Moscow is a city where the traditional and the modern are organically intertwined. You are as likely to meet an oligarch as a beggar living just above the breadline.

Everyone should visit Moscow at least once in their life. You should try out the traditional music and food (such as beetroot soup (borscht), mushrooms in brine and caviar). There is a fascinating comparison to be made between the old-style decadence of Pushkin’s house, the Bolshoi Theatre ballet performances and the Tretyakov State Gallery masterpieces with the nouveau riche entertainment venues such as, high-end clubs like ‘Jet set’, ‘Fabrique’ and ‘Garage’ to rival London’s Ministry of Sound.

Moscow was founded in 1147 by Prince Yuri Dolgorukiy. Restored buildings from that time period include the Old Kremlin, St Basil’s Cathedral and the Red Square towers. If your historical interest lies in the Communist era, visit Lenin’s Tomb and 38 Petrovka Street (the Moscow Criminal Police building).

The most striking attraction is the underground. Opened in 1935, the Moscow metro is not the first in the world (the oldest is the London Underground, opened in 1863). However, it is the best in terms of both architecture and accuracy. The metro was Stalin’s vanity project; the country leader wanted to impress the rest of the world with the lavish and unusual architecture of the so-called ‘underground palaces’. The work on the metro did not stop even during the hardest years of World War Two, with new stations put to use in 1943 and 1944. The most beautiful stations are ‘Revolution Square’ ( containing bronze statues of a frontier guard with his dog, as well as statues of farmers and aviators), ‘Novoslobodskaya’ ( which has colourful stained glass wall decorations) and ‘Mayakovskaya’ ( holding 34 ceiling mosaics called ’24-Hour Soviet Sky’). Many of the vast older stations have walls, ceilings and floors made of coloured granite and marble and include columns, mosaics, statues and ceiling decorations.

Moscow has problems such as crime (racketeering, drugs and petty theft, amongst others), corruption of many government structures, racism and the prevailing egomania of the nouveau riche residents. But a casual tourist, as opposed to an immigrant, has the option of taking in only the numerous pleasant parts, ignoring the imperfections of a city. So what are you waiting for – EasyJet has recently extended their flight range to include Moscow, with return tickets from £140!

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