Magnificence hidden around Moscow

The Arkhangelskoe Estate, also known as the “Versailles of Podmoskovye”, Moscow.

The Arkhangelskoe Estate, also known as the “Versailles of Podmoskovye”, Moscow.

Lori/Legion-Media
People travelling to Moscow mostly find themselves confined to visiting the city’s many attractions and miss out on the treasures hidden in the Podmoskovye (Moscow Region), ranging from ancient churches and space cities to writer’s retreats and a magnificent palace that rivals Versailles.

The greater Moscow region, or Podmoskovye, is around 45,000 square kilometres large, approximately the same size as Estonia, with a population of around seven million people, almost as many as the population of Hong Kong.

This extended territory belonged to the Moscow principality several hundred years ago and gradually became the core area for the modern Russian state. Napoleon's Russian campaign was decided here (at Borodino) and significant battles from the Second World War were fought in this region, making it a historically significant area.

Al the major destinations in Podmoskovye are located within 200 kilometres of the Russian capital and are easily accessible by train, or one can drive up in one’s car. Two million tourists annually visit Podmoskovye. We give you 17 reasons why you should be among them.

1. Kolomna: pastilles (a fruit confectionary), and authentic Russian “kolach” bread (a slightly sweet yeast bread), with loaves as large as a kilogram, are two tasty reasons to go to one of Russia’s most tourist-friendly cities, 113 kilometres from Moscow. Kolomna’s factories function as museums and have been revived as old workshops. Workshop tours are popular and you need to book in advance.

Source: Elena Larionova

2. The natural biosphere reserve at Prioksko-Terrasny is the only one in the greater Moscow Region (104 kilometres from the Russian capital city). The main attraction here is the ‘Wisent’ or European bison which can be observed from a special area.

Source: Lori/Legion-Media 

3. The Losiny Ostrov National Park is a thickly forested biological reserve, just 11 kilometres away from Moscow city. The primary attraction here is a ‘moose’ station, where visitors can interact with the animals and take selfies with moose cubs.

4. The villages of GzhelZhostovoBogorodskoye are the best places to uncover the secrets of Russian folk crafts. Watch craftsmen work, buy original crafts or make a toy or paint a meal tray and create your own unique souvenir.

Source: TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

5. “The battle of Borodino was the most beautiful and the most severe one, where the French showed that they deserve a victory and the Russians earned their right to remain undefeated,” said Napoleon about the events of more than 200 years ago at the village of Borodino (129 kilometers away from Moscow). The best time to go is September 5-6 when historically recreated battles are held.

Source: TASS/Alexandra Mudrats

6. Beginning in the 19th century the Abramtsevo Estate (75 kilometers away from Moscow) served as an artistic “summer camp” for many famous writers, artists and musicians. Come for inspiration just as Nikolai GogolFyodor Shalyapin, and Mikhail Vrubel did, visit a church based upon the drawings of Viktor Vasnetsov and see the works that Valentin Serov and Konstantin Korovin painted here.

7. The Arkhangelskoe Estate, also known as the “Versailles of Podmoskovye” is the only palace and park ensemble in the Moscow Region (30 kilometers from Moscow) that has preserved its original look. The palace’s luxurious rooms feature art collections that wouldn’t be out of place in the Louvre Museum.

Source: Elena Larionova

8. The atmosphere of Anton Chekhov’s time is carefully preserved at the Melikhovo Estate (80 kilometers from Moscow). The writer's house, the space where he wrote his play “The Seagull,” and the fruit and vegetable gardens are so well kept that it seems that Chekhov himself might come out of his room and offer tea to his guests.

Source: RIA Novosti/Ruslan Krivobok

9. The Bykovo Estate (50 kilometers away from Moscow) has several interesting buildings – a brick manor house in the style of English castles, a rare two-story church with u-shaped stairs and a large, but not crowded park. The estate’s most attractive place, the park, charms visitors with its atmosphere of abandonment.

Source: Lori/Legion-Media 

10. If the Serednikovo Estate’s (30 kilometers from Moscow) past is connected with the early life of Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov, then today it has more to do with film production. After several historic and adventure films were shot here, an entire “movie town” with decorations from backdrops including 18 thcentury England have remained behind.

Source: Lori/Legion-Media

11. The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, the monastery of New Jerusalem and Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery are Moscow region must-sees for those who can’t get enough of Russia’s gold-topped onion dome churches. All three complexes are impeccably restored and offer tourists much more than a pretty architectural picture.

Source: Lori/Legion-Media 

12. The sport parks VolenYakhroma and Sorochany won't be mistaken for the Alps, but they are great spots for a novice skier looking to get their start. Seasonal ski passes for winter 2015/2016 are available for purchase, with tickets starting at 15,000 rubles ($230).

Source: Lori/Legion-Media 

13. Husky Land is a true slice of the Far North just 30 kilometers from Moscow. Learn more about the peoples of Russia's Far North, ride a dog sled and find out the secrets of a shaman’s rituals. You can do all this without actually having to go to Siberia.

14. The Ethnomir museum park is a huge multicultural entertainment facility 90 kilometers from Moscow. With a territory of 140 hectares the park offers an interactive model of the world with the architecture, history, crafts and cuisine from countries ranging from India to Italy.

Source: TASS/Sergei Bobulev

15. In Podmoskvye it still possible to feel the atmosphere of an old Russian city: SerpukhovZvenigorodZarayskDmitrov, and Ruza are excellent destinations for weekend escapes from Moscow’s crowds. Journey back into the past to see the walls of old kremlins, central streets with wooden houses and Orthodox churches all located on the doorstep of Russia’s capital.

16. The immense open and sloping sand pits known as Sychyovskie karery (98 kilometers from Moscow) are a heaven for extreme sports fans and motor sport lovers. An unusual way to finish off the afternoon is to relax on the banks of a nearby lake and watch the work of gigantic, two-story tall BelAZ vehicles, the biggest mining dump trucks known to man.

17. Come to the town of Korolev (50 kilometers from Moscow) to visit Zvezdny gorodok, known as Star City in English. The Astronaut Training Center here offers guided tours that will allow you to test your abilities on special training machines, have a look inside spacecraft and sample some real astronaut food. You can take some to go as a souvenir.

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