Moscow

For other places with the same name, see Moscow (disambiguation).

Moscow (Russian: Москва, Moskva) is the 860 year-old capital of Russia. A truly iconic, global city, Moscow has played a central role in the development of Russia and the world. For many, the sight of the Kremlin complex in the centre of the city is still loaded with symbolism and history. Moscow was the capital of the former Soviet Union and signs of its previous life are very visible even now.

Yet, there's more to Russia and its capital than just memories of the USSR. Architectural gems from the time of the Russian Empire are still dotted throughout Moscow, whilst signs of modern Tsars (or at least people with similar levels of wealth) abound.

Today, Moscow is a thriving, exuberant capital city that overflows with life, culture and sometimes traffic. A sprawling metropolis, Moscow is home to numerous museums, Soviet-era monoliths and post-Soviet kitsch, but continues to pave the way forward as Muscovites move into the 21st century.

Districts

Central Moscow districts

Central Moscow
Just north of the bend in the Moscow River. Includes the Moscow Kremlin.
Moscow Central-North (Krasnoselsky South, Meshchansky South & Tverskoy South raions)
North from the Kremlin, East from Tverskaya Street, North from Pokrova Street, the area within the Boulevard Ring.
Moscow Central-South (Yakimanka North & Zamoskvorechye raions)
Bordered by the Garden Ring and on north the Moskva River
Moscow Central-West (Arbat, Khamovniki North, Presnensky East, Tverskoy South raions)
North from the Moskva River, West from Tverskaya Street, the area within the Boulevard Ring.
Moscow Central-East (Basmanny West, Kitai Gorod, Tagansky North raions)
North from the Moskva River, South from Pokrova Street, the area within the Boulevard Ring.

Outlying districts

Moscow Outskirts
The outskirts of the city include areas between Moscow's Garden Ring and the Moscow Ring Road (MKAD).
Zelenograd and New Moscow
Consists of Zelenograd (Зеленоград) and New Moscow, consisting of Novomoskovsky (Новомосковский) & Troitsky (Троицкий) Administrative Okrugs, in the southwest.

Understand

Red Square, painting by Fedor Alekseev, 1802

Moscow is the financial and political centre of Russia and the countries formerly comprising the Soviet Union. It has a population of around 13 million and an area of 2,511km² after an expansion in 2012. One-tenth of all Russian citizens live in the Moscow metropolitan area. Moscow time is 3h ahead of GMT. Moscow is the second most populous city in Europe, after Istanbul. Moscow is in the UTC+3 time zone; there is no daylight saving time.

For many years since the break up of the Soviet Union, the economy has improved, and the modern era has brought upon a wide variety of construction projects, modern architecture and newer transport systems replacing the derelict ones during Soviet times.

Geography

Moscow is a large metropolis on the Moskva River, which bends its way through the city. The historical center is on the northern bank of the river. The other major waterway is the Yauza River, which flows into the Moskva east of the Kremlin.

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) −4.0 −3.7 2.6 11.3 18.6 22.0 24.3 21.9 15.7 8.7 0.9 −3.0
Nightly lows (°C) −9.1 −9.8 −4.4 2.2 7.7 12.1 14.4 12.5 7.4 2.7 −3.3 −7.6
Precipitation (mm) 52 41 35 37 50 80 85 82 68 71 55 52

Average of Moscow

Much of Moscow's geography is defined by the numerous 'Ring Roads' that circle the city at various distances from the centre, roughly following the outline of the walls that used to surround Moscow. With Red Square and the Kremlin forming the very centre, the innermost ring road is the Boulevard Ring (Bulvarnoye Koltso), built in the 1820s where the 16th century walls used to be. It runs from the Christ the Savior Cathedral in south-west central Moscow, to the mouth of the Yauza in south-east central Moscow.

The next ring road, the Garden Ring (Sadovoe Koltso), derives its name from the fact that landowners near the road in Tsarist times were obligated to maintain gardens to make the road attractive. In Soviet times, the road was widened, and currently you will find no gardens there.

The Third Ring Road, completed in 2004, is not much use for tourists but is a heavily used motorway which absorbs a bit of Moscow's traffic. It roughly follows the outline of Kamer-Kollezhsky val, the customs boundary of Moscow in the 18th – early 20th century. The outer edge of Moscow is largely defined by the Moscow Ring Road (widely known by its abbreviation: MKAD-Moskovskaya kolcevaya avto doroga), a motorway which is 108 km long and encircles the entire city (similar to London's M25 and Paris' Périphérique).

Get in

See Russia#Get in for visa requirements to Russia.

By plane

Moscow (IATA: MOW) has three main airports:

  Sheremetyevo International Airport (IATA: SVO),  +7 495 232-65-65. - 32km northwest of the centre of Moscow, in the city of Khimki. There are 6 terminals: A (business charter aviation), B (closed for renovations), C, D, E, and F. Terminals D, E, and F are located to the south of the runway and are connected to each other by walkway, but you have to take a shuttle bus to reach the other terminals, which are located to the north of the runway. Most Aeroflot flights operate to/from Terminal D. Sheremetyevo International Airport serves approximately 33 million passengers per year.

The airport has plenty of ATMs and currency exchange offices, duty free shops, a hairdresser, a pharmacy, and several overpriced cafes and basic restaurants. Unlimited free WiFi is available.

If you have a layover at Sheremetyevo Airport, you may stay at the Hotel Novotel Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport even if you do not have a Russian visa. Go to the 'Transfer/Transit Without Visa' desk upon arrival. You'll be escorted to the hotel in a private bus and stay in a corridor with personal security guard. Rooms are spacious and comfortable. You'll be picked up by Aeroflot staff about one hour prior to departure and the bus will bring you directly to the departure gate. The hotel offers rates for stays during the day as well as overnight rates.

To travel between the airport and the city:

  Domodedovo International Airport (IATA: DME),  +7 495 933-66-66. - 45km southeast of the centre of Moscow. It carries slightly more passengers than Sheremetyevo International Airport on an annual basis. The airport is the base of international discount carrier S7. Free WiFi is available throughout the airport. There are plenty of cafes, bars, restaurants, and shops in the airport.

To travel between the airport and the city:

  Vnukovo International Airport (IATA: VKO),  +7 495 937-55-55 (Head Office). - 30km southwest from the centre of Moscow. Vnukovo International Airport serves approximately 12 million passengers per year.

To travel between the airport and the city:

By train

All aboard the Trans-Siberian!

Moscow is a railway hub, with connections to all parts of Russia and far into Europe and Asia. Due to its hub status, Moscow's train stations are always crowded and are some of the most unsafe places in the city. Despite the relatively cheap price of air travel within Russia, train travel still remains the predominant mode of intercity transportation for the majority of Russians.

All long-distance trains are operated by Russian Railways and its subsidiaries. Tickets can be bought either at stations or online. Some international train operators also serve Moscow. Tickets bought online need to be validated at a counter or a ticket machine. There are often counters with English-speaking personnel at each station. Sometimes the English-speaking counters are marked, and sometimes you will be directed by the first person you speak to another counter with an English speaker.

From Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg can be reached in 4 hours via the high-speed Sapsan trains. There are seven depatures daily from both Saint Petersburg and Moscow at 06:45, 07:00, 13:30, 13:45, 15:00, 19:25, and 19:45, with some trains stopping at Tver, Vyshniy Volochek, Bologoe, and Okulovka. Fares vary and are cheaper if bought well in advance but usually are in the range of RUB3,000-6,000.

There are also 13 overnight trains that take this route and are cheaper than the Sapsan. The most famous is the luxurious Red Arrow (Красная стрела), a train painted in bright red that departs Saint Petersburg daily at 23:55 while the song Hymn to the Great City plays on its loudspeakers.

From Europe

The Paris-Moscow Express is a weekly train service that makes the 2-night 3,217km journey between Paris and Moscow. The train makes stops in Berlin, Warsaw, and Brest. The train includes 4-bed compartments (€245), 2-bed compartments (€345), and luxury compartments (€798).

The Polonez is a daily direct overnight train to Warsaw (17 hours), via Belarus. The Tolstoy is a daily direct overnight train to Helsinki (13 hours), via Saint Petersburg. There are also weekly trains to Vienna and Prague, via Belarus and a weekly train to Budapest. You will need a Belarussian visa to ride trains that go via Belarus.

From Eastern Russia and Asia
See also: Trans-Siberian Railway

Tickets for the Trans-Siberian Railway sell out and it is best to buy tickets well in advance. Tickets are sold by the operator as well as via agencies and resellers.

The main line of the Trans-Siberian Railway runs between Moscow and Vladivostok, the biggest Russian city on the Pacific Coast. The Rossiya train leaves Moscow every other day at 13:20, while the slower but cheaper trains #44 or #100 leave every day around midnight. Major stops include Yekaterinburg (24-31 hours; RUB2,000-9,000), Omsk (35-48 hours), Novosibirsk (46-54 hours), Krasnoyarsk (54-66 hours), Irkutsk (68-81 hours; RUB4,700-23,000), Ulan Ude (75-89 hours), and Vladivostok (7 days; RUB10,000-34,000).

The other routes of the Trans-Siberian Railway, between Moscow and China, are more popular among tourists. There are two weekly trains to/from Beijing (US$500-1,200), the Trans-Mongolian (Train #4) via Ulaanbaatar and the Trans-Manchurian (Vostok/Train #20) via Manchuria. Both journeys take six nights but the ride via Mongolia offers more scenery.

Train stations in Moscow

Moscow has 9 train stations, all of which are located near metro stations close to the center of Moscow. Be sure to note the station from which your train is departing, which will be indicated on the ticket, or online. Three stations (Leningradsky, Yaroslavsky, and Kazansky) are located on one huge square, informally known as the "Three Stations' Square". A running joke among Moscow taxi drivers ever since the Soviet times is to be able to pick up a fare from one of them to the other, taking the unwary tourist on an elaborate ride in circles. Be prepared for enormous queues trying to enter or exit the Metro at peak times, as people are getting off or on the commuter trains.

# Train Station Nearby Metro Station(s) Destinations of Interest to Tourists
1 Belorussky (Белорусский вокзал) Belorusskaya Berlin, Warsaw, Prague, Vienna, Budapest,. Smolensk, Minsk (10h), Kaliningrad, Brest, Aeroexpress trains from/to Sheremetyevo International Airport.
2 Kazansky (Каза́нский вокзал) Komsomolskaya Kazakhstan, Ulyanovsk, Uzbekistan, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan (11h, RUB2500 2nd class), Novorossiysk, Orenburg, Ossetia, Altay, Ufa, Mordovia, Penza, Cheboksary, Mari El, Tumen, Rostov-on-Don, Adler, Kolomna, Ryazan.
3 Kiyevsky (Киевский вокзал) Kiyevskaya Budapest, Ukraine, Aeroexpress trains from/to Vnukovo International Airport.
4 Kursky (Ку́рский вокзал) Kurskaya, Chkalovskaya Vladimir, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Tula, Kursk, Ukraine, Sochi, Crimea, the Caucasus.
5 Leningradsky (Ленингра́дский вокзал) Komsomolskaya Pskov, Saint Petersburg, Tver, Veliky Novgorod, Petrozavodsk, Murmansk, Helsinki, Khimki, Klin, Tver.
6 Paveletsky (Павелецкий вокзал) Komsomolskaya Almaty, Astrakhan, Baku, Donetsk, Luhansk, Saratov, Tambov, Volgograd, Aeroexpress trains from/to Domodedovo Airport.
7 Rizhsky (Рижский вокзал) Rizhskaya Riga, Latvia, Krasnogorsk, Istra.
8 Savyolovsky (Савёловский вокзал) Savyolovskaya Local destinations only
9 Yaroslavsky (Яросла́вский вокзал) Komsomolskaya Rostov Veliky (express, twice a day, 3h, RUB450), Sergiev Posad (express, twice a day, 1h, RUB300), Yaroslavl (14 per day, 4h, RUB500), Vologda, Trans-Siberian Railway trains to Siberia, the Russian Far East, Mongolia, and China.

By car

Many entry points to Moscow over the Ring Road and into the city feature rotating roadblocks, where teams of traffic police may stop a vehicle, especially if it is not featuring Moscow plates. You may be stopped and questioned but you'll be allowed to proceed if you have all the proper documents.

From Europe

Foreign cars, especially expensive cars, might attract unwelcome attention, and there is cumbersome paperwork involved to enter Russia by car.

The direct way to drive from Germany, Poland, or Belarus is along the E30 road, although it requires having permission to enter Belarus. If you can't enter Belarus, an alternative is to go via Latvia using the E22 from Riga.

The E18 provides easy access from Finland through Saint Petersburg and Novgorod. This route is also known as Russian Federal Highway M-10. Traffic on the M-10 is heavy.

By bus

It is generally easier to travel to/from Europe or other parts of Russia via plane or train so most visitors to Moscow will not use the intercity buses.

Lux Express operates coach service between Moscow and various cities in Europe. Buses arrive to and depart from the Stantsiya Tushinskaya Bus Station next to the Tushinskaya Metro Station on Metro Line 7 (purple) in the northeastern section of Moscow. Destinations include Tartu (14 hours, €49), Riga (15 hours, €55), Tallinn (16.5 hours, €55), Vilnius (18 hours, €66-73), Warsaw (26 hours, €80-92), Minsk (34 hours, €78), Budapest (36 hours, €95-112), Prague (36 hours, €97), and Berlin (40 hours, €97-109).

Many domestic intercity buses stop at the Moscow Intercity Bus Terminal, next to the Shchelkovskaya Metro Station at the eastern terminus of Metro Line 3 (dark blue). Buses to the popular tourist destination of Suzdal operate from this station.

There are also several small bus stops and stations with buses to/from small towns that are not commonly visited by tourists.

By boat

There is no scheduled passenger service to Moscow by boat; however, cruise ships do provide service to the Northern River Terminal, on the Moscow Canal near the Khimki Reservoir. The pier is not convenient to the city and it can take over 2 hours to reach the city centre by car.

A system of navigable channels and locks connects the Moskva River with the Volga River, which is further connected to the Baltic Sea, White Sea, the Azov, the Black Sea, and the Caspian Sea. In the Soviet times this allowed the official propaganda to refer to Moscow as "a port on the five seas".

By bicycle

Moscow is the easternmost destination of the EuroVelo cycling routes. Eurovelo Route 2, the Capitals Route, is a 5,500 km route starting in Galway, Ireland, passing through Dublin, London, Berlin, Warsaw and Minsk before terminating in Moscow.

Get around

By public transport

While central Moscow is best explored on foot, it's easiest to use the metro to cover larger distances. The metro is comprehensive, boasts some great architecture, and is relatively cheap.

The easiest way to pay for metro fares is to buy a red paper ticket with a number of pre-loaded trips from the ticket booth. Fares depend on the number of trips purchased; an 11-trip card costs RUB320 (RUB29 per trip). Alternatively, if you plan on using tram, metro, buses, and trolleybuses, you can go through the trouble of purchasing a plastic Troika reloadable smartcard. You can add trolleybus-bus-tram trips (RUB28), "united" trips which are also good for the metro (RUB40), 90 minute trips (RUB44), or unlimited ride passes to your Troika card. See the fare table for more details on the costs. You can also buy 90-minute trip tickets from bus drivers for RUB50.

By metro

Moscow Metro system map 2014
The Metro in Moscow

The Metro is open from 5:30AM-1:00AM. Station entrances are closed at 1:00AM, and at this time the last trains depart from all of the termini stations. After 1:00AM, many locals will enter the train station using the exits, which are still open. Service on the ring line runs until 1:30AM, although entrances are closed at 1:00AM. The down escalators are also shut off at 1:00AM.

There is signage in the Metro stations in English and the Latin alphabet, but these signs are not everywhere. Each train carriage has a map in Latin script and there is one near the entrance to each platform. Note the direction of the train before you alight. It is worth printing a map of the metro system in both Cyrillic and Latin letters to take with you.

All trains in the system have free WiFi onboard, but you will need to have a Russian phone number to get the authorization code to access the WiFi. Some of the older train cars are not air-conditioned nor heated.

Note that 2 or 3 stations may be connected as transfer points but will each have a different name. There are 2 stations called Smolenskaya and 2 stations called Arbatskaya, but the station pairs are not connected to each other despite having the same name. Some of the stations are very deep underground, and transfer times between certain metro lines can take a lot of time. In the city centre, it can save time to go directly to the above-ground entrance of the line you want to take rather than to enter at a connecting station and transfer underground. On the escalators, stand on the right and walk on the left.

Some of the train stations include beautiful architecture and it is worth taking a guided tour of the metro system. The most interesting stations in terms of decor are Komsomolskaya (ring line), Novoslobodskaya (ring line), Kievskaya (ring line), Kropotkinskaya (Line #1 - red), Kievskaya (Line #3 - dark blue), Arbatskaya (Line #3 - dark blue), Ploschad' Revolyutsii (Line #3 - dark blue), Mayakovskaya (Line #2 - dark green). Also look at the architecture of the ground entrance building of Arbatskaya (Line #4 - light blue) and Krasnye Vorota (Line #1 - red). History buffs may appreciate that Metro Line #4 (light blue) has the oldest stations, opened in 1935.

The Vorob'evy gory Metro Station on Line #1 (red) is unique in that it is on a bridge crossing the Moscow River. This bridge also carries auto traffic road on another level. There is a beautiful view through the transparent sides of the station. A great observing point around Moscow is located nearby on Vorob'evy hills, next to the main building of Lomonosov Moscow State University.

There are a couple of unique trains operating through the system and you will be lucky if you get to ride them. Aquarelle (Watercolor) is a train that includes an art gallery. The train operates daily on Line #1 (red). The Sokolniki Retro Train is a train modeled after the original 1930s trains and it occasionally is placed into service, usually around a major anniversary of the metro system.

The metro is relatively safe, although pickpockets are a problem, as they are in any environment where a lot of people are pressed together. Opportunistic petty crime, such as snatching someone's mobile phone and jumping out just as the doors are closing, is also commonplace. Take the usual precautions at night when gangs of inebriated teenagers may look for an excuse to beat someone up. There is no train guard or conductor, so the first car near the driver may be the safest. Every car is equipped with an intercom to the driver's cabin; they are beige boxes with a grill and a black button near doors, and mostly work, unless visibly vandalized.

By bus and trolleybus

Typical white-green bus

Every large street in the city is served by at least one bus and one trolleybus route, which necessitate an abundance of trolley wires in the city. Most Moscow buses and trolleybuses operate 05:30AM-01:00AM; however, there are a few routes that operate during the night.

Buses and trolleybuses never seem to follow their schedules, mostly due to traffic jams and delays, but they are frequent until the late evening.

A trolleybus route map is available online. A useful mobile app called Yandex Transport helps you locate a nearest bus, trolleybus or tram on the line.

By tram

There are several tram routes, although trams are not common in the city centre. A map and a schedule of the tram routes are available online.

By marshrutka

Marshrutka is a jitney-like mode of transport similar to a minibus or shared taxi. They follow similar routes as many bus lines and have a similar numbering system. The fare is paid in cash to the driver upon entering. They generally are faster and more efficient than buses, although the drivers are much more reckless. If you need to get off, you have to shout: "Остановите здесь!" (Astanaviti zdes, meaning "Stop here!") as loudly as possible so that the driver can hear. There is a saying "Тише скажешь – дальше выйдешь", meaning "If you speak quietly, you'll travel far". The marshrutka drivers are independent businessmen and are generally immigrants from Central Asia that only speak Russian.

By commuter rail

Local commuter trains (electrichkas) operate between the Moscow train stations and the suburbs of Moscow Oblast, but are of little use to tourists. Schedules can be accessed online at Yandex.ru.

By monorail

Moscow Monorail is a 4.7km monorail line with 6 stations. It is slower, less frequent, and has shorter operating hours when compared with the metro (every 6 min at peak hours, 16 min rest of the time). However, the view is picturesque. It is useful to get to the Ostankino Tower, or to get to the VDNKh exhibition centre from Metro Line #9 (silver). Officials are considering dismantling the monorail.

By taxi and rideshare

NOTE: Beware of unofficial taxis that like to hang around tourist areas. They use a taxi meter; however, their meter goes by a fabricated inflated rate. A 10-minute ride can easily cost RUB3000 instead of RUB400. Make sure to negotiate a fixed price before entering. Smartphone-based apps such as Uber, Yandex Taxi, and GetTaxi are popular and reliable in Moscow and the rating systems and customer support force the drivers to be accountable.

Fares

Rates for UberX are the cheapest among rideshare and taxi services. Non-surge rates are RUB50 base fare + RUB8 per minute + RUB8 per kilometer, with a RUB100 minimum.

It is possible to negotiate the price with taxis drivers and not use the meter. Taxi fares within the Garden Ring are generally under RUB250. When negotiating with a street taxi, if you don't like the amount one guy is charging, you'll doubtlessly find another driver in a minute or two. Try to get an idea if the drivers know where they are going as many will pretend they know how to get to your destination just to get your business. Smartphone-based apps eliminate this problem since the drivers follow a GPS and the rates are fixed.

Taxi operators

There are several taxi services operating in Moscow, the most noticeable on the streets being The New Yellow Taxi (Novoye Zholtoye Taxi). The cars are yellow Fords or Volgas (Russian car brand). They will charge the minimum rate of RUB250 no matter the distance.

If you're not good in Russian, there are several English-speaking taxi services operating in Moscow, the most notable being LingoTaxi. Prices are generally higher but booking by phone is easier.

By car

Using a car in Moscow can be very time consuming and stressful. The street system was never designed to accommodate even a fraction of the exploding population of vehicles and the traffic jams never seem to clear until the night. Most roadways are in a constant state of disastrous disrepair. You will have to compete for the right-of-way with seasoned drivers in dented "Ladas" who know the tangle of the streets inside out and will not think twice before cutting you off at the first opportunity.

The drivers of the ubiquitous yellow "marshrutkas" are reckless, while buses stop, go and barge in and out of traffic at will, blissfully unaware of the surroundings. One bright spot is the relative dearth of the large 18-wheeler trucks on Moscow roads. Sometimes, all traffic on major thoroughfares may be blocked by police to allow government officials to blow through unimpeded, sirens blaring. There is very little parking. Parking illegally can lead to a hefty fine of RUB2500 and your car being towed. If you are driving to Moscow, park as soon as you can at a safe place such as your hotel and use public transit.

Parking is usually not free and the costs can be found online. Expect to pay RUB80/hour for the parking within the Boulevard Ring and the district, RUB60/hour - between Boulevard Ring and Garden Ring, RUB40/hour between Garnen Ring and Third Transport Ring. Payment is avaialble through SMS (Russian SIM-cards only), mobile app or at parking columns (usually accepting credit cards only). You have to pay for the full hour upfront, unused money will be sent back to your account. Like many other Russian cities, parking spaces, even parking lots, are extremely disorganized, making safe parking a challenge.

However, if you have driven in Rome or Athens before, then it's not that hard to get accustomed to Moscow traffic. Just don't try to drive across the city during rush hours or you can be stuck for as long as 3 hours in traffic jams. Check one of the many traffic jam information websites before you start your journey. Taking the metro may actually be faster than driving. The most popular sites are Yandex Probki and Rambler Probki.

Roads are almost empty during holidays at the beginning of January and May as well as during weekends and the summer.

Gas stations: BP, Lukoil, Gazpromneft, Rosneft gas stations all have good quality gasoline.

By ship

Boats are not the best way to move around the city fast, but they do offer great scenery.

By bicycle

Velobike operates a bike sharing network that has over 2,700 bicycles available at over 300 bike stations throughout city. To use it, you first have to register the web site or via the mobile app. Membership rates are RUB150 per day or RUB500 for a month. Usage fees, which are in addition to membership fees, vary, but the first 30 minutes are free. This is intentional to encourage people to use the system for short place-to-place trips; however, after riding for 30 minutes, you can dock your bike into a station, wait 2 minutes, and then take the bike out again to restart the timer. The service is only operational in the spring and summer months, but extending the operational season is currently being contemplated.

By hop-on-hop-off bus

The hop-on-hop-off bus is a convenient way for tourists to see the major sights quickly and efficiently. The buses feature English-speaking guides to answer any questions. A 1 day pass costs US$24 for adults and US$15 for children.

See

Individual listings can be found in Moscow's district articles

Do

Moscow has many attractions, but many of them are not friendly to a non-Russian-speaker. English-language newspapers like The Moscow Times, Element, Moscow News and others can help to navigate towards English-language friendly attractions and services.

Banyas

Make sure you visit a Russian bathhouse (banya) while in Moscow, as it's an important Russian tradition and Russians, especially aged 40+, go at least once a week. Have a hot steam, followed by a good whipping with birch branches. While its not the most pleasant experience, the benefits you'll receive afterward will enable you to understand why Russians are loyal to their banya.

Circuses

Ice skating

The winter rinks at Chistye Prudy or Izmaylovsky Park are other alternatives.

Others

Learn

Moscow State University

Moscow remains the educational center of Russia and the former USSR. There are 222 institutes of higher education, including 60 state universities & 90 colleges. Some of these offer a wide-spectrum of programs, but most are centered around a specific field. This is a hold-over from the days of the USSR, when Sovietwide there were only a handful of wide-spectrum "universities" and a large number of narrow-specialization "institutes" (mostly in Moscow & St.Petersburg). Moscow offers some of the best business/management, science, & arts schools in the world. Moscow is also a popular destination for foreign students to learn Russian.

State Universities

  • LMSU Center for International Education. Russian courses from 4 wks-3 semesters: Pre-university Russian (to prepare for a Russian-language university education, teaches jargon/vocabulary for 6 fields), preparation to be a teacher of Russian, & 6 levels of Russian for fun.

Work

You will need a work visa which is not an easy process. The visa needs to be arranged well in advance of travelling. It is possible to work in Moscow, you just need to find a good company to support you.

Buy

Credit card acceptance is widespread in large stores, but less common smaller stores and restaurants. However, ATMs are plentiful, display in English and accept the major card networks such as Visa/Plus and MasterCard/Cirrus. Currency exchange offices are plentiful in the city, but be sure to count your change and note that the advertised rates sometimes don't include an added commission or only apply to large exchanges.

Be sure to break your RUB5000 or RUB1000 notes where you can, as the smaller merchants, street vendors and even many metro clerks often refuse them.

Shopping Malls

Large shopping malls are common near metro stations.

Eat

Russian borsch

Dining establishments in Moscow range from food stalls near metro stations to quick canteen-style 'Stolovaya' eateries to American-style fast food chains to overpriced restaurants catering to tourists to high-end restaurants where you can spend RUB10,000.

Restaurants and cafes promising "European and Caucasus cuisine" generally cater to tourists and are usually bad; seek a restaurant that specializes in a single region instead (Georgian, Russian, Italian, French, etc.).

Many small restaurants offer lunch specials costing RUB200-250. These deals are valid from 12:00 to 15:00 and include a cup of soup or an appetizer, a small portion of the main dish of the day, bread and a non-alcoholic beverage.

Tipping

For information on tipping in restaurants, see Russia#Eat.

Ethnic food

Authentic ethnic food from countries of the nearby Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia) is common in Moscow. Japanese food, including sushi, rolls, tempura, and steakhouses are very popular in Moscow. Other Asian cuisines including Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese are becoming increasing more common.

Budget

Street food

Free-standing kiosks serving sausages, meat pies, or kebobs are plentiful, although the origins of the meat served is questionable and the food has been known to occasionally make people sick. Food kiosk chains that you will notice include:

Muscovites are also fond of their ice cream, consumed in any weather, even in the dead of winter, cheap and usually of superior quality; kiosks can be found all over the center and near all Metro stations.

Fast Food Chains

McDonalds and KFC have locations near almost every shopping mall. It is common to pay extra for condiments.

Canteen-style cafeterias

In these cafeterias, you take a tray, move along a counter with food (either taking the dishes yourself or asking the staff to give you a bowl of soup, a plate of vegetables, etc.) and pay at the cash register at the end of the counter. These self-serve establishments have decent quality food, no waiting time, and good prices. Canteen chains include Café Moo-Moo (30 locations) and Grabli (Грабли).

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Individual listings can be found in Moscow's district articles

Bars

Clubs

Nightlife in Moscow is bustling, intense and exciting. It starts quite late; it's common for the headliners to start at 1AM-2AM. Most noticeable are areas near Solyanka street and Krasniy Oktyabr' place. At summer time a lot of clubs opening open-air terraces called "verandas". Most of clubs in Moscow are very picky of who they let in, so make sure you have a positive attitude and dress up if you are going to a fancy club.

Cafes

Moscow has several café chains with great coffee including Coffeemania, Coffee Bean, and Starbucks. Moscow also has a good selection of tea saloons. High-quality infusion teas such as Newby, are widely available in cafes, both in packets and loose.

Asking to add boiling water to the tea you ordered earlier is a practice that some cafes don't welcome, but normally it's acceptable.

Sleep

Individual listings can be found in Moscow's district articles

Stay safe

Moscow historically enjoyed a low crime rate. However, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the crime rate throughout Russia skyrocketed and this terrible reputation lingers, despite much recent improvement.

Drunk people and the police are the most likely sources of problems. A lot of policemen are corrupt, and it is best to avoid them. While traveling in Moscow, as in the rest of Russia, you should always have your passport with you. If you look non-white, your papers may get checked more often than otherwise.

It is preferable to avoid some parts of the outer districts of Moscow, especially in the south. Some of those areas are notorious for gopniks (drunkards notorious for muggings and starting fights with strangers, and will do so seemingly unprovoked), who normally hang out it sparse residential areas and in industrial zones. The same problems can be witnessed in the surrounding regions and in other Russian cities as well.

Police may demand to see your documents to check if you have obtained registration papers within seven business days of your arrival into Moscow. Most policemen do not speak a word of English, but will let you know if your papers are not in order and if you must go with them to the police precinct. A bribe of about RUB500 (more if you look like you have more) should make them leave you alone, though if you are reasonably sure your papers are in order, get out your mobile phone and call your embassy. Most corrupt policemen will be frightened enough to let you go before you dial the number.

Non-white people should be especially vigilant since the number of violent attacks by skinheads is prevalent, and most minorities are likely to be stopped for document checks by the police.

Women should take caution walking alone late at night since they may receive unwanted attention from drunk men. Women should also stay clear of large companies of men in front of bars, restaurants, etc. It is best to walk with a friend if possible.

Streets can become very slippery in winter. Wear shoes or, even better, boots with decent grip to prevent twisted ankles. Ice patches can be hard to spot. A waterproof raincoat is also sensible.

The city's rapidly expanding economy has left traffic poorly handled, and accident rates are very high. Stay safe.

If you need help with translation, ask students or pupils: younger people are more likely to be able to help you than the older generations.

Connect

For information on using telephones and buying SIM cards in Russia, see Russia#Connect.

Wireless Internet

Beeline WiFi operates the largest network of both paid and free WiFi access points. If there is a charge, you can pay online via credit card.

There is a large network of free WiFi hotspots in the city centre; check your device in the middle of a busy area and you may find one.

Many cafes and restaurants offer WiFi, although it is often at an additional charge. Most bookstores offer free WiFi, including Dom Knigi on New Arbat Street or "Respublika" bookstore on Tverskaya near Mayakovskaya Metro Station.

Many establishments that offer free WiFi, such as the Metro system, McDonalds, and Domedovo airport, require you to verify an authorization code sent to a Russian phone number before gaining access.

Cope

Embassies

Moscow is one of the global diplomatic capitals, competing with Berlin, Paris, London, and Washington D.C.. Most of the world's countries have their embassies in the city.

Go next

Since Moscow is the biggest transportation center in Russia and one of main the points of entry for the foreign tourists, it is a convenient starting point for exploring much of European Russia. Even travelling through Moscow to Ukraine and some Caucasian and Central Asian countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan etc.) could be cheaper than direct flights from Europe/North America. Travel deals to Moscow are not rare and ticket prices are often pretty low within the former USSR.

Routes through Moscow

END  W  E  Vladimir Yekaterinburg


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, January 23, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.