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Moscow tells its intriguing story through striking architecture and a rich cultural scene. From the mighty Kremlin complex, towering over the Moskva River, to the vibrant shows of the Bolshoi Ballet, there’s never a dull moment in its tale.

At the city’s centre, the Red Square has seen battles, military parades and the collapse of the Soviet Union on Victory Day. Walk the cobbles of the traffic-free square today and capture on camera the scenic Kremlin Towers and St Basil’s Cathedral. You’ll witness modern developments grow alongside the old city including the Federation Tower, set to be the tallest building in Europe.

If you’re a culture vulture you’ll be amazed by brilliant ballet and opera performances at the Bolshoi Theatre and awesome acrobatics of the Moscow State Circus. Plus, Moscow’s lively nightlife can keep even the most energetic party people entertained. Back in daylight, enter a world of excess and wander the lavish halls of Moscow’s two main shopping centres GUM and TSUM. Or, escape the bustle of the city and peek into 1930s Russia with a trip to Patriarshy Prudiy (Patriarch's Pond).

Most visitors travelling to Russia will need to obtain a visa prior to departure

From the 10 December 2014, the Russian National Tourist Office has confirmed that all foreign nationals are required to provide biometric data (finger print scan) in order to apply for a visiting visa.  To do this, individuals are required to travel to the visa application centre in person in London or Edinburgh. Please see our visas and onward travel page for more information.

Please make sure to check with the relevant Russian authorities well in advance, or visit the Visa Central site for more information on visa requirements.

IMPORTANT: you will not be allowed to fly if you are not in possession of all the necessary documentation.

 

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Shopping


Established in 1776, the Bolshoi Theatre is home to one of the oldest and most acclaimed opera and ballet companies in the world. Closed for six years for major renovations, the theatre was reopened in 2011. Major performances take place within the spectacular main auditorium, with its beautiful stucco arabesques, three-tiered chandelier and ceiling panels depicting Apollo dancing with the nine muses. Watching a performance here provides for a truly unforgettable experience. There are also one-hour theatre tours in English on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 12.15pm (1 Theatre Square, bolshoi.ru).

Sightseeing


The Summer Ballet Festival sees nearly one month (4 August to 2 September) of regular performances held at the Novaya Theatre in the verdant Hermitage garden, a particularly attractive spot in the summer months. Among this year's performances are Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, as well as Giselle, Spartacus and La Traviata (Ulitsa Karetnyy Ryad, novayaopera.ru).


Ranking among the oldest in the world, the Moscow International Film Festival was first held in 1935. This year's 35th edition, on 19-28 June, stages screenings around the city, as well as films in various Moscow cinemas. moscowfilmfestival.ru


Orthodox Christians and avid partygoers welcome the Old New Year throughout the capital and beyond on 13 January. Expect typical New Year's celebrations you'd find elsewhere in the world, with plenty of clinking glasses and merry dancing in restaurants, bars and clubs. The celebration falls two weeks after the Western New Year given the difference between the Gregorian and Julian (now defunct) calendars.


Celebrate the New Year in the heart of the city in Red Square. Every year thousands of revellers gather here on 31 December, merrily singing songs, drinking vodka and gaping at the colourful explosions of fireworks overhead.

Key Areas


The excellent Stanislavsky House Museum commemorates the life of theatre director and founder of the Moscow Arts Theatre KS Stanislavskiy, who transformed most of his abode into a playhouse, often holding performances in his own living room. The kitchen, known as the Red Room, served as make-up studio and held furniture for rehearsals. To this day opera singers and actors continue to perform at weekends (6 Leontyevsky Pereulok).


Founded in 1856, the Tretyakov Gallery houses the largest collection of Russian art in the world. Founded by wealthy merchant Pavel Tretyakov, today the gallery houses over 170,000 works and includes masterpieces spanning over a thousand years. Among the museum's most iconic works is Mikhail Vrubel's Demon (1890), inspired by Mikhail Lermontov's Symbolist poem Demon, and Andrey Rublev's 15th-century icon Holy Trinity (10 Lavrushinsky Pereulok, tretyakovgallery.ru).


Tolstoy's former home, where he spent his winters between 1882 and 1901, is today an evocative house museum. The interior remains as it was when the novelist lived here, with the dining room neatly laid with crockery. The novelist's wife, Sofia Andreevna, used to painstakingly copy out her husband's manuscripts by hand at the desk that can be seen in the bedroom, while it was in the study that Tolstoy penned his final novel, Resurrection (21 Ulitsa Lva Tolstogo).

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*Prices shown are per person based on two people flying on the same booking. Fees & charges may apply. Min 4 seats available per flight, one way inc. taxes.