As with any other respectable major city, Moscow has its significant share of museums. These are a great way to learn about Russian history, art, culture and literature. Here we list a number of the most popular and recommended museums in Moscow. However, if you have got a particular niche interest, do not hesitate to research further as you will be surprised by what you might find. The range of museums in Moscow has something for everyone whether you are interested in politics, jewellery, aviation, works of art or even vodka.
The Tretyakov Gallery - website
The Tretyakov Gallery explores the rich tradition from which great artists such Kandinsky, Chagall and Malevich sprang onto the world stage. The collection contains more than 130,000 exhibits and undoubtedly the foremost depository of Russian fine art the world.
The Kremlin Armoury - website
The Kremlin Armoury is home to Moscow's oldest and most prestigious museum with a staggering collection of Tsarist artefacts, Russian and foreign jewellery and armour. Here one finds the so-called Diamond Fund, a unique collection of gems, jewellery and natural nuggets dating back to the Russian Crown Treasury that was instituted by Emperor Peter I in 1719. Highlights of the collection include Catherine the Great's stunningly lavish coronation crown, the world's largest sapphire, the famous Orlov Diamond, and numerous Faberge eggs.
The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts - website
The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, located just opposite the rebuilt Christ the Saviour Cathedral, is the largest museum of European art with paintings by Picasso, Gauguin, Matisse and Van Gogh. It was founded by Professor Ivan Tsvetaev who persuaded philanthropist Yuriy Nechaev-Maltsov and architect Roman Klein of the urgent need to give Moscow a fine arts museum. Its name is misleading as it has nothing to do with the famous Russian poet.
The State Historical Museum - website
The State Historical Museum, the imposing red-brick palace opposite St. Basil's Cathedral in the Red Square, holds a supremely rich collection of artefacts acquired by members of the Romanov dynasty. The collection relates to the history of the Russian lands from the Paleolithic period to the present day. Established on the initiative of the Russian scientific community in 1896, the exhibits number in the millions.
The Bulgakov Museum - website
The Bulgakov Museum commemorates the life and works of author Mikhail Bulgakov in the communal apartment where he lived with his wife for three years from 1921. It is the model of that 'Odd Flat' referred to in his famous novel 'The Master and Margarita'. Graffiti, including text from the novel and drawings of its characters, decorate the external walls and stairwells of the apartment building.
The Museum of the Great Patriotic War - website
The Museum of the Great Patriotic War is part of the memorial complex at Poklonnaya Gora, which can be translated as 'submission hill or bow-down hill'. It was the spot where Napoleon waited in vain for the keys to the Kremlin to be brought to him by Russians. The Museum includes detailed exhibitions and rare wartime chronicles from the second world war. The larger memorial complex at Poklonnaya Gora has the best vantage point of Moscow and also comprises Victory Park with its towering obelisk and an open-air display of military vehicles, aircraft, cannons and more.
The Museum of Modern Art - website
The Museum of Modern Art is a museum of contemporary art that opened to the public in 1999. Its activities exclusively concentrate on the art of the 20th and 21st centuries. The Museum of Modern Art plays an important part on the Moscow art scene. The majority of exhibits are by Russian artists, but the display also includes some works by renowned Western masters such as Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, Salvador Dalí, Henri Rousseau and Yukinori Yanaga.
The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics - website
The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics is dedicated to exhibits about the history of Soviet and Russian flight and space exploration. It opened in 1981 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the day Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the earth in space.
The Zoological Museum - website
The Zoological Museum of Moscow University is a scientific institution, established in 1791 as a Museum of Natural History. It is the second largest zoological museum in Russia (the largest is in St. Petersburg) and one of the twelve largest in the world.
The list above is by no means exhaustive with other ideas including the Vodka Museum, the Gorky Museum, the Mayakovsky Museum, the Museum of Water and the Orlov Museum of Paleontology amongst others.
View from Sparrow Hills
Moscow State University
"Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world" - Gustave Flaubert