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There is hardly one person in the world who has never heard about Moscow. A great city, the capital of independent Russia, during more than 860 years of its existence (the city was founded in 1147 by Prince Yuri Dolgorukiy), grew from a small town on the banks of the calm Moskva river into a giant city with a population of more than 12 mln people and an area of more than 900 sq. km. Destiny of any city mainly depends on its geographic location and for Moscow it is exceptional – this city is in the centre of the European part of Russia.

Top 10 Things not to miss in Moscow

1 Moskva River cruise
In summertime, river cruises afford superb views of the Kremlin, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, the monument to Peter the Great, some of the Stalin skyscrapers, and fortified monasteries.

GUM's elegant Victorian-era arcades are now full of designer-label stores rather than the shoddy products and queues for which it was known in Soviet times. A fine place for window-shopping in its colonnades, or sipping coffee by its fountains.

3 Kolomenskoe Mansion
The eerie Church of the Ascension (featured in Eisenstein's film Ivan the Terrible) and hulking wooden watchtowers and cabins make this former royal estate beside the Moskva River a fabulous spot, which looks quite unearthly in the winter. Folkloric and historical pageants are staged here throughout the year.

4 The Moscow Metro
Take a ride on Moscow's showcase metro, whose stations are the most decorous in the world. Styles range from High Stalinist to ballroom glitz.

5 The Arbat Street
Once the heart of bohemian Moscow, this cobbled street buzzes with souvenir sellers, buskers and photographers (who'll snap you beside a life-size Putin, Schwarzenegger or Mickey Mouse).

6 Izmaylovo Flea Market
A cornucopia of Soviet memorabilia, icons, paintings, wood carvings, vintage cameras and samovars, the outdoor Vernisazh (as locals call it) is Moscow's best source of souvenirs. Performing bears appear at weekends.

7 The Kremlin cathedrals, palaces and Armoury Chamber
The seat of Russian power features seventeenth-century and Neoclassical interiors, and treasures ranging from Fabergé eggs to the sable-trimmed Crown of Monomakh.

8 The VVTs Theme Park
The Stalinist theme park that once extolled the achievements of the Soviet economy, with mosaic-encrusted fountains and pavilions, and two iconic monuments.

9 Red Square
The heart of Mother Russia, where St Basil's Cathedral, Lenin's Mausoleum, the Kremlin walls and GUM department store stand magnificently juxtaposed.

10 Novodevichiy Convent and Cemetery
A high-walled, golden-domed convent that unwanted wives or sisters of the tsars were once obliged to enter as nuns. In the adjacent cemetery, Gogol, Shostakovich, Eisenstein, Khrushchev and a host of other luminaries are buried beneath elaborate funerary sculptures.


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