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Moscow, Russia

by Debra C. Argen
Moscow, Russia
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Moscow, Russia - St. Basil's A trip to Moscow, Russia in any season is special, however there is something magical about visiting Moscow blanketed in snow.



Russia is the largest country in the world, so when Edward F. Nesta and I were planning our trip to Russia, we narrowed our cities to visit to Moscow and St. Petersburg. Moscow is the capital of the Russian Federation, has a population of over 10.4 million, and covers 1,091 square kilometers. Moscow is a city steeped in history and rich in culture.

Although Moscow would be interesting to visit during any season, we decided to experience the beauty of Moscow in November 2006. There is something about visiting a place in the proper context, and for me, when I think of Moscow, I think of falling snow on cold days, wearing warm layers of clothing, and sipping chilled vodka by a fireplace. We arrived in Moscow with the temperature at 2 °C (35 °F), and the temperatures continued to drop during our stay, one day reaching -4 °C (25 °F). Large snowflakes swirled around us, the temperature was cold, and it was perfect.

Moscow, Russia - Hotel Baltschug KempinskiWe stayed at the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski a grand hotel with a premier location. Luxury service began at the Sheremetyevo Airport, as a chauffeur from the hotel picked us up in a comfortable BMW 730Li limousine for the 45-minute ride to the hotel. Exciting sights of the Kremlin, Red Square, and the colorful onion-shaped domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral awaited us from the windows of our Kremlin Suite.  

Moscow, Russia - Hotel Baltschug Kempinski - Restaurant BaltschugThe elegant hotel has three restaurants: the Restaurant Baltschug, Café Kranzler, and Restaurant Shogun. We enjoyed a romantic dinner at Restaurant Baltschug where Executive Chef Rainer Sigg worked his culinary magic, and Café Kranzler hit just the right note for casual lunchtime and evening dining. Executive Chef Rainer Sigg graciously shares his recipes for a gastronomic four-course meal in the Chefs’ Recipes section.

Other features of the hotel include the Lobby Lounge and Baltschug Bar, the Kanebo International Beauty Center, Fitness Center, indoor swimming pool, Business Center, boutiques, and the Ambassador Casino.  

After traveling, we always like to have Spa treatments. We had classic massages at the Kanebo International Beauty Center and left feeling rejuvenated.  

Moscow, Russia - Hotel Baltschug KempinskiWe explored the Moscow city sights from the comfort of the chauffeur-driven BMW 730Li limousine with a private English-speaking guide, and took advantage of the hotel’s close proximity to major tourist sights and shopping, by strolling through Moscow. 

For additional information on the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski, please read the articles in the Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs’ Recipes, and Spas sections.

Hotel Baltschug Kempinski
Ul. Baltschug, 1
115035 Moscow, Russian Federation
Telephone: +7 (495) 287 2000
Fax:            +7 (495) 287 2002
Toll Free:    +1 800 426 3135 (North America/Canada)

Moscow, Russia - GUMMoscow is a cosmopolitan city with excellent luxury shopping whose many designer boutiques include: Armani, Chanel, Christian Dior, Gucci, Prada, Hermes, and Jimmy Choo.  

In addition to making the rounds at the designer boutiques, we visited the mall, GUM, the state department store, built between 1889-1893. Architecturally interesting, GUM is a large domed arcade featuring Bosco Sport, Corneliani, Burberry, ETRO, Kenzo, La Perla, Marina Rinaldi, Max Mara, Louis Vuitton, and many more. Gum is open from 10:00 am – 10:00 pm.

3 Krasnaya pl. m. Ploshchad Revolutsii
Telephone:      +7 (495) 788 4343

There are many shopping passages, and we visited Petrovsky Passage featuring Bosco Di Ciliegi, Bally, ETRO, Kenzo, I Pinco Pallino, Montblanc, Piaget, and Lacoste. Petrovsky Passage is open from 10:00 am – 8:00 pm Monday – Saturday, and 11:00 am – 6:00 pm on Sunday.

Petrvosky Passage
10 Petrovka ul. M. Okhotny Road
Telephone:      +7 (495) 788 4343 

Moscow, Russia - Red SquareA definite must when visiting Moscow is a trip to Red Square to see the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan, the Moscow Kremlin Museums, and browse in the shops. The Moscow Kremlin Museums are open daily, except Thursdays from 10: 00 am – 5:00 pm. Ticket offices are open from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm.  

Moscow Kremlin Museums
Telephone:      +7 (495) 203 6096

If you appreciate architecture, the Grand Kremlin Palace, residence of the President of the Russian Federation since 1991, is a work of art. Culturally, the Kremlin is a treasure of Moscow Kremlin Museums, and received a UNESCO World Heritage designation in 1990 along with Red Square.  

Moscow, Russia - Debra C. Argen at St. Basil's Cathedral The Church of the Intercession (also known as St. Basil’s Cathedral) is exquisitely ornate, and perhaps the most recognized Moscow landmark. The church built between 1555-1561 by the architects Barma and Postnik, and St. Basil’s chapel added in 1588, is an intriguing architectural delight. It is flamboyantly styled and the brightly hued and textured onion-shaped domes captivated my eyes in wonder, and inside there are rare icons. St. Basil’s is open daily from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, and is part of The State Historical Museum.

St. Basil’s Cathedral
Red Square, 2  

Moscow, Russia - Kremlin and Red Square

Moscow, Russia - Kremlin Park ColumnsDespite the chilly temperatures, we strolled through the Secret Gardens, Grand Kremlin Park, and the Alexandrov Gardens. We visited many of the museums including the Treasure Gallery of the State Hermitage Museum at the Exhibition Hall in the Assumption Belfry. The 80-item exhibit included such treasures as superb tapestries, clothing, a ring with the monogram of the Emperor Alexander I, snuffboxes, cameos, works by Faberge, and a diamond-crusted sword and scabbard. I especially enjoyed the 18th century Charles Cabrier chatelaine watches from London in gold and silver with diamonds, sapphires, and other precious stones.

Moscow, Russia - Kremlin Park

We visited the Assumption Cathedral (Church of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin on Chizhevskaye Podvorye) built from 1484-1489 and used for inaugurations and burials of royalty and heads of the Russian Orthodox Church. Look for the elaborate silver chandeliers, and rows of iconostasis and frescoes that line the walls. The Assumption Cathedral holds one of the largest Russian collections of icons. One of the many interesting iconostasis that we saw was the icon in glass of the Savior with the Golden Hair from the 13th century. Also of interest is the Tsar Ivan the Terrible’s carved praying seat, dated 1551, and the necropolis.  

Assumption Cathedral
8 Nikolskaya Ul.
Telephone:      +7 (495) 623 3648  

Look for the carved gold door at the Archangel Cathedral, built from 1505 – 1508, and inside the cathedral note the 47 dynastic tombs under the floor. Also important are the iconostasis on four rows on the walls, carved pillars, and ceiling covered with 17th century frescoes.

Archangel Cathedral  
Sobomaya pl, the Moscow Kremlin  

Moscow, Russia - Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan The Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan has a very interesting history. Prince Dmitry Pozharsky built the church in the early 1630s to celebrate Moscow’s liberation from the Polish-Lithuanian invaders, fire destroyed the wood church in 1632, it was rebuilt in 1636 using brick, destroyed in 1936, and rebuilt from 1990-1993. Look for the small icon located above the entrance and the larger icon on the façade of the building.

Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan  
3 Nikolskaya Ul.
Telephone:      +7 (495) 298 0131

Moscow, Russia - Cathedral of Christ the SaviorThe Cathedral of Christ the Savior is the largest church in Russia and is the largest Russian Orthodox Church in the world.  It is comprised of two churches, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the Church of the Transfiguration. Emperor Alexander I degreed the Cathedral of Christ the Savior built to commemorate the victory over Napoleon in 1812. The project began in 1839, took 44 years to complete the five-domed cathedral, was consecrated in 1883, destroyed in 1931, reconstructed began in 1994, and it was consecrated in 2000.  

The Cathedral of Christ the Savior is a magnificent soaring structure of marble and granite with ornate brass doors featuring bas-relief of saints and is clearly visible throughout Moscow. There are impressive icons and paintings on the walls and ceiling. When we visited at 5:30 pm, the choir was singing.

The Church of the Transfiguration is located under the main  cathedral. Of special importance are the three altars, the royal door with the icon of the virgin with lamp, other important icons, and a stone from Bethlehem on the back wall. The cathedral is open daily from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, except for the last Monday of each month.

Cathedral of Christ the Savior and Church of the Transfiguration
15 Volkhonka ul.
Telephone:      +7 (495) 201 2847

Moscow, Russia - Moscow Choral SynagogueWe visited the Moscow Choral Synagogue, the main synagogue in Russia, built in 1891 by the architect Semen Eibuschitz, and formally opened in 1906. The synagogue is renowned for the Michael Turetsky choir. Notice the two gold painted trees on the wall and the deep blue painted dome enhanced with gold. 

Moscow Choral Synagogue
10 Bol. Spasoglinishchevsky per.
Telephone:      +7 (495) 924-2424  


Moscow, Russia - State Tretyakov GalleryAnother interesting museum that we visited was The State Tretyakov Gallery, the largest museum of Russian art in the world. This exceptional museum began as a private collection of Russian art in 1856 by Russian merchant Pavel Tretyakov. In 1892, he donated 2,000 works of art, and today the museum houses more than 130,000 works of art from Russian artists from the 11th to the 20th century. We spent several hours at the museum roaming the galleries, and had a light lunch in the comfortable café. I especially enjoyed the avant-garde collection from the 1900s to early 1920s by well-known artists including Kandinsky, Malevich, and Filonov. The museum is open daily, except Mondays, from 10:00 am – 7:30 pm.  

The State Tretyakov Gallery
10 Lavrushinskiy Pereulok
Telephone:      +7 (495) 230 7788

Moscow, Russia - Hotel Baltschug Kempinski - Ambassador Casino Moscow has much to offer visitors including trying their luck at the casinos. After a gastronomic dinner at the Restaurant Baltschug, we went to the Ambassador Casino where we had an enjoyable evening playing the American roulette tables. They also have blackjack and poker tables. The casino is open 24 hours, and jackets are required for gentlemen.


Ambassador Casino at the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski
Ul. Baltschug, 1
115035 Moscow, Russian Federation
Telephone:      +7 (495 or 501) 232 5696
Telephone:      +7 (495 or 501) 230 5694
Email:             hbkm.Moscow@Kempinski.com  

Whether you are interested in art, history, culture, gastronomy, or shopping, Moscow offers something for everyone. Although we visited in November, Moscow would be perfect in any season. On our next visit, we look forward to experiencing the rest that Moscow has to offer.   

Moscow, Russia - Novodevichy Convent 
Novodevichy Convent

Important Information for Russia

Russia requires that foreign visitors apply for a visa. For information on how to apply for a visa, please visit the website: www.VisitRussia.com. 

The currency of Russia is the Russian Ruble (RUB). As of January 2007, the exchange rate was 26.54 Russian Rubles (RUB) to 1 US Dollar (USD), and 34.30 26.54 Russian Rubles (RUB) to 1 Euro (EUR).

Moscow is +3 hours Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and +4 hours GMT from March to October. From the United States, Moscow is +8 hours Eastern Standard Time (EST), +9 hours Central Standard Time (CST), +10 hours Mountain Standard Time (MST), and +11 hours Pacific Standard Time (PST).

I find that it is always helpful to have some basic language knowledge when traveling.

Basic Vocabulary





Please (and You’re Welcome)


pa zhal sta

Thank you


spa see ba









zdra stvooy tye


до свидания

das vee da nee ye

My name is …

Меня зовут …  

min-ya za-oot

What is your name?

Как вас зовут?  

kak vas za-voot

Pleased to meet you.

Очень приятно  

och-en pree-yat-na

Beverage Vocabulary







men yoo



kaw fe






ma la kaw






va daa



pee va



vawd ka

Food Vocabulary





Russian beetroot soup








myaa sa



koo reets a



reeb a



ve ge ta ree aa nets




Read other articles on Moscow and Russia in the Destinations, Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs’ Recipes, and Spas sections.

For information on the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski please visit the website: www.Kempinski-Moscow.com.  

For information on Russia, please visit the website: www.VisitRussia.com.

© February 2007. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com All rights reserved.

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