Take a trip through Moscow’s Botanical Gardens
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Moscow is a great destination for gardeners and those interested in botany, with a total of five botanical gardens within its city limits.
The largest and most famous is the Russian Academy of Sciences' Main Botanical Gardens, located in the north-west district of the city and adjoining the All-Russia Exhibition Centre (or VDNKh, as it’s better known).
This 890-acre park, which spans the valleys of three small rivers, was officially founded in 1945. Nearby, you’ll find the 17th-century Apothecaries' Gardens, where medicinal plants were grown to supply the army's pharmacies and the Grand Prince's palace with drugs.
After World War II, plants and seeds were brought together from all across the Soviet Union and further afield, turning the garden into a botanist's treasure trove. Its rose garden alone contains 2500 varieties, including an ancient green Bengali rose. There’s an arboretum, too, whose highlight is a glorious oak grove (home to some incredibly tame squirrels), a delightful Japanese rock garden, and a vast glass-covered orangery with a wide collection from the tropics and sub-tropics, including numerous rare orchids and carnivorous plants.
The Main Botanical Gardens aren’t just for experts, though. Once inside, you’ll quickly forget that you're close to the centre of Europe's biggest city, making it a wonderful place to get away from the noise and stress of urban living. The gardens change their character and their attractions with the season, and the enormous greenhouses mean that even in the depths of winter, there's plenty to see.
To visit the Russian Academy of Sciences' Main Botanical Gardens for yourself, take the metro to Vladykino Station. It’s open Wednesday to Sunday, 10.00 am to 4.00 pm (8.00 pm in summer). Entrance to the park is free, but the Japanese Garden, Orangery and Arboretum all require separate tickets. But don’t worry – they’re very cheap. And for all your other travel and accommodation needs, there’s only one place to go – RNTO. Check out the website today!