Basilica

I PROBABLY WON’T BE USING A BLOG FOR MY CHEAP-MOSCOW.COM PROJECT. PLEASE GO TO THE MAIN PAGE AND TAKE IT FROM THERE.  BASILICA’S NEW DESCRIPTION IS HERE >>

Since Basilica makes 10% site upkeep contribution from clients I send their way, please contact them through me to help me keep track who I refer to them. I’ll immediately forward your letter to their reception.

If you are after a room, try Dimitry on Maroseyka first. If nothing is available from him, the next plausible choice from options I’m familiar with is a bed in Basilica. An alternative to my apartment is a room in the hotel section. Same area, same price range ($25 for a place to sleep, $100-140 for private space).

Here is a somewhat improved photo of the neighbourhood. Mine below are more realistic but uglier, thanks to that fact that Photoshop exceeds my intellectual capacity. 

Basilica dubs itself “the most charming hostel in Moscow”. I would agree if not their somewhat indifferent and unhelpful staff. But for $25 for a bed and access to excellent facilities, or ~$100 for a private room one can’t be too fussy.

Since Basilica makes 10% site upkeep contribution from clients I send their way, please contact them through me to help me keep track who I refer to them. I’ll immediately forward your letter to their reception.

Below are some of my old photos of the area. These are mine, selected for being realistic and typical.

Here I tried to capture most of the area on one shot. The first to your left is the Library of Foreign Literature. (Hint for extreme budget travellers or those wishing to integrate: The Library of Foreign Literature used to have a board with notices offering free accommodation in exchange for English conversation.) The next one – the sinister looking edifice –  houses a movie theater that specializes in French classics. Meetings of the French cultural club are also held there.  Just want to show how culturally saturated this area of Moscow is. Basilica is across the canal from the Library.

Basilica is much more than just “a clean place to sleep”. The hostel is on a church property. Unique and charming, especially if you stay ignorant of the progressively ugly character of the Russian Orthodox Church and haven’t heard of first blasphemy cases that got people in prison. You may want to Google “Pussy Riot” though as part of acquiring background info before you decide if travelling here and supporting the regime is a good idea. Back to Basilica. It is at the end of a dead-end street so Moscow’s incessant traffic will not be a problem. But the neighbourhood is old, and with Moscow authorities’ obsession with reconstruction it is a good idea to check that there are no jackhammer-armed Tajiks working in front of your window.

Let’s continue our walk around the neighbourhood..

The Crystal Distillery. Left side of River Yauza, 20-30 min. walk from Basilica. Part of my series of photos to show points of interest within walking distance from Basilica. One of Moscow’s vodka museums is there. And the Winzavod Arts Center too.

I’ve recently visited Napoleon, a hostel in the same price range on Maroseyka. Much noisier and more crowded. Plus a four-story stairwell used as one large smoking zone.  If you are in a mood to party then Napoleon may be for you. But if you are an old loser like me who wants peace and quiet but can’t afford renting a secluded villa outside of Moscow then your choice is definitely Basilica.

Right by the Yauza river close to where it flows into the Moskva, to a park dedicated to “glorious Russian border guards” according to a phallic symbol in the middle of it,

and to Tvetnoy Boulevard that gives you pedestrian-friendly access to Turgenevskaya and Pushkinskaya square and even to Arbat.

When Moscow reduces you to to a state of uncontrollable agitation try feeding ducks. A simple and cheap activity with a strong calming effect. There is a huge duck population in Yauza, a few steps from Basilica.

$25 or so gets you a bed in a room shared with 4-8. $70-90 for a private room with facilities down the corridor. Recently a new building with hotel-like rooms at $120-150/night was added. Ask about Basilica’s totally separate little house at the back of the property! It is far away from the street and has 4-foot walls. If you hate noise, can afford something like $150-170/night, and the little house happens to be free, grab it.

If Basilica is fully booked try rooms from Dmitry Sharvin on Maroseyka and the Napoleon Hostel on Bolshoy Zlatoustinsky. As I’ve just said, Napoleon tends to be crowded and noisy, and the stairwell to the 3rd or 4th floor is full of smoke. But both Dimitry’s rooms and Napoleon are suitably located and can be recommended to backpacker type travellers although nothing beats Basilica if you want “old Moscow charm”. Nothing but my apartment that is but I am normally in no position to avail it for $25/night while Basilica will provide you with a bed and access to facilities.

Don’t be put off by Basilica’s new flashy site that starts its presentation with a heavily photoshoped image of a Russian beauty’s naked thigh. Their ww.sweetmoscow.com does not do justice to the place. Don’t even go there. I mean to the site, not to the hostel itself. I would stay in Basilica after reading my own description but their page that makes heavy use of obviously madeup client feedback would turn me off.  But if you are your average backpacker conditioned to salivate in response to specific stimuli here it is..

guest at Basilica Hostel

I may as well confess I did the same in one of the descriptions of my apartment that is available for rent. And it worked too, further contributing to my opinion of you travellers and humanity as a whole. But it is low season now, I can’t afford the pleasure of chasing you away.

To end, here are a few random photos of the neighbourhood:

 Old-Moscow style dump. You don’t often see them quite that spectacular these days. Found during my explorations of Basilica’s immediate neighbourhood.



PS. A few more photos from my walk around the Serebryaniki (Silversmiths) neighbourhood. March 2012.

An 70s Volga, Russia’s answer to Mercedes. Owning a black Volga those days means you’ve got it made. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GAZ-24


Since Basilica makes 10% site upkeep contribution from clients I send their way, please contact them through me to help me keep track who I refer to them. I’ll immediately forward your letter to their reception.


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