Moscow - magnificent but moody, manic, often maddening. This city is perhaps one of the most frenetic, most fascinating cities on the planet. The traffic is crazy, but that's nothing compared to the excesses to be found here, a city that is, as Russians say, bespredel - without limits. Moscow's got the lot, from historical treasures to contemporary pleasures.
Brutal modern architecture, romantic churches, opulent cathedrals with onion domes and brooding Stalinist skyscrapers are a small example of the diversity, and that's just the buildings. There are billionaires and babushkas, politicians on the make and take, idealistic artists and poets, enough historical artefacts to satisfy the most ardent academic, enough emerging contemporary art and theatre to satisfy cutting-edge culture vultures.
The must-sees in Moscow are easily found. Despite the surface bedlam, the city layout is simple - a series of circles emanating from Red Square and the Kremlin. Both of these are unmissable. The former is the heart of the city and home to the impossibly beautiful St Basil's Cathedral, commissioned by Ivan the Terrible. The Kremlin, of course, marked the birth of the city when the foundations were laid by Prince Dologoruky in 1147, and houses both power and glory - from the Tsar cannon, one of the largest ever made - to the Cathedral of the Annunciation, with its exquisite iconography and gilded domes.
These are just starting point. There are still the multiple museums, including the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts to the Museum of Modern history - and the magnificent Metro stations to work through. Then there's the Bolshoi Theatre, Lenin's Tomb... and so much more in a city that boasts extremes of most things.
Top itineraries in Moscow
Russia is undoubtedly one of Europe's biggest cultural draws and this five-night tour lifts the lid on its two most celebrated cities: Moscow and St Petersburg.
Explore Russia's urban powerhouses in Moscow and St Petersburg as you uncover everything from imposing neoclassical cathedrals and 18th-century citadels to Stalinist metro stations and museums containing masterpieces by Raphael and Rembrandt.
Take in the beautiful city of St Petersburg before boarding one of the world's most luxurious trains, the Golden Eagle, and setting off on a quest to find the Northern Lights in the Russian and Norwegian Arctic.
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