The best time of year to visit Moscow

Best weather for tourists in Moscow. Painting of Kustodiev illustrates the beauty of early autumn in Russia.

Nothing beats the Indian Summer as the best time for visiting Moscow. We call it “Babye Leto”, or “Woman’s Summer”. It’s awfully short. It’s a gentle, humane contrast to the humid, hot, bug-ridden summer in continental Russia. It smells like a girl’s hair wet from the rain.

The vacation is over, the Instagram glow of your summerly awesomeness is a memory no one cares about any longer, but the parks are still green, and Moscow is warm enough for romantic strolls, peripatetic discussions and several pints al fresco with little risk of catching a cold.

You miss it, you can catch a second chance in Moscow when the “Golden Autumn” comes, with leaves turning red and yellow in October. But then it gets a bit too melancholic, for my taste.

Picture: “Autumn in the province,” by Boris Kustodiev. Two ladies from the merchant class are relaxing on the back porch of a provincial house. Their clothes and hairstyle are from the 1920s. This is the era of a market-friendly New Economic Policy in the USSR, the last breath of everyday normalcy before the Stalinism spreads its steely wings. The ceramic tea kettle atop the samovar is used for brewing tea. Teacups are seemingly made of porcelain with lots of gilding for the exclusive look. The lady seated with her back to us prefers pouring her tea in her saucer before she drinks. The watermelon was usually served before tea drinking, waiting for water in the samovar to boil up.


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