Student Story: My First Impressions of Moscow

Student Story: My First Impressions of Moscow
26 January 2015

Student Story: My First Impressions of Moscow

Firs impressions, and impressions in general, after traveling to Russia usually includes visiting a minimum of two cities, St.Petersburg and Moscow. Hopefully travelers will manage to see more of Russia, as St.Petersburg and Moscow only offer a very specific experience, however sometimes due to time, money, or visa specifications it is only possible to travel to these two cities. Unfortunately I was only able to visit Moscow for a weekend.

It’s Big.

Massive. That is the word that comes to mind when explaining my first impressions of Moscow. The city is absolutely huge. Walking out of the train station and seeing colossal concrete buildings, massive metal bridges, wide streets, and skyscrapers made me instantly realize that my experience in this city would be nothing like my experience in St.Petersburg. Moscow is a whole different world.

Moscow is a soviet metropolis. I didn’t realize that everywhere I went there would be statues, plaques, and monuments for historically significant people, places, and events. As a person who loves studying the history of the Soviet Union it was a wonderful surprise! Something important happened almost ANYWHERE that you go, and you continually realize the significance of the city as you explore.

Speaking of large, a map of the metro system will be your best friend as you try to navigate through the city. Luckily, the metro is inexpensive and takes you anywhere that you need to go. Metro stations in Moscow are notoriously beautiful, beautiful enough to write an entire blog post about. I spent an entire evening riding from stop to stop, simply to see and photograph the metro stations, and it was one of my favorite experiences. Each station is different from the next, with an individual theme and specific artistic style. Mosaics, stained glass, and sculptures fill the halls, and locals pass by as if nothing were there. Be sure not to miss out.


It seemed to me that a common theme in Moscow was that the beautiful creations from the Soviet era are under-appreciated. Massive buildings are left vacant or are used for random temporary purposes, and huge, impressive infrastructure is left out of guidebooks and travel websites. Aside from random buildings, monuments, and metro stations, there is an entire park in the art district devoted to soviet statues that used to be significant. Later this week I will write a blog post about the statue graveyard and go further into detail. 🙂


The attractions that I saw during my visit were extremely worthwhile. Lenin’s Mausoleum is an absolute must-see, and was the first place I went upon arrival. Additionally I toured The Kremlin, visited the Contemporary History Museum, saw the amazing monument on top of the Cosmonaut Museum, and saw a changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. All of these experiences were exceptional, and I would highly recommend them to others visiting Moscow.

Although it is difficult to compare Moscow to St.Petersburg, it is hard to not do so. Moscow doesn’t have the same alluring, fresh, mysterious feeling that St.Petersburg has, a feeling that I prefer. However, Moscow is a great city to visit for large museums, metro stations, shopping centers, and soviet history. It is a substantial city in all definitions of the word. My impression was that it is immense, significant, and astounding, yet nearly impossible to describe. A trip to Moscow is something that you must experience for yourself. Happy travels!

This post was brought to you by Allison, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz


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