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Jewellery by Artists: From Picasso to Koons, an exhibition organised by the culture and art portal

Destinations · Europe · russian federation · Moscow · Essence ·


Author: Anothertravelguide.com0 COMMENTS

Moscow. One of the most expensive cities in the world, a twelve-million metropolis, citadel of extreme contrasts - a city where you couldn't spit and not hit a Bentley and where the most extravagant wealth lives side by side with outrageous poverty, as often as not literally next door to each other. Moscow means fantastically intense culture life and generally just living at mind-boggling neck-breaking speed. It is a crazy cocktail of design, gastronomic and, as they are so fond of saying in Russia, "live money" excesses. It is the city that makes multilingual citizens of the world go "Aaah, Moscow...", the city where all the greatest of fashion greats have opened their shops and even posed for a picture in the Red Square - not very surprising, considering the fact that most luxury fashion stores in Moscow are open practically till midnight and the working hours of quite a few restaurants are 24/7.
Most visitors start their stay in Moscow with the drive from the airport; sometimes it takes an hour, sometimes - two or even four, depending on the traffic. The wind is blowing remains of old cardboard boxes and all sorts of flotsam and jetsam across the road; the neighbouring road lanes are mostly occupied by ancient Zhiguli cars, busy coughing up black smoke and trying to overtake each other. No chance of keeping up with the posh and shiny BMWs and Mercs with dark windows, snaking their way through the traffic jam at the maximum speed physically possible in this ever-congested city. At the traffic lights a youngish war veteran is making his rounds in a wheelchair; not a single driver opens his window. The lights change to green and traffic resumes; the outcasts have no choice but to move aside. Moscow does not believe in tears, to quote the title of a 1980s Oscar-winning Russian movie...
Moscow is grey in the autumn. The wind is unpleasantly biting, and every now and then a whiff of the city's perfume of choice - stinking exhaust fumes - hits you right in the face. It has also covered most of the majestic façades with a grey coat of soot.
It gets dark very early at this time of the year, and Moscow is definitely one of the cities that improve with nightfall. Petrovka and the narrow side-streets lined with cafés and shops, depressingly grey by day, suddenly light up in a myriad of golden lights and now seem so cosy and inviting - although you are well aware that it's nothing but a stage set. As you walk the streets reading the Russianised shop signs of world-famous brands (for instance, Эрмес stands for Hermès), the light veil of oblivion is suddenly torn apart by a bundled-up woman with a toddler begging in front of a Vivienne Westwood shop.
Some say Moscow is the Russian New York. Be it as it may, it is definitely a city that gives you such a concentrated charge of information, taste of la dolce vita and city pong in just a couple of days that you spend the next week or so cleansing your lungs. You constantly catch yourself thinking: so good to be home again - with an afterthought of how you would actually quite like to go back and take another whiff of the poison...

Reviewed by Una Meistere, Andrejs Žagars, Daiga Rudzāte

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