Moscow is a city of superlatives. It boasts the most billionaires, the most expensive cups of coffee and – coming soon – the most colossal building in the world.
It is also the most expensive and, according to one poll, the most unfriendly city in the world. Is it any wonder that a popular nightclub is called simply The Most?
Moscow may occupy the number one spot, but these lists hardly capture the reality – the vitality – of the capital. Free (relatively) from the strictures of censorship and hardship, Russia’s capital city is experiencing a burst of creative energy, evident in all aspects of contemporary culture. Former factories and deserted warehouses have been converted into edgy art galleries and intriguing underground clubs. World-class venues such as the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum are experimenting and expanding. Tchaikovsky and Chekhov are well represented at Moscow theatres but you can also see world premieres by up-and-coming composers, choreographers and playwrights.
Foodies flock to wine bars, coffee bars, sushi bars and even beer bars, while night owls enjoy a dynamic scene of exclusive nightclubs, bohemian art cafés, underground blues bars and drink-up dives.
The ancient city has always been a haven for history buffs. The red-brick towers of the Kremlin occupy the founding site of Moscow; churches and monuments remember fallen heroes and victorious battles; and remains of the Soviet state are scattered all around the city. Even history is being examined in innovative ways, as new museums broach subjects long brushed under the carpet.
The capital is even experiencing an unprecedented growth in birth rates (Muscovites are really getting busy). From artistry and history to recreation and procreation, Moscow is a cauldron of creativity. Dare we say that it is so much more than The Most?
Ready to go? Our recommended tours make it easy:
Show in Lonely Planet
- See the highlights of Russia in 8 days
- Explore the Kremlin grounds, cathedrals and palaces
- Journey by rail from Bejing to St Petersburg via Moscow
- Stop in Moscow on your trip from St Petersburg to Budapest