Outside Moscow, Moscow
On my second trip to Moscow in October 2009 I wanted to take at least one daytrip from the Russian capital. I perused several guide books and finally decided on Sergiyev Posad.
Sergiyev Posad, which was formerly named Zagorsk, is situated on the so called Golden Ring, just 70 km north east of Moscow. It can easily be reached by train (elektrichka) from Moscow's Yaroslavsky Station.
The city is dominated by the Trinity Monastery of St Sergius Lavra, which is one of the largest and most important monasteries in Russia.
For more information about my daytrip to Sergiyev Posad please check out my VT page about the city.
Dybrovitsy is a small town just outside Moscow. It has a beautiful church very different from the usual Russian Orthodox style, a stately home (usadba) and a river.
How to get there: Take the electrichka from Kursky Vokzal to Podolsk, then the bus or marshrutka number 65 to Dubrovitsy. Or, from metro sation Yuzhnaya, take the number 417 marshrutka.
The church and house: Both tzar Peter I and Catherine II among other members of the Romanov family visited the estate. The house is beautiful and designed in a typical Russian style. Sadly, you cannot go inside, but are able to wonder around the gardens and down to the river. The church, however is the real gem. It was built between 1690 and 1704 by a Russian nobleman and named after the icon of the (roughly translated) 'sign of god's birth' (in Russian, Tserkov' znameniya presvyatoy bogopoditsy) and based on a similar one in Italy. The church has many statues all around it and in place of the usual cupola to be found on most Russian churches, it has a golden (for want of a better word) crown. It is in a good state of repair and the inside is just as impressive as the outside.
Around the church and house: just behind the church is a man-made hill with step to the top. This gives a good view down to the river and over the town. The river is beautiful and, walking along it, you can forget that you are only 25 km from Moscow, it feels like the middle of the countryside with lush green grass, lots of trees and very few people. On the otherside of the house is a well-kept wood which also makes a pleasant walk.
This is a great afternoon trip out of Moscow and a very relaxing way to spend a spring, summer or autumn day (not great for winter as it's mostly outside). It is possible to have a picnic along the banks of the river if you want. It's also a very cheap day out as you only need to pay the price of the train and/or marshrutka!
A very unusual church, in fact, the only one of its kind in this country.
Our Orthodox churches are normally crossing-square, but this one is oval-house. Besides, it is two-storey, each storey consecrated to a different church - the upper is Our Lady of Vladimir, the lower - The Nativity of Jesus Christ. The latter is renovated and functions since 1989, as far as I know.
There were two architects in Russia prominent in what appears to be ‘Masonic’ style – Vasily Bazhenov and Michael Kazakov; experts cannot come to terms which of them had designed the church, may just as well be both.
The church dates back to 1789, same as the water-colour here. The belfry is about a century younger, made by Ivan Tamansky, Bazhenov’s apprentice; the mansion-house in the estate nearby is of 1856, a French architect Bernard de Simone - it’s very unlikely you will know how they sound a minute after you read this.
Bazhenov and Kazakov, however, are two household names for Moscow architecture, you will have a clearer picture of the city if you remember at least some of their works: Pashkov house (The Lenin Library) opposite the Kremlin – for Bazhenov; the old University – for Kazakov.
Finding you way will be no easy business – much as I don’t trust chauffeured automobiles, I would rather take one here.
Or take bus 424, 430, 431 from metro station Vykhyno heading the town of Zhukosky, ask to be dropped at the stop "The Church" - about 40 minutes
Or, if you know your way about Moscow railways - from Kazan railway station (metro Komsomolskaya) to station Bykovo, 2 km on foot or 1 km shuttle 22, then 1 km on foot. Don't get lost, the airport nearby blocks the view.
GPS (WGS84) - N 55.61058, E 38.05761
P.S. Print and take the photos with you - how are you going to explain otherwise which church you need?
Over the years there has been some interestin pyramid power and scientist Alex Golod built a number for research. His work shows positive benefits, perhaps the main being that his employment can continue.
Scientists discovered an energy column rising fromteh pyramid thought to repair the ozone layer. Better let Al Gore know!
If only it was so easy!
The largest is 44 meters tall.
On the Moscow-Riga Highway at 38 km marker
Visit Snegiri - a place about 30 km far from Moscow by "Volokolamskoe Shosse" road. This place is where Battle of Moscow during World War Two took place. There's a huge area full of soviet and german tanks and other weapons. All of them are kept there untouched since this battle took place 65 years ago. Besides there's Museum of War History and Monument of tank. This monument points the exactly place how far nazi could come in Soviet Union.
Peredelkino is a small dacha settlement just outside Moscow. The poet and writer Boris Pasternak (Dr. Zhivago) lived here for a long time. His dacha is a museum these days, you can visit it from 10am to 4pm, Wednesdays to Sundays.
It's also a great place to walk around and get some fresh air, although quite a bit of construction is going on here.
To get there take a suburban train (elektrichka) from Kievskij train station. The journey just takes 20 minutes and the tickets costs 15 Roubles.
Every even year there is a giant aviation show in Zhukovsky (nearest Moscow settelite town).
Here you can see picture from MAKS'2000. The biggest plane in the world "Mrija" (Antonov-225). Absolutely fantastic scenery!!!
The Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius is located approximately 75 kilometres north-eat of Moscow. You can reach it by bus or train, but we hired a car & driver for the day trip.
The collection of churches and cathedrals is overwhelmingly beautiful. The fact that the lavra (highly ranking monastery) is one of the country's most popular pilgrimage sights, only added to our reasons for visiting. If you're in Moscow, I'd highly recommend spending a day here.
You can find more details on my Sergiyev Posad page.
Cute ancient town with beaytiful town centre in which stands the great Cathedral of dormition. In the chatedral there are ornaments and wall-paintings from 12th-13th centuries and the wall- paintings by Andrei Rublev.
Next to the cathedral stand the Church of st. Demetrius with fine white-stone carving ornaments.
MAKS (International Aviation & Space Salon)
This event is actually a 'MUST see' thing but as it's held in town Zhukovski, which is about 30km to the South-West of Moscow, I decided to put it in 'Off beaten' section.
This Salon (similar to the one held in Le Bourget, France) is really famous world-wide among aicraft professionals, and we, Moscovites, like it for its spectacular air shows, performed by Russian pilots.
Unfortunately this Salon is held only once in 2 years, the latest one was on August 19-24, 2003. I highly recommend you to visit it, if you happen to be in Moscow on these dates.
More detailed info you can find at http://www.airshow.ru/etable.htm or
Have a look at my Zhukovskiy page to see what was going on there this August.
150 miles south of Moscow is the industrial town of Tula. Its got a pie musuem, a gun musuem, a university as well as Iasnaia Poliana, which is about 5 km from the centre of the city.
I spent a night in a hotel by a sports stadium and the next day got a taxi to Iasnaia Poliana. It was a beautiful, warm day and I had a real sense of adventure just going there and seeing his house, going inside and seeing his rooms, book collections, dumbells, and portraits (c.f. Tretiakov).
The estate is sprawling and though not huge, is certainly a full day's activity. I walked to his unmarked grave and saw newly-weds make the pilgrimage here which is a Russian tradition. Note that the Nazis made Iasnaia Poliana a headquarters in WW2 on their way to Stalingrad (now Volgograd).
Note that Tolstoi is buried where one of his brothers is supposed to have found a 'Green Stick' which, if found, would bring universal peace on earth and human happiness.
There was plenty to see walking around, such as stables, granaries, and a little stream, and I wish I could have spent more time looking around his estate and walking. I also met some incredibly helpful Russian students from Tula University who were so friendly and helped me find my hotel when I was lost.
Anyhow, for Tolstoi fans, they know they will come here - for anyone else its a bit of a trek out of Moscow (3.5hr one-way train journey), but it shows a different, provincial Russia.
If you stay in Moscow about a week or more, my advice is to have a look at real Russia and make a short 1, 2 or maximum 3 days trips outside Moscow. Description of the respective towns you can find among my pages. Here I give you just a hint regarding the possible itineraries:
Vladimir + Suzdal' - can be done in one day but will take a lot of your forces, better make it in 2 days with an overnight either in one town or another
Mozhaysk + Borodino - can be done in one day
Serpukhov - can be covered in one day
Sergiev Posad + Pereslavl' Zalesskiy + Rostov (Velikyi) + Yaroslavl' - all these towns are situated along one highway (schosse) heading from Moscow to Yaroslavl'. You definitely won't be able to visit all of them neither in one nor even in 2 days. You should think about combinations... each of this town deserves a single day, some even two...
Muranovo and/or Abramtsevo - are on the same highway as the towns above but within the easier reach, can be done in one day
Aleksandrov - the same direction (towards Yaroslavl), about 2 hrs by train, can be done in one day
Ryazan' - is very lovely town, about 200 km to the South, you would need 2 days (it's much better), though you can make it within 1 day but you should stay awake from dawn till dusk, literally...
Dmitrov - very close to Moscow and easy to reach, one day is enough, even half a day
Visit the nature and the old villages outside of Moscow.Best is, you know a hunter who can show you around, the woods, fields and animals. There are plenty of wild boar in the woods and fields.
Take a day trip to one of the old 'GOLDEN RING' cities that are in proximity to Moscow.... Reasonably-priced tours are offered by the agency PATRIARSHII DOM ('House of the Patriarch'); the tour bus picks participants up near the American Embassy.
The 25km limit applied for foreigners around Moscow seems to have been relaxed so independent travel is possible as well as organised tours. Sergiev Posad (prev. Zagorsk)is a nearby town of great architectural interest - being an important historical religious centre. It can be reached by elektrichka (suburban trains - an experience in themelves) from Yaroslavl station. Further afield, Vladimir and Suzdal are also worth a visit.