Top Museums and Attractions
The Kremlin Armory Museum
The famous Moscow Kremlin, which is a fortress that once protected the ancient city, has always been a symbol of Moscow and the Russian Federation. It’s been a residence of Russian monarchy for centuries and now is the official residence of the president of the Russian Federation. A site on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the museum has historical and cultural significance.
One of the museums within the Grand Kremlin Palace complex is the Kremlin Armory Museum, which has many exhibits with items from the treasuries of Russian tsars and the Patriarch’s vestry. Browse pieces of applied Russian arts, including the cap of Monomach, helmet of Yaroslav Vsevolodovich, Mirror Armour (Zertsalo), Saddle “Arch,” as well as thousands of treasuries of European and Eastern countries.
STATE HISTORICAL MUSEUM
One of the buildings in the Red Square’s architectural complex is the State Historical Museum. Here, there are more than 40 rooms with upwards of 4.5 million items from Russian history and the history of northern Eurasia. Find not only archeological, paleontological and historical artifacts, but also a variety of sculptures, paintings, ancient architecture, scientific exhibits, theatre arts, religious documents and items, literature and musical masterpieces.
Cold War Museum (Bunker 42)
Bunker 42 is a unique and beautiful place to visit and learn about the history of the Cold War. Once a top-secret place, it is now an operating museum that takes guests 18 floors, or 210 feet (64 meters) underground. Explore tunnels and secret rooms where governmental secret tasks were once stationed and where negotiations were once held.
VDNKh, also known as the All-Russia Exhibition Centre, showcases the vision of the Soviet era. Built in 1939, the 494-acre (200 hectare) exhibition features distinctive architecture of massive pavilions, expansive pedestrian pathways, exhibition spaces that host events and elaborately constructed, dazzling fountains. The complex demonstrates the greatness of Socialist construction, with more than 90 historical objects. The pavilions display a diversity of architectural styles as well as symbols of different ethnic groups of the Soviet Union. The complex has undergone extensive reconstruction and expansion, making it one of the 50 largest exhibition centers in the world.
Museum of Cosmonautics
The Museum of Cosmonautics is tucked under the 328-foot (100-metre) titanium monument of the Conquerors of Space right outside the All-Russia Exhibition Centre. The museum has an impressive collection of space-related exhibits of space equipment and machinery, including the first Soviet rocket engine, the moon rover, models of satellites and original space suits. There are also interactive activities such as a space ship simulator, a virtual simulator of the International Space Station (ISS) and 3-D shows. The Mission Control Centre exhibit allows you to watch and track the ISS in real time and get in touch with ISS crew.
Moscow Museum of Modern Art
Located in the historical centre of the city, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art is the first state museum in Russia featuring contemporary art of the 20th and 21st centuries. The museum has seen a strategic change since opening and has received recognition among experts in the field of Russian modern art. The collections illustrate avant-garde traditions. Many Russian artists are represented here, including the renowned Marc Chagall, Vasily Kandinsky, Vladimir Tatlin and David Burliuk. There are also many works belonging to Russian cultural legacy that have been returned from European and American galleries.
Chambers of the Romanov Boyars
This unique building, located on Varvarka Street in the centre of Moscow (not far from Kitay Gorod), used to belong to the Romanov family. According to the legend, the house was the birthplace of Mikhail Fedorovich, the first king of the Romanov dynasty. The main attraction of this small but exciting museum is the preserved models and exhibits dating back to 1597, the before-Tsar period of Romanovs. The museum collections display weapons and everyday objects of the 17th century. There are several buildings to explore: Boyar’s office, the canteen and the women’s front room, plus a small underground museum, where you can see old kitchen tools, stoves, painted chests, dishes, money and other valuables that once belonged to members of the dynasty.
Chekhov House Museum
Admirers of Anton Chekhov’s work can explore a vast literary exposition dedicated to the life and work of the writer at the Chekhov House Museum. The famous Russian writer and playwright once lived here for almost four years and wrote most of his stories and plays during this period of rapid creative growth. While it opened in 1954, it still maintains the atmosphere of the time when he lived here – the house was recreated per the descriptions and pictures his relatives provided. Various cultural and literary events, interactive lectures and performances are often organized here for the visitors of all ages.
The State Tretyakov Gallery
The world-famous Tretyakov Gallery is a unique museum of Russian art collections from the 11th century through the beginning of the 20th century. The museum is situated in the beautiful and trendy Muzeon Park of Arts, where you can see installations of modern artists and buy paintings. Collections include ancient iconography works, paintings of historical events, arts and crafts made of precious metals and stone, portraits of famous Russian characters and sculptures.
While there, visit the Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val, which displays a wide collection of Russian art from the 20th century. Marvel at paintings by world-famous avant-garde artists such as Chagall, Malevich and Kandinsky, as well as works related to social realism. Also on display are works by contemporary and informal Russian artists, representing the latest trends in Russian art from the 1950s until present day. A number of educational programmes on the history of Russian art, lectures, seminars and master classes carried out by modern artists are held daily. There is also the Children Creative Studio where young admirers of art can try their hand at painting.
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is perhaps the most famous temple in Russia and hosts services held by the Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia. The Cathedral has a deep history, initially built to honour warriors who fell during the War of 1812. Under Stalin’s regime, the temple was pulled down to be replaced by the Palace of Soviets. However, due to the political and economic situation in the country, construction was postponed and a large open-air swimming pool was built instead in 1958. In 1994, after quarrels and demonstrations, it was decided that the Cathedral would be rebuilt.
Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow
The Moscow House of Photography was founded in 1996 as the first state museum to specialise in photography. Five years later, it was converted into the larger Multimedia Art Museum. The museum is a beautiful, modern and spacious multi-level building in the city centre. Various festivals, art classes and photo and video exhibitions are held here. Browse the museum’s bookstore, relax at the café and visit the lecture hall for public discussions, round tables and film screenings.
Museum-Panorama the Battle of Borodino
The brightest example of a museum devoted to the epic historical events, the Museum-Panorama the Battle of Borodino provides the opportunity to witness the most crucial episode in the Patriotic War of 1812. The massive round building was designed to house a single picture, which is now the central exhibit of the museum: the Borodino Panorama. Carefully painted by Franz Roubaud in 1912 on the 100th anniversary of the War of 1812, the work is approximately 377 feet (115 meters) long and 49 feet (15 meters) high. It tells a vivid story, and its characters seem to be in motion.
The museum currently includes three exhibitions. The main building hosts an exhibition devoted to the events of the War of 1812; Kutuzov’s hut is where you can learn about the time when Russian generals held a military council in the village of Fili on September 13, 1812; and the Museum of Heroes of the Soviet Union and Russia is devoted to the deep traditions of Russian heroism.
Currently the tallest freestanding structure in Europe at nearly 1,772 feet (540.1 metres), Ostankino Tower is a television and radio tower that transmits many major television and radio channels in Russia. Its observation decks offer a bird’s-eye view of Moscow, a magnificent panorama of buildings, rivers and nature. In some places, the tower has a glass floor. Learn about the history of the Ostankino Tower and visit the museum.
Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
Named after the world-famous Russian poet and writer Alexander Pushkin, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts hosts one of the most significant collections of foreign art from ancient times to the present day. The museum opened in 1912 and its collection currently consists of more than 560,000 paintings, sculptures, graphic works, applied art and archaeological monuments from different parts of the ancient world.
Huge rooms dedicated to the history of Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance make a visit to this museum truly memorable. Moreover, in 1948, many works by famous painters were added to the collection of the museum. Among them are works by Van Gogh, Picasso, Gauguin, Derain and Matisse. The famous La Vigne Rouge (the Red Vineyard), believed to be the only painting Van Gogh sold during his lifetime, is also among the exhibits of the museum.
Considered one of the oldest and the most beautiful convents in Russia, the Novodevichy Convent is situated at the Girl’s Field in the bend of the Moskva River, from where, according to legend, Russian girls were taken to the Golden Horde during the Mongol-Tatar Yoke. The convent was founded in 1524 by Grand Prince Vasili III to mark the conquest of Smolensk and honour the Smolensk icon of the Mother of God.
The Convent looks like a fortress, with high walls and towers with loopholes. The main buildings were built in the second half of the 17th century and represent the Moscow baroque period. There is also a cemetery that was proclaimed as the most eminent in the Soviet times. Many famous people such as Nikita Khrushchev, Boris Yeltsin and Mstislav Rostropovich are buried here. Behind the walls of the Novodevichy convent, there is an incredibly beautiful and picturesque park. It is interesting to note that the architectural aspect of the convent hasn’t changed and is therefore on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Muzeon Park of Arts (Fallen Monument Park)
The Museon Park of Arts in the centre of Moscow boasts an interesting history. When the Soviet era fell in October 1991, the sculptures were brought to the park by those opposed to the Communist regime. The monuments were removed from pedestals throughout the city and left in the park at random. More monuments were added over time, and now there are more than 700 on display. Today, there are also many modern monuments, air paintings, thematic photo exhibitions, contemporary art objects and video art materials on display.
State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia
Located in one of the most beautiful buildings in Moscow, this museum is an architectural monument of the 18th century. From 1831 to 1917, the building housed the famous Moscow English Club, the all-time favourite place of Pushkin, Krylov and Tolstoy. Some of the interior of the club was fully preserved until today, and the famous stone lions at the gates became the hallmark of the museum.
Today, it is one of the largest museums of modern history in the world and is fully devoted to the establishment and development of the modern Russia. The exhibition reflects the most important events in the country’s history over the past 150 years. Among the exhibits are rare documents, paintings, drawings, weapons and awards. Personal belongings of famous statesmen and public figures, scientists, astronauts, writers and actors are must-sees.
Sparrow Hills (Vorobyovy Gory)
Located on a hill above the Moskva River, the top of Sparrow Hills offers the best place for panoramic city views. From here, you can see many Moscow sights such as the Luzhniki Stadium, the Novodevichy Convent and the Moscow International Business Centre towers. During the winter season, various ski and snowboard festivals and competitions are held at Sparrow Hills.
Opened in 2011, Gorky Park is known as the best park in Moscow, and might also be considered one of the best parks in the world. The world-class park has plenty of space for recreation, sports, dance and outdoor games. Admission is free, as is Wi-Fi coverage throughout the park, with new zones created in the spirit of the latest design trends. You’ll also find a a programme of activities and events, a variety of cafés and restaurants, and one of the biggest ice skating rinks in Europe.
Over 300 architectural firms, design studios, showrooms and co-working areas are located at Artplay. The space regularly hosts exhibitions of contemporary art, video art festivals, concerts, alternative music performances, film screenings, lectures and master classes. A wide variety of cafés, art studios, bookstores and bars can be found here, making it a must-see if you admire contemporary art.
Moscow Contemporary Art Center Winzavod
The Moscow Contemporary Art Center Winzavod occupies the premises of an old Moscow Bavaria brewery. The centre includes two large exhibition areas, the most well known Moscow galleries, design studios and art studios, the biggest photography studio in Moscow, bars and cafés, book shops, music stores and fashion showrooms. A large open platform is specially designed to host cultural events including concerts, festivals, presentations, workshops and lectures.
Museum of the Great Patriotic War
The Museum of the Great Patriotic War was opened in 1995 in honour of the victory over Nazi Germany. The museum became the centre of the Victory Memorial Complex at Poklannaya Hill. With four expositions devoted to military history, the most unique feature may be the audiovisual system of six massive video displays, which demonstrates authentic wartime newsreels, rare photos, maps and archival materials. The Hall of Memory keeps records of the names of every soldier lost in the war. The museum holds interactive programmes for both adults children.
The development project "Red October" has become a real breakthrough for the capital, with a unique concept for a multifunctional residential and cultural centre. The modern art cluster situated on an artificial “island” in the Moskva River occupies the territory of the former chocolate factory “Red October” and bears its name and design today. The place is extremely popular among citizens for its numerous night clubs, bars with luxury terraces, chic restaurants, exhibitions and art-galleries, various concert venues and more.
Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
The Garage Museum of Contemporary Art was created in 2008 by the Iris Foundation (founded by Darya Zhukova) with the help of the international art curator Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst. Garage’s mission is to develop and promote contemporary culture, and it boasts one of the largest exhibition spaces in Moscow devoted entirely to contemporary art.
Here, browse exhibitions and in-house projects among the building’s three storeys, five exhibition halls, lecture hall, design rooms, children’s rooms, café and bookstore. The museum introduces viewers to the works of contemporary Russian and foreign art, helps local artists debut on the world stage, conducts research projects, provides grants, organises lectures and carries out other contributions to the development of modern art.