1. Red Square
This gargantuan cobblestone plaza – just next to the Kremlin – is surrounded by beautiful buildings, historical monuments and grand cathedrals. Don’t miss Lenin’s Mausoleum, GUM State Department Store and St Basil’s Cathedral (below), which lies at the southern end of the square. One of the most famous architectural sites in the world, it looks like a castle made from candy that’s covered in colours and crazy patterns.
2. The Kremlin
Arguably one of Russia’s greatest architectural ensembles – and perhaps even the world – the Kremlin is an imposing, and striking landmark. It’s not only the official residence of the President, but it’s also a treasure trove containing hundreds of artworks and impressive relics. Photographing the artefacts inside the Armory Chamber and the Crown Jewels may use up all your phone’s memory.
This former 1800s wine-bottling factory has been transformed into a cluster of spaces that house exhibitions as well as stores selling innovative design objects, jewellery and fashion. It’s a good place to begin exploring Russia’s contemporary art scene – especially in the vaults of a former cellar, three floors below the ground. Look out for the eye-catching murals too.
4. Red October Chocolate Factory
As with Winzavod, this collection of red-brick jumbled Victorian buildings has been given new life. It lies just across the Moscow River from the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and it’s where Muscovite art buffs, bloggers and “It-crowd” Instagrammers congregate at the various galleries, shops, showrooms, restaurants, clubs, cafes and design studios.
5. Peter the Great
Zurab Tsereteli’s controversial, 98-metre, bronze, copper and stainless steel statue of the former Russian ruler is not far away from the Red October Chocolate Factory. It’s admired by some and despised by others. Either way, it’s impossible to ignore and makes for an attention-grabbing image.
SEE ALSO: Best free things to do in Moscow, Russia
Founded in 2008 by billionaire Roman Abramovich’s partner Dasha Zhukova, the institution is another pioneer of the avant-garde, showcasing the latest and best contemporary art. The museum building itself is a site to be captured. It sits inside the former structure of the 1960s Vremena Goda (Seasons of the Year) Soviet-modernist pavilion in Gorky Park and was designed by architect Rem Koolhaas.
7. Cafe Pushkin
This three-story outlet boasts interiors that are as exquisite as its many culinary classics. Dine on favourites such as blinchiki (Russian pancakes) with black caviar, an Olivier salad which looks like a still-life painting (a snap of this is guaranteed to get you likes) or a hearty beef stroganoff.
8. White Rabbit
Celebrity chef Vladimir Mukhin is at the helm of this fine-dining abode that’s earned a spot at number 18 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016 list. Mukhin’s playful presentation, molecular gastronomy tricks and wonderful flavour combinations result in creations that must be photographed. A huge glass domed roof allows for spectacular and sweeping views over Moscow too.
9. The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow
The rooftop terrace of the O2 lounge bar at this glitzy, grandiose hotel is the place to capture breathtaking views of the Kremlin, Red Square, St Basil’s Cathedral and Tverskaya, Moscow’s luxury shopping thoroughfare – an eight-lane city centre highway.
10. Street Art
Many of Moscow’s buildings are graced with striking designs, murals and graffiti providing a visual feast for all Instagrammers out there. An increasing number of local and international artists are being commissioned by various authorities to create specific works and there a host of street art events held in the city too. Two standout works are a stunning tribute to superstar Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya painted by Portuguese graffiti artist Kobra, and Vova Nootk’s piece that’s found on Astrakhanskiy lane 8.
11. Gum Department Store
Set on the northeastern side of Red Square, Gum (pronounced goom; Red Square, 3) is an extravagant shopping mall with a skylight roof and three-level arcades that are home to hundreds of luxury stores and delicious eateries. It’s an institution in the city – and its stunning interior fit-out is fabulous for photos.
12. Moscow Metro
Taking the subway is like going on the ultimate Russian art history tour. Depending on where you get on or off, you could come across Baroque, Art Deco or Futurism movements, and see stately marble columns, crystal chandeliers, stained glass windows, mosaics and detailed paintings. Mayakovskaya is the oldest station and Komsomolskaya station is known as “Moscow’s Sistine Chapel.
– TEXT BY TIFFANY ESLICK
PHOTOS: INSTAGRAM, 123RF.COM
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.