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city break | departures CITY BREAK Moscow


A MEDIEVAL CAPITAL and former Soviet powerhouse, Moscow is a captivating mix of glittering, onion-domed churches, grand 19th- century mansions, expansive parks bordering the Moskva River and imposing Stalinist structures, like the neo-Gothic ‘Seven Sisters’ skyscrapers. Its flamboyance descends below ground, too: the Moscow metro system is a showcase of communist art and architecture, its stations filled with mosaics, stained glass and chandeliers. Moscow is particularly delightful in the


summer, its lush parks becoming focal points as the city unfurls from the cold. So as the temperature rises, now’s the time to enjoy the al fresco restaurants, rooftop bars and festivals of the wonderfully contradictory Mother City.


INSIDER


n BEACH TIME: Moscow’s parks are a welcome retreat in summer, and not only for the shade. City beaches are the new trend here, and even Gorky Park joins in the fun, with a temporary sandy beach on the Moskva River embankment. n BULGAKOV WALK: The Mikhail Bulgakov Museum is always popular, but go on Saturday nights for guided walks, with lively appearances by ‘characters’ from The Master and Margarita en route. bulgakov.org.ua n KREMLIN DIAMONDS: While visiting the Kremlin, don’t miss the Diamond Fund — a collection of Russia’s most valuable gemstones. Tours are only in Russian, but the extraordinary collection needs no translation. eng.kremlin.ru


MUST SEE


n RED SQUARE: The heart of Russian power and one of the most atmospheric public spaces in the world, Red Square is Moscow’s focal point, with the colorful domes of St Basil’s Cathedral at one end, the imposing walls of the Kremlin at another, and the legendary GUM department store squaring off against Lenin’s mausoleum. n KREMLIN: Russia’s headquarters and Moscow’s historical heart — you could lose an entire day amid the glittering churches and palaces of the walled medieval citadel that is the Kremlin.


Don’t miss the 15th-century Cathedral of the Assumption, or the collection of flamboyant tsarist Faberge eggs in the Armoury Palace. eng.kremlin.ru n NOVODEVICHIY CONVENT: A cathedral, two churches, a couple of palaces and a six-tier bell tower are just some of the buildings of the sprawling, 16th-century Novodevichiy Convent. Its cemetery includes the graves of Chekhov, Bulgakov and Prokofiev, as well as countless politicians, including Boris Yeltsin. novodev.msk.ru


Golden Apple Hotel. Above: St Basil’s Cathedral


WHERE TO EAT


n MU-MU: Laid-back self-service chain Mu-Mu offers Russian dishes at very reasonable prices, with six venues across the city. cafemumu.ru n LEBEDINOE OZERO: An open-air restaurant perched beside a swan-filled lake in Gorky Park. Hence its name: Swan Lake. T: +7 495 782 5813. n SHINOK: This widely-known restaurant serves traditional Ukrainian dishes in a faux-farm setting — complete with a host of live animals in the ‘yard’. shinok.ru


WHERE TO SLEEP


n GOLDEN APPLE: Golden by name, not nature. Its modern rooms provide a boutique alternative to typical Moscow opulence. goldenapple.ru n RADISSON ROYAL: Housed in one of Stalin’s Seven Sisters skyscrapers, the Radisson Royal boasts incomparable views from its 31st-floor bar. radisson.ru n RITZ-CARLTON: With a rooftop bar facing Red Square and suites overlooking the Kremlin, it offers sightseeing perfection. ritzcarlton.com


summer 2014 | ASTAnetwork | 121


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