While the ancient city has always been a haven for history buffs, it is fast garnering respect as a cultural hive.
History rings from every corner as monuments pay homage to Russia’s heroes and battles; while modern cultural institutes and hotspots survey the city with open eyes.
Moscow’s most famous address, the Red Square is exemplary of the city’s captivating contrasts. A centre point from which the city’s major streets begin, the Red Square is often considered the heart of the Russia. Locals and visitors fill the Square to revel at rock concerts, fashion shows and sporting events, surrounded by rich symbols of the country’s turbulent past.
To the west, the famous red brick walls of the Kremlin fortify Russia’s political nucleus. To the east, Moscow’s business district, Kitay-gorod, fronts onto the Square with the impressive facade of GUM department store. The eastern edge also boasts the restored Kazan Cathedral—a colourful Russian Orthodox church originally destroyed by Joseph Stalin, under Soviet reign.
To the north, the State Historical Museum echoes the outlines of Kremlin towers. And to the south, the elaborately bright domes of Moscow’s most emblematic building, Saint Basil's Cathedral draw huge crowds. The Square even boasts the Mausoleum of Vladimir Lenin—the founder of the Soviet Union.
While the ancient city has always been a haven for history buffs, it is fast garnering respect as a cultural hive. Relatively free from the censorship that ruled Russia during Soviet reign, the city is looking to reinvent itself. Modern Moscow is enlivened with a creative energy that has been likened to a ‘21st-century Renaissance’.
Contemporary culture is lavish, glamorous and sexy. Dreary apartments have been renovated into elaborate penthouses. Drab fashion has been replaced with designer labels. Ritzy skyscrapers strike a very apparent juxtaposition against the city’s Russian Orthodox churches. Sports cars cruise the streets past yoga studios, bohemian cafes, edgy art galleries, internationally acclaimed restaurants and swanky nightclubs. Museums, like Moscow Museum of Modern Art, focus on both the old and new through innovative exhibitions.
There’s no better place to take in the city’s fascination paradoxes than from the O2 Lounge of the Ritz-Carlton. Situated on the 12th floor of the hotel, the uber modern bar swells with important business people and socialites, enjoying exorbitantly-priced drinks with an unrivalled view of Moscow’s most iconic and historic buildings.