To Go or Not to Go: Moscow
Ah, Moscow. Heart of the new Russian Federation the old Soviet State, and the older Russian Tsardom. Much as St Petersburg is beautiful, and much as it truly deserves its title of Second Capital, if you want to see the real economic, political and social centre of modern Russia, Moscow is the place to go. The good news is that the Derzhavin Institute is giving you the opportunity to do just that. On the school trip to Moscow (28-29.07.18) you’ll get to see all the main sights of the capital in just two days. For those wanting to know more about what exactly you’ll be doing on the trip, here’s a quick overview.
In order to pack so much into such a short time you’ll need to set out early in the morning. You’ll be taking one of the new, modern, high-speed Sapsan trains from Moscovskii Railways station. Your train will depart at 6:50 am and it won’t wait for you, so make sure you know how you’re getting there in advance. Despite the long distance between St Petersburg and Moscow getting between them on the Sapsan is much faster than on a regular train; you will arrive in the city by 10:50.
After your arrival the first priority will be getting breakfast. After that, at 12 o’clock, you’ll head out on a tour of the city. This bus tour takes three hours (traffic willing), during which an English-speaking guide will show you all the main sights of the City: the Kremlin, the rebuilt Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Sparrow Hills and Moscow State University, the Novodevichy Convent, and much more.
Once the tour is over you’ll be taken to your hotel to drop off your things and freshen up a bit. You’ll be staying at Hotel Matryoshka. Despite the name there are no smaller hotels inside it but, ignoring that particular downside, there is the upside that it’s located right in the middle of the city, just ten minutes walk from Red Square itself.
At 3:20 pm you’ll head out back into the city to grab a late lunch. In the building where the restaurant is located there’s also a observation platform offering stunning views of Moscow from six stories up. At about 5pm, when you’re fed and ready to move on, you’ll head over to Red Square. Once you’re there, you’ll get to see the Kremlin, St Basil’s Cathedral and the amazing GUM department store up close. After you’ve taken in the views you’ll go on a short walking tour through some of the best sights that the very centre of Moscow has to offer, heading from the Kremlin, through the wonderful Alexander Gardens and on to the famous Arbat street.
Once the tour is over, you’re free to spend the rest of the night as you like. The centre of Moscow has a wide range of sights and experiences to offer you. You could head back to Red Square to check out GUM from the inside, go to the beautiful Tverskoy Boulevard. If you’re looking for food or drink then the areas around Kitay-Gorod and Novokuznetskaya Metro stations are both good respectively. You could also always just take a walk along the banks of the River Moskva, or through the new Zaryadye Park.
Mercifully, you won’t have to wake up quite so earlier on the second day of the trip; you’ll be breaking your fast in the comfort of the hotel as late as 9am. After that it’s time to check out and head back out onto the streets (you can still leave bags at the hotel). You first destination of the day is Red Square again, only this time you’ll be heading inside the walls of the Kremlin.
The Central Square of the Kremlin is littered with buildings of political and religious import. You’ll have plenty of time to look around and see the architectural wonders of the the Dormition Cathedral, the Cathedral of the Annunciation, and the Ivan the Great Bell Tower. Make sure you look out for the humungous and totally impractical Tsar Cannon and Tsar Bell, which really go to prove the saying that “everything is bigger in Russia”. The small museum of decorative art and everyday life in 17th Century Russia, is also worth checking out.
At 12:30 you’ll be heading outside the city centre to Tsarysino, a gorgeous palace in the south of Moscow, which was built at the behest of Catherine the Great. Tsarytsino is a museum of architecture; the palace ensemble is a fantastic example the strange, colourful, neo-gothic architecture that you can sometimes find in Russia whilst a number of different smaller pavilions in different architectural styles can be found in the grounds around the palace itself.
Once you’re done in Tsarytsino you’ll head back to the city proper to enjoy some more free time before you need to return to the hotel to pick up your bags and head to the train station for you trip back to St Petersburg at 7:40. What you’ll do in your free time is up to you but if you visit our cultural programme manager, Maria, in the students’ hall she will be able to provide you with a list of recommended places and activities (ranging from trips to the Tretyakov Gallery and the Moscow Zoo, to River Cruises and exploring a former nuclear bunker), as well as help you find your way around planning your time and buying tickets.
If all the above sounds interesting to you, then make sure you book your place on the trip with Maria and pay by July 17th. The full cost of the trip depends on the number of people going. If less than 12 people decide to come the trip will cost 21,000 rub, but if 12 or more people come then it will cost just 19,000 rub. This price covers travel to and from Moscow, your accommodation, breakfast on the first day, the city tour, and entrance to the Kremlin. Makes sure you bring some extra spending money for anything else you might need.