Brand new Moscow walks: From Kropotkinskaya to Gorky Park

Elena Larionova for RBTH
RBTH has prepared a series of new walking routes around Moscow’s historic center. Take a walk around Moscow as if you were a local and don’t be afraid to get lost: Discover something new and draw your own map of the city.

A little advice from RBTH: All walking routes around Moscow found in guidebooks or recommended by social networks are already hopelessly outdated. In the last three years alone Moscow has witnessed the addition of seven pedestrian zones to its historic center. Three huge parks have also changed to the point of becoming unrecognizable versions of their former selves. In some buildings rooftops with great views of the city have become accessible to the public and pedestrian areas have been set up along the granite embankments of the Moskva River

Even Google Street View still contains the old panoramic picture of the Yakimanskaya and Krymskaya embankments and Krymsky Bridge before the reconstruction – compare it with the new RBTH photos and see the difference!

The Moscow that travelers discover today is a different one: It's a comfortable Moscow whose center is now easily traversible on foot without the assistance of the metro

Route No. 1: From the Cathedral of Christ the Savior to Gorky Park

Overall walking time (stops excluded): 1.5 hours

Route length: 5.5 kilometers

Kropotkinskaya metro station

Photo credit: Elena Larionova for RBTH

Our route begins next to the Kropotkinskaya metro station (red line). Here, towering on the embankment is the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, rebuilt thanks to public donations in the 1990s. From the church’s viewing platform you can enjoy a splendid vista on the Kremlin, Moscow’s central districts and the Moskva River. The entrance fee to the viewing area is 200 rubles (about $4).

Patriarshy Bridge

Photo credit: Elena Larionova for RBTH

In front of the church is the Patriarshy Bridge, the favorite crossing of many Muscovites. Just five years ago a walk around the city center would have ended here, as previously the bridge was obstructed by a private lot and the fumes coming from the nearby street. Now from the Patriarshy Bridge a panoramic view opens on what once was the “Krasny Oktyabr” (Red October) confectionery factory. Today the premises of the factory host a huge cluster of hipster bars, architectural and design offices and media specialists. However, our route does not include the factory; instead, we’ll continue our walk along the bridge.

Balchug Island

Photo credit: Elena Larionova for RBTH

The Patriarshy Bridge crosses Balchug, an artificial island that formed as early as the 18th century due to the construction of the Vodootvodny Canal to protect the city from floods. It’s interesting that not many Muscovites actually know that there’s an island in the city center despite its 200-year-old history. At the same time this is hardly surprising as previously crossing the island was not possible: The bridge had not been completed yet. However, now just go straight across the Patriarshy Bridge and along the island and the canal and in five minutes you’ll find yourself on the Yakimanskaya Embankment.

The Yakimanskaya and Krymskaya Embankments

Photo credit: Elena Larionova for RBTH

The Yakimanskaya Embankment represents a difficult segment of the route because of its narrow pavement, wide carriageway and the unfriendly honk of passing cars. Such was the situation with all of Moscow’s central embankments until three years ago, so it wasn’t surprising that nobody walked on them. However, after just five minutes the Yakimanskaya Embankment turns into the renovated Krymskaya Embankment, with its grandiose walking paths, designed landscapes, bike lanes and fountains. Perhaps you will like it so much that you'll decide you don’t need to go anywhere else.

Muzeon and the Tretyakov Gallery

Photo credit: Elena Larionova for RBTH

The other name of the renovated Krymskaya Embankment is the Muzeon Embankment. It has existed in such a form since 2013 and represents an extension of Muzeon Park, which surrounds the “Tsentralny Dom Khudozhnika” (Central House of Artist). At the new Tretyakov Gallery, also known as the “Tretyakovka,” there is an exhibition on the first floor featuring works by the most important Russian painters of the 20th century: Malevich, Petrov-Vodkin and Kandinsky. It makes an ideal stop if the weather takes a turn for the worse.  

If you continue walking along the Krymskaya Embankment, you’ll pass under the Krymsky Bridge and reach the western entrance to Gorky Park, which has already earned many accolades as a “new city legend” after its reconstruction was started in 2011. The park’s reopening ushered in a new era for Moscow’s recreational areas. There’s everything here: Deck chairs, Wi-Fi throughout the park, ponds teeming with swans, platforms to practice cross-fit and yoga, children areas and bike and catamaran rentals. More than one foreigner, upon experiencing the awesomeness of Gorky Park, has changed their departure date and decided to remain in Moscow for the whole summer.


Andreyevsky Bridge

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-Media

If you continue your walk further on along the embankment bordering Gorky Park, you’ll reach its southern end and come to Andreyevsky Bridge. This pedestrian glass bridge is the perfect place to observe the bends of the Moskva River and the green spaces of the Neskuchny garden, which is so large that we recommend taking it in by bike.


End of the Route

We recommend that you decide where to end this walk. The first option is to go to the central entrance of Gorky Park, cross the Krymsky Bridge and head to the Park Kultury metro station (red and ring line) or instead go to the right to the Oktyabrskaya (orange and ring line) metro station. Another option is to walk to the end of the Andreyevsky Bridge where you’ll reach the Frunzenskaya metro station (red line). Next to the metro there are two wonderful 19th-century estates with their own parks: The Trubetskoy estate in Khamovniki and the great writer Lev Tolstoy’s House-Museum. If you anticipate making one or both of these museums part of your walk, start early and wear comfortable shoes!




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