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Difference between revisions of "Moscow"

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Moscow Oblast : Moscow
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[[Image:St. Basil2.jpg|thumb|450px|right|St. Basil]]
 
[[Image:St. Basil2.jpg|thumb|450px|right|St. Basil]]
 
==Understand==  
 
==Understand==  
Moscow is the capital of Russia, as well as being the financial and political center of the country and its biggest сity.
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Moscow is the capital of Russia, as well as the financial and political center of the country and its biggest сity. The city has a population of around 13 million, and covers an area of around 1080 km².  
 
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Moscow has a population of around 11 million, and covers an area of around 1080 km².  
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===History===
 
===History===
 
Caroline Brooke, Moscow: A Cultural History (2006: OUP Cityscapes series, ISBN: 0195309529) is a good place to start.
 
Caroline Brooke, Moscow: A Cultural History (2006: OUP Cityscapes series, ISBN: 0195309529) is a good place to start.
Moscow is the capital of Russia, its financial and political center and its biggest сity.
 
  
 
===Geography===
 
===Geography===
  
Moscow is located on the Moskva River, which bends its way through the southern and western parts of 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.  
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Moscow is 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 center.  With Red Square and the Kremlin forming the very center, the innermost ring road is the Boulevard Ring, which runs from the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in south-west central Moscow, to the mouth of the Yauza in south-east central Moscow.
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Much of Moscow's geography is defined by the numerous 'Ring Roads' that circle the city at various distances from the center, roughly following the outline of the walls that used to surround Moscow.  With Red Square and the Kremlin forming the very center, the innermost ring road is the Boulevard Ring, built in the 1820's 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 is the Garden Ring, which used to be the place of Moscow's outer walls.  It 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.
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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. 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' ''Peripherique''). Finally, a Fourth Ring is due to be built between the Third Ring and the Moscow Ring Road in the next years.
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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==  
 
==Get in==  
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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.
 
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 the past, nearly all international flights (from outside the former USSR) landed at Sheremetyevo International Airport, commonly called Sheremetyevo II.  Sheremetyevo I is actually Terminal I of the same airport; however, it is located a considerable distance from Sheremetyevo II and for practical purposes is a separate airport.  Sheremetyevo I handles mostly domestic flights as well as charter flights to resort destinations. However, Domodedovo and Vnukovo are increasingly competing for international flights, and several international carriers, including British Airways, have switched to Domodedovo and so it happened in the year 2005 that Domodedovo ended up as Russia's leading airport in number of passengers, both domestic and international.
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In the past, nearly all international flights from outside the former USSR landed at Sheremetyevo International Airport, commonly called Sheremetyevo II.  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 handles mostly domestic flights. However, Domodedovo is increasingly competing for international flights, and several international carriers, including British Airways, have switched to Domodedovo and so it by 2005 that Domodedovo ended up as Russia's leading airport in number of passengers, both domestic and international.
  
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 $20-30 or more. All airports have taxi kiosks where you can negotiate the price and get yourself a driver. Don't listen to people offering you a taxi around the terminal, it is most of the time either not safe or will all end up in a major rip-off. For public transportation see below:
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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 II====
Sheremetyevo II is located north from city centre and is best reached by going to the metro station Rechnoi Voksal and taking a bus 851 or a shared, fixed-price taxi called Marshrutka from there.  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 RUB, 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 that when going to the airport they stop first at Sheremetyevo II and then at Sheremetyevo I. They arrive and depart right in front of the terminal.
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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.  
  
Other (and better during peak traffic hours) option is to take a bus 817 or Marshrutka to/from metro station Planernaya. Trip takes 40-50 minutes.  
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The surest way to get to Sheremetyevo is to take a non-stop [http://www.aeroexspress.ru/en/index.html ''Aeroexpress''] train from Savyolovsky Station (see below). These depart from a dedicated terminal (facing the railway staion, 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. By the end of 2007 when it is supposed to open, it will take as little as 30 minutes by train from Saviolovsky Station to Sheremetyevo II.  
  
Most flights from/to Sheremetyevo II are either operated by Aeroflot, or by its partner international carriers. For Aeroflot's own flights, registration starts straight 2hrs before departure time.
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It is also possible to reach Sheremetyevo from metro 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 busses (#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.
  
If you fly by economic class and there're several people in your group, for check-in it's better to have someone to stand in business class queue, especially if you arrive before registration start--business-class clerk may start with economic class passengers if there's no/not too many business-class passengers.
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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).
  
In the pre-check-in area 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. 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. Most cafes and restaurants beyond passport control are equally faceless and overpriced. Club Bar boasts Ronnefeldt teas and decent pancakes, however.
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<!-------If you fly by economic class and there're several people in your group, for check-in it's better to have someone to stand in business class queue, especially if you arrive before registration start--business-class clerk may start with economic class passengers if there's no/not too many business-class passengers.---->
  
The airport has banking and bureaux de change, and ATMs are available in both the Arrivals and Departures areas. Note 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 (tried this in Amsterdam, London, Newark, Boston with no luck).
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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.
  
Duty-free shops operated by Aerofirst Moscow Duty Free [http://www.dutyfree.ru/default.aspx?lang=en] 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.
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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 [http://www.dutyfree.ru/default.aspx?lang=en] 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.
  
This terminal also has a hairdresser, pharmacy and a medical office as well as at least two travel agencies.
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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.
  
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 (095) 956 4666.  You can also call an Intourist representatives (available in Terminal 2) that can provide tourist information  (095) 578 5971.
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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====
Domodedovo is located south from city centre and is most conveniently reached by [http://www.domodedovo.ru/en/main/getting/1/aero/1/ 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 costs 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. 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.
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Domodedovo is located south from city centre and is most conveniently reached by [http://www.domodedovo.ru/en/main/getting/1/aero/1/ 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.
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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====
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====Bykovo====
 
====Bykovo====
Bykovo is a regional airport located southeast from city centre. It serves mainly 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.
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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===  
 
===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.
 
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 [http://pass.rzd.ru/wps/portal/pass?STRUCTURE_ID=5102 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 to the end of 2007.  
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You can buy tickets to any long-distance train by Internet from [http://pass.rzd.ru/wps/portal/pass?STRUCTURE_ID=5102 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.
 
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.
Line 106: Line 104:
 
The metro is open from 5:30am to 1:00am - stations close at 1:00am so you're 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.
 
The metro is open from 5:30am to 1:00am - stations close at 1:00am so you're 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 often colours in the underground's signs don't 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.
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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 for the mosaics on the ceiling).
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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===
 
===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.
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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.
 
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).  
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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.
They will charge the minimum rate of around 250 roubles no matter the distance. Do not take these, although they are registered, legitimacy means nothing, and you will find yourself feeling extorted when the meter reads 2,000RUR for a 10 minute drive. But hey no worries, you will probably get "special price" of only 1000RUR!
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<!----Do not take these, although they are registered, legitimacy means nothing, and you will find yourself feeling extorted when the meter reads 2,000RUR for a 10 minute drive. But hey no worries, you will probably get "special price" of only 1000RUR! BOLLOCKS!---->
  
 
===Other means of public transport===
 
===Other means of public transport===
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*'''Lenin Mausoleum'''The embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin-open to debate if it is still Lenin. Free. Open 10:00-13:00 closed Mondays and Fridays. Enter by Manezh Square near Metro Ploshad Revolutsii.
 
*'''Lenin Mausoleum'''The embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin-open to debate if it is still Lenin. Free. 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.
 
*'''St Basil Cathedral'''  Built 1555-61. Inside is a museum, although it looks best from the outside.
*'''The Kremlin''' Must not be missed. The Diamond collection is worth a visit on its own. 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) Metro: Oxotnii Ryad, Ploschad Revolutsii.
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*'''The Kremlin''' Must not be missed. The Diamond collection is worth a visit on its own. 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) Metro: Ohotnii Ryad, Ploschad Revolutsii.
*'''Old Arbat Street'''  Walk down this lively street full of souvenir vendors, cafes, 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)
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*'''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 Theater'''  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: Tetralnaya [http://www.europe-top100.com/Moscow/Bolshoi-Theatre.php Bolshoi Theatre photos]
 
*'''Bolshoi Theater'''  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: Tetralnaya [http://www.europe-top100.com/Moscow/Bolshoi-Theatre.php Bolshoi Theatre photos]
 
*'''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
 
*'''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
*'''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, and Raisa Gorbachev (the former president's wife), and Boris Yeltsin. Metro: Sportivnaya
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*''''Pushkin Museum''' is dedicated to Western art and has one of the world's most significant Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections and some Old Masters. The Impressionists and Post-Imppressionists were rather unfortunately relocated to an annexe in 2007. Metro: Kropotkinskaya
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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
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*'''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===
 
===Other sites===
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Moscow has really many attractions, but most of them are not friendly to non-Russian-speaker. English-language newspapers like [http://www.themoscowtimes.com The Moscow Times], [http://www.exile.ru Exile], Moscow News and others can help to navigate towards English-language friendly attractions and services.
 
Moscow has really many attractions, but most of them are not friendly to non-Russian-speaker. English-language newspapers like [http://www.themoscowtimes.com The Moscow Times], [http://www.exile.ru Exile], 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.
+
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 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.
 
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.
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==Buy==
 
==Buy==
Don't plan on using your credit card as you make your way around. Many stores, restaurants, and even the long-distance trains (for example to Saint Petersburg) won't accept them, so cash is a necessity.  And be sure to break your 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 many 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.
+
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
If you are a first timer in Moscow be streetwise, as locals sometimes tend to
+
say yes to what you do not understand. You might just get an extra Apple Pie after simply ordering French Fries from McDonalds.
cheat the foreigners. For example, 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 Center of Moscow. You can get cheaper souvenirs from Izmaylovskiy Market in Izmalylovo Park and other markets meant
+
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.] Remember that most Russians may not be excessively friendly to visitors. 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.
+
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 brandname shops eg 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.
+
* '''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
 
* '''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
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==Eat==  
 
==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. Although the restaurant scene in Moscow is a vast improvement from Soviet times, Russians still eat out infrequently and regard restaurants as a luxury.   
+
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. <!----Although the restaurant scene in Moscow is a vast improvement from Soviet times, Russians still eat out infrequently and regard restaurants as a luxury.YEAH, RIGHT---!>  
  
There are a number of Western (American) franchise restaurants, such as KFC and TGI Friday's.  On Old Arbat Street there is a Hard Rock Cafe that serves the same menu it does worldwide for reasonable prices.  Also, they are open for breakfast at 6 am 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.
+
There are a number of Western (American) franchise restaurants, such as McDonald's and TGI Friday's.  On Old Arbat Street there is a Hard Rock Cafe that serves the same menu it does worldwide for reasonable prices.  Also, they are open for breakfast at 6 am 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.
  
 
Great American-style breakfasts can be had at either of the Amerikanski Bar locations, as well as thick juicy cheeseburgers.
 
Great American-style breakfasts can be had at either of the Amerikanski Bar 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. The chain restaurant 'Moo-Moo' offers adequate quality canteen food, with English menus, for around $5 pp. Most Muscovites do not eat in even cheap restaurants very often, although 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.
+
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. The chain restaurant 'Moo-Moo' offers adequate quality canteen food, with English menus, for around $10 pp. 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.
  
 
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.
 
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.
  
Fast Food is a growing thing in Moscow. The likes of McDonalds and KFC and Rostiks are seen nearby almost every shopping mall. While McDonalds and Sbarros Pizzas serve quite a filling serving for a reasonable price (approx. 100Roubles for McD and 150Roubles 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 145Roubles which is almost $6.  
+
Fast Food is 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.  
Contrary to most countries whereby ketchup and various sauces are given for free, they are usually charged 5Roubles for a packet of ketchup.
+
 
+
Be wise when ordering and do not get cheated because they tend to take advantage of foreigners who speak no Russian at all. Get used to the Russian's attitude of hurling insults at you for ordering incorrectly. Customer service is still unknown here.
+
  
 
===Budget===
 
===Budget===
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===Mid-range===
 
===Mid-range===
 
*'''Dyadya Vanya'''  m. Pushkinskaya/Chekhovskaya.  Literally 'Uncle Ivan's', this place also uses a nostalgic interior, of the inter-war period.
 
*'''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.
 
*'''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.
 
*'''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''' [http://www.mipiace.ru/] A chain of Italian restaurants; 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)
+
* '''Mi Piace''' [http://www.mipiace.ru/] 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)
  
 
===Splurge===
 
===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.
 
*'''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). Probably the only place in Moscow to try true Russian cuisine, as it's cooked at home (at least, it's quite difficult to find another of the same quality).
+
*'''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
  
*'''Carre Blanc''' [http://www.carreblanc.ru/en/Restaurant/] French restaurant with an attached and much cheaper bar/cafe which also serves good food. Good wine list. French/English/Russian spoken. Metro Novoslobodskaya.
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*'''Carré Blanc''' [http://www.carreblanc.ru/en/Restaurant/] 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.
+
*'''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.
  
 
==Drink==
 
==Drink==
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==Contact==
 
==Contact==
 
===Mobile===
 
===Mobile===
In Russia 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.
+
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.
 
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.
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==Stay safe==
 
==Stay safe==
With vigilance, Moscow can be reasonably safe. However, walking around in the middle of night alone is not a very good idea. Speaking loud English is also a bad idea.
+
Moscow is way safer than most Western cities of its size. Most dangers are posed by drunk revellers and the police. The latter are utterly corrupt and are best given a wide berth. As elsewhere in Russia, you must always have your passport on you (no photocopies are allowed). If you look Middle-Eastern, your papers will get checked pretty often. Usually  the cops will demand to see your papers to check if you have been registered within three business days of your arrival into Moscow. They mostly don't 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. Or, on the second thought, you might just want to give them, say, 500 R and part as good friends. If you are reasonably sure your papers are in order, get out your mobile phone and call your embassy helpline. Most cops will be frightened enough to let you go before you dial the number. If you are stupid enough to carry around large amounts of cash, don't let them see it.
 
+
As for younger travellers, ALWAYS STAY IN A GROUP. Acting like a tourist will actually attract negative attention towards yourself. Keep in mind that most Police here don't speak a word of English, therefore the smart thing to do if you got harrassed or even assaulted, tell it to your hotel manager or your travel agent if he/she is in Moscow.
+
 
+
Police may stop you in the metro and ask you for your documents. They may find a technicality and ask for a bribe. You may have no choice but to accept. Always carry around your passport (a copy is NOT acceptable), and do not carry around large amounts of cash.
+
  
 
Racial minorities should be especially vigilant since violent attacks have occurred, and are more likely to be stopped for document checks by the police.
 
Racial minorities should be especially vigilant since violent attacks have occurred, and are more likely to be stopped for document checks by the police.
  
Women should take caution walking alone late at night, since they may receive unwanted attention from drunken Russian men-it is best to walk with a friend if possible.
+
Women should take caution walking alone late at night, since they may receive unwanted attention from drunken men, and stay clear of large companies of men from the Caucasus in front of bars, restayrants, etc. It is best to walk with a friend if possible.
  
 
==Get out==
 
==Get out==

Revision as of 04:03, 26 July 2007

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

Moscow [1] is the capital of Russia.

St. Basil

Contents

Understand

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

History

Caroline Brooke, Moscow: A Cultural History (2006: OUP Cityscapes series, ISBN: 0195309529) is a good place to start.

Geography

Moscow is 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 center, roughly following the outline of the walls that used to surround Moscow. With Red Square and the Kremlin forming the very center, the innermost ring road is the Boulevard Ring, built in the 1820's 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, [2].
  • Domodedovo International Airport, [3].
  • Vnukovo International Airport, [4].
  • Bykovo Airport.

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 the past, nearly all international flights from outside the former USSR landed at Sheremetyevo International Airport, commonly called Sheremetyevo II. 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 handles mostly domestic flights. However, Domodedovo is increasingly competing for international flights, and several international carriers, including British Airways, have switched to Domodedovo and so it by 2005 that Domodedovo ended up as Russia's leading airport in number of passengers, both domestic and international.

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 staion, 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. By the end of 2007 when it is supposed to open, 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 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 busses (#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 2007, a single trip costs 17 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 queuing is to buy a multi-trip card for 10 or 20 trips (10 at 140 RUB; 20 at 250 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 you're 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-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 15 rubles, whereas a ticket bought on-board is 25 rubles. Exact change helps for the latter.

There is also a monorail in Moscow, running from VDNKh to Metro Timiryazevskaya. A ticket costs 50 rubles. It does not run as frequently as the metro and opens later and closes earlier.

See

Main sites

Red square, Lenin Mausoleum
Inside the Kremlin
  • Red Square
  • Lenin MausoleumThe embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin-open to debate if it is still Lenin. Free. 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.
  • The Kremlin Must not be missed. The Diamond collection is worth a visit on its own. 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) 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 Theater 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: Tetralnaya Bolshoi Theatre photos
  • 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
  • 'Pushkin Museum is dedicated to Western art and has one of the world's most significant Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections and some Old Masters. The Impressionists and Post-Imppressionists were rather unfortunately relocated to an annexe in 2007. Metro: Kropotkinskaya

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

  • 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. Right near the main Moscow State University building, there is a popular lookout point. You can see much of the city on clear days. The most spectacular views can be enjoyed in the dark period of day. 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 largest Orthodox church in the world, was blown up after 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, 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.

Learn

  • Moscow State University (named after Lomonosov)
  • Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
  • Bauman's University
  • Moscow Medical Academy (named after Sechenov)
  • 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.

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.

Variants

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