If you think the Red Square is the square to be, well, yes if you want to see the grim significant government buildings of Moscow. But if you want to see a lively more frivolous area, the Manege Square is the one to visit. This bustling square sits right beside Alexander Gardens and the Kremlin, and is one that usually sees a lot of activity all year round. Join us for an exciting walk around the area and learn some of its hidden truths.
We begin the tour at the Square’s latest attraction, the display of Italian artist Guiseppe Arcimboldo’s works of the unconventional ‘portrait still life’ style, in which he uses fruits, vegetables, leaves and flowers to ‘paint’ portraits of kings or queens. Quite naturally, this spot trends frequently on Instagram, with the few visitors in the area clicking selfies in front of these quirky works of art. As you look around the square you’ll identify 2 red buildings beside each other. One of them is the old Moscow City Hall and the larger one with darker red bricks, is the State Historical Museum. Together, both of them house ancient artifacts and manuscripts, exquisite gifts from various nation heads, a massive weaponry collection and other treasures from Russia’s rich history.
Manege Square is usually very crowded with plenty of people enjoying a leisurely walk, with many trading stalls across the square. It is popular for live events, celebrations, Christmas markets and other fairs because of its sheer size and openness. If you look closely, you’ll see a few glass domes popping above the ground. Take a guess at what they actually are, before proceeding to find the rotating dome with the World Clock for an attempt to tell time in a unique way.
This vibrant square is surrounded by some of the city’s best and oldest hotels such as Four Seasons and National Hotel. The most luxurious one – the Ritz Carlton, frequently sees Presidents, Queens and Kings, celebrities and other VIPs and allegedly has lesser known underground tunnels for the private entry and exit of such persons.
As we walk towards Alexander gardens, we can see the massive yellow Arsenal building in the Kremlin complex, which houses the serving regiment of soldiers. We enter the Gardens through massive iron grille gates that were built to commemorate Emperor Alexander’s victory over Napoleon. Inside the beautifully kept garden, we see the Tomb of the Unknown Solder with its Eternal Flame, to honour those who lost their lives in the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945) as Russia calls the WWII. We try and end the tour on the hour, so that you get to see the two sentinel protecting the memorial elegantly change guard.
With so much to soak in, this walk should indeed be on the top of your list of things to do.