Moscow is the capital as well as biggest city in Russia. With a population exceeding 10 million people, it is also the seventh largest city in the world.
Moscow is located by the banks of the Moskva River, in the European part of Russia. The city is the home of the Russian parliament – the State Duma and the Federation Council, as well as the official residence of the President of Russia.
The oldest mention of Moscow goes back to 1156 AD. Between 1237 and 1238, the newly established city was burned to the ground by the Mongols. A century later, the city has fully recovered, and became the capital of the principality of Vladimir-Suzdal. Its strategic location on the headwaters of the Volga helped in its expansion.
Moscow was once again burned to the ground in 1571, when the Crimean Tatars attacked and ransacked it, sparing nothing but the Kremlin. That same year a plague raved Moscow, only to return in 1592 and 1654.
The city lost its position as Russia’s capital to Saint Petersburg in 1712, got it back for three years (1728-1730) before losing it again to Saint Petersburg from 1730 until 1917. Following the Russian Revolution, it regained its position as capital and has held on to it ever since, as that of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, and now, the Russian Federation.
Moscow is today a bustling metropolis. It has four international airports, nine railway terminals, and the world’s second busiest subway system after Tokyo’s. Its metro is also the busiest single operator subway network in the world.
Budget Travel to Moscow
The four international airports serving Moscow are the
Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO), Domodedovo International Airport (DME), Vnukovo International Airport (VKO) and Bykovo Airport (BKA).
Budget Travel within Moscow
The best way to explore Moscow is by using the Metro. Although it is comprehensive, you would need to get familiar with it. It costs 26 Rub for a single journey irrespective of distance travelled. The tickets can be purchased at the counters at the metro stations. There are also ticket vending machines at some stations.
The metro is really geared to the needs of commuters rather than visitors (considering the difficulty in getting to Russia, most visitors are not independent travelers anyway). In any case, there are no daily tickets. You can however buy multiple trip passes for 5, 10, 20 or 60 trips, as well as monthly pass – which are valid according to calendar month rather than 30-day from date of purchase.
The subway operates from 5:30 am to 1:00 am daily. Get familiar with reading Russian, as nothing is in English. A good way is to carry around a map with both Russian and English.
Places of Interest in Moscow
Citadel of the Tsars at the heart of Moscow
Suburb to the west of downtown Moscow.
Commercial district to the north of downtown Moscow.
- Kitay Gorod
Moscow’s first suburb, to the east of downtown, includes the Red Square.
Suburb to the south across the Moskva River.
- Moscow Metropolitan
Sights outside Central Moscow.
- Further Afield
Sights around Moscow.