[1] 43,400. £ Sergiev Posad, then bus (see p227).

Founded as a fortress in 1152 by Yuriy Dolgorukiy, and overlooking Lake Pleshcheevo, Pereslavl-Zalesskiy was an independent princedom until 1302, when it came under the control of Moscow. Peter the Great (see p22) developed plans for the Russian navy here. Sights of interest include the 12th-century Cathedral of the Transfiguration and the Goritskiy Monastery of the Assumption, founded in the 14th century but dating mainly from the 17th-18th centuries.

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Travelling by Tram, Trolleybus and Bus

Moscow has extensive bus, trolleybus and tram routes, and some of the most useful ones are identified on the transport map on the inside back cover of this book. Some routes link in with the metro network (see pp222-4), often starting at one metro station and termin­ating at another. Main avenues are generally served by both buses and trolleybuses. Trams are less useful but, as a sedate form of transport, they are great for sight­seeing. Busy routes can get extremely crowded during the morning and evening rush hours, and traffic is often slow-moving at these times. Moscow’s newer, more remote suburbs are well served by these forms of trans­port. Stops are clearly signed and are at frequent intervals, though tram stops are occasionally further apart.


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There is no such thing as a one-day travel card in Moscow. Instead, there are tickets for one, two, five, 10, 20 or 60 rides, or passes for three months or a year. As the fare for a single journey is still a flat rate, whether it is a couple of stops or the length of the network, it is a very simple system to use. This also means that it Is possible to change as many times as nec – cessary if exploring the metro’s architectural highlights (see pp38-41). Buy enough tickets for your stay at one time to avoid waiting in the ticket counter, or касса (kassa) queues, which can be long during the morning and evening rush hours.

The usual type of ticket is a magnetic card (magnitnaya karta) which works on a phonecard principle...

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Indicates a pedestrian area

Moscow’s vast metro net work, which has stops close to all the major sights, is the most reliable way of travelling around the city. However, it can get extremely crowded. Moscow is also served by buses, trolleybuses and trams. Services are relatively frequent, although delays are now more common than they were in the Soviet era. A knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet will help with reading signs on these serv­ices. Suburban buses are particu­larly useful for travelling around Moscow’s outlying districts, beyond the reach of the metro network, and bus routes often start at a major metro station. Trams run as far as the outskirts of the city, but services are gradu­ally being reduced...

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A plane owned by the Russian airline Aeroflot

The quickest and most comfortable way to get to Moscow is by plane. Travelling overland, especially by road, can be difficult and often involves crossing numerous borders and negotiating roadworks and pot-holed roads. However, if cost is the priority, rail or coach are possibil­ities, especially for visitors arriving from St Petersburg or a neighbouring country, such as Ukraine or Belarus. It is essential that visitors plan their journey before apply­ing for a visa (see p208) since the Russian authorities require detailed information about travel arrangements, in­cluding which cities visitors will use to enter and leave Russia...

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Much of Moscow’s antiquated phone system has been brought up to date in the last few years and there is now a good city-wide service. Many hotel and public phones have direct dialling all over the world, but phones in private homes may not have this facility. The same period has seen an explosive increase in the number of

magazines, newspapers and television channels. Sadly, Russia’s postal system has not improved

at the same rate.

least 100 units are needed. International and inter-city calls are cheaper between 10pm and 8am and at all hours at weekends. The Central Telegraph Office has rows of local and international phones and calls are paid for at the counter.

At present, local calls from private phones are free, as they are covered by the cost of the line rental...

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Banking and Local Currency

Moscow is slowly moving into the credit card age and major Western cards can now be used to pay in hotels, top restaurants and some shops. Everywhere else, however, cash is the norm, and roubles are the only legal currency. The city is well provided with exchange points where visitors can turn their currency (US dollars still being the most popular), travellers’ cheques or credit cards into roubles. Rates of commission vary. Since bank exchange rates are so good, money should never be changed on the street. Apparently “better” offers from private individuals will lead to visitors being cheated.

Roubles cannot be obtained outside Russia, but there are numerous exchange offices all over Moscow, including at the airports. Some offices are open 24 hours a day.

Banking and Local Currency

Official currency...

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Personal Security and Health

Despite lurid worldwide reporting on the mafia, crime in Moscow is no worse than in any big city. Petty crime should be the visitor’s only concern, but even this can usually be avoided if sensible precautions are taken. For language reasons, it is a good idea to have a card with your Russian address written on it for use in taxis and emergencies. Medical insurance is essential. Although many medicines are readily available, local healthcare compares poorly with Western care and English-speaking services and medical evacuation are very expensive.


Every visitor should take out travel insurance...

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TRAVEL SERVICE Sign for the Intourist agency

Moscow is not as diffi­cult for visitors to find their way around as it may seem at first. Certainly, the city is vast, street names and signs are in Cyrillic, and the traffic can be formidably heavy, especially in the centre.

On the other hand, there is an excellent metro system, and passers-by and peo­ple working in hotels, restaurants and shops will usually help foreigners. However, it is a good idea for visitors to familiarize themselves with the Cyrillic alphabet in order to decipher signs.

With tourism still a fledgling industry in Moscow, some tourist facilities, such as infor­mation service...

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Music and Nightlife

Under the Communist regime, Moscow’s nightlife was practically non-existent and those clubs and bars that did exist were for a privileged elite. Today, nightlife in Moscow is booming. Foreign bands, DJs and performers of all types now visit the city regularly, while the quality of the domestic scene has improved markedly. The variety of venues is similarly impressive and ranges from bars where you can see local rock bands to glitzy casinos and late-night clubs playing the latest techno music. The Russian take on modern dance music is noteworthy, as Russians like to party hard and long into the night. Venues can be packed and prices high, but it is an experience not to be missed.


After years of being isolated from major Western pop and rock acts, Muscovites can at last g...

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