Top five sights to see in Moscow during the 2018 FIFA World Cup

posted in: Russia | 34

Moscow is one of the largest capital cities in Europe and is full of history, fine dining and drinking and places to see. It has come along way since the hefty days of the fall of the Soviet Union back in 1991 and is now one of the most vibrant cities to check out.  With the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup being hosted in Russia and most of the games to take place in Moscow (including the final), then we would love to share with you, the top five sights to check out whilst attending a game.

Moscow, Russia
I couldn’t resist getting a taste of Russia and here I am tasting it.

Red Square (Кра́сная пло́щадь / Krásnaya plóshchad) (with Lenin Mausoleum and St Basil’s Cathedral) – This lies in the very centre of Moscow and is the number one place for visitors to come. If you noticed, the square cobbles are not even red, they are black. The name of the Red Square comes from another meaning of the Russian word ‘Krasniy’ and this means beautiful. So really Red Square should be named ‘Beautiful Square’.

Moscow, Russia
Red Square and St Basil’s Cathedral
Moscow, Russia
Red Square
Moscow, Russia
Red Square
Moscow, Russia
Red Square (with GUM shopping centre in background)
Moscow, Russia
Red Square

To one side of the square is the long wall which separates the square to the Kremlin but also is the Lenin Mausoleum. Here people walk past the body of Vladimir Lenin and then think, is it really him? The Russian’s claim it is him and that he is frozen but a lot of people think he is actually buried elsewhere and this is a replica. The other side of the square has the GUM shopping centre but only should here if you have a millionaire’s bank account.

Moscow, Russia
Lenin Mausoleum
Moscow, Russia
GUM Shopping Centre

St Basil’s Cathedral is the highlight to see of course and has stood here since 1555. The name of the religious site when it was first built was The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed but who the heck is going to call it that? The cathedral is now officially known as the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat but again, who the hell is going to call it that, so everyone still calls it St Basil’s Cathedral. The building is now a museum and is worth checking out.  

Moscow, Russia
St Basil’s Cathedral
Moscow, Russia
St Basil’s Cathedral

The Kremlin (Моско́вский Кремль / Moskovskiy Kreml), is known as the hot bed of Russian politics but it is also a museum complex and an interesting one at that. The museums includes the Diamond Fund, the Armoury Collection of royal clothing and chariots (and there is a lot of clothing to see here), the Bell Tower, the Patriarch Palace and several churches with their beautiful domes. The Grand Kremlin Palace is the official living quarters of the Russian President (in this case, Mr Vlad Putin so please don’t go up to the door, knocking on it and expected to be invited in for a cup of tea or a splash of vodka!) and this historic palace has rooms dating back to the 16th century.

Moscow, Russia
Walking around the Kremlin Museum Complex
Moscow, Russia
Walking around the Kremlin Museum Complex
Moscow, Russia
Walking around the Kremlin Museum Complex
Moscow, Russia
Cathedrals inside the Kremlin complex.
Moscow, Russia
Cathedrals inside the Kremlin complex.
Moscow, Russia
Cathedrals inside the Kremlin complex.
Moscow, Russia
Cathedrals inside the Kremlin complex.
Moscow, Russia
Cathedrals inside the Kremlin complex.
Kremlin, Russia, Moscow
Cathedrals inside the Kremlin complex.
Moscow, Russia
Huge Bell inside the Kremlin
Moscow, Russia
A massive cannon inside the Kremlin

Christ the Saviour Cathedral (Храм Христа Спасителя / Khram Khrista Spasitelya) – this is the tallest Orthodox church in the world (but not the largest, that title goes to some Orthodox temple in Belgrade, Serbia). This was blown up in 1931 by the order of Stalin and in its place was going to be a huge Palace of the Soviets with a 100m high statue of Lenin. As we know that didn’t happened because of engineering problems and then the Second World War came along. Eventually the cathedral was rebuilt in the mid-1990’s. The cathedral now has a museum underneath explaining its history and the area.

Moscow, Russia
Christ the Saviour Cathedral
Moscow, Russia
Christ the Saviour Cathedral

Victory Park – this massive park on the outskirts of the centre has stood here since the mid-1990s and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic War (which the locals called the Second World War and they were involved from 1941 to 1945). The park is full of triumphal art and military history, is located around Poklonnaya Gora, a hill where Napoleon was forced back by the Russians in 1812. The park has five terraces, one of every year of the conflict (the Great Patriotic War that is), and there are 1,418 fountains dotted around the park, one for every day of the conflict. There is a triangular obelisk with a statue of Nike, the Goddess of Victory nearby to which underneath is a Museum of the Great Patriotic War which has a lot of information on all the losses Russia encountered which lead to an eventual victory. The park becomes host to the annual Victory Day celebrations on 9th May (which is a public holiday in Russia), there are thousands of remaining veterans and survivors come here as well as other generations. The government tells people to celebrate rather than use the day as a remembrance day.

Victory Park, Russia, Moscow
Victory Park
Victory Park, Russia, Moscow
Victory Park
Victory Park, Russia, Moscow
Victory Park
Victory Park, Russia, Moscow
Victory Park
Victory Park, Russia, Moscow
Victory Park

Arbat Street (Арба́т) – there is an old and a new Arbat street but very close to each other. These streets are full of souvenirs shops, cafes, restaurants etc. The old Arbat street has an ‘old Moscow feel’ whilst the new Arbat street is full of Moscow’s rich people who check out the expensive restaurants and clubs. It’s not all high priced restaurant, there are some mid-range budget cafes to check out.

Arbat Street, Moscow, Russia
Arbat Street at night
Arbat Street, Moscow, Russia
Arbat Street during the day.

There you have it guys, these are the five places we totally recommend if you are coming out to the see the World Cup in Moscow or at any other point. There are many other amazing things to see this fantastic city but these we would put first. However, there are a few tips we like to point out to make one’s visit more enjoyable.

  • Moscow has a low crime rate but avoid dark alleys (like in any other major city in the world).
  • Keep an eye out for pickpockets especially on the Metro system.
  • Make sure you carry your passports and papers with you at all times in case you are stopped by the police. However this will be unlikely unless visitors look like they are from the Central Asia region, to which the police are always on the look for and to question.
  • Always use pedestrian crossings and subways to cross the road. The people driving the cars here are not that great at driving and being aware and always have the mentality that the road is their’s and sod everyone else.
Russia, Moscow
Moscow overlooking the River Moscow

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34 Responses

  1. It’s an incredible city, isn’t it?! I haven’t made it to Moscow but we did visit St. Petersburg, and absolutely loved it! I would definitely be interested in heading back to see Moscow, especially the Red Square

  2. I’ve never been to Russia. I’m excited for the Games though. Love watching the Winter Games and I’m happy it’ll be in my time zone!

  3. Great post! I’m not going to be able to make it there for the World Cup. But I’ll be watching it!

  4. Your photographs are amazing, it looks like you had a fabulous time. I would love to see this in person. Any recommendations on how long we should stay in Moscow?

  5. Wow didn’t realize Moscow was so photogenic! Russia is still on our bucket list, that darn visa seems like a hassle. We know we’ll get there soon.

  6. Red Square, such a historic place, must see on our list. All the buildings look so majestic. How many days would you recommend to do justice to Moscow?

  7. Really great tips at the end! I have always heard that drivers in Russia are a bit aggressive. I also think the tip on carrying documentation at all times is a good one. I tend not to carry my important items with me for fear of losing it, but will be aware of this in Russia.

  8. We visited St Petersburg last fall and fell in love. We want to go back and see Moscow and your post just adds to that desire. The onion domes in St. Petersburg were just an initial tease for what you have shown in Moscow. It is certainly very “krasniy” 😀

  9. Really a great place to travel. I never knew about these amazing destinations in Moscow. Thanks for sharing this informative piece.

  10. Great article and amazing photos. This photo tour was interesting. All the structures look massive or huge. Russia seems to be tasty 😀

  11. Your photos really took me back to my visit to Moscow, but it was in a different era, back in Gorbachev’s time, when the USSR was still a thing! I loved the architecture, and was very interested in the history and current affairs of the time too. We didn’t visit Arbat street but we did find some amazing black markets back then for souvenirs! Thanks for taking me back to great memories!

  12. I love your photos. They gave me a real feel for the city. Of course, everyone knows about the Kremlin and Red Square, but I enjoyed reading about and seeing Victory Park and Christ the Savior Cathedral. I appreciated learning the history of all the places in your article.

  13. I’ve always wanted to visit Russia! I’d love to go to Red Square and walk around taking pictures. That’s amazing that St Basil’s Cathedral has been there since 1555. It looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale.

  14. Wow! the buildings are so colorful and straight of a children’s book.

  15. Looks so amazing! Was the visa hard to get? I love that picture of you licking the dome of St. Basil’s Cathedral, it’s super funny and really clever.Though I might not make it to the Olympics, I hope to make i there some day.

  16. FIFA world cup is coming, most awaited event of the year. Moscow is a stunning place. Lots to explore, hope to visit the city during world cup time. Thanks for sharing

  17. Looks like Moscow has a lot of museums. Kremlin would be my place to explore – such grand architecture and then the museums. Overall, Moscow looks like a great place to explore for those visiting it for the Fifa world cup. I would rather do it another time as I do not like crowds too much.

  18. Interesting trivia about the name Red Square. Moscow seems to be having buildings of all colors. The history added lot of meaning to the pictures. Good chance to explore the city for the sports lovers who love history and travel.

  19. Wow! Isn’t Moscow amazing and charming?! These are all excellent suggestions and I will definitely use your post as a guide when I decide to cross Moscow off my bucket list! 🙂

  20. Loving this post guys, its so visual to the eyes which i’m sure all your readers are loving. Personally i’ve never been to Russia yet but would love to go one day so I thank you for posting this because its pushing me to plan a trip there very soon! Haha 🙂

    Regards,

    Nico

  21. Have read a lot about Moscow and always felt it was such a beautiful city! It is interesting to know that the name Red Square comes from a Russian word and it actually means beautiful. So apt! A ‘Beautiful Square’ indeed, as you said!

  22. Moscow is such an magnificent city. One of the best architectural beauty is in Moscow for sure and I certainly love your pics.. great list . thanks for sharing .

  23. Moscow is gorgeous isn’t it? I love the cobbled stone streets in the centre of the town and of course, St Basil’s Cathedral is unmissable, it’s all over Instagram! I’m just a little apprehensive about the weather – I am more of a summer person who likes to wear light clothes but it seems like even the summer in Moscow can be chilly. What about the food, is it good?

  24. Aleksandra

    i was born in Moscow. its interesting to see it with the eyes of the other person.
    haha, you say people don’t drive so well? You definetly hadn’t been in Naples or most cities of Greece 😀 it’s a nightmare on the roads.

  25. Russia and Red Square are on my list. Loved reading your post and learning more about what to see. Thanks for including the trips part – always handy!

  26. Moscow is such an entirely different city, isn’t it? The architecture is grand in a other-worldly sort of way. Being a fan of architecture, I would have certainly a field day (or week) in this part of Europe.

  27. Moscow has such a unique personality of it own! I can’t wait to photograph the cobbled stone streets in the centre of the town; and the St Basil’s Cathedral too. How many days would one need to spend in Moscow (minimum) to be able to experience (and photograph) it comfortably?

  28. So many tall buildings in Moscow and I’m short. Lol. But the architectural quality of these buildings show the works of genius. While I’m not a fan of soccer, I might as well get lost in these tall buildings. And Arbat street at night is beautiful. I’m sure that’s how lovely Moscow is at night. Thanks for the tips, so useful.

  29. Wow, you covered a lot in Moscow! My first taste of Russia was visiting St Petersburg last year. Moscow is totally on my list now! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  30. Nathalie McNabb

    Moscow is on our list of must-visit. Thank you for sharing its best highlights to see. The Red Square and the Kremlin are spectacular buildings !!

  31. We are not exactly a fun of FIFA, but we’re definitely fans of traveling! Moscow is a beautiful city, and the buildings are amazing. I think Moscow and Russia, in general, are unfairly represented in movies, books, etc. And they area all amazing places!

  32. I’ve been in Russia in St. Petersburg, but never in Moscow. Maybe the Fifa world cup will be a good chance to visit the city and see the St Basil’s Cathedral in person! I saved your post! 🙂

  33. It doesn’t make too many lists, but my favorite spot in Moscow is the Russian Academy of Sciences building. It’s just jaw-droppingly unique!

  34. I love Moscow and it’s amazing architecture. I always love cities that have rich histories too. The Cathedral is really a must visit and an icon of Moscow. And man, you are on the right time as well for the FIFA world cup. That’s a cool bonus.

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