Mytischi (Мытищи) is a city on the outskirts of Moscow with a population of about 270,000. Thanks to its location, Mytischi combines all the possibilities that a European capital like Moscow has to offer while avoiding the hecticness of living in a big city. The people of Mytischi choose to live here because of the cleaner air, quieter streets and calmer lifestyle than their Muscovite counterparts have, while all the time being able to take the short bus ride to Moscow and enjoy its benefits too.
Until just a few years ago Mytischi could have been accused of being a commuter town, and while it is true than many of the residents live here and travel to work in Moscow, this picture is changing rapidly. Recent years have since a host of new facilities and developments springing up all over the city. With medium-term plans of connecting Mytischi to Moscow via the metro, this is definitely a growing city.
Developments of note over the past two years include a number of new bars, clubs and restaurants: one worth of special mention is Mytischi’s very own British-style pub Temple Bar. Two modern, Western-style shopping centres have recently opened in the city: both housing a range of shops, cinemas and food courts. The crowning achievement of Mytischi’s recent development, however, has to be the Arena Mytischi (Арена Мытищи) or Ice Palace, which hosted several games in this year’s ice-hockey World Championships.
The Language Link school in Mytischi is a purpose-designed, modern school. Centrally-located it is comfortably reached from most parts of the city on foot and lies on several major bus routes. The school normally has four or five native English-speaking teaching staff and the same number of Russian teachers. There is a supportive and friendly atmosphere between all teachers and staff at the school helping to create a pleasant community. The school is well-equipped: all classrooms have whiteboards and CD players and there is a staff room containing a photocopier and resource library.
All Language Link teachers are provided with accommodation. In Mytischi, as in most of Russia, this means a flat in an apartment block. While these blocks of flats can be intimidating from the outside, inside you will find pleasant, reasonably-furnished flats. Thanks to being a short distance away from the ridiculously expensive Moscow property market, flats in Mytischi can often be a little nicer than those of your colleagues based in Moscow. Standard furnishings include a bed, wardrobe space, a bathroom and a basic kitchen, but often flats also have a TV and washing machine too.
Mytischi may be bordered on one side by Moscow, however it is also in close proximity to some lovely natural surroundings. To the north of the city there is a small forest perfect for the national summer pastime of having shashlik (barbecues). To the east there’s the huge Losiniy Ostrov (Лосиный остров) national park. This is a wonderful place to explore where you can walk, ride bikes, or even swim in summer and go skiing in winter. Take just a short bus ride west and you find yourself in Pirogovo (Пирогово), a region of Mytischi with a beautiful lake to which people from all over Moscow come to swim in summer.
Mytischi has a range of shops to match any small city. For food, there are a number of good, well-stocked supermarkets with Perekrestok (Перекресток), Spar (Спар), and Vkusniy Ostrov (Вкусный Остров) offering slightly better quality at slightly higher prices. You can also find Magnit (Магнит) and Pyatorechka (Пятерочка), which are at the budget end. If you’re more confident with your Russian you can even try the local food markets offering the freshest fruit and vegetables. There are also small shops within five minutes of any part of the city offering a small range of food and drinks (marked продукты). For other daily needs, you also don’t need to look far. Mobile phone shops, places sells phone cards and machines for topping up your mobile phone balance are all over the city.
Though, you may find a wider choice in Moscow, you can find most other things in Mytischi too. For clothes and other consumer goods, places to start are the new shopping centres. The most conveniently located is Red Whale (Красный Кит) next to Mytischi’s railway station. A good, low-cost place for household goods is the Auchan (Ашан) superstore between Mytischi and Moscow easily accessible by bus. You can also buy books and stationery here, but for a wide choice of English language books you will have to travel into Moscow.
Trips around the city can usually be made on foot. However, when circumstances need there’s a cheap and efficient network of buses and marshrutkas (mini buses following bus routes). Getting to Moscow can be done in two ways depending on where you live. The first is to take a train from one of Mytischi’s three stations to Yaroslavl station (Ярославский Вокзал) in Moscow which is right next to Komsomolskaya (Комсомольская) metro on the circle line. Tickets cost about 30 roubles and the journey takes about 40 minutes. The other alternative is to take one of the many buses which go to Moscow. These stop at Medvedkovo (Медведково) metro at the top of the orange line. Tickets cost about 30 roubles and the journey takes about 20 minutes depending on traffic. Buses, trains and the metro can all be quite crowded at busy times.
There are an increasing number of bars, clubs and restaurants in Mytischi. Some popular places to eat are Expromto (Italian) and Yakatoria (Japanese). There are also several pizza and sushi delivery services at reasonable prices for those days when you just don’t fancy cooking. The new British-style Temple Bar offers international cuisine and a range of drinks. Around the city you can also try a number of small cafes for drinks and Russian cooking. Fast food, including McDonalds or the Russian favourite blini (pancakes), is also available at one of the large shopping centres, for example Red Whale.
Mitischi’s Ice Palace is a very popular venue hosting premier league ice-hockey games for local side Khimik (Химик) and figure-skating displays. Recent highlights have been the ice-hockey World Championships and the Russian figure-skating national championships. There’s also a second rink where you can go skating.
Other attractions include two cinemas showing the latest releases (though only in Russian), a theatre, a puppet theatre, a museum and places to go bowling and play pool. Mytischi has a pleasant park where you can go for a stroll and relax. Or if you want to be more energetic there are a few gyms and swimming pools.
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