January 31, 2011

Moscow: Old Arbat

Though I love Russia, I must admit that it is one of the not so tourist-friendly countries. I mean, they have a complicated visa regime. Getting a visa to enter Russia was hard enough. Then once you enter the country and intend to stay there more than 3 days, you must register your visa and migration card within 3 working days of arriving in the country.

But fret not, if you're staying at a hotel, the hotel reception should register them for you. I stayed at my sister's apartment, so we had to register ourselves. But since we got our travel vouchers from a local travel agency, they registered them for us. Phew! Thank God for the service. Saved all the hassles. One, it is time consuming. Second, I wouldn't want to go to the visa bureau myself, explaining things in English while they replied in Russian.

Since I didn't go register it myself, I can't explain the process to you. You can refer it here. You might think twice of coming here for a holiday. hehe...

So, after settling everything, lil sis and I started exploring the city. We started with Arbat Street, or Old Arbat as many people call it. 


How to go there:  The nearest station would be Arbatskaya and Smolenskaya

This most famous street in Moscow lies to the West of the Kremlin, running parallel to Novy Arbat or New Arbat.


Novy Arbat

Old Arbat

The area has been paved with cobblestones and closed to vehicles. Strolling through the old cobbled streets sure was enjoyable.

Along the street, you will find a lot of interesting items...
  • monument to the great Russian poet, Pushkin and his wife, in front of their house.

  • monument to Bulat Okudzhava, a famous musician and poet who became a symbol of humanity and protest against the Soviet bureaucracy. 

  • Princess Turandot Fountain. Basically this "Turandot" is a play by Evgeny Vakhtangov in 1921. Sitting atop a fountain by the theater bearing Vakhtangov's name, the play is still performed there.

  • the remnants of old Moscow’s architecture.

  • Hard Rock Cafe


  • painters and artists


  • buskers 

  • cafes and eateries


  • animals


  • a huge number of souvenir shops 

The shops in Old Arbat mostly are souvenirs shop but the merchandise found in the shops here is more expensive than the similar merchandise to be found at the Izmailovo market since it is a tourist-oriented location. But some of the shops will offer you a bargain or discount, so it doesn’t hurt to have a look. 

A lot of things to do and see ey? All in all, it is worth the trip to take a stroll down the street.

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