Legend says that Moscow was built on seven hills. It's hard to imagine now that once the city was surrounded by deep forests. Now there is only a few parks left within the city, most of them as remains of the old Moscow villas. So if you are tired of the megapolis rhythm you can find some peace in these Moscow parks.
The Botanical garden of MSU
The Botanical garden of Moscow State University is one of the oldest scientific botanical institutions in Russia and has several "branches" in Moscow. The Botanical garden on Sparrow Hills was established practically in the same period with one of the Seven Sisters, the main building of MSU. The garden treasury was permanently enriched by both scientific research and expeditions. Nowadays plant species from various spots of the USSR and the globe in general can be found there. Also there is a garden plants sector where you can not only see but even buy some locally grow apples and other fruit. The entrance is possible only as part of an excursion group and is to be booked beforehand.
Morozov garden is a historical city garden with a total area of 0,46 ha situated in downtown Moscow. During the July rebellion 1918 the Left Socialist Revolutionaries headquarters was located here. Later on the garden used to be a popular filming location for Soviet films. In 2001 when the territory became private property the historical and architectural look got damaged. For ten years the garden was closed. The lower part which preserved some of its retro look and coziness is open for visitors since 2011.
The history of a small park in one of the coziest Moscow districts Khamovniki begins in XVIII century. In 1758 prince Nikita Trubetskoy built the core building of the family mansion which later hosted lots of famous people (Alexander Pushkin among them). Unfortunately in 2000 the mansion was burnt down and the remake was built instead. Despite the accident the park hasn't lost its coziness and ingenuous charm. The park belongs to the children's art centre and that is why there are so many wooden sculptures and playgrounds around. Pay some special attention to the greenhouse and the small zoo with ducks, pheasants and guinea fowls.
Muzeon is located right in front of another famous Moscow recreation zone — Gorky Park. The latter is more focused on various activities meanwhile Muzeon is perfect for slow promenades, relaxed reading on lounges or poufs, open air exhibitions, movie screenings, gigs, workshops and discussions. In a nutshell "nature, comfort and silence" that is how the team of the park describe it. And this is true.
Neskuchny garden is situated on Moscow hills along Pushkinskaya embankment right next to Gorky Park. Unlike its neighbour Neskuchny garden totally corresponds to the term "landscape park". It used to be a part of Neskuchnoe mansion territory and was designed for solitary pastime. Besides charming pavilions and benches hidden under the shady trees the park is interesting by its local chess club, ping pong club, coworking space and the small zoo with its lovely inhabitants.
Сharming Sokolniki park also has fallen under the recent park restoration programme. Now there is a skater park, bikers spot, climbing walls, all the possible rentals, playgrounds, skating rink and delicious popsicles. However the fascination of an old and calm park can still be felt in here. Nearby the building of the old chess club built in constructivism style, old gentlemen come together to play a game or two no matter what weather is outside. A little bit further in the alleys on the Health Path you may suddenly come across an elk, two owls and lots of squirrels that are permanent residents of the place. Beware of the squirrels thought, they might go as far as your pockets in their search for nuts.
Prospekt Mira, an area slightly intimidating with noise pollution and huge amounts of traffic, can pleasantly surprise you with Aptekarsky Ogorod hidden behind a restaurant building. Besides the fact that it's a pleasant place to stroll along sub-tropical plants, watch carps in the pond and read our guidebook in peace and harmony, it is also the oldest botanical garden in Russia. It was founded by Peter The Great for the cultivation of medicinal plants, from which the garden takes its name ('aptekarsky' means pharmacy). A larch planted by Peter 300 years ago is still alive. Surprisingly, even in winter there is stuff happening: every year from December to March the garden holds winter festival of orchids. In early spring you can see the real primroses, a rare thing for a city and a symbol of change.
The locals consider Hermitage Garden to be the main resting area of Moscow. The garden is quite old and Muscovites have created a bunch of myths about it. For example, they say that Leo Tolstoy and Vladimir Lenin used to wander the paths here. There are three theaters, some cafes, monuments and pavilions here. Music festivals and literary evenings are regularly held in this lovely garden. The symbols of Hermitage Garden are the dovecotes and impudent squirrels living not far from the playground.
Renewed Krymskaya embankment looks much prettier than it did before: a plain driveway was turned into a green promenade area. Now you can walk without being afraid of getting hit by a car, cycle around, enjoy paintings exhibited in special showrooms, sit on a bench or enjoy your coffee with a croissant in a nearby cafe.
The place where Soviet childhood nostalgia dwells (pioneers was an analogue of the US boyscouts). Here kids can attend different smart clubs, for example, a history and culture club, center for ethnography education, cycling club or a radiotronics club. While kids are busy getting smarter their parents can take a walk across the quiet park. Those in love can enjoy some classics in a movie theater with pillows and throws. From here you can also start a walk to Vorobyovy Hills, where the main building of Moscow State University is situated.