The luxury of a third day in Moscow is best enjoyed at a more leisurely pace. Spend the morning at Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery, a secluded spot that feels miles from the downtown rush. Then take a car or the metro to Gorky Park. After lunch, head to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, and spend the evening on a bus tour that hits sights farther afield and wraps up the Moscow experience. Start: Metro to Sportivnaya, then a 10-minute walk to the convent.

1. Novodevichy Convent & Cemetery (Novodevichy Monastyr)

This complex, nestled on a leafy peninsula overlooking the Moscow River, was built in the 16th century and housed many exiled or self-exiled royal wives, daughters, and lovers. Its cathedrals form a stunning window onto Russian architecture. The cemetery below holds the intricate and unusual graves of many of Russia's most famous and talented literary, artistic, musical, and political figures.


2. Gorky Park (Park Kultury i Otdkykha Imeni M. Gorkovo)

This is not Moscow's prettiest park or its greenest, but it is the most famous and the most lively. Ice sculptures and iced-over alleys for skating offer pleasure in winter, and concerts and children's festivals keep things lively in summer. The small amusement park along the river includes a real Buran space shuttle that now offers riders a chance to feel like they're blasting off.

3. Take a Break -- Mama Zoya on the Water

This kitschy-looking boat-restaurant boasts some fine Georgian cuisine and a surprisingly homey atmosphere. Mama Zoya's original basement cafe was so popular that she branched out to this dock across from Gorky Park. Try Georgian specialties such as grilled lamb shashlyk or ground-beef kebabs, or the hearty red-bean-and-garlic lobio stew. On the docks across from 4/6 Frunzenskaya Naberezhnaya; tel. 499/242-8550.


4. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts

This impressive collection of international art from the ancients to the present is often overshadowed by the Hermitage Museum, but the Pushkin is a masterpiece of its own. Don't miss the Impressionists and the controversial "trophy art" -- works taken from European Jews by the Nazis, then later seized by victorious Soviet troops. The Museum of Private Collections across the street shows rotating exhibits of top quality and varying tastes. You can walk here from Gorky Park down picturesque Ostozhenka Street, or take the metro one stop from Gorky Park to Kropotkinskaya.

5. Christ the Savior Cathedral


This dominant feature of Moscow's skyline has a history as striking as its facade. First built over several decades in the 19th century, the massive cathedral was razed by Stalin in the 1930s and became a public swimming pool. Muscovites were chagrined when the popular pool was gutted in 1994, due to the mayor's decree that a bigger, better Christ the Savior Cathedral be erected in its place. Its newness is palpable, especially after the mystical and musty St. Basil's.

6. Peter the Great Monument

You don't have to cross the river to get a good look at this bronze tribute to Peter the Great; it's so enormous you can study it from the platform of Christ the Savior Cathedral. The oddly proportioned monument, to a czar who detested Moscow and built his own capital on the Baltic Sea, has remained controversial since its 1997 appearance. Sculptor Zurab Tsereteli perched the nautical Peter atop a ship on an island jutting into the Moscow River.


7. Take a Break -- Vanil

Pamper yourself in this sleek restaurant that represents some of Moscow's finest and most adventurous cuisine. (It also serves steak and baked fish for the conservative diner.) The clientele is almost too fashionable to stomach, but the European-Asian food and stunning design make up for your dining partners. 1 Ostozhenka; tel. 495/202-3341.

8. Evening Bus Tour

By now you no longer need to get your bearings, but a bus tour is a great way to take a step back and see the city as a collaboration of remarkable sights. A tour is also a convenient way to reach more distant spots on Moscow's tourist map -- those that from the city are little more than parts of a good view. Highlights to look for are Moscow State University in the Sparrow Hills, and Victory Park. If a bus tour isn't available, consider renting a car with a driver. Despite traffic that stays dense until as late as 8pm, evening is an ideal time for a tour because dusk hides the city's imperfections, while street lamps highlight its beauty.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.