Moscow has a well-developed, cheap and fast system of public transport that lets you get to any point in the city. However, exploring it by foot will yield a much more authentic understanding of the city’s character. One of the Moscow’s recent visitor shares his Moscow walking route along the Moskva River.
I believe there is no better way to dig deep into city’s environment than walking. The Moscow (Moskva) River is sort of a guide that you follow to get the view of all the major sights of the city and, if you are observant enough, it will show you some hidden treasures of the Russian capital.
My adventure started near Evropeiski shopping mall (Kievskaia Metro station Circular Line). I got my caffeine fix at Starbucks and headed to Europe Square, where I found a good-enough spot to be on my Instagram – The Fountain of Europe Ravishment.
Rumour has it, it manifests the legend of how Zeus created Europe. While challenging the imagination and sipping my cold-brew, I suddenly noticed a bridge leading to the opposite bank of the river. Curiously enough, it resembled some kind of charming medieval concoction and, indeed, stood out of the business ensemble of the city center. It turned out, the bridge was named after Bogdan Khmelnitsky – the one who signed a peace treaty between Ukrainian Cossacks and Russian Tsardom in the 16th century. Rather symbolic.
The upper part of the bridge is made of glass and sun shines were penetrating vigorously through it, making my presence inside similar to steaming out in a sauna. So, having overcome the last step of the ladder, I started to feel how little drops of sweat were tinkling my back. Without much ado, I rushed to an open-air veranda. What appeared in front of me was a gorgeous panoramic view of the city with Moscow State University coming in sight. I had to make it there.
As I crossed the bridge, I carried on along Savvinskaia Embankment. A puddle of mud they call a river was full of boats and floating restaurants, transporting bunches of tourists from one pier to another. “Not the way I would explore the city” – I said to myself, wiping out sweat from my forehead. After a half a mile or so, I understood why so many people call Moscow a city of contrasts. The city has been influenced by lots of cultures in different periods of history. I stopped to take a few breaths on one of the piers. In the background of the 19th-century buildings on the opposite side of the river, I saw Moscow’s hundred-floors eminent skyscrapers, which were so gigantic that, as it seemed to me, they were literally going through the clouds. In essence, it was breathtaking.
After 30 minutes of an unhurried stroll, I stumbled upon Novodevichy Park and a sign, giving you directions on how to get to Luzhniki Stadium. Apparently, the city was preparing for 2018 FIFA World Cup
The park boasted nice and peaceful valleys with a pond in the center- a place where I could finally get my relief and let my legs have a bit of rest. In front of my eyes was Novodevichy Convent – the most famous Moscow cloister that has remained untouched since the 17th century. The place, indeed, had a soothing, almost magical atmosphere, slowing down the pace of this topsy-turvy city. Walking there, I wish I had stocked up with bread and nuts because the area was overcrowded with ducks and squirrels.
There is a curious sculpture called “Make Way for Ducklings” on the bank of a pond. As far as I know, in Boston, USA there is exactly the same sculpture. It felt as if it was the point, where 2 drastically different worlds could meet.
I moved further to Luzhnetskaia Embankment, where I entered Luzhniki Sports Complex with already legendary Luzhniki Stadium that will host FIFA 2018 opening game. The park is an epitome of everything sport. Outdoor gyms and game courts were everywhere. I, however, was indulging in a delicious vanilla ice cream. I didn’t care, it was my vacation.
Having passed the stadium, I climbed the so-called Metro Bridge (Vorobiovy Gory metro station (LINE 1) ). Inside it looked like a little art gallery dedicated to the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Sparrow Hills is a huge green zone and I decided to rent a bike which was not a problem, as each of the rent stations had all the instructions in English on how to rent a bicycle or other, stranger means of transport. The prices ranged from 300 to 500 roubles (7$). Additionally, they asked me 2000 roubles (28$) as a deposit, which I was given back when I returned the bike.
Neskuchny Garden appeared to be my next stop. As the sun started to heat my head up too much, shadowy walkways there couldn’t be more fortuitous. I stopped beside a pond and bought yet another ice cream in a little van. They said it was the exact recipe the used in the USSR. I should say the Soviet Union has a pretty damn good taste.
Finally, I made it to Gorky Park. To explore it fully would mean to completely kill my legs. It was rather big, to say the least. I decided to walk strictly along the river bank, but what I saw so far impressed me. Hardly did I enter the park, “put-your-hands-up” shouts were all in the air, accompanied by what seemed to be Russian hip-hop.
On one of the piers I saw people practicing some kind of dancing and a bit further there was a gigantic Reebok station with a mini football field, a cycling zone, and even a small swimming pool. I felt an urge to try everything but decided I would go back there the next day.
Completely exhausted, though happy as a hippo, I exited the park. There were 2 metro stations nearby, Park Kulturi (LINE 1) and Oktiabrskaia (Circular Line). I chose the latter. It seemed a bit closer.
Eventually, my walk along the Moscow river let me see what Moscow really is and its character definitely captivated me. I would say, the city will never let you fully explore it and will always leave you wondering, what else interesting you can find. Indeed, the opportunities are indeed infinite and in the end, it was just one Moscow walking route along the river.
BEAR IN MIND
Use this map to experience this Moscow walking route yourself. However, if you are not into walking such long distances, you can consider a boat cruise. There are many various ways of travelling along the river including small ships and even floating restaurants. For a longer trip, the pier near Kievskaia metro station is a perfect boarding point.
Kievsky Rail Terminal – Sparrow Hills – Gorky Park (Andreevsky Bridge) – Gorky Park – Crimean Bridge – Bolshoi Crimean Bridge – Ustinsky Bridge – Novospassky Bridge