Home to spellbinding architecture, Moscow is a unique destination all year round. At christmas, however, Russia’s capital is more inspiring than ever.
It´s true a trip to the Red City at this time of year means battling the elements outside, but, after knocking back a few shots of vodka, you will be definitely dazzled by its unique markets and the most iconic sites illuminated with spectacular light displays.
It was hard not to fall in love with the sparkling city blanketed in snow. The atmosphere was definitely like something magical. Amidst soft snowfalls, we truly forgot the frigid temperatures and how frozen our fingers were and did our best to capture the magic of Moscow during the winter season. I hope after reading this post you want to pack your bags and witness this winter wonderland in all its glory.
With high walls and towers with loopholes, Novodevichy Convent is one of the oldest and the most beautiful convents in Russia. The dreamy frozen lake that you see in the picture inspired composer Tchaikovsky to write the world famous “Swan Lake” ballet.
Distinguished as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the convent was founded by Grand Duke Vasily III in 1524 in order to commemorate the capture of Smolensk from Lithuanians. Today, this magnificent and peaceful convent is one of Moscow´s main attractions.
Swan Lake is, without question the most romantic and memorable ballet of all times. According to the legend, the stunning pond beyond the convent walls inspired Tchaikovsky to write the highly acclaimed “Swam Lake” ballet. As I gazed at the icy pond, I could perfectly imagine the beautiful and fragile swan in which the Princess Odette was turned into. Under a magic spell of an evil sorcerer, she could only regain her human form when the moon rised. In order for her spell to be broken, she had to win the eternal love of a young man, but should he betray her, she would remain a swan forever.
Dating back to the 17th century, this delightful open-air venue, also known as the Vernisazh Market, is located near the Serebryano-Vinogradny Pond in the northeast part of the city.
This magical complex, built in a pseudo-Byzantine style, is the perfect place to buy Russian typical souvenirs as is attended by merchants from regions all over Russia. We fell so in love with Matryoshka dolls and lacquer boxes that we ended buying many of them.
Apart from the market, you will have the opportunity to visit interesting places like the Nicholas church, which is the tallest wooden church in Russia, and different museum including the Vodka Museum, the Museum of Russian Toys and the Museum of Russian Costumes.
The Red Square
Despite sub-zero temperatures and the covering of snow, visiting the most recognizable symbol of Russia totally lit up at Christmas is utterly unforgettable.
The magnificent onion-domed spires of St. Basil’s Cathedral dusted with snow and the impressive facade of the world famous GUM department store illuminated with thousands of brilliant white lights make Moscow’s Red Square more stunning than ever.
After joining in the festive spirit and soaking up the Christmas atmosphere, the GUM store was the perfect place to warm our cold hands around a big mug of coffee.
Both inside and out, the main shopping center in Moscow is absolutely beautiful and elegant. Built between 1890 and 1893 by Alexander Pomerantsev, the building rises in worn splendor with its 242 metre façade and the remarkable glass roof.
With hundreds of luxurious shops, cafes, and boutiques, the large store (Glavny Universalny Magazin) was in full swing when we arrived. There were people everywhere browsing the shops to stock up on presents, kids running to get some candies from an elf and even a group of Santas playing jazz.