Moscow's Must-See Sights

A visit to the Motherland won’t be complete without a tour of its dynamic capital city. From the iconic Red Square to the lavishly designed metro stations, here’s what you can’t miss in Moscow.

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Ice Hockey
Ice Hockey

Ice Hockey

We love the Russians for their sportsmanship and fan spirit. Here in the US, we’ve adopted their love for ice hockey, but there are other popular sports in Russia, including basketball, football, gymnastics, wrestling, boxing, rugby, skiing, rugby and bandy -- a “cheaper” version of hockey where skaters use sticks to direct a ball into the opposing team’s goal. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Moscow Royal Ballet

Moscow Royal Ballet

Russia is known for its excellence in fine arts. We love watching dancers from the Moscow Royal Ballet, accompanied by the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, perform to Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.” The country has also cranked out several unforgettable artists, including ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and composer Igor Stravinsky. 960 1280

Karim Sahib/Getty Images  

Matryoshka Dolls

Matryoshka Dolls

Visit any Russian souvenir shop and you’re sure to find matryoshka dolls, a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other. The first nested doll set was carved in 1890; today, they don’t always follow the traditional peasant girl theme. Some themes vary from fairy tale characters to Soviet leaders, yet artistry in the painting of each doll remains a constant. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837)

Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837)

We love that Russian authors and poets are honored all over the world. In Medellin, Colombia, a statue of Alexander Pushkin was donated by the Russian Writers’ Union to the University of Antioquia. Pushkin was a Russian author of the Romantic era whom many consider the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. Other popular Russian writers include Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov. 960 1280

RAUL ARBOLEDA  

Caviar

Caviar

What better place to taste some of the world’s best and freshest caviar than in Russia? Sample sevruga, the least expensive caviar, or beluga, the most expensive, followed by ossetra. We recommend sampling the sevruga caviar served with buckwheat pancakes at Café Pushkin in Moscow. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Sochi

Sochi

We love the fact that Sochi, Russia’s largest resort town, located on the Black Sea coast near the border between Georgia and Russia, will be transformed into the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics; it will also be a host city for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

We admire Maria Sharapova’s stamina and competitive edge. Although the Russian pro tennis player has lived in the US since 1994, she is the top Russian player, winning 29 WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) singles titles, including 4 Grand Slam titles. And as of September 2013, WTA has ranked her the third-best woman tennis player in the world. 960 1280

Reuters  

Milla Jovovich

Milla Jovovich

We love Russian actors like Yul Brenner for his Broadway performance in “The King and I.” And on the opposite end of the spectrum, we love Milla Jovovich. You may recognize Milla as the take-charge women who kicked butt in the popular sci-fi movie franchise Resident Evil. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Chicken Kiev

Chicken Kiev

We enjoy eating chicken Kiev, a breaded cutlet dish of boneless chicken breast pounded and rolled around in cold garlic butter with herbs. This popular Russian entrée can be fried or baked. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Alexander Ovechkin

Alexander Ovechkin

Fans of the Washington Capitals love their Russian hockey winger and captain, Alexander Ovechkin. Prior to playing in the NHL, Alexander played for the HC Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Superleague for 4 seasons. To date, he has racked up several prestigious awards, including 3 Hart Memorial trophies (Most Valuable Player), 3 Lester B. Pearson Award/Ted Lindsey Award (Most Outstanding Player), NHL Player of the Year and the Wayne Gretzky Award (MVP). 960 1280

Getty Images  

Saint Basil's Cathedral

Saint Basil's Cathedral

We love Russia’s unique architecture, as you’ll see when visiting Saint Basil’s Cathedral, located in Moscow’s Red Square. The cathedral, built between1555 and 1561 on the orders of Ivan the Terrible, commemorates the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan. The building was an influential precursor to the great age of Russian national architecture in the 17th century. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

We love Russian cuisine, including goulash, chicken Kiev, birsch and kvass, but beef stroganoff is yet another tasty dish we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention. This delicious dish consists of sautéed pieces of beef sometimes served over a bed of rice or noodles with sour cream. 960 1280

iStock  

The Kremlin

The Kremlin

We love sightseeing in Russia and visiting Hermitage Museum, Valley of Geysers, Lake Baikal, Red Square, St. Petersburg and the Moscow Kremlin (pictured). Overlooking the Moskva River to the south, the Kremlin is a historic complex that features 5 palaces, 4 cathedrals and the enclosing Kremlin Wall and towers. It is the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Kizhi Island

Kizhi Island

Take a boat ride to explore Kizhi Island. Located on Lake Onega, Kizhi has become part of an open-air museum with more than 80 historic wooden structures, moved from parts of Karelia for preservation purposes. Dating back to the 17th century, Kizhi Pogost is the most famous historic site, built only of wood. It includes 2 large wooden churches and a bell tower inside a fence. Kizhi Pogost is a UNESCO World Heritage site; it’s also listed as a Russian Cultural Heritage site. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Vodka

Vodka

We love vodka! We couldn’t have our tasty cocktails like a bloody Mary, screwdriver, white Russian, Moscow mule or a vodka martini without this distilled liquor and the proper mixers. According to legend, a monk named Isidore from Chudov Monastery, inside the Moscow Kremlin, made a recipe for the first Russian vodka in 1430. Some popular Russian brands of vodka include Russian standard and Stolichnaya. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Doctor Zhivago

Doctor Zhivago

We love the forbidden love story that unfolds in the 1965 movie Doctor Zhivago, starring actors Omar Sharif (right), Geraldine Chaplin (left) and Julie Christie. Based on the novel by Russian author Boris Pasternak, the movie follows the life of a Russian doctor/poet who, although married, falls for a political activist’s wife and experiences hardships during the Bolshevik Revolution. 960 1280

Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images  

Photos

Ice Hockey

Ice Hockey

We love the Russians for their sportsmanship and fan spirit. Here in the US, we’ve adopted their love for ice hockey, but there are other popular sports in Russia, including basketball, football, gymnastics, wrestling, boxing, rugby, skiing, rugby and bandy -- a “cheaper” version of hockey where skaters use sticks to direct a ball into the opposing team’s goal. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Moscow Royal Ballet

Moscow Royal Ballet

Russia is known for its excellence in fine arts. We love watching dancers from the Moscow Royal Ballet, accompanied by the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, perform to Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.” The country has also cranked out several unforgettable artists, including ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and composer Igor Stravinsky. 960 1280

Karim Sahib/Getty Images  

Matryoshka Dolls

Matryoshka Dolls

Visit any Russian souvenir shop and you’re sure to find matryoshka dolls, a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other. The first nested doll set was carved in 1890; today, they don’t always follow the traditional peasant girl theme. Some themes vary from fairy tale characters to Soviet leaders, yet artistry in the painting of each doll remains a constant. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837)

Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837)

We love that Russian authors and poets are honored all over the world. In Medellin, Colombia, a statue of Alexander Pushkin was donated by the Russian Writers’ Union to the University of Antioquia. Pushkin was a Russian author of the Romantic era whom many consider the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. Other popular Russian writers include Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov. 960 1280

RAUL ARBOLEDA  

Caviar

Caviar

What better place to taste some of the world’s best and freshest caviar than in Russia? Sample sevruga, the least expensive caviar, or beluga, the most expensive, followed by ossetra. We recommend sampling the sevruga caviar served with buckwheat pancakes at Café Pushkin in Moscow. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Sochi

Sochi

We love the fact that Sochi, Russia’s largest resort town, located on the Black Sea coast near the border between Georgia and Russia, will be transformed into the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics; it will also be a host city for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

We admire Maria Sharapova’s stamina and competitive edge. Although the Russian pro tennis player has lived in the US since 1994, she is the top Russian player, winning 29 WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) singles titles, including 4 Grand Slam titles. And as of September 2013, WTA has ranked her the third-best woman tennis player in the world. 960 1280

Reuters  

Milla Jovovich

Milla Jovovich

We love Russian actors like Yul Brenner for his Broadway performance in “The King and I.” And on the opposite end of the spectrum, we love Milla Jovovich. You may recognize Milla as the take-charge women who kicked butt in the popular sci-fi movie franchise Resident Evil. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Chicken Kiev

Chicken Kiev

We enjoy eating chicken Kiev, a breaded cutlet dish of boneless chicken breast pounded and rolled around in cold garlic butter with herbs. This popular Russian entrée can be fried or baked. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Alexander Ovechkin

Alexander Ovechkin

Fans of the Washington Capitals love their Russian hockey winger and captain, Alexander Ovechkin. Prior to playing in the NHL, Alexander played for the HC Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Superleague for 4 seasons. To date, he has racked up several prestigious awards, including 3 Hart Memorial trophies (Most Valuable Player), 3 Lester B. Pearson Award/Ted Lindsey Award (Most Outstanding Player), NHL Player of the Year and the Wayne Gretzky Award (MVP). 960 1280

Getty Images  

Saint Basil's Cathedral

Saint Basil's Cathedral

We love Russia’s unique architecture, as you’ll see when visiting Saint Basil’s Cathedral, located in Moscow’s Red Square. The cathedral, built between1555 and 1561 on the orders of Ivan the Terrible, commemorates the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan. The building was an influential precursor to the great age of Russian national architecture in the 17th century. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

We love Russian cuisine, including goulash, chicken Kiev, birsch and kvass, but beef stroganoff is yet another tasty dish we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention. This delicious dish consists of sautéed pieces of beef sometimes served over a bed of rice or noodles with sour cream. 960 1280

iStock  

The Kremlin

The Kremlin

We love sightseeing in Russia and visiting Hermitage Museum, Valley of Geysers, Lake Baikal, Red Square, St. Petersburg and the Moscow Kremlin (pictured). Overlooking the Moskva River to the south, the Kremlin is a historic complex that features 5 palaces, 4 cathedrals and the enclosing Kremlin Wall and towers. It is the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Kizhi Island

Kizhi Island

Take a boat ride to explore Kizhi Island. Located on Lake Onega, Kizhi has become part of an open-air museum with more than 80 historic wooden structures, moved from parts of Karelia for preservation purposes. Dating back to the 17th century, Kizhi Pogost is the most famous historic site, built only of wood. It includes 2 large wooden churches and a bell tower inside a fence. Kizhi Pogost is a UNESCO World Heritage site; it’s also listed as a Russian Cultural Heritage site. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Vodka

Vodka

We love vodka! We couldn’t have our tasty cocktails like a bloody Mary, screwdriver, white Russian, Moscow mule or a vodka martini without this distilled liquor and the proper mixers. According to legend, a monk named Isidore from Chudov Monastery, inside the Moscow Kremlin, made a recipe for the first Russian vodka in 1430. Some popular Russian brands of vodka include Russian standard and Stolichnaya. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Doctor Zhivago

Doctor Zhivago

We love the forbidden love story that unfolds in the 1965 movie Doctor Zhivago, starring actors Omar Sharif (right), Geraldine Chaplin (left) and Julie Christie. Based on the novel by Russian author Boris Pasternak, the movie follows the life of a Russian doctor/poet who, although married, falls for a political activist’s wife and experiences hardships during the Bolshevik Revolution. 960 1280

Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images  

12 Photos

Visitors to London's National History Museum can explore more than 70 million specimens. 960 1280

  

The jewel in the crown of the Boston Museum of Fine Art is without doubt the Asian galleries. 960 1280

  

Cairo's Egyptian Museum provides an opportunity to see one of mankind's greatest works, Tutankhamen's golden mask. 960 1280

  

Spending just 1 second at each piece in St. Petersburg's State Hermitage Museum would take over 3 weeks of your time. 960 1280

  

The Louvre is France's -- and some would argue, the world's -- finest cultural institution. 960 1280

Joe Rivera  

The collection at Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum is so vast, it's spread across 8 city buildings. 960 1280

  

The Hagues' Mauritshuis Museum features extraordinary pictures from the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age. 960 1280

  

New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art contains works plucked from 50,000 years of human creativity, belief and power. 960 1280

Frank Murray  

Israel's Shrine of the Book collection contains some of the most important cultural artifacts related to Christianity. 960 1280

  

The collection at the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence was cultivated by the Medici family over many centuries. 960 1280

  

Vatican City houses some of the finest Italian art ever produced, including Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes. 960 1280

  

London's British Museum is a lesson in where our culture and others have come from, and where we each look to be going. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Alaska

Only Happens In Alaska

What an adorable little mosquito! I wonder what it’s made of. Wait, what? It’s made of poop?! Yep. Believe it or not, this creative little creature is made of repurposed moose droppings. In Alaska, artists will use anything they can find to make their art — and we do mean anything. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Alaska

Only Happens In Alaska

But you can’t just pick up poop and pop out art. Artists carefully coat each piece of moose poop with polyurethane so that it can be transformed into Christmas ornaments, knickknacks and even jewelry. Haven’t you always wanted moose-poop earrings? 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Alaska

Only Happens In Alaska

In some of the more remote stretches of Alaska, women can be hard to come by. The frontier life simply isn’t for everyone. But the men of Talkeetna, AK, have come up with a solution to attract the opposite sex to their small town. Welcome to the Wilderness Woman Contest. Every year, hundreds of bachelorettes from all over the state flock to Talkeetna to partake in this tongue-in-cheek competition to separate the girls from the women. Events consist of such tasks as fetching water from a stream (pictured), snagging a salmon and shooting a latex ptarmigan (similar to a pigeon). While the prizes vary from year to year, all competitors leave as winners. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Alaska

Only Happens In Alaska

Alaskans pride themselves on their ability to get the most out of anything. So when they’re presented with an old WWII bunker, they don’t see ruins — they see potential for new house! A couple in Kodiak renovated this old bunker and even added an entire third floor, creating one of the more secure and unique living quarters in the world. And you simply cannot beat the 360-degree view of the Alaskan wilderness. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Japan

Only Happens In Japan

This hallway resembling a beehive is in one of many Japanese hotels focused on pleasing the traveler who’s always on the move. These small pods offer customers the bare essentials: a bed, a pillow and a place to recharge their phones and bodies. There’s not even a door, just a simple curtain to give each guest some privacy. The rooms are booked in 9-hour increments — just enough time to get a good night’s sleep before continuing on your trip. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Japan

Only Happens In Japan

At most restaurants, the first thing the staff hands guests is a fork, but not at Zauo Restaurant in Tokyo. Guests are greeted with a fishing pole and a net. If you want to eat here, you’ll have to earn it first. Catch your dinner fresh from the restaurant’s aquariums. Then, bring it over to the chef and watch as he prepares your meal. The experience is unique to Japan and definitely brings a whole new meaning to “catch of the day.” 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Japan

Only Happens In Japan

Perhaps no country in the world holds on to traditions the way Japan does. From daily rituals to annual festivals dating back centuries, tradition is found everywhere. One example is the Hadaka Matsuri — the Naked Man Festival. Thousands of men from all over the country come together each year to participate in the annual event in hopes of gaining luck for the new year. Men are broken up into teams as they parade around in nothing but a Japanese loincloth, called a fundoshi, before entering the temple gates. Once inside, the men stand shoulder to shoulder and wait for 3 sacred bamboo sticks to be tossed into the crowd. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on one of these sticks, and subsequently be escorted out of the naked mob by teammates, you are granted good luck for a year. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Japan

Only Happens In Japan

These ornately designed dekotora trucks line up to show off their beauty. The stylized trucks are unique to Japan and can often be seen at car shows and special events, or even on the road as work trucks. Owners do everything and anything to dress up and trick out their trucks with neon lights and extravagant additions. The end result is something you’d be more likely to see in a Mad Max sequel than on the open highway. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Russia

Only Happens In Russia

Russia features some of the most notoriously brutal winters in the world. And none are more brutal than those in Siberia. Winter here can last up to 9 months, and when spring comes, it’s time to celebrate. This fiery party is the symbolic “burning of winter” at the Maslenitsa festival near Lake Baikal. The weeklong festival coincides with the start of Great Lent (similar to Lent) and is a celebration of religion, culture and food. If you plan on making the trip, come hungry! The festival is known for serving up some of the best and biggest pancakes around. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Russia

Only Happens In Russia

It takes a special kind of person to run a marathon. It takes a really special person to run those 26.2 miles over a frozen lake. But that’s precisely what happens every year at the Baikal Ice Marathon. Runners from around the globe come to Siberia to partake in this truly unique and challenging race, which takes place on the frozen ice of Lake Baikal. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Russia

Only Happens In Russia

Some people like a cup of coffee to start their day. Russians prefer being whipped by tree branches in the sweltering heat of a bathhouse called a banya. But what if you can’t get to a banya? No worries. In Russia, it’ll come to you! This old military truck is exactly what the cartoon painted on the outside looks like — a mobile banya. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Dubai

Only Happens In Dubai

Nothing says luxury more than gold. And what better way to show off your bankroll and status than with a gold-leaf facial? At the Raffles Spa in Dubai, you can get just that. Sit back, relax, and before you know it, your face will be covered in 24-karat gold leaf. The treatment, unique to Dubai, is supposed to rejuvenate your skin and deliver a fresh and glowing complexion. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Dubai

Only Happens In Dubai

Police car chases have often been a thing of intrigue. There have been TV shows created solely dedicated to them, in fact. And no matter how boring they may appear, somehow, you just can’t take your eyes off them. So just think how amazing they would be if the police officers were driving McLaren’s and Audi’s. Now THAT is exciting! They even have a Bugatti worth $2.2 million! Only in Dubai will you find an entire police force outfitted with racetrack-quality vehicles to chase down the bad guys. 960 1280

  

Only Happens In Dubai

Only Happens In Dubai

What’s the first thing you think about when you hear Dubai? The sweltering heat? The lavish city and surrounding resorts? No, you think of shredding some powder at the most unique ski resort you’ve ever seen, right? Well, maybe you should. Because right in the middle of the city of Dubai is the completely man-made, snow-pumping Ski Dubai, where snowboarders and skiers alike can come to get their winter-sports fix. 960 1280

  

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