Moscow, the symbol of changing Russia

Moscow, capital of the Russian Federation, has over 11 million inhabitants. It is the government seat as well as the most populated city in the country. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet block, Russia has taken a definite turn toward liberalism, causing deep upheaval within Russian society. A country of contrasts, Russia has maintained its culture with an emphasis on its rich heritage. Tchaikovsky, Gogol, Pushkin, Solzhenitsyn and Tolstoy: great Russian artists who influenced Europe, making Russia a cultural center. Today, Russia is also a country of luxury and a symbol of success…This facet of the country has become very prominent with the opening of the trade market and the development of Russian society. The country is in full transformation and its population is changing under the influence of Western countries. Air France offers many daily flights to Moscow from major US airports with a stopover in Paris or Amsterdam. Take the opportunity to get to know this Eastern city.

Moscow, between yesterday's communism and today's capitalism

Here are some sites to visit in Moscow and the surrounding area. Many monuments are on UNESCO's World Heritage list:
  • The Kremlin: this fortress houses many buildings. It is also the power seat of Russia. The residence of the Tsars, it still has the tombs of many Russian rulers. There are many religious monuments such as the Saint Michael Archangel Cathedral or the Assumption Cathedral. Plan on at least one day to visit the Kremlin.

  • Red Square: next to the Kremlin, Red Square is a must-see in Moscow. Saint Basil's Cathedral dominates the square. It was built in 1555 and is one of the capital's emblematic monuments. It is completely red and topped with nine onion domes. Lenin's tomb is also in the square as well as the impressive State Historical Museum.

  • The Novodevichy Convent: this famous convent is a fine example of Muskovite Baroque style architecture. Many women from Russian nobility and aristocracy were sheltered here.

Other monuments are worth visiting as well:

Go to the Goum, Moscow's historical store for shopping. It now has 200 shops.

The university of Moscow: an impressive building, it is the emblem of architecture under the Soviet regime. It is part of a large complex, called the "seven sisters", that are supposed to represent the power of communism. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Leningrad Hotel are part of the complex.

Gorki Park is the perfect place to relax after long walks in the city. You can even go skating in the winter. Also, don't miss a trip to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, one of the largest in the world with over one million works of art on exhibit.

What to see around Moscow

If there is one city to see outside of Moscow, it would be Saint Petersburg. Called the Venice of the North because of its 400 bridges, its historical center is on UNESCO's World Heritage list. It is the main tourist city in Russia. Among the must-sees:
  • The Peter and Paul Fortress. It has a cathedral and a history museum.
  • The State Hermitage Museum and the Palace Square.
  • Nevsky Prospect, the main artery in the city that is 2.4 miles long.
  • The Summer Palace: one of Saint Petersburg's oldest palaces. The gardens are world-famous.

You may visit Moscow and Russia in the winter. Snow adds a romantic atmosphere to Russian cities. Otherwise, you may also travel in the summer or spring.

For more information about Moscow