Moscow enjoyed the status of capital for most of Russia’s history, except for a relatively brief period (about two hundred years), when the Tsar and the government relocated to St Petersburg. But the Bolsheviks moved the capital back to Moscow in 1918, and today it’s an extremely diverse city.
The capital of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) until the union dissolved in 1991, Moscow attracted world attention as a centre of communist power. The dissolution of the U.S.S.R. brought tremendous economic and political change, along with a significant concentration of Russia’s wealth, into Moscow.
Russia’s Soviet past collides with its capitalist present everywhere in the country, but nowhere is this contrast more visible than in Moscow. Lenin’s Mausoleum remains intact, as do many dreary five-story apartment buildings from the era of Nikita Khrushchev’s rule (the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s), yet glitzy automobiles and Western-style supermarkets, casinos, and nightclubs are equally visible.
Moscow has not stopped being refurbished and modernized and continues to experience rapid social change.
It is not only the political centre of Russia but also the country’s most populous city and its industrial, cultural, scientific, and educational capital. It is an upbeat, vibrant, and sometimes wearisome city. If St. Petersburg is Russia’s “window on Europe,” Moscow is Russia’s heart.
It can easily take a couple of weeks to see all of its sights, but if you've only got a weekend to explore, here's how to have two perfect days in Moscow.