Why Moscow deserves a stopover

Sometimes the way to our travel destination can give us the gift of visiting places that had been in our wish list for a long time. That’s what happened when we travelled to Tokyo via Moscow. When we booked our Aeroflot flights I was so happy since I finally had the chance to visit the capital of Russia, the heart of one of the most powerful countries in the world and the home to many historical events. In particular, we were going to spend some day hours in the city during our travel to Tokyo and a night there when going back to Barcelona. So we made all the paperwork to get our visas and waited for the day when we were to land in Russia for the first time.

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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Red Square

We arrived at the Sheremetyevo airport late in the afternoon and we moved to our hotel in the airport area to rest and prepare for our visit to Moscow city centre the next day. We got up, had some breakfast and headed to Teatral’naya station. From there we entered the Red Square by crossing the Resurrection Gate. I was so excited! And, lastly, right in front of us we found Saint Basil’s Cathedral, constructed in the XVI century, which is the main building in the square. An enormous cake full of colours that make it so different from the kind of temples that we are used to visit. It is not a conventional cathedral from the European standpoint. It is a masterpiece formed by side churches placed around a central church, the tenth one, called of Intercession. If you get lost inside the cathedral you will fall in love with its amazing decoration.

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Saint Basil’s Cathedral

On that moment I remembered my visit to the Saint Nicholas Cathedral of Nice, some years before, when I discovered the charm of the orthodox temples. But prior to our visit to the inside of Saint Basil’s Cathedral, we bought our tickets to enter the Kremlin, a symbol of Russia and one of the greatest architectural complexes in the world. The Cathedral Square is one of those places where you cannot stop taking photos to all directions. I hadn’t expected so much art concentrated in that small area.

The Cathedral Square is since the XIV century the heart of the Moscow Kremlin, where all the streets were said to converge. In fact, three cathedrals are placed in the square: the Cathedral of the Assumption, the Cathedral of the Archangel and the Cathedral of the Annunciation. The Palace of Facets, the Church of the Deposition of the Robe and the Church of Twelve Apostles can also be found there. But Ivan the Great Bell-Tower is the tallest building, aimed to serve as a belfry to the three cathedrals which do not have their own. And in Moscow everything seems to be huge: when walking around the Kremlin you will see the Tsar Cannon, created in 1586, which is the largest bombard by caliber in the world, and also the biggest bell in the world, the Tsar Bell, dated 1733-1735. Unfortunately the bell broke during a fire on 1836 and nowadays can be found next to Ivan the Great Bell-Tower.

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The Tsar Bell

Fascinated by the greatness of the Red Square and the Kremlin, we still had time to see another beautiful orthodox temple. We walked towards the Moskva river where we found the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, which was rebuilt at the end of the XX century after having suffered demolition after the Russian Revolution, on the order of the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. The truth is that we didn’t know it when we were in the bridge contemplating the masterpiece, but afterwards we’ve read that it is the tallest orthodox church in the world (103 m). From the bridge we had a nice view to the Kremlin complex.

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The Kremlin seen from the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

On our way from Tokyo to Barcelona we spend a night in the centre of Moscow. We arrived to the city (for a second time!) late in the afternoon, with no time for visiting tourist attractions, but we could enjoy the night views of the Red Square and its surroundings. We hope to return to Russia soon to enjoy the country in a quiet manner. Who knows… Trans-Siberian is always on our mind.

Two Traveling Texans

40 thoughts on “Why Moscow deserves a stopover”

  1. My wife lived in Moscow for a year while studying and it is one of those cities that I really would like to visit one day. Especially since I want to see all the cities where she has lived – Moscow and Lublin are still missing for me.

    Interesting to hear that it is possible to see so much during short stopover. 🙂

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  2. You know I have really thought about doing this because I have seen many cheap flights to Asia like this but I have just heard bad things about Aeroflot I never have. So the flight wasn’t bad? #TheWeeklyPostcard

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    1. In our case the experience with Aeroflot was good. Only one bad thing at the end: the suitcase was broken. But they have paid some money to us to buy a new one. If I had to give points I would say it is a 6.5/10. 😉

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  3. I think Moscow deserves way more than a stop over. I’d love to explore this city at length, but I’ve heard it’s one of the most expensive cities in the world. I’m not surprised that the Russians think so much of themselves (lol)! #TheWeeklyPostcard

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  4. Tokyo to Barcelona via Moscow – I like your thinking! What a great way to see the highlights of Moscow without taking a separate trip. #WanderfulWednesday

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  5. Taking advantage of a stopover is a solid travel tactic. Getting one in Moscow is just genius! Although, we agree with Anda – Moscow deserves much more than a stopover! Still, you take what you can get, right? We love that you recalled a visit to St. Nicholas’ in Nice – one of our favorites in that town. But wow, St. Basil’s is just beautiful! Great post – thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard!

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    1. We agree also that Moscow deserves more than stopover 😊 Maybe we should have written “The best of Moscow in just a stopover” but, anyway, I hope uou have enjoyed with the reading and the photos! We are sure we need to go there again to visit all the city calmly. Thanks for your comment!

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  6. I had no idea that you would be able to do a stopover in Moscow! How complicated was the paperwork? I always hear it is a LOT for an actual visit, so I just assumed that it wouldn’t be possible for a stopover.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As UE citizens we needed a visa to leave the transit zone and visit the city. Applying for a tourist visa to Russia is said to be complicated because as far as we know you need the hotel or your guest to issue some papers to evidence where you will be staying there. But for a transit visa we only needed our flight tickets and a certificate issued by our insurance companies stating that we had health coverage there. We managed this issue through a local agent in Barcelona.

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