City Tour and Novodievichy: The ideal way to get in touch with the city, including its historical centre and major monuments. We will stroll along the broad avenues, making our way through the famous Tverskaya Street to the top of Sparrow Hills, under the imposing stare of Lomonosov University, one of the Stalin-era skyscrapers scattered throughout the city. From there we will admire an impressive panorama of the city, followed by a stop at Victory Park and another in front of Novodevichy Convent and its lake, the inspiration for Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. We will approach the historical centre from the banks of the Moskva River, coming out near the White House, location of the siege of the Russian Government.
We will also stop at Arbat Street, a busy pedestrian thoroughfare nicknamed the “Moscow Montmartre” because of the artist that used to live in the area and the painters that nowadays populate the street. We will pass in front of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, the Parliament Building (Duma), Bolshoi Theatre, and the imposing facade of Lubyanka, headquarters of the KGB. We will continue through the alleyways of the ancient merchant district Kitai-Gorod, which contains numerous small churches, finally arriving at Red Square, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the world and designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It was named Red, or “Krasnaya” in Russian, which in Old Russian was a synonym of “beautiful. ” Now the square is surrounded by the famous buildings of the Russian Historical Museum, the Kremlin, and Saint Basil’s Cathedral with its gorgeous onion domes, built by order of Ivan the Terrible. Red Square is also home to Lenin’s Mausoleum and features Russian Army parades on various holidays throughout the year.
Novodevichy Monastery, designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, is one of the most beautiful monasteries in all of Russia and is situated in the southwest of the capital on a meadow next to the Moskva River. It was founded as a fortified monastery by Vasili III in 1524 to commemorate a victory over the Polish and Lithuanian armies and the seizure of Smolensk. During the 16th and 17th centuries the great boyar families and even the tsar’s family sent their daughters there. The monastery is situated next to a small lake which served as the inspiration for Tchaikovsky’s famous Swan Lake ballet, the exteriors of its five-domed cathedral and bell tower being stunningly beautiful.
In Novodevichy Cemetery, situated on the Monastery’s grounds, numerous outstanding and famous Russian personalities from the worlds of art, science, and even politics are buried: Boris Yeltsin, Khrushchev, Kropotkin, and Molotov rest here, along with Chekhov, Gogol, Mayakovski, Bulgakov, and also Rostropovich, Shostakovich, Stanislavsky, Rubinstein, Chaliapin, and Eisenstein. The five-domed cathedral dedicated to Our Lady of Smolensk is the oldest building inside the monastery, as it was built in the first half of the 16th century by Italian architects. Its interior is decorated with frescoes of an extraordinary beauty and majestic golden icons. In Novodevichy Museum we will find valuable collections of icons, jewellery, embroideries, and ancient books.
Meeting/pick-up point: Pick up at the hotel.
Duration: 4 hours.
Start/opening time: At 9am.
End/closing time: At 1pm.