“Do you know why there are so many beautiful women in russia?” our Moscow tour guide asked. I looked at him puzzled and said no… why? He went on to explain that in Europe any ugly women could say that a beautiful women was a witch and they would be killed. The ugly women wouldn’t need any proof and just needed to hint to the fact she could be a witch. He went on to explain that in Russia they didn’t have this happen so none of the beautiful women were killed. To him, this explained why most Russian women were beautiful and most European women were ugly. Not sure if I believe all of that but it was an entertaining story.
Our tour of Moscow was provided by the same tour company that did our St Petersburg tour and once again they did a great job. Our first stop of the tour was the Christ the Savior Cathedral. It was originally completed in 1860 but was then rebuilt in 2000 after it was demolished in 1931. There is a lot of controversy around the rebuilding of the cathedral but there is no doubt it’s a stunning piece of architecture.
We also went on a quick city tour to see some of the highlights. We visited an overlook to get a good view of the Moscow Olympic Stadium on and the ski jump.
If you turn around from this view you can see Moscow University which is the largest university in Russia with about 50,000 students. It’s also a pretty impressive building.
Another stop was to the pond in front of the Novodevichy Convent which is thought to be the inspiration for Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.
Victory Park on Poklonnaya Hill was the next stop on our city tour. It was built to celebrate the Russian victory over Napoleon and a WWII museum was later added to the park. It’s spectacular park that was a hub of activity on the beautiful spring day we had our tour.
The main tourist attraction in Moscow is the Red Square and the Kremlin. Our hotel was directly across the street from the Red Square so we spent most of our time visiting the sights nearby. Two of the best places to take photos are across the river and from on top of the new Ritz Carlton across the street.
Within the Red Square is the Saint Basils Cathedral, Lenin’s tomb, the State Historical Museum, and GUM department store. Lenin’s tomb was closed and our guide said the inside of Saint Basils Cathedral wasn’t worth entering so we just walked around the square and took lots of pictures.
All of this surrounded by the imposing Kremlin Towers.
Although our visit to Moscow and St Petersburg was short it was definitely memorable. We will need to return someday to explore more of both of these amazing cities.