Interview with Sergei Lavrentyev, president of City Sightseeing Russia.

26 Jul 2017

- How has Moscow changed over the past 10 years?
- Definitely for the best. It’s unrecognizable. Moscow in 2017 and Moscow in 2007 are two completely different cities. What’s most important is that it is becoming more and more suitable for pedestrians, cyclists, Muscovites and visitors, adults and children. Don’t get me wrong, Moscow has always had many amazing sights to show but the problem used to lie in the infrastructure. Now, the infrastructure is reaching Western levels and spending time in the city is a comfortable affair. There are now plenty of restaurants catering to any taste and any budget – and that’s worth noting separately. The city now has strictly pedestrian zones – and that used to always be lacking in the city center. Moscow has become even safer and friendlier; there’s now a special tourist police and a chain of Tourist Information Centers called “City Expert”.

- How is Moscow different from other European capitals?
- History. The center of Moscow boasts an impressive architectural collection of styles from many centuries. You can find Imperial architecture and right next door you’ll see a grandiose Stalinist building, a working class Brezhnev-era residential building or a pretentious one from the post-Yeltsin years. If in St. Petersburg one can admire the architectural style preferred by Peter the Great, in Moscow you will get a real mix of different times, epochs and rulers.

- Now a question especially for our foreign readers. Could you please tell us what you must visit on your first trip to Moscow? Do you have any favorite places in the capital? What are the main “musts”?
- As banal as it might sound, you have to start off by visiting the Red Square. This is the heart not only of Moscow but of theentire country! This is where all of Russia’s energy comes from. My favorite places in Moscow are VDNKh (where I live andoften go for walks with my children) and the Ostankino TV tower, which makes for a fascinating visit for tourists both from within Russian and abroad. These areas have really blossomed and bloomed over the past few years.

- Name three cities apart from Moscow that tourists should definitely make time for.
- St. Petersburg and Kazan because both of these cities already have the red double-deckers sightseeing buses – an indicator of tourist appeal. And, of course, my hometown of Petrozavodsk because that is the starting point for visiting the Kizhi Island, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.


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