parks and towers:
How to make the most of your 48 hours in Russia
A guide on what to do if you’re short on time
Moscow is deservingly known as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and the world. Exploring it may take weeks or even months, but where do you go if you find yourself in the Russian capital for a short visit that only lasts two days?
In this article, we offer you a short programme which captures the most prominent features and experiences of the city to enjoy during your short visit.
The first day can be devoted to visiting some of the city’s landmarks, beginning with the Red Square where the iconic Kremlin is located. Other landmarks to explore in the Red Square include Lenin’s Mausoleum, where the leader of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, Vladimir Lenin, is lying, the statue of Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky, who led the popular resistance to liberate Moscow from Polish occupation in the 17th century AD, the famous Soviet mall GUM, and Saint Basil’s Cathedral which is known for its colourful domes.
If you find that you still have plenty of time to spare after this, you can visit the Kremlin, which is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and overlooks the Moskva River. The Kremlin has 20 towers that include the official headquarters of the Russian Presidency, a group of Churches, museums and monuments for tourists to enjoy.
After visiting the Red Square and the Kremlin, you can cross the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge and head to the Tretyakov gallery that includes Russian art masterpieces from various eras. The gallery contains over 180,000 pieces of art including ancient Russian icons by the legendary painter Andrei Rublev, and work by some of the greatest Russian painters like Ivan Kramskoi, Viktor Vasnetsov, Ivan Shishkin, and Ivan Aivazovsky who is popular for his paintings of seascapes, waves and storms.
Once you have finished exploring the main landmarks of Moscow, you can end your first day with a tour of one of the capital’s parks like the Zaryadye Park near the Red Square. You can enjoy a beautiful view of Moscow’s river and see one of the Stalinist era towers from here.
After spending your first day exploring the past, spend your second day lost in the present. This includes strolling along Moscow’s streets and wonderful parks, riding the subway which was first built in 1935, and visiting the various stations in the city centre which resemble underground artworks.
At the most famous park in Moscow, the Gorky Park located in the city centre on the banks of the Moscow River, a breathtaking view of the dancing fountain can be enjoyed here during the summer season. This park also found a place for itself in international arts, as it was mentioned in the famous song Wind of Change by the popular band Scorpions. This song is considered a symbol of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of Europe, as the words of the song say:
“Follow the Moskva
Down to Gorky Park
Listening to the wind of change”
After finishing your visit to Gorky Park, head over to the financial and business district known as ‘Moscow City’ that showcases skyscrapers that span the height of thousands of metres. All Moscow residents and visitors can bring guests and enjoy the sights from the highest floors by visiting the Moscow City Museum, at the height of 215 metres. Another option would be to grab a drink or have lunch at one of the restaurants and bars located in the upper floors of the buildings.
To end the second day, and the trip, you can wander around the famous tourist street called Arbat, that some refer to as the soul of the city. This pedestrian-only street is surrounded by historical buildings in an array of architectural styles and home to a number of restaurants, shops and street artists – a real tourist delight.
PHOTOS: Cover — Maria Sedova/Getty Images, 1 — Preisler/Shutterstock, 2 — IcyS/Shutterstock, 3 — Elisabetta Danielli/Shutterstock, 4 — Igor Lushchay/Shutterstock, 5 — Gubin Yury/Shutterstock 6 — Alexey Broslavets/Shutterstock, 7 — Arsenie Krasnevsky/Shutterstock 8 — Pavel L Photo and Video/Shutterstock