Located in central Moscow, Alexander Garden is a tranquil place to relax. Its green lawns are dotted with sculptures and pretty water features. Mingle with Muscovites as they go about their daily business, admire the excellent landscape design and inspect the park’s many poignant memorials.
As you enter through the grand gates, take a moment to examine the wrought iron adornments, which include symbols of the Russian armed forces. Commissioned to memorialize the triumph over Napoleon, these gates give a flavor of the features in the rest of the park.
Alexander Garden was opened in 1821 and was built to celebrate Russia’s victory over Napoleon’s forces in 1812. The Neglinnaya River had to be rerouted to subterranean Moscow to make space for the garden.
Today, the river no longer runs here but the park has many water features. Watch as young people frolic in Zurab Tsereteli’s fountain. Jets spurt into the air around the edge. Behind them, bronze horses rear on an island in the center of the water.
Seek out the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a solemn World War II memorial at the park’s entryway near the walls of the Kremlin, Russia’s seat of power. Linger a while as you explore the memorial so you can observe the ceremony for the changing of the guard, which takes place hourly.
Another park feature is the ruined grotto, which is decorated with actual rubble from buildings attacked by Napoleon’s forces. Look for other distinctive war memorials, including those for the “hero cities” of World War II. These stone monuments contain earth from 13 Russian cities that survived and resisted Nazi occupation, providing heroism and sacrifice for the nation.
In the warmer months, lift your spirits with a stroll along the brightly colored flower beds lining the spruce garden. Many of these were added in a 2012 renovation, during which 200 new trees replaced aging ones and 2,700 shrubs were also added to the garden.
To reach Alexander Garden, take the metro to the Aleksandrovsky Sad stop. The park is open every day and has no entry fee.