Walking Around The Basmanny District in Moscow

A virtual tour of the marvelous places nearby around the HSE campus at Staraya Basmannaya.

HSE campus at Staraya Basmannaya 21/4

Basmanny district is situated in the city center and it is certainly one of the most beautiful districts of Moscow - full of monuments, cathedrals, and places for cultural leisure, but the major spot here is the HSE building. The HSE campus at Basmannaya is an eight-story building consisting of 4 pavilions. Mainly students of Human Sciences faculties are concentrated here: philosophers, culturologists, historians, linguists, and specialists in intercultural communication.

Here is a very cozy courtyard from which we can go to the buildings В and Л. In the building В, there is a large library with a wide spectrum of Russian and foreign authors. While in the building Л there are two canteens where students can eat healthy food such as salads, soups, etc., and fast food including handmade burgers, fries, and sodas. However, the main beauty of the Basmanny campus is a large coworking space, where students and tutors can communicate with each other, do homework, and do other academic duties. 

Here you can choose both a buzzy place for a big company or a more isolated variant where you can study quietly. Overall, there are a bunch of variants for spending leisure time out there. Now, let’s move to outdoor recreation.

Stalin’s skyscraper at the square near the Krasnye Vorota station

One of Moscow’s most magnificent buildings and without any doubt a true architectural heritage is one of the seven so-called Stalin's skyscrapers near the Krasnye Vorota subway station. 
In Soviet times, prominent architects, doctors, scientists, and artists lived here. In a word, Moscow’s elite. Today, of course, getting an apartment in this building has become a little bit more affordable, but it still makes a majestic impression with its unusual and extremely effective engineering solutions. There is a small park next to the skyscraper, through which lies the path to the building of the HSE University on the Staraya Basmannaya. Let's hit the road!

Walking down the street to the university you can see the wonderful Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Basmannaya Sloboda. The church has been recently restored and it once again pleases the passersby with its beauty. The spires of the church, which rush skyward, especially attract attention.

Bauman Culture and Recreation Garden

The nearest sight to the HSE building is the Bauman Culture and Recreation Garden. It is named after Nikolai Bauman, a revolutionary and an important figure in the Russian history of the 1920s. This park is a wonderful place for breathing fresh air on the way to the University (in case you arrive at the Krasnye Vorota subway station), or vice versa - for hanging out after classes.

The park is not very large, but there is a big concentration of green spaces, squares, flower beds, cafes, and exhibits: indoors and under the open sky. As for indoor exhibitions: until January 2023 there is an exhibition dedicated to Dali and Picasso - the greatest Spanish artists. 

Moreover, here you can admire a wonderful photo exposition with portraits of bone marrow donors. Open-air expositions are especially beautiful in autumn when the ground is covered with golden leaves.

There is also a relatively unusual entertainment: a traditional Russian sauna. Why not go there after a hard week and a couple (or a dozen) deadlines? 

By the way, at the entrance to the Bauman Garden, you can see the marvelous Church of St.Nikita the Martyr. The Basmanny district is full of churches with golden domes and wonderful spires.

The Arma space

If it is more convenient for you to choose the Kurskaya subway station to reach the University, then you can visit a place that has a very different vibe from the Bauman’s garden - it is the Arma business block. The territory of Arma is not very large, however, there are plenty of shops, starting from the most fashionable showrooms and finishing with the shop for board games. Of course, you can try different cuisines here, and what is even more important for a student - drink coffee! An interesting thing about Arma is that all buildings here are made from red brick. Moreover, a so-called “calling card” of this place is four former cylindrical gasholders. That is why Arma is one of the best places for photoshoots.

The Artplay Center

This is also a small and very cozy territory. However, unlike Arma - which is more structured, Artplay is a kind of Hogwarts, where it is difficult to navigate even if it is not the first time you are here. This labyrinth of multi-colored buildings is painted from top to bottom with graffiti and pasted with various stickers.

The garlands hung between the roofs of shops add a special charm to this place. You can also find cute coffee shops, handmade clothing, and jewelry stores. Moreover, you can as well become a visitor to various art expositions that change quite often. For example, the ceramics exposition where you can not only admire the unique pieces of art but also buy them.

Finally, what to choose?

Now you see how variable the Basmanny district is! After reading this article, you can choose the leisure to your taste: a simple walk, a visit to an unusual exposition, a photo-hunt for architectural sights... A real plethora of opportunities! And most importantly - do not forget to visit the HSE building on Staraya Basmannaya.

Text and photos by

Alexandra Tavrovskaya