Golden cathedrals and historic buildings aside, Moscow is experiencing a stirring revival. It is a city moving away from its traditional roots and towards vibrant new art and restaurant scenes. Admittedly, I didn't know much about Russia before my recent visit. My remedy: A quick immersion.
Standing on Red Square and glimpsing the early spring sun reflecting off the brilliant colors of St. Basil's Cathedral took my breath away. Like the layers of the onion-shaped domes dotting the skyline, Moscow began to quickly unravel itself. New adventures were layered over old history.
Names like Ivan the Great (and Terrible), Romanov, Putin, Stalin, and Lenin began to make sense not only in the context of Russian history, but also on the complicated world political stage.
Here are some mandatory stops for hurried travelers in Moscow.