I walked through Moscow’s ‘Golden Mile,’ one of the city’s most expensive neighborhoods, and got a glimpse of what most photos don’t show you: It’s a mix of the old, the new, and the abandoned

The Noble Row townhouses in Moscow's Golden Mile start at $22 million.

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The Noble Row townhouses in Moscow’s Golden Mile start at $22 million.
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Katie Warren/Business Insider

  • Moscow’s “Golden Mile” is home to some of the city’s most expensive real estate.
  • The neighborhood spans the area between Ostozhenka Street and the Moscow River in the center of the city.
  • Russian government officials, celebrities, and families with “old money” call the area home, according to Olga Novikova of Moscow Sotheby’s International Realty.
  • Homes cost an average of $2 million in older buildings and $3.5 million in new construction buildings, according to Sotheby’s.
  • On a recent trip to Russia, I took a walk through the neighborhood and saw some of its high-end real estate – here’s what it looked like.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Moscow’s Golden Mile, a residential area between the banks of the Moscow River and Ostozhenka Street, is home to some of the city’s priciest real estate.

Homes cost an average of $2 million in older buildings and $3.5 million in new construction buildings, according to Moscow Sotheby’s International Real Estate, while a set of coveted townhouses start at $22 million.

Read more: In the suburbs of Moscow, 2 winding highways are home to some of Russia’s most expensive real estate – and they tell very different tales of the country’s wealth

Demand for the area has cooled somewhat in the last five years, Maria Bocharova, the chief marketing officer for Sotheby’s International Realty, told Business Insider.

“But many people still want to live there and the popularity and prestige of this area will remain stable for a very long time,” Bocharova said.

On a recent trip to Russia, I got a tour of the Golden Mile neighborhood with Olga Novikova of Moscow Sotheby’s International Realty. Here’s what it looked like.


Moscow’s “Golden Mile” is home to some of the city’s most expensive real estate.

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Shutterstock/mgfoto

Homes in the neighborhood cost an average of $2 million in older buildings and $3.5 million in new construction buildings, according to Moscow Sotheby’s International Realty.


The residential area lies between Ostozhenka Street and the Moscow River in the southwestern city center.

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Google Maps

Source: Google Maps


It’s adjacent to the Moscow River, which flows through the center of the city.

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At one end of Ostozhenka Street is a golden-domed Russian Orthodox church, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

The cathedral, which was finished in 1997, sits on the former site of a similar church that was destroyed in 1931 on the order of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.


As I walked through the streets of Moscow’s Golden Mile on a June afternoon with Olga Novikova of Moscow Sotheby’s International Realty, the streets were quiet and serene.

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The area is full of luxury apartments, both new construction and historic buildings.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

The neighborhood does not have any single-family homes – only condos.

In the past five years, the area has become somewhat less desirable due to economic crises and the turbulence of the Moscow real-estate market, Maria Bocharova, the chief marketing officer for Sotheby’s International Realty, told me in an email.


But it’s still an attractive neighborhood for many of the city’s elite, including government officials, celebrities, and old money families.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

“Many people still want to live there and the popularity and prestige of this area will remain stable for a very long time,” Bocharova said.


One of the most prestigious places is to live is Noble Row, a set of six ultra-exclusive luxury townhouses that start at $22 million.

The Noble Row townhouses in Moscow's Golden Mile start at $22 million.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

The interiors were designed by Ralph Lauren, and there’s a private underground parking garage for residents, Novikova told me.


Another of the most sought-out residences in the area is Nabokov, a six-story luxury condominium named after the famous Russian writer.

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The 15-unit residence was built by Vesper, the largest luxury real-estate developer in the city.


I got a peek inside Nabokov, where the remaining apartments range from about $4 million to $8 million.

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The penthouse sold for about $20 million.

The buyers in the building have been mainly wealthy Russian businesspeople and celebrities, according to Sotheby’s.


The developer touts Nabokov’s limestone facade as “a graphic design with a velvety texture,” but I found the gray, boxy structure to be rather dreary-looking.

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A rear view of the Nabokov luxury residence in Moscow’s Golden Mile.
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It seemed to be a stark juxtaposition with the rest of the neighborhood’s historic architecture.


The Golden Mile has a mix of architectural styles, from opulent Art Nouveau buildings to modern, glassy buildings.

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High-end buyers in Moscow today tend to gravitate more toward highly functional apartments rather than older construction, Bocharova told me.


Ostozhenka Street is the place for “see-and-be-seen dining” at high-end Russian and Georgian restaurants, according to Mansion Global.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

The area is also home to some art galleries, although luxury shopping is mainly found in other parts of the city, Oleg Konovalov of Moscow Sotheby’s International Realty told the publication in 2016.


Residents of the neighborhood can exercise at the Golden Mile Fitness Club, a luxury gym in the neighborhood, where it costs about $10,000 per year to be a member, according to Novikova.

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The Golden Mile Fitness Club.
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Katie Warren/Business Insider

According to its website, the Golden Mile gym has an “aqua zone” with an 82-foot swimming pool, a snow room, a Jacuzzi, a hammam, a Finnish sauna, a Turkish sauna, an aromatic sauna, an ice fountain, and a solarium.

The fitness center does not, however, list its prices on its website, and the gym didn’t immediately respond to my email about their prices.


While parts of the neighborhood are certainly beautiful, I found it that it seemed to be a neighborhood in flux.

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Many areas were under construction, which perhaps had to do with the time of year I visited.


And several buildings I passed appeared to be abandoned.

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Right across the street from the Noble Row townhouses that cost upwards of $22 million was a small park that seemed, frankly, a bit neglected.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

The paint on the flower beds was chipping, and the grass was patchy.

That’s not to say it wasn’t a pleasant park, but it was a contrast to other ultra-wealthy parts of Russia I visited, such as a luxury gated community outside of Moscow, where such green space was immaculate.


While some of the neighborhood’s side streets were lined with stately luxury condominiums, other streets had average-looking homes with peeling paint.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

After hearing so much about the exclusivity and status of the neighborhood, I have to admit I was somewhat underwhelmed by the Golden Mile.

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Katie Warren/Business Insider

I can see the appeal of the neighborhood’s quiet streets and its proximity to the Moscow River, but it didn’t quite measure up to the pure opulence that I saw in some of the ultra-wealthy suburbs of the city.