It may be one of the most expensive cities in the world, but surprisingly there are several experiences you can enjoy for free.
Number one has to be the mausoleum of Vladimir Ilyich in Red Square. Embalmed upon his death in 1924, Lenin has been on display for 86 years (with a break during WWII when he was evacuated to Siberia for safekeeping) and in this current mausoleum – which is an architectural masterpiece – since 1930. Although still a shrine to many, the ubiquitous queues of Soviet times are long gone and the majority now come not to pay homage, but for macabre curiosity.
Immortalised in western popular culture by Martin Cruz Smith, Gorky Park is worth a visit to walk along the river and watch Muscovites having fun.
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
Seeing the jaw-dropping complete reconstruction of this cathedral may give you an insight into the power of the Orthodox church in 21st century Russia.
The original cathedral took 50 years to build and was consecrated in 1883. Blown up in 1931 under Stalin’s orders, it took a full year to clear the debris. The intention was to build a palace of the Soviets on the site, but for various reasons this was not possible and a lido was constructed instead. The new cathedral took only 10 years to complete. We think that once it has the patina of history and age it will be an incredible cathedral.
Moscow is jam packed with literary sights. One of them is Patriach’s Pond (so called as the Patriach of the Orthodox church had residence in the area). If you are a fan of Bulgakov and his brilliant satire, The Master & Margerita, no further explanation is necessary. Even if you are not, this is one of the most peaceful and atmospheric parts of Moscow and coming here to sit by the pond to contemplate the city is a treat. (Bulgakov fans can also visit the Bulgakov museum).
Okay, it’s not free (but almost). While the traffic makes you yearn for London’s Congestion Charge, the Metro is breathtakingly good looking, efficient, clean and super cheap and will make Londoners wonder why we can’t have the same.
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