Three Reasons why I Loved Moscow

The first post I ever wrote on this blog ‘What travelling is teaching me’ I said: “Travelling can break ignorance as you learn from others and others receive you”. I am thankful I was given the opportunity to visit Moscow. It is important to understand that we are all ignorant to some extent. So, when travelling you have to have an open mind. Yes, I received some strange looks from locals. Yes, I received questions about my origins because truthfully a lot of people there have probably never seen a Somali Girl before. A man stopped me to ask where I am from, he wanted to know ‘why my skin is darker but my features are not of an ‘African person’. Of course, this is sooo ignorant but I wasn’t offended I just laughed because the idea that ‘Black’ or ‘African’ people can only look one specific way is very very very common. I actually took the time to have a conversation with him about where I am from, you don’t have to, but I did. I met a lot of nice Russians who helped me along with translations and recommendations. I would consider Moscow a very friendly city but I can only tell you about my experiences from visiting once for a week.

I know, I know most people around me and that read this blog probably do not automatically consider Russia as a holiday destination. There is a lot of scaremongering and mystery behind visiting Moscow. Of course, just like with anywhere in the world you should exercise caution but I highly recommend all my readers to visit the city for themselves. It’s not every day Barcelona or Amsterdam.

So.. Here are some of the reasons I loved Moscow!

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1.    Moscow Architecture – The Buildings and Monuments!

Everything in central Moscow just seemed so grand and luxurious because of the imperial Russian architectural influence. Even though I reached Moscow in the evening I couldn’t stop looking outside the taxi window that took me from the airport into the centre of Moscow. Of course, I knew Moscow holds a lot of history, but there is a difference in reading about it and seeing it for yourself.

Here are some sites to visit:  

The Red Square is a city square in Moscow and it is BEAUTIFUL. It holds the most iconic landmarks in Moscow, such as St Basil’s Cathedral, the Kremlin walls and Lenin’s mausoleum. Even though this square historically represented war, violence, fires and armed forces, it has such a magical atmosphere. I was wandering around for a long time because the square is so fascinating. Also, very picturesque.

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St Basil’s Basilica is one of the most well known and photographed cathedrals. The cathedral combines 9 churches in one.  I heard from one of the locals that the architect of the cathedral was blinded so that he could not replicate the cathedral anywhere else in the World.

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St Basil’s Basilica

The Kremlin has a lot of historical and cultural importance. It’s one of the largest and significant museums in the world, but also the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation.

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Lenin’s mausoleum

and the walls of the Kremlin

Shout out to my dad for reminding me to visit the Moscow Grand Mosque. I went there for Jummah (Friday) prayers on the last day of the trip. Honestly topped off my experience. The mosque was demolished and rebuilt and is one of the biggest in the country, it’s one of the most beautiful mosques I’ve prayed in.

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Moscow Grand Mosque

2.   Food!

I ate very well in Moscow, to my surprise. I didn’t fully branch out and have Russian cuisine throughout my trip but I enjoyed the Russian Pancakes Blini. A lot of good food options in Moscow.

  • I was taken to try Georgian cuisine which I loved. If you ever get a chance to go to Moscow or eat Georgian food, make sure to try Katchapuri.

  • There is also a lot of pan-Asian choices and restaurants. Due to the proximity to Asia from Russia, there’s a large population of Russians who have Asian roots. This has obvious influences on food and flavours.

  • During my trip, I also had dinner at The White Rabbit, which is the 23rd best restaurant in the world. I don’t know what it takes to be on that list. All I know is the food I had was delicious, the price was reasonable, the restaurant views were beautiful and the atmosphere was perfect.

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the white rabbit

  3.    Metro!

I never thought this would be a reason why I love a city. In fact, I didn’t even really think I would use the metro that much during my trip. My biggest tip for travelling in Moscow is taking the metro.

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Marble Metro

  • It’s easy to navigate once you get the basics and announcements are translated to English, thanks to the 2017 World Cup in Russia.

  • Traffic is a problem in Moscow, just like in most cities. I found it was a lot quicker to take the metro.

  • The journey fares were also very affordable.

  • If you are a smartphone addict like me, a plus is that you still use your phone underground.

  • Lastly but most importantly, Moscow has some of the most beautiful stations I have seen. Such as Taganskaya, Elektrozavodskaya, and Komsomolskaya metro station.  

All in All, for me Moscow is a go-to the city, I went in March but I heard it’s even better in the Summer and the Parks are stunning. So please visit if you can!

Amina Ali