Short city break – why not Moscow? Moscow has so much to offer tourists that one could spend months here and still be continually discovering something new. Should you just have a couple of days available, our weekend proposal is exactly what you are looking for! We meet you at the airport when you arrive – say on the Friday evening - and take you straight to your hotel. Next morning after breakfast we take you on a guided tour of the city’s highlights with frequent stops to enjoy the sights and take photos. Moscow’s most historic site - the Kremlin, an ancient fortress and royal palace complex, comes next. This will be followed by a walking tour around Moscow’s historic center, packed with monuments and buildings from every era in the city’s history - from Red Square and Saint Basil’s Cathedral to Lyubanka Square and the famous Children’s World department store, with its panoramic views over the city center. No visit to Moscow is complete without a visit to the Tretyakov Gallery, where you can discover the history of Russian painting. One of the city’s greatest Soviet sites: VDNKh, a kind of theme park built from the 1930s to the 1960s to display the achievements of the USSR to the world. Heroic gold statues and fountains, triumphal arches and national pavilions - each unique style - this eclectic park is both awe-inspiring and charming. You will visit Moscow’s Cosmonautics Museum: the story of the Soviet Space Program through a wealth of fascinating exhibits. Under the city: explore some of the city center’s most beautiful metro stations with our guide. Both beautiful and functional, these palaces of the people are lavishly decorated with bronze statues, mosaics, marble and stained glass. To finish off your time in Moscow, you will have a chance to do some souvenir shopping, enjoy one of the many small museums or just relax in a cafe and watch the world go by in Arbat – a very popular pedestrian area. And then – on to the airport for your flight. OPTIONALLY, you can spend an extra night and leave in the morning.
- Transportation (transfers + 4 hours for the sightseeing tour + metro tickets)
- English-speaking guide for the entire programme
- Entrance fees to museums
- Meals: breakfast and lunch
- Guided tours according to the programme
- Extra night in Moscow (after Day 3)
- Additional evening entertainment (river cruise, night tours, restaurants, theatre or circus tickets)
The Neglinnaya River, blocking the way to the Kremlin from the West, had became polluted and shallow by the 18th century, so in 1819, beneath the Resurrection Gate of China Town, it was enclosed under vaults and covered with earth. On this place in 1819 - 1823 the park was destroyed, which was called the Kremlin (from 1856 - Alexandrovsky) garden. We go into the garden from the side of the Resurrection Square through a large cast-iron gate. The park's decoration was built near the Central Arsenal Tower on an artificial hill, designed by the architect J Bove, a cove with four columns, which still exists today.
In 1913, a 20-meter obelisk was erected in honor of the 300th anniversary of the Romanov's house in the garden, which in 1918 was converted into a monument to the great thinkers and revolutionary-socialists.
In 1967, the obelisk was moved to the south, and in its place a simple and majestic memorial ensemble "Tomb of the Unknown Soldier" was built, dedicated to the heroic deeds of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War. In the center of the complex is the Eternal Fire of Glory, next to the red porphyry blocks with the land of heroic cities.
The unique architectural ensemble of the square has been under protection of UNESCO; it includes the Place of Fronts, the Monument to Minin and Pozharsky, the Mausoleum of Vladimir Lenin, the Necropolis near the Kremlin wall where political and military figures of the Soviet state are buried. To the west is the Moscow Kremlin, to the east – the Upper (GUM) and the Middle Trade Rows, to the north – the Historical Museum and the Kazan Cathedral, to the south – the St. Basil's Cathedral.
The first fortresses on the site of the Moscow Kremlin were built in the 11th century. Initially, they were simple wooden fences with guard towers. The wooden walls were first replaced by white-stone walls in 1367 (during the reign of Prince Dmitry Donskoy).
Being a symbol of the Russian statehood, the architectural ensemble “The Moscow Kremlin and Red Square” is included into the UNESCO List of World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
The Moscow Kremlin State Historical and Cultural Museum and Heritage Site incorporates the Armoury Chamber and the architectural ensemble of the Cathedral Square, consisting of the Assumption, Archangel and Annunciation cathedrals, the Church of Laying Our Lady's Holy Robe, the Patriarch's Palace with the Twelve Apostles' Church and the Ivan the Great Bell-Tower complex, as well as the exhibition halls in the Assumption Belfry and in the One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch’s Palace.
The most famous museum of Russian art in the world was founded in 1856 by merchant Pavel Tretyakov. It has 11th century mosaics, ancient icons, sculptures, paintings. After the restoration, the gallery got a new depository and an Engineering building, where exhibitions take place.
The exhibition space in the main building of the gallery is over 12,000 square metres and is divided into 62 themed halls. The collection amounts to 170,000 artworks. Masterpieces of medieval Russian icon painting as well as paintings by I. Aivazovsky, M. Vrubel, K. Bryullov, V. Vasnetsov, and dozens of works by other Russian artists are displayed here. The museum contains many world-class masterpieces such as “The Trinity” by A. Rublev, “Appearance of Christ to the People” by A. Ivanov, “Boyarynya Morozova” by V. Surikov and amazing landscapes by I. Levitan and A. Kuindzhi. There are book shops and souvenir shops, cafes, and a restaurant called The Tratyakov Brothers which is affiliated with the gallery.
The building in Lavrushinsky side street is located in Zamoskvorechye, one of the most beautiful historical areas of Moscow. This is one of the few areas where 18-19th century buildings are largely preserved. A short walk away from the Tretyakov Gallery is the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent, St. Clement the Pope Church, and the Church of the Resurrection in Kadashevskaya Sloboda. The area around the beautiful Pyatnitskaya street has a good selection of cafes and restaurants to cater to every taste.
Judging by the Tsar Cannon's calibre of 890 mm, it was given its name as the world’s biggest cannon. The gun's tube's weight is about 40 ton, its length is 5,34 m. The cannon's surface is adorned with the cast figured friezes, vegetation ornament, memorial inscriptions and an equestrian image of Tsar Feodor Ioannovich. In 1835, the Tsar Cannon was fixed on the carriage specially cast for it at the Berdt’s factory in St. Petersburg. Four hollow decorative cannonballs were made at the same time.
The Tsar Cannon has never shot. Mostly of symbolic impact, it was never used in a war.
Initially, the Tsar Cannon was fixed on Red Square near the Spasskiye Gate. In 1706, it was moved into the Kremlin, fixed at first in the Arsenal’s inner yard and then at the main gate (with another cannon). In 1835, the two cannons were staged on the new bases, specially cast on the project of A. Bryullov. In 1843, the Tsar Cannon and other old Russian cannons were placed in front of the Armoury Chamber’s old building in the opposite of the Arsenal. The captured cannons were left by the Arsenal.
In 1960, when the Palace of Congresses (now it is called the State Kremlin Palace) was under construction, the building of the Armoury Chamber (architect I. Yegotov) was dismantled. The old cannons were transferred to the Arsenal building. Later the Tsar Cannon was fixed on its present-day place. The Tsar Cannon, its base and cannonballs were renovated in the 1970s.
The bell was formed and cast in a special moulding pit at Ivanovskaya Square to the east of the 'Ivan the Great' Bell Tower.
Woodcarvers from St. Petersburg – Vasily Kobelev, Pyotr Galkin, Pyotr Kokhtev, Pyotr Serebryakov and the moulding master Pyotr Luokovnikov were commissioned to make the relief ornamentation. The name of the sculptor was discovered not long ago – it was Feodor Medvedev who got educated in Italy. Preparatory works took almost two years. At the end of 1734, the masters began the heating of metal in specially built furnaces, but soon the leakage was found out. At the same time, the fire destroyed wooden lifting constructions above the bell. The work was recommenced, but when Ivan Motorin died in August 1735, his son was entrusted with the work.
The Tsar Bell was finally cast in November 1735. However, it still remained in the moulding pit. In May 1737, a terrible fire known as Troitsky broke out and spread to the Kremlin buildings. During the fire extinguishing, cold water fell on the bell itself. Temperature difference caused its crack, and a huge piece of 11.5 ton broke off.
The repeated attempts to lift up the bell were a failure. In 1836, the work was commissioned to French architect from St. Peterburg Auguste Montferrant, who designed the lifting construction and an octal sandstone pedestal for the Tsar Bell. The first lifting was a failure; then the device was improved and the Tsar Bell was pulled out from the moulding pit at last. It remains there up till now as an example of the art of casting.
The Tsar Bell is decorated with bas-relief portraits of Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich and Empress Anna Ioannovna; it is adorned both with floral ornament in the baroque style and images of saints, angels and inscriptions telling the story of the bell.
The museum tour starts with ‘Morning of the Space Era’ exhibit, with satellite models, the first space station, a model of a mobile station spaceship, the video records of preparation for Yuri Gagarin’s space flight on 12 April 1961 and the launch of his spacecraft, along with some unique photographs, the family archive and personal possessions of the first cosmonaut. There are also the famous space dogs Belka and Strelka on display, both of them stuffed.
The next hall is devoted to remarkable scientists and inventors – Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Sergei Korolev and Friedrich Zander. It exhibits spacecraft designers and the cosmonauts’ photo archives, biographical records, awards, work notes, personal possessions and documents.
A two-storey hall inside the museum is of great interest to visitors. It imitates a spaceship with a model of the main unit of the space station ‘Mir’ (you can enter it), spacesuits, flight mockups for cosmonauts, spaceship models, Moon soil samples, and many other interesting artifacts.
The exposition plunges you into the history of both Soviet and world cosmonautics and guides you through its evolution step by step: from technical drawings and copies of the first miniature rockets to full-size models of spacecraft and satellites, from the first cumbersome spacesuits to the modern ones which cosmonauts can wear comfortably in the extreme conditions of outer space. A large number of authentic exhibits which used to be in space and in space training centres are described with technical accuracy, interweaving with the extraordinary destinies of the pioneers of cosmonautics.
The cathedral of the assumption was built in 1475 and consecrated to the Feast of the Dormition (passing of earthly life) of the Mother of God, who is believed to be a patron of Russia. The cathedral retained its high status even after the capital of the Russian Empire had been relocated to St. Petersburg in the early 18th century.
Aristotele Fioravanti, the Italian architect who designed this temple, came up with an amazing mix of Russian temple building traditions and the latest techniques applied in European design and construction. Besides its architecture, the Dormition Cathedral is interesting because of its wall paintings – the beautiful 15th–17th century frescoes exemplifying Orthodox monumental art. The Cathedral of the Dormition has been a Patriarchal cathedral since 1991, but worship services are quite infrequent there, so the temple is open to tourists virtually all year round.
There are reliquaries containing the relics of the Metropolitans of Moscow: Saint Jonas, Saint Philip II, Saint Hermogenes, and Saint Peter who gave his blessing for the construction of the very first Dormition Cathedral on this site in 1326. The cathedral also features some ancient icons of great value dating back to the 13th–14th centuries.