Nearly all visitors to the Soviet Union go to Moscow (Moskva), the heart of the government and a city with about the same population as New York City. Moscow is the mecca of Russia, a mecca that is officially atheistic. Ironically the number one attraction, tourist or otherwise, in all of the Soviet Union, is the mummified remains of that mortal Lenin who was defied by his followers. The endless line of worshippers and the merely curious stretches for blocks. Moscow’s Red Square is the largest city square in the world. The Kremlin with its onion dome towers identifies Moscow, a trademark similar to Paris’s Eiffel Tower.
Visitors to Moscow are unanimous in their praise of the Moscow subway, the Metro, probably the cleanest and most decorated of any. It is also among the cheapest, costing about seven cents. It closes nightly from 1:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. for cleaning.
All travel within Russia is arranged and controlled by the Soviet tourist agency Intourist. This includes hotel accommodations as well. Groups are always shepherded in and around Russia by Intourist guides, who must be very careful to hold to the Party line in the interpretation of history and politics. Moscow has the world’s largest hotel, the Russya, with something like six thousand rooms. The Russya is really a group of hotels which occupy an entire city block.