Welcome to Moscow, the Russian capital and a host city of the 2018 FIFA World Cup!

Welcome to Moscow, the Russian capital and a host city of the 2018 FIFA World Cup!
Moscow was founded high atop Borovitsky Hill at the confluence of the Moskva and Neglinnaya rivers. Archaeologists claim that first settlements here date back to the second millennium before the common era.

Moscow was first mentioned in the chronicles of 1147. It was founded by Prince Yury Dolgoruky.
©Sputnik/Mikhail Voskresenskiy/Festive lights and the Spasskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin on Red Square
©Sputnik/Mikhail Voskresenskiy/Festive lights and the Spasskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin on Red Square
Things to see
The Kremlin and its surroundings are the major point of attraction for visitors to Moscow. The Moscow Kremlin is a fortress in the center of the Russian capital. Its oldest part is the President's official residence but anyone can buy a ticket to see it.

The Moscow Kremlin includes such famous landmarks as the Dormition Cathedral, the Cathedral of the Archangel and the Annunciation Cathedral, the Ivan the Great Bell Tower, the Spasskaya Tower, the Armory and the Diamond Fund.

In the center of the Kremlin is its oldest and most important square, Cathedral Square.
1. ©Sputnik/Evgenya Novozhenina/The Dormition Cathedral on Cathedral Square of the Moscow Kremlin
2. ©Sputnik/Ruslan Krivobok/The Ivan the Great Bell Tower in the Moscow Kremlin
3. ©Sputnik/Sergey Guneev/The Cathedral of the Archangel, the Ivan the Great Bell Tower and the Dormition Cathedral, left to right, on Cathedral Square of the Moscow Kremlin
In addition to cathedrals, two more landmarks can be found on the square, the Tsar Cannon and the Tsar Bell. The 890-mm Tsar Cannon is the world's largest, although it was never used in combat.

The Tsar Bell stands on a bronze pedestal nearby. It weighs over 200 tons and has never been used because, soon after being cast, it cracked during the fierce fire of 1737, shedding a 11.5-ton piece. There were many attempts to repair the bell but it was impossible to restore its original tone.
1. ©Sputnik/Alexander Polyakov/The crown, scepter and orb of tsar Mikhail Romanov's Grand Attire (1627−1628) on display at the Moscow Armory
2. ©Sputnik/Grigoriy Sisoev/Easter egg from the exhibition marking the 100th anniversary of WWI, at the Kremlin Armory
3. ©Sputnik/Evgeny Biyatov/Second right: the Order of Victory awarded to Marshall of the Soviet Union Fyodor Tolbukhin, Commander of the Third Ukrainian Front, displayed at the exhibition, Memory of Victory: WWII Awards, at the Kremlin Armory
After touring the Kremlin grounds and the cathedrals that are open to visitors, another must-see is the Armory. It is a true treasury that started as a collection of old state insignia, ceremonial and coronation attire of Russian tsars, and gold and silver items designed by Russian and foreign masters. The Armory also has a collection of coaches, arms, and horse harnesses and apparel.

On the other side of the walls of the Moscow Kremlin are Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral, the Lenin Mausoleum and the Alexander Garden. The most famous Russian theater, the Bolshoi Theater, is located not far from the Kremlin. In 2016, the theater marked the 240th anniversary of its founding.
1. ©Sputnik/Vladimir Sergeev/People on Red Square in Moscow. Background: St. Basil's Cathedral
2. ©Sputnik/Aleksandr Utkin/Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow
3. ©Sputnik/Alexander Vilf/Red Square in Moscow
Moscow museums are another great source of immersion in beauty and history. The collection of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts houses real treasures, from Priam's Treasure discovered by Heinrich Schliemann to ancient Egyptian sarcophagi, from masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance to paintings by French impressionists, post-impressionsts and early 20th century artists.

The famous Tretyakov Gallery is home to the world's largest collection of Russian fine art. The historical building in Lavrushinsky Pereulok boasts a collection from the 11th to the early 20th century, while the gallery in Krymsky Val has a permanent exhibition of 20th century art and hosts large temporary displays.
1. ©Sputnik/Maksim Blinov/"The Worker" sculpture by Ivan Shadr at the exhibition marking the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Revolution, at the Museum of Contemporary Russian History
2. ©Sputnik/Eugene Odinokov/Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow
3. ©Sputnik/Vladimir Astapkovich/Tretyakov Gallery at Krymsky Val
It would be a huge oversight to visit the capital of the country that was first to launch a satellite and send a human into space without seeing the Museum of Cosmonautics. The museum is located at the base of the Monument to Space Explorers near VDNKh metro station. Among the exhibits on display are spacesuits (including canine spacesuits), a lunar roving vehicle and a capsule of the Vostok spacecraft identical to the one that took Yuri Gagarin to space.

For devoted space enthusiasts, the museum offers the unique opportunity of standing in the shoes of a cosmonaut – learning to control a spacecraft, approach and dock with the ISS on a special simulator.
1. ©Sputnik/Sergey Guneev/Three Days in Gagarin's Life exhibition at the Moscow Museum of Cosmonautics
2. ©Sputnik/Vladimir Astapkovich/An Orlan-T training spacesuit at the Moscow Museum of Cosmonautics
3. ©Sputnik/Ruslan Krivobok/The Museum of Cosmonautics at Cosmonauts Alley, National Exhibition Center
Another space museum is located at the National Exhibition of Economic Achievements (VDNKh) in the Space pavilion. The exhibition is divided into two sections, Cosmonautics (with models of launch sites, spacecraft and space stations) and Aviation (with Sukhoi Su-35 and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 combat aircraft and flight simulators). Visitors can even buy tubes of real space food as a memento of their space adventures or to get a 'taste' of outer space.

Nearby VDNKh is Ostankino Tower, the tallest structure in Russia and Europe. Visitors can go up almost to the top on a guided tour. The observation deck at 337 meters above ground provides a wonderful panorama of the entire city and the surrounding suburbs.
©Sputnik/Ramil Sitdikov/The Ostankino Tower at sunset
Visitors can get around Moscow by public transit or taxi, but due to heavy traffic the fastest way is the Moscow Metro which is considered a true underground museum.

The metro's architecture, interior and details at times resemble a royal palace.

The walls of many stations are finished with marble, granite, jasper, rhodonite and onyx, and decorated with bas-reliefs and frescos.
1. ©Sputnik/Ruslan Krivobok/A smalt mosaic panel by Alexander Deineka at Mayakovskaya station of the Moscow Metro
2. ©Sputnik/Pavlov/A mosaic panel at Novoslobodskaya station of the Moscow Metro
3. ©Sputnik/Eugene Odinokov/Passengers at Frunzenskaya station of the Moscow Metro
4. ©Sputnik/Vladimir Astapkovich/Baumanskaya station of the Moscow Metro's Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line
5. ©Sputnik/Eugene Odinokov/Tourists at Komsomolskaya station of the Moscow Metro's Circle Line
6. ©Sputnik/Ramil Sitdikov/Butyrskaya station of the Moscow Metro's Lyublinsko-Dmitrovskaya Line
And, of course, there are the stadiums themselves. Moscow has several football pitches that meet the criteria of hosting international games.

In summer 2018, two Moscow stadiums, Spartak and Luzhniki, will host World Cup matches.
©Sputnik/Vladimir Pesnya/The Gladiator sculpture outside Spartak Stadium in Moscow
©Sputnik/Vladimir Pesnya/The Gladiator sculpture outside Spartak Stadium in Moscow
Spartak Stadium
For a long time, FC Spartak did not have a home stadium. Construction of the long-awaited arena began only in 2010. In September 2014, the grand opening was marked by a friendly match between Spartak and Crvena Zvezda (Belgrade).

The arena is used for Russian football championships and other competitions. It hosted the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and will host 2018 FIFA World Cup group stage matches and the playoff's round of 16.

The new stadium can seat more than 45,000 spectators. It was the first venue completed for the 2018 World Cup.
©Sputnik/Alexey Filippov/Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow
©Sputnik/Alexey Filippov/Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow
Luzhniki Stadium
Luzhniki is rightfully considered the 2018 World Cup's most important stadium. It will host the opening game of the championship and the final.

The stadium opened in 1956 and has undergone several renovations since. The cost of the most recent upgrade is estimated at 350 million euros. Luzhniki was the largest stadium in the Soviet Union and Russia, and has remained so thanks to renovations.

After the large-scale renovation of the Luzhniki Big Sports Arena, the number of seats will have increased from 78,000 to 81,000, including 300 seats for people with restricted mobility. The surfaces of seats and stands will be resistant to vandalism.
Luzhniki will have a control center with a convenient view of all the stands and the field, and two large screens for game broadcasts. In compliance with FIFA requirements, the football field will be covered with natural turf.

The cover above the stands has been extended by 11 meters. It is made of a modern type of polycarbonate that lets in more light. Luzhniki will be equipped with stands and field heating for winter games.
©Sputnik/Alexey Filippov/Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow
©Sputnik/Alexey Filippov/Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow
How to get there
By plane: The fastest and most convenient way to get to Moscow is by air. There are hundreds of daily flights to Moscow airports (Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo, Vnukovo and Zhukovsky) from all over the world.

It is also convenient to fly between Moscow and other host cities (Sochi, Yekaterinburg and Rostov-on-Don).

By train: Sapsan and Lastochka high-speed trains from Moscow go to St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod, respectively. Travel time is as fast as 3.5 hours.

Other host cities of the 2018 World Cup can be reached from Moscow by first-class and second-class trains.
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