For centuries Russia has respected and nurtured talents in fields often ignored in the West, especially in the area of ‘high culture’. One of the few good things about the Soviet Union was the way that it opened such aristocratic leisure pursuits as opera and ballet to mass audiences and this is why today, Russia is such a leading critical success in the field.
The first stop for any ‘culture vulture’ should be the Bolshoi Theatre. Visitors can go in and admire the sumptuous architecture at any time but seeing a production here is a must. It is even worth checking the website and planning your visit to coincide with a major opera or ballet, they really are worth the trip to Russia, even in winter. If there is a specific production you want to see then buy the tickets as early as possible because they sell out very quickly.
Moscow is packed with art museums with various different themes. The Tretyakov Gallery focuses on Russian art and is perhaps the most interesting for visitors. The exhibits stretch back into Russian pre-history and do an excellent job of locating the modern metropolis around you in an understandable historical context. Many visitors will be aware of the history of the Cold War, but previous Russian history is perhaps even more interesting.
The Pushkin Museum has a collection of art from all over the world, although the emphasis is on Western art. The Pushkin lacks some of the uniqueness of the Tretyakov, yet the exhibits are still incredibly beautiful and art lovers will be grateful for the chance for personal encounters with favourite works experienced before only as replicas. As with several Russian museum collections, visitors will note that many pieces moved eastwards as the Red Army moved westwards in the latter stages of World War II.
Comparing the Imperial splendour of the Bolshoi with the proletarian sound of the Novaya Opera is an experience that should be tried by all opera and ballet connoisseurs. Located in the Hermitage gardens, the Novaya Opera mixes traditional performances with modern interpretations and all at very low prices in keeping with the Soviet traditions. Check the website for performances during your stay in Moscow.
Imperial Russia is long gone and many of its more obvious relics were destroyed by the Communists after 1917. However, the State Museum-Reserve at Tsaritsyno allows visitors to get a feel for life before the revolution, both for the peasants and the aristocracy. The newly restored Grand Palace and its collections are fantastic and a must for any visitors. The reserve is located outside the centre of Moscow but is easily reached from the Tsaritsyno metro station.
Hotel in Moscow
Garden Ring Hotel, Moscow
The 4 star Garden Ring Hotel is located close to the Garden Ring road, in the heart of Moscow
Guest Rating: 9
Moscow Day’n'Night Hostel
Moscow Day’n'Night Hostel is a very cheap accomodation in the center of Moscow.
Guest Rating: 9
Photo by Megyarsh