherkizovskaya or Izmalovo Markets. You will need to do some exploring deep into the markets or maybe ask a few vendors to locate the restaurants. The vendors themselves eat at those places. -Viet Cafe - a modern fusion-like cafe on Ulitsa Nameotkina(metro: Noviy Cheriomushki) serves Vietnamese cuisine but for a slightly higher price. Normal meal will cost around 500RUR per person.

Budget

outdoor stand-up

There are several chains of outdoor stand-up food vendors, usually located around metro stations. Two to look for are:

  • Kroshka-Kartoshka These green kiosks sell stuffed baked potatoes, as well as toasted sandwiches and a few drinks.
  • Riksha Ivan Chinese cuisine.
  • Teremok These brown-colored kiosks sell large blinchiki, or Russian pancakes (actually these will remind you more of crêpes). They have a wide variety of fillings.

One shall be advised against risking a shawarma (sold on every second corner), though. Anyway, in Russia it has little in common with the Mediterranian namesake.

fast food

Another cheap option is fast food, a growing thing in Moscow. The likes of McDonald's and Rostiks are seen nearby almost every shopping mall. While McDonald's and Sbarros Pizzas serve quite a filling serving for a reasonable price (approx. 150 Roubles for McD and 200 Roubles for Sbarros), most other fast food outlets including the local fast food chains will not fill you up in one serving. A potato topped with 3 choice toppings will cost you 145 Roubles which is almost $6. Contrary to most countries whereby ketchup and various sauces are given for free, they are usually charged 5 Roubles for a packet of ketchup.

There are several chains of restaurants that are now very widespread, and again are usually located near metro stations. The 1990 opening of McDonalds was an international event, and now it has over 70 outlets in Moscow. Rostiks is a Russian KFC's franchise, so it specializes in fried chicken.

  • Grabli [11]. A chain opened in July 2006 aims to compete with Moo-Moo. While new, it offers better quality than Moo Moo; it's hard to predict how long it quality standards will live.
  • prosp. Mira, 99 (M. Alexeevskaya), 9-23
  • Pyatnitskaya 27 (M. Tretyakovskaya / Novokuznetskaya), 10-23
  • Evropeyskiy mall (M. Kievskaya), 10-23
  • Kruzhka [12] is a chain of "beer restaurants" which serves cheap food and, as its name suggests, mugs of beer. It can be found in 20 locations around Moscow. The menu is relatively simple, consisting mainly of types of Kebab and shaurma, with fries. Sport events are on often shown on televisions or big screen.
  • Moo-Moo. The chain restaurant offers adequate quality canteen food, with English menus, for around $10 pp.
  • Yolky Palky. The chain restaurant offers Russian style food. You can take all-you-can-eat plate for cca. 300RUB.

Mid-range

  • Dyadya Vanya m. Pushkinskaya/Chekhovskaya. Literally 'Uncle Ivan's', this place also uses a nostalgic interior, of the inter-war period.
  • Korchma Taras Bulba This is restaurant of Ukrainian cuisine. Interior is decorated like a Ukrainian house. There always are playing Ukrainian music. This is a chain restaurant. The cuisine is Ukrainian, but still it is quite common to the national Russian cuisine. Dinner costs $25 for two persons. Address Petrovka st. 30/7 near metro Pushkinskaya/Chekhovskaya. Pyatnickaya st. 14 near metro Novokuznetsckaya.
  • Lavash Cuisine from the Caucus region. Large menu with pictures, good choice of Russian beer and vodka at reasonable prices. Looks more expensive than it is. Conveniently located 100 metres south of the Nikulin circus on Tsvetnoi Bulvar. Come out of Tsvetnoi Bulvar, turn right, walk 2 minutes.
  • Mi Piace [13] A chain of Italian restaurants; relatively expensive but quite popular both among locals and expatriates working in Moscow. Addresses are: 22 Chayanova (250-0893); 13/9 B. Ordynka (951-52-50, 953-96-65); 20 Tverskaya (650-7575); 20 Sadovaya-Samotechnaya (694-0001); 16/16 Pokrovka (623-4411); 7, 1st Tverskaya Yamskaya (970-1129)
  • Hard Rock Cafe, On Old Arbat Street. Serves the same menu it does worldwide for reasonable prices. Also, they are open for breakfast at 6am and serve traditional Western breakfasts for what works out to be about $8 USD per person. Fresh squeezed orange juice and hash browns are a highlight here. You can eat outdoors and people watch on the endlessly fascinating parade of characters that walk the street all day and all night.


Splurge

  • Krasnaya ploschad dom 1 This restaurant is situated in the heart of Moscow, in the Historical museum building on the Red Square to the right hand if you are looking at the Lenin Mausoleum. This is quite expensive place the cost for dinner per person is near $70-80. But it is worth visiting.
  • Pushkin (has a cafe and restaurant; cafe is cheaper). A fake 19th century mansion (built in 1999) that is more of a tourist attraction than a place to eat. With a strecth of imagination the food on offer might pass for what it puprports to be, i.e. the aristocratic Russian cuisine from the Czarist times. Metro: Tverskaya, Pushkinskaya
  • Carré Blanc [14] French restaurant with an attached and much cheaper bar/cafe which also serves good food. Good wine list. French/English/Russian spoken. Metro Novoslobodskaya.
  • Riviera Maybe the finest French food outside of France. Painfully slow white glove service but beautiful restaurant with a harpist playing throughout the meal and expertly prepared authentic french dishes. Expansive wine list.
  • Expedition [15]. Northern cuisine was really excellent though this is really expensive place
  • Vogue Cafe [16]. Situated right across the street from TSUM on Kyznetski Most Street building 7/9, the restaurant is a great little find but do not be fooled by the word cafe. It is quite trendy inside and can be busy in the evening. The prices are on the lower end of expensive (fish dishes range between 800 rub - 1300 rub) and the wine list is extremely underprices by Russian standards. Of course keep in mind that it's still in Russia, so you will end up paying 4000+ rub per bottle. Overall, the food is absolutely delicious.
  • Ne dal'nii vostok [17]. The name of the restaurant means, "Not far East." Overall, this restaurant is a real splurge but definitely worth the indulgence. It's located on on Tverskoy Blvd buliding 15.

Drink

There are several bars in central Moscow worth visiting.

  • Gogol' Bar (Speakeasy) is located on the posh Stoleshnikov pereulok. The street houses the de luxe brand shops such as Chanel, Burberry, Cartier etc. The entrance to the bar is between Vivienne Westwood and Lancel boutiques. The interior, menu and drinks are quite simple. Musical performances every weekend. During winter the small yard is used as a skating rink.
There are also Gogol' Bars on Arbat and Maroseika street.
  • Tema bar (Theme bar) is located near Chistye Prudy boulevar (Potapovsky pereulok, 5). It boasts quite a long cocktail list, including all time favorites like Screwdriver, Cosmopolitan and Manhattan. The bar is packed on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Propaganda (Propaganda) [18] is a great alternative bar with lots of cheap drinks (vodka - 100 rub; beer - 150 rub). With great music, hip and funky crowd, as well as a relatively relaxed "Face Control," Propaganda is a great place to dance all night and potentially meet some interesting people.
  • Fabrique [19] This club has nothing to do with the London club, but it is no less happening and lively. Beware of "Face Control" (Russia's way of letting only the chosen into the club) and mid priced drinks. Shots of vodka are ~200 rub and mixed drinks are more expensive. If you're foreign, you're very likely to get in and mingle with the sexy Russian dames that graze in the club. Great club atmosphere with generally awesome dj's.


Tea

Moscow has a good selection of tea saloons. Beyond them, high-quality infusion teas (like Newby) are widely available in cafes, both packeted and loose.

Asking to add boiling water to the tea you ordered earlier is a practice that some cafes don't welcome--but normally it's acceptable. However, initiative from the waiter is really rare in this respect.

Coffee

According to Vedomosti (June 2007), best coffee can be found in:

  • Coffeemania chain, [20].
  • Coffee Bean, Petrovka 18/3. Petrovka is most coffee-conscious place in the Coffee Bean chain (also Tverskaya, Pyatnitskaya).
  • Volkonsky, Maroseika 4/2.
  • Starbucks Cafe, Old Arbar Street, [21].

Sleep

Budget

  • Godzillas Hostel Moscow, Bolshoi Karetnyy 6, apt. 5 (first floor), +7 (495) 699-42-23 (, fax: +7 (495) 699-16-91), [22]. checkin: 2 pm; checkout: 12 am. Pretty reasonable hostel with decent bathrooms and very friendly staff. It's in a pretty reasonable location; minutes walk from the local bars and restaurants and 20-25 minutes walk from the Kremlin. Small number of showers and internet terminals are the only downside. Prices start at RUR 725 per night in a dorm or at RUR 1,740 per night in a double room.
  • Napoleon Hostel, Maly Zlatoustinskiy 2, (4th floor), +7 (495) 628-66-95 (, fax: +7 (495) 624-59-78), [23]. Good hostel with excellent location in the quiet city center. Dorm prices starts from RUR 800 per night.
  • Suharevka mini-hotel, Bolshaya Suharevskaya Ploshad 16/18, +7 (910) 420-3446 (), [24]. Pleasant mini-hotel with nice location in the center of Moscow. Private rooms are quite nice for price, around 45 euros.

Mid-range

There is a big need in mid-range accommodation in Moscow, but nevertheless curious traveler could found some useful destinations.

  • Hotel Izmailovo Alfa, Izmailovskoe shosse 71a, +7 (495) 646-0155 (fax: +7 (495) 646-0155), [25]. The hotel is right outside Partizanskaya metro station with a direct connection that takes you to Ploshchad Revolyutsii metro station in about 15 minutes. On Saturday and Sunday there is a Vernisazh market with attractive art and handmade crafts within a 5 minute walk from the hotel. The hotel is built on the place of the old village "Izmailovo", which was the suburban estate of Russian Tsars. Peter the First spent there his childhood. "Alfa" was built in 1980 for the Olympic games. The project authors were awarded with the State prize. The guestrooms reveal a panoramic view of the Park and Petrovskii lakes. Prices start at RUR 3,300 per room per night.
  • Hotel Cosmos, Prospekt Mira 150, +7 (495) 646-0155 (, fax: +7 (495) 646-0155), [26]. Rooms from RUR 5,000. The hotel is right outside metro station VDNKh and next to the All-Russian Exhibition Centre [27].
  • Hotel Izmailovo Gamma-Delta, Izmailovskoe shosse 71, +7 (495) 646-0155 (fax: +7 (495) 646-0155), [28]. The hotel is right outside Partizanskaya metro station with a direct connection that takes you to Ploshchad Revolyutsii metro station in about 15 minutes. On Saturday and Sunday there is a Vernisazh market with attractive art and handmade crafts within a 5 minute walk from the hotel. Prices start at RUR 2,300 per room per night.
  • Hotel Voskhod, Altuf'evskoye shosse 2, [29]. Relatively cheap and modest accommodation in the outskirts of the city. Located near Vladykino metro station (grey line, seven stops to the city center, 20-25 minutes). Price starting at RUR 1,800 per double room.

Splurge

  • The Ritz-Carlton - This hotel is amazingly beautiful and only about 100 yards from Red Square. The hotel was build in July 2007, every thing is new, it is very classy with an old world style, look and feel to it. The staff is very nice, helpful and professional. Everyone speaks very good English. But, the price is unbelievely expensive, we were quoted over $1,000 US dollars per night for 2 people, we did not stay there. We did decide to have coffee and orange juice in the resturant and stupidly did not ask how much it would be, our bill for 3 cups of coffee and 1 small glass of orange juice was $53 US dollars.
  • Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow, ul. Balchug, 1, +7 (495) 230 5500 (+7 (495) 230 6500, , fax: +7 (495) 230 5502), [30]. checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. Hotel is located facing the Red Square and St.Basil's Cathedral. It features spacious rooms, good service and a buffet-breakfast.
  • Le Royal Meridien National, 15/1, bld. 1 ul. Mokhovaya, +7 (495) 258 7000 (, fax: +7 (495) 258 7100), [31].


  • Swissotel Krasnye Holmy.
  • Hotel Moscow, [32].
  • Golden Ring Hotel, (The hotel is also attached to a casino and is a 5 minute walk to Arbat Street and the Foreign Ministry building), [33]. Very expensive and in desperate need of new carpets. Hotel staff is very accommodating and speaks English well. The bar/lounge can be entertaining in the evening when the local "escorts" wait for their "dates".
  • Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow, 4 Neglinnaya Street (A few minutes walk from Red Square), +7 495 783 1234 (), [35]. checkin: 12PM; checkout: 3PM. Has large rooms, views of Red Square and a 17m heated indoor pool.

Contact

Mobile

In Moscow there are three main GSM operators (MTS, Beeline, Megafon), and they often have offers that give you a SIM card for free or at least very cheap. If you are planning to stay a while and to keep in touch with Russian people, then you should consider buying a local SIM card instead of going on roaming. Buying a SIM card from a shop you'll need your passport for a bit of paperwork, but it only takes 5 minutes and will cost less than $10.

For calls abroad there is are different cheap pre-paid cards (e.g. Arktel), which you can find at many shops and kiosks throughout the city or in any post office.

Cope

Stay safe

Moscow is safer than most Western cities of its size. It enjoys a lower crime rate and is much safer than the second biggest city in Russia, Saint Petersburg. However, drunk people and the police could cause some problems. Some policemen are corrupt and it is best to avoid them. While traveling in Moscow, as well as the rest of Russia, you must always have your passport with you. If you look Middle-Eastern, your papers will get checked often. Usually the police will demand to see your papers to check if you have been registered within three business days of your arrival into Moscow. Most policemen do not speak a word of English but will somehow let you know your papers are not in order and you must go with them to the police precinct. It may be possible to bribe the police with about 500 R and they may leave you alone. If you are reasonably sure your papers are in order, get out your mobile phone and call your embassy helpline. Most corrupt policemen will be frightened enough to let you go before you dial the number. Do not carry large sums of money as it may be taken by pickpocketers or the police.

Non-white people should be especially vigilant since violent attacks have occurred, and most minorities are likely to be stopped for document checks by the police.

Finally, women should take caution walking alone late at night, since they may receive unwanted attention from drunk men. Women should also stay clear of large companies of men in front of bars, restaurants, etc. It is best to walk with a friend if possible.

Get out

Since Moscow is the biggest transport center in Russia and one of main point of entries for the foreign tourists, it is convenient starting point for exploring much of European Russia. Even travel to Ukraine and some Caucasian and Central Asian countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan etc.) through Moscow could be cheaper than direct flights from Europe/North America, as travel deals to Moscow are not rare and ticket prices are often pretty low within former USSR.

  • Saint Petersburg - The overnight train leaves Moscow at midnight and arrives the next morning at 8AM. Pay the extra money for a 1st class sleeper cabin which has 2 comfortable beds. Included in the price is a small snack for supper/breakfast. There is also an attendant for each carriage who is willing to make tea in classic metal and glass tea glasses. Very civilised way to travel.
  • Arkhangelskoye - One of the finest of Moscow Oblast's usadbas (estates) is only a short elektrichka ride away from Moscow and makes a fine day excursion.
  • Golden Ring - old cities and towns rich in historical buildings, situated in the heartland of Muskovy Russia. There are many tourist companies organizing guided tours, but traveller with rudimentary knowledge of Cyrillic alphabet can do it independently. Many guidebooks are avaliable in English.
  • Kubinka Tank Museum [36] - one of finest armour collections in the world. About one hour west of the city. Access is restricted, visitors must apply for a permit [37], but it worths the trouble for any self-respecting tank buff.
  • Leninskiye Gorki - old country estate, expropriated by the Communist authorities after 1917 and used by V. Lenin's as his country residence when he became ill. Large museum, although pretty decrepit now.
  • Melikhovo (Chekhov's country house south of Moscow)
  • Sergeyev Posad - famous old Orthodox monastery (Troitse-Sergieva Lavra).
  • Yasnaya polyana (Tolstoi's country house close to Tula)
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!



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