Don’t be put off by Moscow’s reputation for being expensive and chaotic. This city of 10 million can be overwhelming sometimes, but as one of the world’s most important power centres for the past century, it has a metropolitan vitality and a clutch of museums and monuments that few other capitals can compete with.
Dominated by the monumental set pieces of the Kremlin, Red Square and Theatre Square, Moscow also has real charm in areas such as village-like Kitay-gorod and the 16th century Novodevichy Convent’s leafy surroundings. The Pushkin Museum’s old master collection and contemporary exhibition spaces like Vinzavod, a converted wine warehouse, demonstrate Moscow’s place as a major art centre. If you’re looking for the high-end swagger that Moscow’s reputation for new wealth implies, you’ll find it in the arcaded 19th century department store GUM, in the designer boutiques on Stoleshnikov Alley and rooftop posing spots like the City Space Bar. But beyond these are independent boutiques and small cafés in old mansions, while Lenin’s Mausoleum, the city’s splendid 1930s metro and its wedding cake skyscrapers mean Moscow’s intriguing communist past is never far away.