Crafted with splendor, Moscow is a merchant capital by birth with a cosmopolitan flavor that invites generous spenders. With sights that never cease to inspire, confound and delight, the iconic city has played a vital role in the development of Russia and the world with signs that continue to point to its previous life. The architectural gems, a vibrant arts scene and active green spaces make Moscow one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world, however it’s also considered one of the most expensive cities on the planet, so tourists don’t typically stay long. When you fly to Moscow on a private chartered jet, be sure to visit the following attractions.
Must-Visit Attractions in Moscow
Kremlin and Red Square
The site on which the city (and perhaps the country) was founded, the Kremlin and Red Square in the heart of Moscow was first mentioned in the 1147 Hypatian Chronicle as a fort erected by the Prince of Suzdal, Yuri Dolgoruki. Of the old buildings that remain standing, the Palace of Facets is among the most remarkable for the glorious halls designed by Italian architects Marco Fryazin and Pietro Antonio Solario.
You’ll find Red Square beneath the Kremlin’s east wall, connecting Moscow’s major streets. The area did not acquire its name because of its pigmented bricks or links to communism. Instead, it comes from the word красная (krasnaya), which means “beautiful” and “red.” Red Square originally served as the city’s main marketplace and the site of public ceremonies, such as coronations. Today, it is still used for many official government ceremonies.
The buildings within Red Square have their own significance. As you wander through the ancient fortress, pay your respects at the breathtaking St. Basil’s Cathedral (Pokrovski Cathedral), one of the most striking monuments in the country. As the name implies, Lenin’s Mausoleum houses the embalmed body of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the Soviet Union’s founder. GUM, once the State Department Store, is a shopping mall with iconic trapezoidal features and a glass roof that now offers high-end luxury goods in hype-expensive boutiques. Notable sites also include the restored Kazan Cathedral, Iberian Gate and Chapel, and the State Historical Museum.
The classical performing arts Moscow continue to be among the best on the planet. There is no better way to experience it than at the Bolshoi Theatre in Theatre Square. Designed by architect Joseph Bové in the early 1820s, the theater is home to the Bolshoi Ballet and Bolshoi Opera, the oldest and most celebrated artistic companies in the world. The stage was the site of historic premiers such as Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and The Voyevoda, Rachmaninoff’s Francesca da Rimini and Aleko, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Maid of Pskov, starring Feodor Chaliapin.
In 2011, the Bolshoi completed its latest renovation, which restored the Imperial décor and the acoustics to their original quality, and added a stage. It typically introduces up to four new ballet or opera productions each season, where artists create the sets and costumes in the theater’s workshops. Until the mid-1990s, most of the operas at the Bolshoi were sung in Russian, but more languages are heard on the glittering stage today, making the theater a continual source of cultural prestige.