For anyone who was alive during the cold war, Russia was always the bad guy. To be standing in the middle of Red Square in Moscow gives one the feeling of being a spy during the soviet era. You feel like you are deep behind enemy lines. Fortunately, tensions between the East and the West have long since subsided, but the lingering past makes Moscow a most intriguing destination.

Standing on the southern end of Red Square is the oh so recognizable Russian icon; St. Basil’s Cathedral. This cathedral with its colourful onion shaped domes has stood watch over Russia’s powerful since the mid 16th century. From the steps of this old cathedral you can see the eternal resting place of Lenin whose embalmed body is still on display to this day. Behind his mausoleum is the seat of power in this vast land, the Kremlin. Hours could be spent in this square alone imagining all of the history and intrigue that have taken place here. The stories would fill a thousand books.

Riding the subway in Moscow is a very unexpected joy. Many stations from the Stalinist era were designed by famous artists and architects. There are high marble archways, mosaics adorning the walls and even chandeliers lighting the way. One would never expect such grandiose design for the second busiest metro system in the world.

There are many other fascinating sites to be seen in this beguiling city. There is the WW2 museum, the monument to the space race and the All Russia Exhibition grounds. These grounds were originally designed during the height of the soviet era to host the world’s fair, but Russia was never granted with the honour. The entrance to the grounds are home to a small, but quaint amusement park and it is well worth a visit.

Grab a bowl of borscht, some pirogis and a bottle of vodka and it would take Lenin himself to wipe the grin off of your face.

Written by Joseph Ramsey for The Essential Destination 

If you liked this amazing city, check out these other amazing places:

Munich, Germany

Melbourne, Australia

Seattle, USA

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


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