9 Moscow Districts You Should Pay a Visit
Numerous Moscow Districts only add to the charm this lady possesses. For its size, it is not difficult to imagine that Moscow has a large number of districts (районы) ! There are twelve « okrug »: nine are within the town, and the last three outside (Zelenogradsky, Novomosky and Troisky) which are subdivided into over 146 districts. Of course, talking about all the districts would take pages to describe. This is why, we should focus on the Central Administrative Okrug ( Центра́льный администрати́вный о́круг). Located in the heart of the city, the okrug is divided into 10 districts with a total population of approximately 742, 689 inhabitants.
Arbat District ( Район Арбат) and Khamovniki District (Хамо́вники)
If you are fond of art, you will be spoilt with these two neighbouring districts. Both bohemian and intellectual, Arbat is the ideal place to stroll, especially in the pedestrian street of Stary Arbart where you can find plenty of curiosities, but also ask for a coffee or listen to street performers. Alongside this street is what is called Novy Arbat: at night you can enjoy a mix of genres, between the old and the new, which gives a rather kitsch mix! Major departments are also located in this district namely Defense, Foreign Affairs and Economic Development. For the record, this was initially a suburb where the palace servants, artisans or archers lived.
Khamonivi contains many outstanding museums including the famous Museum of Fine Arts Pushkin. It is also a very nice district for walking, especially at Novodevichy Convent and its Cemetery where you can pay a tribute to famous people such as Boris Yeltsin, Eisenstein, Gogol or Bulgakov, to name a few (I’d like to point out that this cemetery isn’t gloomy, and is very enjoyable). The district is also famous for its magnificent Cathedral of Christ the Savior!
Basmanny District (райо́н Басма́нный) and Tagansky district (Тага́нский райо́н)
Both districts are in the east of Moscow and were mostly industrial areas. Today, many of these abandoned factories are converted into an arts centre, clubs, and so on …
Basmanny, located within the belt of the Gardens, is a charming residential neighborhood. You’ll find Kurskaya station here, as well as more than thirty Orthodox churches. It was also a German quarter at the end of the 16th century: Catholics and Protestants had to leave the center of Moscow at that time.
Tagansky is known for the square of the same name. If you decide to take a walk in this area, I suggest you stop in the many art galleries such as Winzavod, ArtPlay, or Art Garbage. If you prefer history, go inside the Bunker-42 to feel the emotions of the Cold War!
Meschansky District (Мещанский район)
In this district you’ll find a part of Kuznestsky Most street , the Rozhdestvensky monastery, the Olympic Stadium and also the Federal Security Service in Lubyanka square.
For the record, the name comes from « meshchane » which during the Russian empire, meant people who are not part of the class of merchants or civil servants but they had some money.
Presnensky District (Пре́сненский райо́н)
This district is full of things to see, such as the planetarium that will leave you with your head in the stars and for animal lovers, there is the Moscow Zoo. Pushkin café is the ideal place to rest. And if you want to catch some air, go stroll to the pond of the Patriarchs which you surely will be reminded of the famous novel “The Master and Margarita” by Bulgakov. Finally, if you enjoy classical music, spend an evening at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory!
Tverskoy District (Тверско́й райо́н)
The most famous place of this district, you must absolutely go to the Teatralnaya square with the we-don’t-even-need-to-name-it Bolshoi theater (attending a performance if you have the opportunity, because it’s worth it!). This area is nice for a drink and to walk around. You should take a walk in the lovely street Kamersky! And if you want to end up completely relaxed, go for a “banya” in the enchanting baths Sandouny!
Zamoskvorechye District (райо́н Замоскворе́чье) and Yakimanka District (райо́н Якима́нка)
They are the perfect place for those who love strolling ! You can find the Gorky park where there is the biggest ice skating rink in winter for the sunny days to freshen up along the Moskva. It has always been a buzzing artistic neighborhood with a lot of galleries (Central House of Artists, both Tretyakov galleries). At sunset, you can explore Bolotny island where you can linger on for a drink or go dancing until the end of the night in some really good clubs as Gipsy or Rolling Stone.
Finally, the most famous and the most visited area : Kitai Gorod. It is not really a district – almost nobody lives there as it’s a business district – but there you will find not only the Goum, but also the Red square and the Kremlin !
This blog was brought to you by Anne Sophie, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz