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Things to know before you visit Moscow

Moscow is supposed to be something impressive and it really is. It’s a totally insane city full of raw and chaotic energy, concentrating 80% of the country’s money and 10% of its population. Moscow is uncomfortable and charming, filthy rich and desperately poor, fast-paced and lazy, trendy and kitschy – all at the same time. Unlikely contrasts are everywhere: fancy shops neighbor concrete shacks left from the Soviet times; crowds of star-gazing happy hipsters mix with rugged tired people with solemn and unhappy faces; Bentleys and BMWs share the busy chaotic traffic with half-destroyed old Ladas; and so on… As everywhere in Russia it’s like a mix of two worlds: Europe and Asia, democracy and communism, joy and grief, prosperity and poverty. Moscow could be just another capital, but it isn’t. Rather, the city is an exaggerated version of everything you can get in Russia, as if conforming to the local…