A fascinating and mysterious destination, Russia, has proudly preserved its cultural heritage and glorious past. Russia is a huge country. In all, it covers 17 million km². As you can see, it is impossible to travel through this country and expect to visit the whole territory in one trip. But it is also an opportunity for you to make plans to return to this beautiful destination.
That is why I decided to focus on the capital of the country. Moscow is also a great city and there is so much to discover in this place. I would say that it is a jewel carved and shaped by time, culture and history. To immerse yourself in the heart of the capital is to witness a mixture of modernism and history. In short, all the ingredients are present to push you to visit the capital without delay!
The Kremlin: a place that will dazzle you
A trip to the capital of Russia cannot be made without a visit to the Moscow Kremlin
. For the great Napoleon, the capture of Moscow should have dealt a fatal blow to the very heart of this great Russian Empire. But what does this heart look like, and did the French conqueror succeed in realizing his great dream?
The utopias about the Russian capital never end: classical citadel, Third Rome, red heart of world communism and many more. In this place, I had the chance to discover buildings dating from various eras. Protected by ancient walls, the Great Kremlin Palace
is also found alongside the Senate, the Congress Palace, the Kremlin cathedrals and unique icon collections.
You will also learn why the Tsar Kolokol
(or commonly known as the Tsar of Bells) never rang and why the Tsar Pushka (or the Tsar of Cannons) never fired. You will also have the opportunity to visit the Palace of Armour and discover the personal effects of the Tsars, their regalia, as well as the famous coronation dresses of all Russian empresses and even their jewellery collection.
It is not a compulsory visit, but you can visit the Diamond Fund, which is one of the three most beautiful treasures in the world. It is actually a closed museum that is affiliated to the Ministry of Finance and is therefore protected from outside view for several decades. Furthermore, it is here that you can admire the crowns and diadems of the empresses, the spectre of Catherine II and the famous egg-sized diamond. There are also many decorative and ceremonial objects. If you are interested, the guides will teach you the methods of extracting diamonds and other precious stones.
Delight in the Bolshoi Theatre
The Bolshoi Theatre
is the symbol of Moscow and Russia. So it’s only natural that it is world-famous. Originally, the place where the theatre is built was the original location of the Petrovsky Theatre. However, the latter overlooked the Neglinka River. The theatre has been burnt down several times, and today its appearance is quite close to the last design of the building in 1855.
The history of this theatre is closely linked to the great Russian
composers, such as Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov. Shalyapin even performed the part of Boris Godunov here. During the Soviet era, these star dancers were in the spotlight: Galina Ulanova, Marina Semenova, Maia Plissetskaya. 6 years after the reconstruction, the Bolshoi opens in 2011 the famous big stage that makes its reputation.
As an additional option, you can go on a tour that is entirely dedicated to the interiors of the Bolshoi. This major restoration and renovation of the historic Bolshoi building began in 2005 and was completed in 2011. Today, this historic stage is open to all.
This is an opportunity to discover the historic building from the inside. You can visit the backstage area, the dressing rooms and the foyers (like the Imperial Foyer). In some cases you will find yourself alone in the Great Hall, see the most historic costumes during Russian ballets
and operas in the theatre museum. If you are lucky, you will also be able to see the rehearsal of the troupe on stage.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday the theatre organizes a group tour in English for 15-20 people. All the information for these tours can be found on the official Bolshoi website. If you don’t speak English, a guide can also translate into French. Otherwise, there is nothing to stop you from following the English-speaking guide. In any case, don’t hesitate to book your place in advance.
Immerse yourself in Russian art at the Tretyakov Gallery
In the list of all museums, this art gallery is undoubtedly the most “Russian” museum of all time. Originally based on the private collection of the dealer Pavel Tretyakov
– who donated it to the city – the Gallery now has over 130,000 works of all kinds.
Admittedly, its collection is not nearly as famous as the masterpieces of European painters in the Hermitage. But in the country, reproductions of these beautiful paintings are everywhere: as illustrations on candy boxes, on wooden jewellery cases, on carpets and even on calendars.
Looking at these pictures, you will feel as if you are reliving your old days, your childhood, to the very rhythm of Russian tales
and history books. See, for example, the clumsy little bears climbing the trunk of a fir tree in the morning mist or the three knights faithfully guarding the state borders. There is also a work that illustrates the lives of arrogant emperors and empresses who look cold or worried because of the responsibility that rests on their shoulders.
The paintings that glorify the Russian Empire are the ones that show the hidden side of its greatness, filled with a lot of pain and showing the miserable life of the people. The entire history of this country, whether tragic or tumultuous, from ancient times to modern times, is included in the collection of this museum.
But the very first room that you must visit is the one of the icons, where you will find the indispensable key to effectively understand the enigma of the Russian soul. Among the most famous are the icon of the Trinity by Andrei Rublev and the icon of the three angels. It has become a calling card of the museum and also symbolizes the crucial moment in the history of Russia
: the gathering of the Christian Russian territories to fight against the yoke of the Tatar-Mongols.
“The Three Angels” is a work by Rublev. In this scene, the angels are engaged in a dialogue, which is silent but harmonious. Of course, when you look at this work, you will surely have a feeling of sadness. This sadness that emanates from the painting is because of all the suffering of the people following the submission to the enemy.
And to symbolize this suffering of the people, the author has put a cup filled with blood in the picture, and it is repeated many times in the icon. But does the Russian soul really exist? Or is it only an invention of poets and writers in love with their homeland?
Hoping to have tempted you to go to my native country! 🙂
If you have enjoyed the country and would like to return for a longer period of time or even invest there, find out more about obtaining a visa and about real estate in Russia.