Moscow City is a ghost town on weekends. It also might very well be a ghost town on weekdays too – this skyscraper city known officially as the Moscow International Business Center has entered its third decade of development, and although a number of businesses have already moved in, the complex still has a “work in progress” feel to it. And once it’s finished, I reckon most of the activity will be still confined to the inside of a dozen or so of its shiny towers.
The towers, by the way, include Europe’s tallest building – Mercury City Tower, as well as the continent’s 3rd-, 4th-, 5th-, 9th– and soon to be 2nd-tallest buildings. Architecturally-speaking, my favorites are the double-helix Evolution Tower and the Mercury City Tower, which glows orange as if it’s reflecting sunset rays all day long.
Regardless of its occupancy rate, Moscow City is a sight to behold. Preferably from a distance, to see the skyscrapers towering over the rest of Moscow. For that reason, many of Moscow stalwarts consider it a terrible eyesore, the multi-peaked Mount Doom of Mordor casting a menacing shadow on the conservative, Soviet Empire-style residential neighborhoods and the golden domes of the capital’s churches.
For the best views of Moscow City, walk down the Taras Shevchenko Quai along the Moscow River. Cross over the Bagration (Bahgrahtee-on) pedestrian Bridge into the heart of Moscow City to get lost in a maze of steel, glass and concrete. Then duck into AfiMall – a massive, 5-storie shopping center that houses 400 stores, 50 cafes and restaurants, and a movie theater.
Actually, for a person like me who really detests shopping (I like stuff, can’t deal with people), AfiMall is a terrific destination: it is far less crowded than most of other big shopping malls in central Moscow, but has all the up-market and high-street brands your heart might desire. Plus really good gelato and big movie screens.