Everbrite's Russia, Belarus and Ukraine Pages
Russia General Info
Russian Consulate Information:
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G to J
K to South Africa
Spain to Z
Obtaining a Russian Visa
Money and Other Tips
Tidbits for Tourists:
A to I
K to Z
Rulers of Russia:
From the Beginning to the Time of Troubles
From the Romanovs to Revolution
From Soviet Times to the present
Russia Regional Information:
Moscow Metro Tour
Central Moscow Tour- in four parts with map:
Part 1 Stops 1 through 13. Marriott Royal/Hotel Budapest to Manezh Ploshchad
Part 2 Stops 14 though 22. Around Manezh Ploshchad
Part 3 Stops 23 though 44. Along Tverskaya Street to the area around Pushkin Square
Part 4 Stops 45 though 48. From Pushkinskaya Ploshchad to Upper St. Peter's Monastery and back
Travel in Russia planes, trains and automobiles
Trans-Siberian Trains general information to get you started on your journey
Trans-Siberian Stops information about common stops along the way
Notes about Chinese Consulates some informataion about Chinese consulates
Books, Tapes and other Resources
Everbrite's personal suggestions for 5 days in Moscow would be as follows:
- day 1 - Kremlin including the Armory Museum and the Diamond Fund - this is open on Monday and closed on Thursday. Note that these places are all open on Monday and since lots of other things are closed on Monday, this is important to keep in mind. See below for more things to do on Mondays. In addition, since the summer of 2003 sometimes it has been impossible to visit the Kremlin unless one enters with a guide. Check the current situation.
- day 2 - I used to suggest a visit to the KGB Museum in the morning, but it is currently closed. The only place I know that used to offer these tours was Patriarshy Dom). It may be worth contacting them to see if the situation has changed.
Instead start the day with a walk in Kitai Gorod and Red Square. Note that access to Red Square sometimes is limited as well. Lenin's Tomb is open for viewing from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (except Monday, Friday and Sunday and those periods when the body is sent back for refreshment of the preservatives). Entrance to Red Square is further restricted when the Mausoleum is open; visitors are not allowed to carry cameras. The line generally forms over between the History Museum and the Kremlin wall, not far from the Corner Arsenal Tower. Walk along Tverskaya Street, Moscow's Main Street.
- day 3 - Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery - I know it sounds weird visiting a cemetery, but it is very interesting. Lots of famous people are buried here and the sculptured headstones and monuments are worth seeing. Then head out to the main MGU (Moscow State University) campus and the Sparrow Hills overlook.
- day 4 - Church of Christ the Savior, the Pushkin Art Museum and the Prechistenka/Ostozhenka area, plus walk up Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street.
- day 5 - the Tretyakov Gallery and Zamoskvorechye area including the Park of the Fallen Heroes and New Tretyakov Gallery.
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Ideas for Additional Days
- If you have additional days, consider visiting one of these estates: Kolomenskoye, Ostankino, Kuskovo. They are all old estates with lovely buildings in beautiful parks.
- If the weather is nice and you want to picnic, take a day trip to Sergiev Posad and Abramtsevo, Arkhangelskoye or the New Jerusalem Monastery with its nearby wooden architecture museum. All can be reached by public transportation.
- If you are in Moscow on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, take the metro to Izmailovo Park and walk to the crafts' fairgrounds at Vernisazh. If not, several places to look for Russian crafts are the gift shops at the Armory Museum and the State History Museum, the shops along Old Arbat, the vendors at the Sparrow Hills overlook and the shops in the Central House of Artists located on Krymsky Val, the Garden Ring section across from Gorky Park.
- Do a tour of the metro stations, in particular see the ring line stations and their transfer stations and the three stations that intersect near Red Square (Okhotny Ryad, Ploshchad Revolutsii and Teatralnaya).
There is even a metro museum not far from Novodevichy Convent, near the Sportivnaya Metro Station. Check out this privately maintained metro webpage: Metro Map 2008. For a transliterated version but older map, try the map at the bottom of this page: Metro Map 2005.
A tour that I wrote of the Moscow metro can be found here: Everbrite's Moscow Metro History and Tour
- Check out the walks offered by Patriarshy Dom. If they are offering a tour of the Grand Kremlin Palace during your visit, I recommend that you consider taking it despite the hefty price. The Grand Kremlin Palace is the official location of the Russian President and a very interesting building. The only way inside is to be a Russian school child or pensioner on tour or to go with a group through Patriarshy Dom.
- Take the boat ride between Kievskaya Metro/Vokzal and NovoSpassky Monastery during the week (price is double on the weekend). There are easy metro connections at both ends. And the monastery is worth a visit as well.
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Mondays in Moscow plan to visit any of the following:
Kremlin Churches and Armory Museum
State History Museum (but not the first Monday of the month)
Cathedral of the Intercession of the Mother of God on the Moat (St. Basil's Cathedral)
Museum of the Romanov Boyars in Zaryade (across from the Hotel Rossiya)
Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery
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Moscow Inexpensive Russian Food Options
The restaurant scene in Moscow has been changing frequently so that it is hard to make recommendations. Places seem to come and go more often and the quality of food seems to change even for places that have been open for a while. More places have have English language menus these days, but often they are only partially helpful as the translations are poor or they simply translate without any explanations or descriptions.
A Russian phrase book or language map will be essential if you have no Russian language skills.
Many places offer a business lunch, which is a fixed price menu that can be a good value. These vary in price and usually include at least two or sometimes three courses plus coffee or tea. Frequently there are daily specials and often there is a sign outside indicating the price and the menu of the day.
Try these websites for their dining recommendations:
The Dining Guide of the Moscow Times,
Eating Out in Moscow from the waytorussia.net website,
The Restaurant Guide of the Expat website,
The Food Guide of the Red Tape website.
Though this website is in Russian, Moscow Menus allows you to search for dining recommendations based on the metro location, wifi availability, price range, cuisine, etc.
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Traktir or self sevice chain restaurants: These are chain restaurants serving traditional Russian food, whatever that is. The variety is great with different kinds of fish, meat, soup, salads, and sweets.
Cafe Mu Mu - or in Russian, Кафе Му Му. This is a serve-yourself buffet with Russian standards at reasonable prices. Thе chain is owned by the same people who operate a number of other well known Moscow restaurants including the Cafe Pushkin, Turandot and Shinok. There are several locations around town including on Arbat Street near the Smolenskaya metro, Myasnitskaya near the Lubyanka metro, Leningradskiy Prospekt near the Aeroport metro, Prospekt Mira near the Alekseevskaya metro and others. As one might expect, the symbol of this place is a black and white cow.
Drova - or in Russian, Дрова. This is another self serve restaurant popular with young people serving an all-you-can-eat buffet 24 hours. They offer a deal that is 55 dishes for 630 rubles a person and their "biznes lanch" is 200 rubles (November 2009). There are several locations around Moscow including one near Red Square at Nikol'skaya 5 and one near the Chistiy Prudi metro at Pokrovka 17, and one on the boulevard ring at Nikitskiy Bulvar 8a. The decor of real and fake wood reflects its name, which means "logs" in Russian. Reportedly they have a wireless LAN.
Grably - or in Russian, Грабли. This is another inexpensive Russian chain recommended by the folks at the Moscow Times that serves various soups, hot and cold starters, hot main dishes, etc. The name means "rake".
Yolki Palki - or in Russian, Ёлки Палки. This is a restaurant with typical Russian offerings, soups, salads, meat and potatoes. It is a huge chain with multiple branches in Moscow and throughout Russia.
There are several options. Two pushcart chains are decent - one is called Teremok and can be identified by the green roof. They sell wonderful blinis filled with options from butter to red caviar. In addition to their original pushcarts, Teremok has expended to offer its product in restaurants.
The other is called Kroshka Kartoshka. They started by selling potatoes with various toppings and stuffings, but their menu has expanded to include sandwiches and other snacks. Now Kroshka Kartoshka has expanded from pushcarts to stationary cafes which are found in shopping malls and around town.
Both chains are franchised so sometimes they occur in the same places.
Once upon a time there was a Russian fast food chain in Moscow called Russki Bistro. Their signs, the head of a 19th century Russian soldier in black, yellow and red, were easy to identify, and they used to be located everywhere. Created in 1995 to compete with McDonalds by the mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, whose wife owns the company that makes the paper and plastic products that they used, the company suffered in the economic setback of 1998 and by 2005 it was taken over by a group of businessmen. They sell various pierogi plus other snacks and salads, but their future is unclear.
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Coffee Shops and Cafes:
There are lots of coffee shops now, but the first was probably a shop at Tverskaya Ulitsa, 10, which now houses a branch of the chain Coffee Bean. If you are walking along Tverskaya take a peek into this particular store to check out the pressed tin ceiling.
Other places for coffee and light meals include:
Coffee House or Кофе Хауз, which advertises free wifi in its locations around Moscow and also in St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Kazan and Kyiv
Costa Coffee or Коста Кофе, which has branches in Moscow, the Moscow suburbs, and St. Petersburg
Shokoladnitsa or Шоколадница, a cafe that offers coffee, chocolate and sinful desserts at shops all over Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Pyatigorsk, Rostov na Donu, Novosibirsk, Ufa, Cherepovets, Ulyankovsk, Khabarovsk.
Coffee Mania or Кофе Мания, which has several places in Moscow, a website in English and substantial menu offerings for light meals.
There is a food court in the basement of the Okhotny Ryad underground mall and in all major Moscow malls. Try Russian ice cream while you are there. For years, even in the middle of winter, vendors stood on corners with their ice boxes full of dry ice peddling their wares. The ice cream sellers may be gone, but the ice cream is still sold.
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There are several supermarket chains in Moscow now; some have downtown locations worth noting and may even be open 24 hours or at least they don't close until quite late. The two big chains are Seventh Continent or Седьмой Континент and Perekrestok or Перекресток. Another supermarket with shops around town is Azbuka Vkusa or Азбука Вкуса.
In addition to supermarkets, Moscow has other self catering options. Most notable are the high end Globus Gourmet shops, which offer some of the best imported and prepared foods in Moscow. Current locations include the following plus others:
Bolshaya Yakimanka 22
Tel.: 8 (495) 995 2170
Kutuzovsky Prospekt 48, Gallery "Vremena Goda"
Tel.: 8 (495) 648 1862
Leningradsky Shosse 112, Building 4
Tel.: 8 (495) 225 8758, 273 2848
Metro: Rechnoy Vokzal
Novy Arbat 19
Tel.: 8 (495) 775 0918
Petrovka 2, Building 2 "Tsum "
Tel.: 8 (495) 518 9660(61
Metro: Tetralnaya, Okhotny Ryad
Pokrovka 2/1 Building 1
Tel.: 8 (495) 662 6603, 662 6604
Metro: Kitai Gorod, Chistye Prudy
Shmitovsky Proezd 16, Building 2
Tel.: 8 (495) 740 4957,740 4956
Metro: Ul. 1905 Goda
1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya 7
Tel.: 8 (495) 978 8083
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News, cultural information
The Moscow Times an English language newspaper available online or free at various places around town with good travel information, news and ideas of things to do.
"Official" Site of the Moscow Government
If you read Russian, then check online or pick up a copy of Afisha for their gallery, theater and museum guide.
For information and schedules about the ballet, opera, classical music, circus, etc. in Moscow, try BalletandOpera.com
Though somewhat outdated the Moscow Yellow Pages can be useful to find the location of various shops, stores, services.
Passport Magazine has lots of useful information like wifi locations, foreign language films, Moscow events, cultural tidbits, etc.
Expat websites for forums:
The Expat Web Site
Red Tape - Making Russia easy
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Weather and Climate for Moscow
Average Amounts of Precipitation
|# of days
Source for the information on amounts of precipitation: International Station Meteorological Climate Summary, Version 4.0
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Moscow After Dark
Be sure to visit Red Square for a view of St. Basil's and the Kremlin. Note that during the summer of 2003, Red Square was closed except for entrance to St. Basil's and Lenin's Tomb, both of which required that you stand on lines and go through security check points. This situation seems to change regularly depending upon the situation with Chechen terrorists.
If you are there in the summer and enjoy classical music, check out what is being performed at Kuskovo or Ostankino, both are interesting venues for performances and were Sheremetevo estates before the 1917 Revolution. Both were reasonably well maintained during Soviet times.
Moscow has dozens of performance venues, clubs, and bars, but few British style pubs. Some are more expensive than others. Check out LifeStyle and Metropolis, the insert in Fridays' Moscow Times. Look at the Expat and Red Tape websites. Download the latest issue of Element magazine, which is Moscow's premier entertainment magazine in English. If you read Russian, try the website of Afisha, which lists theater and concert performances, exhibitions, movie schedules, nightlife, etc.
Tickets for Theater and other events tickets can be bought online at booking agencies such as Kassir and Kontramarka. See if there is anything of interest playing at the Bolshoi Theater. Tickets can be ordered online. Choose your seats, pay by Visa or Mastercard and then pick up your tickets before the performance.
The Urban Dictionary defines, face control as:
Moscow Night Life
Although now quite old (cerca 2003), here are some favorites of TT contributors:
- Voodoo Lounge / Papa Johns / Karma Bar etc. All are decent clubs with limited prostitutes (virtually all Moscow clubs have pros mingled with the regular crowds) and decent DJs.
- "Kitaisky Lyotchik (which means Chinese Pilot) is a bar/club down by Kitai Gorod metro. Place is wicked, if you like things to be a bit sleazy and your music to be fairly underground."
- "Propaganda, just off Maroseika, up the hill from the Kitai Gorod metro, is a bit trendy, but has good food, good beer and good people." Face control here is tight.
- Doug & Marty's - at Kurskaya metro. (bar/nightclub)
- Genatsvale - at Kropotinskaya metro. (great Georgian restaurant)
- Bunker - on Tverskaya. (bar/club). I dropped off three older teens here one evening and they had a blast.
- Vremya Yest - Belorusskaya metro (bar)
- Sledushii Dengi - (restaurant/club) the name translates best as Last Penny. Live music almost every night. Exit the Mayakovskaya station onto Tverskaya Street. Walk towards the Pekin Hotel and then along the side of the hotel at right angles to the main street, on a street called Brestskaya Ulitsa. At the end of the hotel building turn left; you should see a sign and kopeks on the ground. Head upstairs for the food and music.
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Here's more old (September 2003) information about the club scene in Moscow, which is described as perhaps the wildest in the world. In all honesty, you'll meet better people, less pretentious and generally very nice, in the clubs that are listed as "normal."
Super Budget places: there are heaps of student bars that masquerade as nightclubs. They have DJs but you often need to take a clothes peg for your nose in the toilets! But beer is under $1 US and spirits equivalently priced. Many have student bands. Eg OGI clubs (see Exile, Moscow Times "Metropolis" etc.)
Budget: reasonably priced places include places like Vermel, 4 rooms (next door to Vermel). High chance of scoring if that is what you want. Moron Russian blokes abound who jealously "protect" their ugly GFs from blokes who are in no way interested in their ugly GFs...
Normal: Chinese Pilot, Propaganda, Karma Bar, Voodoo Lounge, Papa Johns, Territoria, B2, Kult, Art Garbage, Sixteen Tons (live music, cost depends on who plays), Woodstock are all decent places with less flathead morons protecting their ugly GFs because... you guessed it, most girls in these clubs tend to be pretty nice! Crowds tend to be relaxed, esp. at gigs. Budget is about the same as in most western clubs. (well, maybe less than London.) Most bars have a band, then the DJ kicks in.
Expensive: Justo, Marika, Zeppelin, Shambala DJ bar. I've only been to Marika but the place was full of supermodels who wouldn't fart in your general direction unless you waved $1000 in their general direction... Nothing but Armani and Gucci in these places. Outside there will be $5 million bucks worth of Mercedes S-Class v-12s parked in rows...
Off the Chart: First. You'd literally need $500 to have even a basic night out - but supposedly more babes than Marika.
Remember that this is not how the typical Russian spends his/her evening. They tend to be at home, visiting friends or at the theater (either movies or plays.)
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This group of three buildings is generally called the Ivan the Great Bell Tower, but it also includes the Assumption Belfry and Filaret Annex. The strange configuration is the result of having been built in several phases. Ivan III ordered the erection of a two-tiered bell tower with a church in 1505. When completed by the builder Bon Fryazin (also known as Marco Bon) in 1508, the 60-meter bell tower consisted of two octagonal pillars, one on top of the other, tapering toward the top and crowned by a dome with a circular drum. Bon Fryazin is known only to have built one structure in Moscow, but it was built to last. The lower level of the tower rests on 5 meter wide solid brick walls which taper to 2.5 meters at the second tier. Iron reinforcing rods were set in the first tier masonry. The tower survived numerous fires and other disasters, which frequently swept the Kremlin.
At the beginning of the 17th century Boris Godunov ordered the tower extended 21 meters, with additional tiers, as it appears today. The upper octagon was decorated with a double row of kokoshniki. Above this was added a cylindrical drum with false narrow windows painted black. Under the gold dome are three rows of inscription in gilt letters on copper leaf against a blue background. The old Slavonic script states "by the grace of the Holy Trinity and the Tsar and Grand Prince Boris and his son Fyodor said church was built and adorned with gold in 1600."
Some say that it was at this point that the tower got its name of "Great" because of its height of 81 meters. And that Ivan was included in the name because on this site previously had stood the stone bell tower church to St. Ivan Clamicus (St John of the Ladder) originally built by Ivan I in honor of his patron saint. Others claim that the name can be attributed to Ivan the Great who ordered the original section of this tower built on this site.
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Count Pyotr Borisovich Sheremetev built this 18th century estate at Kuskovo to be larger and grander than that of the other nobility and to compare well with that of the tsar's residences. Although called the "summer country house" of Count Sheremetev, no one ever lived here. With its formal gardens, sculptures and green houses, it came to be known as the Moscow Versailles. A summer place, designed for entertaining family, friends, distant relations, foreign visitors and other hangers-on, Kuskovo was the site of various recreational activities. The buildings and the grounds were specially designed for the amusement of friends. Included among the entertainments offered here were various kinds of folk performances, church rituals, balls, concerts, plays, operas, fireworks, sailing on the local ponds and sea parades. Even mock sea battles were staged on the man-made lake. The largest events accommodated up to 30,000 guests. Receptions were held here along with outdoor theater performances. The development of Kuskovo dates to the period 1740-1770 when Tsarina Elizaveta Petrovna eased the lives of the nobility and permitted them to return to Moscow. During this period the nobility outside the capital developed their entertaining and recreation activities on a grand scale. Using local talent, the arts in Russia experienced a significant growth and advancement.
Use of this estate waned in the 1790's when the Sheremetev family built another summer entertainment palace further north of the Kremlin at Ostankino. Used by the family infrequently during the 19th century, few changes were made, but the estate has survived in relatively good condition. During the 1890s artist Isak Levitan and his students rented space here for their studio. In 1919 Lenin nationalized all private estates, and the caretakers of this estate immediately sought the protection of the local Council in Moscow, thus preventing its being looted. Having been designed and built by serfs, the entire ensemble was maintained and reasonably well preserved during Soviet times. Since 1932 the State Museum of Ceramics has been located in the Orangery or Conservatory on the estate. Today it is the only formal French park with over fifty Russian and Italian sculptures to survive in Moscow. There is an English style park as well as a man-made lake and a series of ponds and canals. All the buildings on the estate have been maintained in reasonably good condition and many can be visited. BTW if you are a US passport holder, for many years the embassy held their annual Fourth of July picnic here and all were invited to attend.
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