3 Things To Do In The Port Of…Moscow
Russian River cruises have been growing in popularity ever since river cruise lines announced they would be venturing back to the country in 2017. And, with luxury operators such as family-owned Volga Dream offering some fantastic itineraries with hotel stays in both Moscow and St. Petersburg at either end of your trip, it’s no surprise that Volga River cruises continue to gain recognition.
So, if you do decide to venture into Mother Russia this year, your trip will either start or end with some time in the capital. Therefore, here are three things to do in Moscow.
Saint Basil’s Cathedral
Some of the most breathtaking architecture in Russia is characterised by the iconic onion domes that soar above the city streets. St. Basil’s Cathedral is perhaps the most well-known of these striking buildings thanks to its importance and location on Red Square. Who would have thought that something so beautiful could have been commissioned by someone known as Ivan the Terrible? Legend has it, however, that he did remove the eyes of the architect who built it so that they could never create something to rival this stunning masterpiece.
Inside, the confusing layout of labyrinthine corridors takes you to a number of different museum exhibitions. Each onion dome represents a lavishly decorated chapel, with the one dedicated to St. Basil offering the most glitz and glamour.
Don’t forget the other highlights of Red Square too. The Kremlin and Lenin’s Mausoleum are also located at this famous crossroads.
Muse At A Museum
Fans of history and culture will be pleased to know that there are plenty of Moscow museums to help you learn about Russian life. As well as the Armoury Chamber inside the Kremlin, which houses weapons and jewellery once owned by the tsars and an impressive collection of Faberge eggs, there are museum offerings at the All Russian Exhibition Centre (VDNKh), the Tsaritsyno Museum Reserve and the Kolomenskoe Museum-Reserve. A particular highlight of these is the medieval atmosphere at the latter.
As well as more quirky museums focussing on things like vodka and Soviet-era arcade games, art-lovers will also find some great galleries to enjoy. The Tretyakovskaya Gallery is a must-see if you put yourself in this category, housing the private collection of the Tretyakov brothers.
Bask In The Tradition Of Banya
A Volga Dream river cruise will offer the chance to try some authentic Russian experiences as you sail the waters. There will be vodka tasting, cookery classes and Matryoshka doll painting on board, but the ship is not the only place where you can immerse yourself in the culture. Russia, along with other Baltic countries, is passionate about sauna. In this part of the world, it is known as banya and is a tradition that dates back hundreds of years.
More than just a way to relax or keep warm, time in a Russian banya is spent catching up with friends and discussing the bigger subjects in life. In fact, one proverb states that ‘the banya is like a second mother’. The oldest steam bath in Moscow is Sanduny, dating back to 1808 and the perfect place to start your sauna obsession. And, if you see someone wielding a bunch of birch twigs, don’t be alarmed, it’s all part of the experience.
There is plenty to keep you busy during a Russian river cruise, both on and off the ship. For more information about our itineraries call our expert team on 0800 954 0064.