The Kremlin, Moscow

Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO)

Moscow is the capital of Russia and boasts a population of 13 million. Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the economy has improved and Moscow has undergone a facelift with modern architecture and new transportation systems.

The city sits on the Moskva River, and most tourist destinations are on it's northern bank. The city's geography is dominated by the "Ring Roads," a series of circles that start at the city center — where Red Square and the Kremlin can be found — that roughly follows the lines of the ancient walls that formerly surrounded Moscow.

Sights that Must Be Seen

The heart of Moscow and your first stop must be Red Square. It's stuff of novels and spy films: the iconic onion-domed St. Basil's Cathedral, the Kremlin and Lenin's Mausoleum. According to legend, Vladimir Lenin was opposed to building monuments in his honor; ponder that thought as you join the queue to stroll past his embalmed body.

At the Kremlin, visit the precious, jewel-encrusted treasures in the Armoury, or catch a ballet performance in the Conference Center. When you've enjoyed enough culture, wander down Old Arbat Street to browse souvenir stands and tourist cafés.

When hunger catches up with you, you'll notice the ubiquitous sign of Western influence — McDonald's — is found near most metro stops. But the ethnic cuisine here is not to be missed. Azerbaijani food is the most popular fare in Moscow, with its focus on meats cooked with nuts and fresh herbs. You might also try hearty meat-based Armenian food or Georgian dishes, which are slightly spicier than Russian food. Moscovites went sushi crazy in the late 1990s and while other Asian food isn't popular, good sushi joints — with mostly cooked sushi — abound.

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