Moscow, a bustling metropolis, has myriad neighborhoods and parks to explore all connected by a well-run historic subway system. In fact the metro is worth a spin just for the variety of Russian and Soviet artwork in the stations.
Walk around the Kremlin
We started our walk at Alexander Park (Aleksandrovsky Sad) located on the west side of the Kremlin. You will walk through this park if you buy tickets for the Kremlin. It’s a pretty green space with trees and some plantings, but with all the tourists buying tickets and then crossing the park to the Borovitsky Tower to enter the Armory it’s not worth a visit. If, however, you are interested in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier it’s found at the north end of the park, the end closest to Red Square.
Once through the park we continued around the Kremlin heading east and along the river, arriving at Park Zaryade’ye.
Park Zaryadeýe is a new park with plantings showcasing the 4 climatic regions of Russia. Plantings are too recent to be more than mildly interesting, but hold great promise as they develop. Other points of interest include a popular cantilevered viewpoint over the river, a hill capped with a greenhouse cover and distant views of the St Basil’s Cathedral and the towers of the Kremlin with the park in the foreground.
From here our plan was to visit the Kitay neighborhood. According to Lonely Planet it was first settled in the 13th century and is supposed to have the oldest architecture in Moscow. While there are a few examples along Varvarka street much of the area is gated off with no access for tourists.
In October many of the streets near the Kremlin and around Teverskoy street are already decked out for Christmas. Lots of people out on a mild October Sunday.
Gorky Park and Red October
With as much hardscape as trees, Gorky Park is more a recreational area with some green spaces than what Americans would think of as a park. On a mid-October Monday morning there were a number of clean-up crews tending to waning autumn grounds and a huge construction project in the middle of the park.
We did however find this art installation outside the Garage Museum. I didn’t realize the flowers weren’t real until Don pointed out the sign.
On the other side of the Krymsky Bridge the Muzeon Park of Arts has more of a park feel. It still has plenty of roadways for bikes and pedestrians as well as an odd hilled roadway. Artists put up their works in stalls along the river. However, there wasn’t much going on a slow Monday morning. There is also a sculpture garden outside the New Tretyakov Gallery. Note that the museums are closed on Mondays.
Walking through the parks we continued along the river to Red October where the old chocolate factory has been turned into a mall of sorts with designers, artist galleries, restaurants and bars. Despite being quiet on a Monday morning it is a great space for photography with crumbly brick facades, murals and exposed industrial infrastructure.
Across from Red October a huge construction project is underway along the Patriarshiy Most (bridge). You can still get through and we were able to walk to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
Lonely Planet Metro Art Tour
Like for most everything, the word is out and the tour groups have found the underground art scene in Moscow’s metro stations. The stations are also well travelled by locals making it difficult to take photos. Still, on a rainy afternoon it’s fun and cheap, the price of one metro ticket, to explore the mostly Soviet era decorated metro stations. Lonely Planet outlines a 10 station route that encompasses several lines with generally short distances between stops.
October 13-14, 2019
For links to all the posts in this series see the Russia page.