Ask tourists about the colour of Moscow, and they will say it is red, with its Red Square, red bricks and scarlet Kremlin stars. Even Moscow's coat of arms has a dark red background. Some see Moscow grey, like all giant cities. What about Moscow citizens? To begin with, you don't need to look too closely to notice green parks and squares, yellow lights illuminating the avenues, the blue sky reflected in the mirrored facades of the Moscow City Business Centre and orange street lights.
Muscovites will also recall the lines 'my dear capital, my golden Moscow' from the famous song. It is really golden, and to prove it, just walk around the centre of Moscow on a sunny day. Everyone knows where to look for the golden domes of churches dating back to different eras, and you will not certainly miss Ivan the Great Bell Tower. After the victory in the Great Patriotic War, Soviet architects painted the capital in a completely different golden colour, that was a triumphal colour of victory, with the best collection of these works displayed at VDNKh. Besides, there are golden sunrises, sunsets and golden haze over the Moskva River.
By the way, what is the colour of the Moskva River? It depends on what it meets on its way: in the city centre, it sparkles in the evenings, first reflecting the setting sun, and later the lights of the embankments, illumination of bridges, monuments and buildings. The farther from the centre, the greener the embankments, as well as the river, the mirror of Moscow. Does it like its own reflection? Who knows. But we do, that is more important.
Autumn colours have barely touched Moscow so far, so the city's green areas still justify their name, as Moscow boasts all the shades of this palette, from dark fir needles to bright grass, from emerald garden to mossy forest colours. Soon, they will be replaced by the above golden, then snow-white colour, the same as today's splashes of fountains in noisy, usually overcrowded parks.
Away from its noise, among the trees, you will find the other side of Moscow's parks, with its shady alleys, ivy-covered gazebos and secret trails, places where the big city rhythm slows down. Together with quiet alleys and cosy courtyards, they contrast with wide glossy streets, without which Moscow is impossible.
Just look at the watercolour paintings by Arbat Street artists: they use exactly these colours— warm and restrained, translucent and often blurred by rain — to portray Muscovites hurrying home, wishing their loved ones good evening, loving and supporting each other, playing football in the courtyard, or playing chess, playing on children's playgrounds or playing musical instruments, in other words, just living. As for Moscow’s commuter belt, it looks good in pastel shades.
If you ask realists, they will say that Moscow is multicoloured, and they will be right, as always. Stadiums, crossroads, and evening windows of high-rise buildings, every metro line have their own colour. In spring and summer, gardens, rosaries and flower beds boast their special colours, as well as winter boulevards in their Christmas decorations. Moscow carefully keeps its old shades, restoring sites dear to the previous generation of Muscovites, while being unafraid of new shades to colour itself bright so children are never bored. It is a collage city, and a mosaic city, too, as each piece of Moscow has its own colour. We all see this city differently, but there is one thing we concur in: we love it. Moscow is the only one, but we all love it in our own way.