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General Info about Moscow, Russia

Currency
Be aware that the government has decreed that all transactions are to be carried out in rubles. All but the most inexpensive restaurants still list their prices in U.S. dollars, but you must actually pay in rubles. (You may sometimes see prices listed in units, a euphemism for U.S. dollars.)

Some expensive hotels, restaurants and shops that cater to tourists may accept dollars, but don't count on it. Taxi drivers, however, prefer dollars. Also, be aware that foreigners must often pay several times more than Russians do for admission to museums and other attractions, as well as for hotel rooms.

Visas
Citizens of Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK and the US all require a visa to enter Russia. Visas require an invitation stating the traveller's itinerary. These can be difficult to get without a Russian connection. Once you have an invitation, contact the Russian Embassy or consulate.

Climate
Like the rest of Russia, Moscow has a climate which features a lot of extreme conditions. Winters are usually very cold while summers can be almost unbearably hot. Between November and April the temperature rarely rises above freezing point and snow is widespread. In July and August, however, it can reach the mid 30’s so you really should check weather conditions regularly before you go just to be sure.

Language
The official language in Moscow is Russian but a large number of Muscovites speak good English.

Time Zone
Moscow’s time zone is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.

Tourist Office
The main tourist office is located at Milyutinsky Pereulok 13 (Metro Chistye Prudy) and it is open between 10.00am and 6.00pm from Monday to Friday.

Electricity
The electricity current used in Moscow is 220 volts and you will need a European convertor if you wish to use your own electrical appliances while you are there.

Telephones
The international calling code for Russia is 7 and the area code for Moscow is 095. To dial from abroad you dial 00, followed by 7, the local area code 95 and the local number. If you wish to call abroad from Moscow, you dial 810, followed by the international calling code for your particular country, the local area code and then the local number. It is worth noting that you also need to drop the first zero from the local area code for both types of call.

There are two different types of public telephone in the city. The old grey ones take brown tokens and the newer blue kiosks take telephone cards. Both tokens and cards can be purchased at any metro station and the old phones will only work for local calls. It is also worth noting that card phones in bars and restaurants will not accept the same card as the street phones. In this case you will need to buy a card from the bartender.

Post Office
The main post office in Moscow is located at Tsentralny Telegraf, Tverskava Ulitsa 7 (Metro Okhotny Ryad) and it opens between 8.00am and 10.00pm. You will also find another branch at Moskovsky Pochtamp, Myasnitskaya Ulitsa 26 (Metro Chistye Pruday) and this opens between 8.00am and 8.00pm from Monday to Friday, from 8.00am until 7.00pm on Saturday and from 9.00am until 7.00pm on Sundays.

Tipping
Tipping in Moscow is entirely at your discretion but if you feel that the service you receive merits a tip, between ten and fifteen per cent is sufficient.

Public Holidays
It is worth noting what the public holidays are before you travel to a country as the majority of businesses, banks and shops usually shut for the day. In Russia they take place on January 1st, 2nd and 7th, March 8th, May 1st, 2nd and 9th, June 12th, November 7th and December 12th and 25th. It is a good idea to check the particular area too as certain towns and cities also shut down during special events.



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