Moscow City is the city of skyscrapers, in true New York City style. Dazzling skyscrapers with observation decks, futuristic hotels, panoramic restaurants or a modern shopping center are just some of the attractions of this city of business and entertainment, for those who want to visit something beyond the Red Square or the Kremlin.
1. MOSCOW CITY, challenging heights
The largest modern skyscraper complex in Europe is called Moscow City or Moscow International Business Center (CINM), also home to the largest Russian companies and foreign multinationals.
The Russian capital has surpassed cities such as Paris, London or Frankfurt, in a project of several mega constructions that have the latest technologies. Moscow City started in 1996 in the Presnensky District (on the Presnenskaya embankment), in the west area of the city, and it has so far defied all known heights on the European continent, in just 1 square km of surface.
Personally, it is a project that amazes me: at present, 6 of the 10 tallest buildings in Europe are in Moscow (the second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh). Five of them exceed 300 meters. Until 2018, the Federation Tower (373.7 m) was the tallest skyscraper, but has been displaced at the top by the Lakhta Center in St. Petersburg, (462 meters).
I assure you that seeing these skyscrapers from below, or getting to one of the observation decks is really impressive. It is estimated that among residents and visitors, around 300,000 people a day travel this futuristic city, either for its infinite skyscrapers, for its hotels or restaurants or for its gigantic shopping center.
But if the present belongs to the Muscovite metropolis, the future is still being written, as there are skyscrapers under construction in Moscow City, at least until 2022. One of the planned buildings will rise to 404 meters.
Also, the very slender Ostankino telecommunications tower in Moscow, at 540 meters, is the tallest building in Europe right now.
2. HOW TO GET to Moscow City
Moscow City is under construction since the late twentieth century and the communication and transport terminals have not yet been completed.
It is most convenient to get there by metro, though it is also possible to access the complex by car(there are many parking spots available), by bus and even by boat.
You can get off at the Vystavochnaya metro stations (two stops, one after the Bagration bridge), Delovoy Tsentr (three consecutive downtown stops) and Mezhdunarodnaya (three stops). Depending on the skyscraper or shopping center you plan to visit, some stations or stops will be preferable to others.
Moscow City is about 4-5 kilometers from Red Square. From the center of Moscow, if you take the Metro line 4 at Aleksandrovsky Sad station, you will arrive to Moscow City in 15 minutes.
A multi-level terminal will connect the underground areas with metro stations and urban transport stops in the transport center. In addition, it is located next to the Third Transport Ring.
It is also planned that a fast train will connect Moscow City with other districts of Moscow and arrive at the airports of Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo.
3. WHAT TO SEE in Moscow City
The postmodern and futuristic architecture of Moscow City has surpassed the so-called Seven Sisters of Stalin, or seven large skyscrapers that were built between the 40s and 50s of the last century, which still preserve all their charm. Unlike the brand-new buildings, grouped in a shared space, the Seven Sisters are scattered throughout Moscow.
The most common uses of this area in urban development, with a wide range of innovative facilities on top of its different typologies, combine business and entertainment, as well as living spaces. It is estimated that some 300,000 people visit this business and leisure complex on a daily basis in the western part of the so-called Third Ring (or Third Ring Road) of Moscow.
Some of the best European architects and engineers, also Americans and even Australians, participated in the design and construction of Moscow City. Old factories and industrial centers have been left behind and in the same place.
Next to the concrete, the presence of glass and the use of the most modern materials and construction structures stand out, serving the functionality of its different uses inside the skyscraper giants. Many of these are connected to each other.
In short, it is an authentic vertical city, for business purposes, but also entertainment. Without running out of resources, in the complex and buildings of Moscow City you can find offices and business centers, conferences rooms and social events, underground parking and galleries, subway stations, restaurants and cafes, fitness clubs, gyms, spa and swimming pools, hotels, luxury apartments, shopping centers and cinemas, clinics, concert halls, observation decks from above, etc.
For all this, I recommend, without a doubt, to visit this emblematic site. Moscow City is not just for Muscovites.
I explain in detail what you can see in Moscow City, so you don’t get lost in this infinite city.
3.1. The BEGINNING of Moscow City: Tower 2000 and Bagration pedestrian bridge
Tower 2000 was the first of Moscow City’s skyscrapers with its 104 meters. Located on the right bank of the Moskva River, the works began in 1998 and was completed in 2001. It has 34 floors and is intended for office use. There are also restaurants.
It should also be noted that Tower 2000 is located opposite the complex, but it connects to the Moscow International Business Center with the covered pedestrian bridge called Bagration, with a markedly futuristic style.
3.2. The CENTRAL CORE of Moscow City: Afimall City, concert hall and Novotel
The main core of Moscow City, surrounded by huge skyscrapers, is formed by the Afimall City shopping center, a concert hall for 6,000 people and the Novotel Moscow City. Thus, skyscrapers are arranged around this central core. Under this central area there are several metro stops. In this map of Yandex, you can see the central core:
Afimall City shopping center and concert hall
In Moscow City center, surrounded by huge skyscrapers, you can find Afimall City shopping center, with more than 283,000 square meters and 450 shops and restaurants.
Next to the shopping center there is a concert hall in a rounded building, designed to host important leisure events, concert galas and all kinds of massive celebrations.
Novotel Moscow City Hotel, an excellent accommodation option
Right next to the Afimall shopping center, there is a building with circular floor and “only” 8 floors of the Novotel Moscow City Hotel. This 4-star hotel in the heart of Moscow City is a highly recommended option to stay in the midst of skyscrapers, get to know the area and get to the observatories of the giant buildings to appreciate the sights and take pics
The bird’s eye views and panoramic views offered by the observation decks in some of Moscow City’s skyscrapers are incredible, be it day, night or at sunsets. It is one of the great charms of Moscow City.
However, it’s not advisable to visit the observation decks on rainy and cloudy days, for obvious reasons.
In addition, the view from below of the entire gigantic environment of Moscow City is also very worthwhile, especially since the buildings are very concentrated. Or from a nearby dock next to the Moskva River. In addition, the night lights are spectacular and enveloping. In short, you will see Moscow in all its extension and splendor.
The Federation Tower, the highest one (with observation deck)
The Federation Tower (or Bashnya Federatsiya) is a set of two skyscrapers located in the center of the complex that almost touches the sky. The smallest, the Zapad Tower, is 242 m. For its part, the so-called Vostok Tower reaches almost 374 meters in its 101 floors: it is the second largest skyscraper in Europe. It is said that it could resist the impact of an airplane.
The construction lasted about thirteen years, from 2004 to 2016. Its owners are a Russian international investment private group. It cost around 1.2 billion dollars, it has 67 elevators and a total area of 443,000 m2. It is completely lined in glass and its premium apartments stand out. There is a pool on the 62th floor.
The observation deck, known as Panorama 360, is located on the 89th floor, in the upper part of the Federation Tower, and your visit will be an unforgettable experience in its 1,500 m2. Comfort and safety are perceived through 6-meter windows. An elevator will transport you to the place at a speed of 8 meters per second. From up there, you can see the seat of the Government of Russia, the Moscow State University, the Ostankino Tower or the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.In addition to enjoying the views, it has the latest interactive technologies and virtual reality gadgets. You can get a free photo of your stay. It is also accessible for wheelchair users.
The Panorama 360 observation deck (for its 360 degrees of vision) has a restaurant and a souvenir shop. You can also access from there to the highest ice cream factory in the world. You will know how they are made and you will taste a free ice cream.
The best option to get there is the Vystavochnaya metro station and then go to the Afimall City shopping center to buy the entrance on the second floor.
Long hours: Monday to Friday from 10 am to 10 pm; Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. The prices are varied, from 1,000 rubles (children from 6 to 14 years old) to 1,200 rubles for adults, though there are offers and discounts for the whole family, for groups, etc. Children from 0 to 5 years old have free access accompanied by an adult.
It is also a place where you will find couples in a romantic date.
I also need to note that on the 62th floor, you will find Sixty, one of the highest restaurants in Europe, with impressive views and gastronomic quality.
Imperia Tower (skyscraper with museum and observation deck)
Imperial Tower consists of two skyscrapers (2006-2018), the largest being 239 meters high and 59 floors. You will offices, hotels, apartments, shopping centers, beauty salons and restaurants.
The length of all the pipes of the building exceeds 139 km, in order to ensure the uninterrupted operation of water, sewage, heat, air conditioning, refrigeration and fire safety.
This tower houses the Moscow City Museum, which is located on the 56th floor, which also serves as an observation deck, all at a height of 215 meters.
You can learn about the history of the creation of Moscow City and the details of the construction of the skyscrapers, on one hand, and the history of the Muscovite capital on the other. It is accessible for wheelchair users.
Entrance fees range from 540 rubles for adults to 400 rubles for children. They are a bit more expensive if we incorporate virtual reality gadgets, or if they include tours. Children under 6 years old have free entrance. Also, there are also discounts for students, seniors and other groups.
You can make the visit with a guide. The opening hours are from 4 pm to 10 pm on Mondays, and from 10 am to 8 pm, from Tuesday to Sunday. You can get there by metro, stopping at Mezhdunarodnaya, Delovoy Tsentr and Vystavochnaya. You can also make online reservations.
In this tower you can also find the following hotels:
- Empire City Hotel. It is a 4-star hotel located on the 55th floor.
- Panorama City Hotel. On the 48th floor, with 3 stars.
- High Level Hostel. The first skyscraper in the world with a hostel. Floor 43. This hostel has rooms for 2, 4 and 6 people. Budget accommodation in the heart of Moscow City.
OKO Towers (the highest outdoor observation deck)
It is a set of two skyscrapers, one of which is the second largest in Moscow City with its 354 meters and 85 floors. It was opened in 2016 for offices, hotel and luxury apartments. There is also a restaurant and a gym. The complex occupies almost 250,000 m2.
Its glass façade is what stands out. In addition, it has a huge parking lot, with 12 floors and which rises to 44 m.
The OKO Towers were designed by the American firm Skidmore, Owings and Merril, the same ones who envisioned the highest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
It is estimated that an apartment could cost about 23,700 dollars per square meter.
On the roof of the main OKO tower, at 354 meters high, you can find the High Port 354 observation deck, which is the highest observatory in Europe outdoors.
The tickets cost 1,500 rubles for adults and 750 rubles for children (from 7 to 14 years old). Children under 7 are prohibited. There is also an entrance fee of 2,000 rubles to enjoy both day and night. Hours: from 12:00 to 23:00, from Monday to Sunday. On its website you can buy tickets online.
There is also the possibility of going on guided tours as in other decks. You can also make reservations for romantic dates or wedding photo sessions.
As a curiosity, the site hashtag is #onlyloveisabove. You can get there through Mejdunarodnaya subway station.
These towers include two restaurants:
- The Ruski Restaurant offers formidable panoramic views from the heights and is one of the highest on the continent. It occupies the 85th floor. Elegant and modern. Russian traditional cuisine.
- Insight Restaurant. Also from Group 354 Exclusive Height and definitely worth a visit. Dress code required and facial recognition at the entrance.
Evolution Tower, a bold and renowned design
Built between 2011 and 2015, it has 255 meters and 53 floors. Destined for leisure and for offices.
Its twisted and expressive design earned it the finalist nomination for the “Best Skyscraper in Europe” by the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). In addition, among other awards, it came in second place in the 2015 Emporis Skyscraper Prize.
The building reflects two ribbons wrapped around each other, symbolizing the interconnection between individuals, families and generations. For others, the curves of human DNA.
From the tower there are direct accesses to the Vystavochnaya metro station and Bagration Bridge.
In this building you will find Masterslavl, which would be like a City of Trades or Professions, funded by government, aimed at children from 2 to 14 years old, in which the youngest learn in workshops, tasks and skills, enjoying leisure time, as well as learning from different professions (up to 250). It’s like a mini-city with its own infrastructure.
Masterslavl is located in the shopping gallery that connects the Vystavochnaya metro station and Bagration bridge.
Mercury City Tower and its bright orange facade
Completed in 2013, Mercury City Tower has almost 339 meters and a total of 75 floors for luxury residential and office uses, but also houses restaurants, shops, banks, a gymnasium, and a conference and social events room. It also became the tallest skyscraper in Europe.
Visually, its façade is very attractive, as its outer surface expands an orange glow, taking advantage from the sunrays, thus dying the glass with a reflective bronze tone. It has a giant exterior screen, 1,350 m2, formed of more than two million LEDs, between floors 67 and 68.
It was the first mega-construction of the complex to use advanced intelligent systems that respect the environment. For example, 75% of the offices would have natural light during the day. It has two high speed elevators, which reach a maximum of 7m per second.
It has been renowned with several awards, considering its high-quality multifunctional uses.
City of Capitals and its deconstructivism
These are two giant towers: the one in Moscow (302 m and 73 floors) and the one in St. Petersburg (257 m and 65 floors), which symbolize the two cities, built in the 2005-2009 period.
They have offices, luxury apartments, shops, restaurants, cinemas and a sports center with spa/fitness of 2,800 square meters. It has a deconstructive and audacious style.
Naberezhnaya Tower and its set of three buildings
Its construction lasted from 2003 to 2007. In reality it is a set of three towers, with a total of 45 elevators, all interconnected, the highest of which reaches 268 m and it has 59 floors. It was the tallest building in Russia and, by extension of Europe, until 2009.
Tower A, also the first building in the central area of Moscow City, was completed. Four months before opening, all the office space was sold. The towers are also used by businesses.
Websites: http://www.ccioffices.ru and http://bashnya-na-naberezhnoj.ru (Russian).
Eurasia: steel and panoramic elevators
This skyscraper has 309 meters, 72 floors in two sections, built from 2005 to 2014, with offices, apartments, casino on the second floor, hotel, gym, pool and other spaces for entertainment.
Unlike most of the towers in Moscow City that use concrete, it was built based on steel. Also highlights its panoramic elevator.
In June of 2017 a Russian “roofer” wanted to climb it. He could not reach the highest point of the skyscraper and was stopped by the police on the 52nd floor.
IQ-quarter: offices and luxury apartments
IQ-quarter is a complex completed in 2017. It consists of two skyscrapers, plus another located in another plot. Tower 3 is the highest with 169 m and 42 floors. It uses are for offices and premium apartments.
It is intended to house a multilevel transport terminal.
Northern Tower, a class A building
The Northern Tower (Severnaya Bashnya) has, among other amenities, offices, conference and meeting rooms, bank branches, restaurants, gym, swimming pool and concert hall since its completion in 2008. It measures 108 meters and stands out as a Class A building for offices, with high quality standards and automation in all air conditioning and firefighting standards.
3.4. EXPOCENTRE, the Moscow Exhibition fair
Finally, it is worth mentioning the Forum pavilion, which has become the symbol of the Moscow Exhibition Fair, Expocentre. It is a unique building, with the form of a pyramid and fully glazed
4. GUIDED TOURS to Moscow City
Finally, if you want to take a guided tour of Moscow City, there are different tours that will take you to the highest observation points in Moscow City. Some of these visits include a cruise with dinner, up to the complex, and its subsequent visit.