THE MAGICAL & AWE INSPIRING HOLIDAY MOSCOW
In 2019 Moscow surpassed London and Paris as the world’s most desirable city and No. 1 tourist destination. When you watch the videos and read my story below, you’ll know exactly why. There is nothing more charming, magical and joyful than Moscow during Christmas-New Year’s.
On the videos below, witness what I have enjoyed this holiday season in Moscow! And it was even relatively warm this year. (The videos aren’t mine; I was fully focused on celebrating. For you I’ve picked several from YouTube. These videos, in my view, best represent the true spirit and magic of the amazing New Year 2020 Moscow! Thank you to all those who made and posted these great videos!)
Below videos I give you my spread and tell you where to go and what to see in the Moscow wonderland.
I also want to say a special HUGE thank you to all those who have created this amazing display of light and joy around the city, and to all those who brougth a truly magnificent New Year 2020 to Russia and to all Russians! Moscow isn’t the only city with a brilliant display of beauty and creativity – everyone throughout the country had something to contribute!
One of the special gifts to all Russians was the historic full opening of the Crimean Bridge and two first trains from Moscow and St. Petersburg to Crimea just days before the New Year’s! People were buying tickets in advance and traveling from all over to experience something that just a few years ago seemed impossible. The international importance of this event cannot be underestimated (I might share some cool footage and my analysis of what this means – check it out later on Lada Ray Patreon).
Today, enjoy the magic of the 2019-2020 Christmas/New Year Moscow!
Children’s open air ice-skating Russian fairytale show in Moscow center
Near Kievskaya Metro station and Kievsky Train Station. (No one in Russia renames places historically named after something Ukrainian, while Ukraine, taken over by the lowest elements, bans everything Russian. For the holidays, Russian stores continue selling the famous Kievsky cake, and it doesn’t occur to anyone to ban or rename it.)
New Year 2020 Russian Space exploration cosmonautics themed GUM
JAW-DROPPING & EYE-POPPING MOSCOW WONDERLAND! WHERE TO GO & WHAT TO SEE?
Holiday Moscow boasts not only amazing decorations, but also lovely music playing everywhere; free open air concerts; children’s Ded Moroz (Santa) and Snegurochka (Ded Moroz’s granddaughter) performances; over 15 free ice skating, sledding, tubing and snowboarding venues. There are also Europe’s largest VDNKh and Red Square skating rinks, both with the views to die for.
During December 2019 and part of January 2020 Moscow hosts its annual international fair on Red Square, with holiday cousines and goods from over 20 countries and various Russian regions (some of the fair is shown on videos above). I believe it’s called ‘A Journey to Christmas.’ By the way, Russian Christmas is celebrated on January 7.
Since Soviet days, VDNKh hosts pavilions representing the Soviet (now ex-Soviet) republics, with cafes and restaurants serving national cousines, shops and exhibits. One of the highlights to see is the always smashingly gorgeous GUM (Glavny Universalny Magazin – the Main Department Store) on Red Square. GUM’s holiday theme this year is Space exploration, due to a large number of anniversaries celebrated by the Russian cosmonautics. GUM also has a tradition of decorating its many New Year-Christmas trees with special decor, particular to each store under its roof. Therefore, you’ll see trees decorated by Gucci, Armani, Bosco and Versace all over the place. It’s common for people to come to GUM as if to a museum, wandering around and shooting photos and videos (take a look at the one above).
You are very likely to walk into a movie set: many streets and squares of Moscow in December turn into TV or film backdrops for countless holiday programs.
The modern Moscow City, which is the business center of Moscow, may warrant a visit. It has an observation deck in one of the sky scrapers.
Don’t forget to visit Nikolskaya Street with its incredible ceiling of light (as seen on videos above). Also go to the Manezhnaya Square, the Bolshoi and Pushkin Squares. Walk around Tverskaya Street, Tverskoy Boulevard, the new Zariadie Park with its hanging bridge, Novy Arbat and the pedestrian Arbat (aka, Old Arbat). That’s just to name a few.
Beautiful New Year’s Trees are installed on every square and in every neighborhood of Moscow (what’s called ‘a Christmas tree’ in the West is called ‘New Year’s Tree’ in Russia).
There are lots of jaw-droppingly gorgeous arches, tunnels, pyramids and ceilings of sparkling light everywhere.
All public transporation is free for New Year’s. And public transportation in Moscow is nothing like New York’s (such as the toxic and depressing New York subway).
During holidays there is so much to do that people don’t even talk about the Metro, although this is top of everyone’s list during the rest of the year. Inside of a couple of Moscow Metro stations – one old and one new:
Moscow’s public transportation is a fusion of palacial luxury, smashing futuristic world and ultimate comfort. The incredible Moscow Metro, electrobuses, the new circular Lastochka train… Russian trains, metro, buses and trams have wi-fi connection and electronic equipment charge stations. Long-distance metro-style trains, such as Lastochka, have modern bio-toilets and convenient baby carriage and bike stalls.
(I just tried to picture all that in New York subway and began laughing. It’ll already be a revolutionary achievement if New York splurges on paint to cover up all that ugly rust, or patches up holes in the ceiling so water doesn’t drip on poor passengers stuck in that dystopian nightmare!)
They annually build 10 or more new Metro stations, all looking like fairytale. And currently, they are rolling out driverless taxis and minibuses! Russia practically from scratch created a new advanced transporation industry and it now produces all the high-speed trains, metro trains, mini-buses, buses, ambulances and trams it needs, while just five-ten years ago it bought most of it abroad. Russia is also at the forefront of the electric and driverless revolution, with flocks of new electrobuses and upcoming driverless electric cars navigating the streets.
The public tranportation park is very well maintained and it gets quickly replaced with new models. This applies to entire Russia, not just Moscow, although Moscow and other large cities are first to test the most advanced transportation.
And you thought the West was the pinnacle of the world? Think again!
Moscow is considered expensive, especially in the center. If you are away from the center prices drop very significantly and in some cases shopping may become incredibly affordable (even Ukrainians, who make 1/3 of Russian salaries say so).
Food is delish, very diverse, generous and very reasonably priced even in the center, compared to the quality vs. price ratio anywhere in the West. The difference is striking if you compare it to the US – and very much NOT in the USA’s favor.
Oh yeah, don’t forget to try the famous Moscow ice cream, which people line up for in the GUM even in the middle of winter. This ice cream is highly requested by presidents; when Putin was in China, he brought a huge box for Xi, who especially asked for it. Go to another famous GUM spot: the iconic Soviet-style cafeteria, where you can eat fabulously for just a few dollars (equivalent).
The Main Children’s Department store also has amazing decor. It’s called Detskiy Mir (The Children’s World) – don’t miss!
In Moscow, you literally don’t have to spend any money to speak of on entertainment during the Holiday Season, if you don’t want to; there is so much free open air entertainment, so much to do and so much to see!
Moscow has more than enough for all budgets and tastes. Of course there are famous theatres and restaurants, some of which can be expensive, but always highly desirable.
All the good shows were sold out. It was possible to get tickets for The Bolshoi Nutcracker for 50,000 rubles ($900+), and even those went fast. Next time I’ll be buying tickets months in advance. If purchased in advance, the holiday price I think could be between 6,000 and 12,000 rubles – $100-$200. It’s still better than what you pay for the New Year’s opera or ballet gala shows at the New York Lincoln Center, which could cost up to $300-$500. But the New York City Ballet is incomparable to superior quality of the Bolshoi (even though New York ballet repertoire was created by Russians and it ‘borrowed’ pretty much everything from Russian ballet).
The great news for foreign tourists is that the Russian ruble is very depressed compared to most currencies, and it’s very affordable to buy anything in Russia today. Go while you can!
You could easily get tickets to the Bolshoi for some minor stage performances though, and they are still all great. It’s where The Bolshoi School students and young artists perform, who are all very talented and professional. For a fraction of the regular Bolshoi cost you can catch the beginnings of a future star. Bolshoi, after its major reconstruction, now has 4 separate stages. In the past it was only one: that iconic Bolshoi Theatre the whole world recognizes. It’s now called the Historic Stage and it’s where the most popular shows take place, with major stars performing.
Bolshoi – the iconic Historic Stage:
I last saw The Bolshoi Nutcracker (correct in Russian: Щелкунчик – tr. Shchelkunchik) as a child in Moscow. Back then the tickets to this world famous theatre were a mere several rubles, then an equivalent of several dollars.
Many other theatres and circuses host holiday shows, as well.
Just before, during and after New Year’s, Russian TV hosts hundreds of various colorful humor, song and dance shows, including the New Year’s Blue Light (Novogodniy Goluboi Ogonek), the KVN final game (this I always watch), Song of the Year, Humor of the Year, the Star Parade, etc. Some of these have been beloved TV programs since forever. The oldest are the nostalgic Goluboi Ogonek, which began in the 1950s, and the ever-popular KVN game show, since 1961. The shows are funny, entertaining and very lavish. Plus, there are various other concerts and shows for children and adults, all very nostalgic and positive. The artistic scene is so rich that it truly is awe-inspiring.
I can’t beleive Russians still complain about the quality of this or that… Spoiled is the word. For those of us in the West, who risk dying of boredom during Christmas-New Year’s, due to nothing, absolutely nothing, to do or see, except go to some sad bar, contrived party or bawling alley (yes, people do that too for New Year’s, if you can believe it). In bars and at parties people drown their boredom and lack of meaning in liquor and pretend they are having fun to ear-splittingly loud ‘music.’ And don’t even get me started on the “dream of dreams” of some people: greeting the New Year on Times Square. As a New Yorker who has gone once and never again, I tell you: DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME! What happens there is so cheap, pretentious and superficial that it’s nowhere near what you can experience in Russia. Not even in the same galaxy.
As opposed to that, Russia presents itself as a magical wonderland, full of life and meaning. It literally is the healing soup of joy for the soul!
I am sorry I have to bring this up, but the truth is the truth. The problem is, people very rarely see or hear the truth and they prefer wearing distorted glasses when it comes to reality. My job is to show people reality and truth, to open people’s eyes and to show them how the clock really works. Even when it comes to holidays.
I know all kinds of people read this. Some may be from Russia, and to them I say:
RUSSIANS, STOP COMPLAINING! START APPRECIATING WHAT YOU HAVE! YOU HAVE SO MUCH! YOUR COUNTRY IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT TO THE WORLD, IT HAS SO MUCH TO OFFER & IT DESERVES TO BE ADMIRED!
As someone who has lived all over the world, I can compare and I can see it clearly!
If you live in the West, I hope one day you get the chance to visit the magical and enchanting Russia! Don’t believe what your propaganda tells you! The truth and reality are just the opposite! The truth is that the West is jealous of Russia the Great Balancer and Harmonizer; it’s scared of its potential to show a better way – it has been for many centuries. This is why Russia and everything Russian is maligned. The West doesn’t understand Russians, who value beauty, generosity, friendship and spirituality much higher than money.
Russia isn’t perfect – as nothing can be perfect in this life. There are pluses and minuses to everything. But Russia on balance is awesome, cool, full of amazing magical discoveries, rich heritage and talent! And it’s full of soul and heart!
Russia is the true hope of the world!
More to say – maybe next time.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2020!
Watch my New Year 2020 video card:
This post is part of my 70 YEARS OF THE GREAT VICTORY MARATHON
(You can see all posts under category: 70 Years of Great Victory)
English: A very unusual train appeared on the Serpukhovo-Timiryazevskaya line of the Moscow Metro, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory in WWII, which will be celebrated on May 9th on Red Square. One of the train’s carriages is painted with various episodes of the heroic defence of Moscow in 1941. For that Moscow became one of the first 4 cities to receive the title of the “Hero City.” Each carriage is dedicated to one of the Hero Cities, including, Odessa, Leningrad, Stalingrad, Fortress Brest (Belarus), Sevastopol (Crimea), etc. One can freely walk between carriages to see the entire exhibit. In this one of a kind train, even station arrivals are announced by the famed singer, Yosif Kobzon.
Russian: На Серпуховско-Тимирязевской ветке московского метрополитена запустили праздничный поезд, посвященный 70-летию Победы. Поезд имеет сквозной проход между вагонами, каждый из которых посвящен одному из городов-героев, а станции в составе объявляет Иосиф Кобзон.
Video – Victory Train’s first run:
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