Churches and imposing buildings within the walls of the Kremlin.



The 202 tonne Tsar Bell in the Kremlin grounds - the cracked piece alone weights 11 tonnes!



The Tsar cannon, also in the Kremlin grounds.   Interestingly, the cannonballs on the ground in front of it are too large to fit inside this monstrous cannon (diameter of 335 inches or 89cm).



A palace in the estate of Kuskovo on the outskirts of Moscow.



One of the impressive buildings in the VDNKh Exhibition grounds.



A friendly comic artist will be pleased to sketch a caricature of you while you visit the tourist area of the Old Arbat.



The distinctive "Stalin Skyscraper" Ukraina Hotel overlooks the Russian Parliament building known as "The White House"



Lenin's Tomb is no longer the semi-holy revered place it once was, and few people bother to visit it these days (apart from international tourists!).



Moscow is home to the busiest McDonalds store of anywhere in the world!



Balloons and some bright color to an otherwise drab Moscow street.



Few people realise that St Basil's Cathedral on Red Square was never intended to be a real working cathedral but instead was erected as a monument in the style of a cathedral.

With a historical record dating back 850 and more years, there is a lot of history in Moscow, although these days there is an unmistakeable air of modern bustling about the city - new construction, cranes on the skyline, and definite prosperity.

Today home to at least 10 million people (the official number probably understates the actual population due to the large number of people living unofficially in Moscow without residency permits) Moscow combines all the fast paced cosmopolitan features of any other large European capital with undeniably uniquely Russian elements.

Moscow is best known for the structure most refer to as "The Kremlin" as if it is a unique structure.  It is interesting to note that the concept and name "Kremlin" is not unique to Moscow - the word means "citadel" and hundreds of years ago, all cities had a kremlin which really was nothing more than a defensive wall around the inner city.  Immediately outside the Kremlin wall on one side is Red Square and the uniquely distinctive St Basil's Cathedral, and the chances are you'll find plenty to enjoy and experience during a Moscow vacation.

We also recommend a day tour out of Moscow to one of the "Golden Ring" ancient monastery towns such as Sergiev Posad, which is home to the Russian Orthodox Church's "holy of holies", equivalent to the significance of Rome to the Roman Catholic church.

General Information

*   Bolshoi Theatre  Off Site 

Moscow's famous theatre (Bolshoi simply means "big"!)

*   Pushkin Museum  Off Site 

Museum of fine art (mainly non-Russian)

*   Moscow Yellow Pages  Off Site 

Over 73,000 English listings for Moscow businesses

*   Moscow Business Telephone Guide  Off Site 

Not only phone numbers, but excellent maps and photo tours of the city and area

*   KremlinKam  Off Site 

Updated every minute, great view over Red Square, GUM, & Kremlin etc

*   The Moscow Times  Off Site 

A daily English language free newspaper in Moscow

*   CNN City Guide - Moscow  Off Site 

An excellent summary of tourist and city information, although - beware - like most such travel guides, some of it is at least twelve months out of date and no longer accurate.

*   Red Square 360 degree view  Off Site 

A fascinating revolving view from the center of Red Square, with explanatory notes of some of the highlights that are very well shown.   Be sure to click on the link underneath the image for some helpful tourist/touring information too.

Hotel Information

Russian hotels vary wildly in quality and price.  Although prices and values have improved in the last few years of the 1990s, Moscow's best hotels are still among the most expensive in all of Europe, but as a redeeming feature, their quality is also of highest world standards.  Hotels tend to fit into definite quality levels - highest quality, then quite a movement down from that to second level - what might perhaps be styled as "average" hotels - the next ones listed below.  Then there is another quantum drop in standard to hotels that involve major compromises in quality and comfort, and of course, there are plenty of opportunities to find even worse hotels below these.

The cheaper the hotel, the less English that is spoken.  In the highest grade of hotels, all reception, bar, restaurant and porter staff will speak acceptably good English.  When you move down to the next grade of hotels, some staff will speak English, and when you move down another grade, you may quite likely find that, depending on who is on duty, perhaps no-one will speak English at all.  

Hotel location map

*    National  Off Site 

One of the finest hotels in the city, immediately adjacent to Red Square, the Kremlin, and GUM.

*    Baltschug Kempinski  Off Site 

Another unabashedly five star highest quality hotel in a very central location.

*    Metropol  Off Site 

Yet another unabashedly five star highest quality hotel, and again in a very central location.

*    Aerostar  Off Site 

A joint venture with a Canadian hotel management company, this hotel has a comforting western feel to it.  A nice hotel, but quite a way out of the city, and about a ten minute walk to the nearest metro station.

*    Marriott  Off Site 

A new hotel built in 1997, and centrally located on Tverskaya Street.

*    Mezhdunarodnaya  Off Site 

You could be anywhere in Europe when in this hotel, but in actual fact, you're in reasonably central but somewhat inconveniently located Moscow.

*    Rossiya

An ordinary hotel, but rooms on one of its four sides have extraordinary views out over Red Square, St Basils, and the Kremlin.  "A million dollar view for about $100".  The best location in Moscow.

*    Ukraina   Off Site 

One of the Stalin skyscrapers built after World War 2 in distinctive neo-Gothic style and overlooking the White House (Russia's Parliament Building), the major feature of this hotel is its unique architectural style.  Ordinary but okay rooms.

*    Sovietsky Hotel  Off Site 

I like this hotel - another distinctive uniquely Russian type of place.  Built by Stalin in 1952 in the "Russian Empire" style as a private hotel for Party dignitaries and visiting VIPs, it has a grand interior, and somewhat ordinary rooms.  Moderately convenient location.

*    Airport Novotel  Off Site 

If you're forced to stay overnight at Sheremetyevo-II airport, this is where you'll want to stay.  But you'd never choose to stay at the airport if actually visiting/vacationing in Moscow city itself.

*    Cosmos  Off Site 

A typical characterless huge big Intourist style hotel, quite a distance out of the center, originally built for the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

*    Belgrad  Off Site 

Not recommended.

*    Izmailovo Gamma and Delta Blocks  Off Site 

A horrible huge complex of entry level accommodation (there is also a Beta and a Vega block and probably an Alpha block as well, and as for Epsilon and the other letters of the Greek alphabet, I really don't know!).  Located quite a way out of the city, nearby the Izmailovo flea markets.  Not recommended.



Comments? Suggestions? Send mail to David Rowell .