I work for a antique company that is sending me to Moscow this summer to purchase militaria. However, I was wondering besides the Kremlin what are the most see sights, I am going to be in the markets and shops, so I don't need to go to any markets. I was just wondering what are the must sees? Also are there a lot of American backpackers in Moscow? Is it more of a dangerous city than other European cities? Sorry if that is a stupid question but the U.S. does not usually go out of it's way to say nice things about Russia. Thanks.
I just wanted to ask, are you sure that Russia is in Europe?
Kremlin, Church on Spilled Blood/Red Square, the area around VDNKh metro station is very nice if you are keen on taking photos, stopping at a lot of the metro stations is a good thing if you want some good photos, because the metro itself is a bit of a tourist attraction. Just walk around the whole city and you'll see heaps of really nice things. Moscow isn't as nice as St Petersburg. When I was in Moscow last July, a few American backpackers were there, but I certainly came across more Australian backpackers and British backpackers than American ones.
Moscow isn't as dangerous as you may think, but watch out for the arsehole police who are more interested in getting bribes off tourists than helping a woman getting raped only metres away. I was out by myself in isolated areas well after dark taking photos in Moscow at night and I did not feel at threat but most travel books advise not to do that after dark. During the day time you need to keep an eye out for the police in the distance, because often they will stop people and ask to check passports. Then they'll tell you a story that is complete bullshit and you either have to pay a bribe or go with them to the police station. I always looked at least 100 metres in front of me and then when I saw a cop I walked to the other side of the mall or the opposite side of the road, so that I wasn't harrassed by them. I only missed one cop and that was when he was hiding around the corner in amongst the crowd at the entrance to Red Square. Lucky for me that was a good cop and not one of the many corrupt dodgy ones. If you have to pay for your accommodation, I wouldn't leave it to the last minute to book, because a couple of months ago some days in July were already fully booked out in Moscow for the hostel I stayed at when I was there (Sweet Moscow) and June is also a very busy time for tourists so that'll be booked out well in advance. Last year I booked 4 months in advance and got the last bed in both the hostels I booked.
Stuthkfl, according to every travel book I have read that has included Russia it has said that St Petersburg and Moscow region of Russia is classed as Europe, but the majority of Russia is classed as Asia.
Have a great trip
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 24, 2007, at 8:41 PM by aharrold45 ]
First os all Church on Spilled Blood is a really nice place but it's not in Moscow
Second, taking pictures in metro is not allowed. People do it but than you ghould hide
Moscow is a dangerous plase, but I think all big cities are (there are more than 10 mill. people now). So you have to be as careful as in the other big cities.
Summer is a high season, so you really have to book much-much earlier, in case you don't want to sleep outside.
As for police, yes, they do check the document's if you are dark-skinned or swarthy, or if you just look very foreigner. If you have regestration it should be ok, but anyway do not keep all the money in the same place and make a few copies of your passport.
Actually Moscow is not the best place in Russia to visit. If you can, try to go to ST-Petersburg (4 or 8 hours by train or 40 minutes by plain(train is better) At that time you will love St-Petersburg as it is the best time for this trip. You could take a night train from Moscow to St-Petersburg, spend there all the thay and the same day leave it by back train.
in case you are interested I could tell you a lot about what to visit here in St-Petersburg.
We were in Moscow and St Petersburg last year so some of this is fresh in my mind. Moscow was the toughest city on our itinerary and we were on the road for 5 months and traveled through SE Asia, China and Europe. It was tough because of the strict regulations regarding visas and accommodation, and also because of the language barrier. Be sure that your company follows everything to the letter in getting your visa and hotel booked properly. The police will stop you and will examine your passport and voucher and will expect you to have checked into your hotel and have your visa registration complete.
Also, study Russian because that's all they speak.
The Russians seem at first to be unfriendly, but if you catch them away from their jobs, they are warm and wonderful - very exuberant and generous. Join them for beers in the parks and on the streets. But be careful at night on the subways. Do not take photos in the subways - you will pay a hefty fine.
We did not see a lot of American backpackers but I'm sure there were some. If you plan on being there a while make friends with the locals - if you need someone to help you meet some nice folks there we have a friend who lives there. Just send me a private email.
What to see? Red Square area - St. Basil's, GUM Dept Store, Kremlin, the parkway outside that area will be nice to hang out in summer, just walking looking at the old architecture is a treat, many many beautiful churches, Pushkin Museum, Tretyakov Gallery, Novodevichy Convent. Just pack a LP guide or pick up tourist brochures when you are there.
Moscow doesn't appear to have regular bars like in the US - they have small cafe type places which you will pay more for your drink if you want to sit down. So stand up and drink cheap.
We liked the street food best - you will find many street stalls. But they close up early so get your food early in the day.
That's about all I recall off the top of my head.
Oops I was thinking of St Basils that's in Moscow and Church on Spilled blood St Petersburg both look very similar on the outside as does another one a bit up the road from Peterhof just outside of St Petersburg. The taking photos of the metro is sort of like taking photos in most parts of Russia where it is adviseable to sneak a bit and not stand out too much like Japanese tourists tend to do with those whopping great cameras that says I am a rich tourist please get a bribe off of me. Like in all the attractions anywhere in Russia you can take photos with paying a rediculous photo taking fee on top of the already expensive entrance fee. If you are careful by hiding your camera on your belt and sneaking a quick picture here and there while watching out for those ladies looking for people without stickers (usually hiding near pillars in the building), well you are fine but better to be honest and not have to be sneaky. I think a little bit of a bribe for anything would be acceptable in Russia for almost anything as the police are so corrupt it isn't funny. Police will let anything go if you pay them for it. They are more interested in getting bribes off tourists than assisting a woman getting raped in a park only metres away from them. If you want to try and get that creep off the woman after they've got their bribe off of you, the police will drive off but watch you in the rear view mirror and if they see you go to get the creep off the woman, they'll turn back around and ask for more of a bribe and in Russian pretty much tell you to piss off and don't come back to this area.
Like mdancy said study Russian phrases or expect to struggle with pointing or getting a hostel to write a note for you with approximate train details like Moscow-St Petersburg your carriage type approximately .... time (24 hour clock time) and hope like hell they can understand everything. My Russian vocabularly extended to a few words but the most important being spar-see-bar (thank you).
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 27, 2007, at 4:17 AM by aharrold45 ]
... Sorry for breaking into your conversation... but I'm very surprised with the fact that it's forbidden to take photoes in our metro
I've seen a lot of people doing it incl foreigners and huge groups of the Japanese
as for must see places:
For all foreign colleagues of ours we arrange short excursions for 5 hours not more (for they usualy come for a couple of days and consequently need time for business). They always include Red Square, St Basil's Cathedral (you can buy a ticket to enter inside), Kremlin (there is also an opportunity to buy a ticket even witth guide to see what's inside) and ofcaurse don't forget to visit Armory Museum and Diamond Chamber which are all in Kremlin.
There are booking oficces in front of the entrance of each place and if you buy tickets there you'll save a great deal of money!
You can also go to Poklonnaya Gora, Kolomenskoe, Novodevichiy Convent, Arbat street where there are a lot of souvenirs at ridiculous price! Vorobievy Gory is also worth seeing for it's a view point of almost all Moscow
Just beware of pickpockets! And don't go to the outskirts in the dark (just as in any other city)
By the way most young people do speak English Just try to attend to someone looking like a student