Manezhnaya Square in Moscow, Russia - the tale of famous Manege...
Manezhnaya Square (or "Manezhka" as we call it) is your all-in-one travel "hub".
In addition, you can visit "Okhotny Ryad" underground shopping mall, rest in cafes and restaurants, drop by "Manege" exhibition center, picture beautiful flowers of Alexander garden, and walk through a couple of museums.
That's not to mention that "Manezhka" is beauty by itself - with fountains, domes, and decorated shores of Neglinka river
Do you really think you should miss such a place?
During Soviet times, it was nothing special. As far as I know, Manege square was one big traffic interchange, with only interesting thing being the Manege exhibition hall.
Its story begain in 1831. Well, Manege existed before, but since 1831 it was the place for exhibitions and balls - and it still is!
In 2004, Manege burned, so government decided to rebuild it according to original plans. Plus, a whole lot of new facilities appeared in and around.
Took them about a year to turn Manezhnaya Square upside down, but I didn't see it until long after. You know how it's like - when you live somewhere, you don't really visit tourist sights every weekend!
So there I was, staring at magnificent shopping mall that links straight to the metro. Dozens of shops, boutiques, cafes and fast-food restaurants like "Sbarro", "Kroshka-kartoshka" and "McDonalds". You could easily spend there your entire day without going to the surface!
Upstairs, there are many restaurants as well, including a cheap and tasty internet cafe. Check the rates - they're surely better than your hotel's!
When you're done eating, walk along the shores of Neglinka river, which was put underground during Soviet times. Today, Neglinka is free again, its banks decorated with fountains and statues from Russian fairy tales. Your kids will love those, I gua-ran-tee!
And did you see those glass domes? They are in fact the roof of "Okhotny Ryad" which spans under the entire square! They don't look like much during the day, but at night, when they are illuminated - you'll see the world map appear on them! One big globe, huh?
So you see, there're plenty of options on how to spend your day. For example, you could come by metro, make some shopping in "Okhotny Ryad", rest in cafe, walk by Alexander Garden and then continue to The Red Square, The Kremlin and probably Moscow GUM.
Another option would be to come straight to The Red Square, pass Kremlin's beautiful chapels and cathedrals, spend some time in cafe enjoying the view on Neglinka, then get down to make some shopping and finally hop on the train to your hotel.
Fan of Moscow museums? There're two you can visit right now! It's the famous State History Museum, with millions of exhibits even from prehistoric era, and Archeological Museum, which has its own little story.
During construction works, the builders have uncovered many historic artifacts. Instead of taking them to some distant exhibition, the Museum of Moscow Archaeology was founded, showing you how Manezhnaya Square looked like hundreds of years before. The entrance is easy to miss, so pay attention!
There's another story connected to Manezhka. During Stalin times, the architects brought him the sketch of "Moskva" hotel. It was separated in two to present the two possible designs.
Instead of choosing one, Stalin signed the paper and said it was great. Since no one dared to correct him, "Moskva" was built combining the two designs.
I can't say whether it's true or not, but the hotel is indeed asymmetric! It was demolished, but rebuilt later - exactly according to the old design - so you can see by yourself!.
Don't hurry, take your time - Manezhnaya Square holds many secrets and marvels. This place is veeery popular with tourists, both foreign and from Russia. Lots of kids - Manezhka is a perfect place for family trip!
Don't miss your chance to join the fun!
....when you're in metro passages, look for the street orchestra. The guys are real professionals, so it'd be great if you could spare a coin.
They really deserve it!
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