Moscow region: great history outside the capital city

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Main facts:

  • Administrative center: Moscow

  • Federal District: Central

  • Language(s): Russian

  • Population: 7,503,000

  • Timezone: UTC+3

  • Main religion: Orthodoxy

Top 10 attractions:

Sights map of Moscow region

Travel around Moscow region

Moscow is the multimillion capital of Russia and the center of attraction for millions of tourists from all over the world. This city is visited by everyone who has ever met the country, and all those who have not been to it dream of getting into this city. Moscow strikes the imagination and instantly captures the endless cycle of bright events, architectural masterpieces and many other beauties. Of course, familiarity with the great city will be one of the most memorable events in the life of everyone. But what if you try to find out the country beyond? What if for a couple of days or weekends go to explore the neighborhood of the metropolis? Although I am convinced that many Moscow folks do this often, I constantly encounter people who have never heard of the incredible beauties of the Moscow region. And that’s why I’ll introduce you some of them now.

The Moscow region is rich in historical sites, scenic landscapes and examples of russian folk art. There are many monasteries, ancient fortresses, museums and manors, natural forest parks and reserves throughout the large area. It is not necessary to visit all of them, but if you want to know life "outside the Moscow Ring Road" - then you should go on a small trip through the cities and villages in the vicinity of the "golden-headed" capital.

Regardless of which direction you choose, you will sooner or later come across an interesting landmark. For example, having left to the north, immediately outside the Moscow Ring Road, there will be two small settlements that are famous throughout the world for their crafts. In  Zhostovo make trays with exquisite paintings that are the subject of national pride and wealth, and iFedoskino produce a miniature painting of the highest quality. Visiting museums in both villages in person will be an excellent way to spend your leisure time, and if you go to Fedoskino, then visit at the same time the beautiful Marfino manor in the Gothic style that belonged to several rich russian merchants.

Leaving from Moscow to the west, you will soon reach the Arkhangelskoe estate, which is a model of classical architecture of the 17-18 centuries. Unfortunately, in the middle of 2018, the manor was closed for restoration, and therefore in the near future it will not be possible to see it in full glory. But there is an opportunity to see its photos and visit after the restoration in the future. Further to the west, the road will lead you to the walls of the holy cloister of New Jerusalem Monastery. This prototype of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem was heavily damaged during the Russian Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, and was completely restored only at the end of 2016. But its modern look delights and amazes. This place is impossible to describe with words neither outside nor inside - you need to see it with your own eyes. Next to it, in the city of Istra there is a unique structure for generating a magnetic field - Tesla Towers, which you can not found anywhere else in the world. If you are interested in such wonders, be sure to visit this place.

Passing a few dozen kilometers to the west, you will get to the old city of Volokolamsk, which was founded before Moscow! It was built as a defensive fortress on the western frontiers of the Vladimir-Suzdal principality, and therefore in its center stood a large Kremlin. Unfortunately, only small ramparts and the monastery complex, rebuilt in its place much later, have survived. However, to learn about the history of the place which is older than Moscow, and to enjoy the picturesque views of the Russian hinterland is a truly invaluable feeling.

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Moving to the north, on the way will meet the ancient city of Dmitrov, which is one of the very first Russian cities on this earth. Dmitrov Kremlin, from which only the fortress wall and the monastery complex in the center remain today, has more than 800 years of history. It was founded by Yury Dolgoruky, and for many centuries the fortress in Dmitrov was a defensive structure on the northern borders of the Moscow principality. If you move from Dmitrov to the west, then after some time you will find yourself in the dense forests of the middle zone, in which you can pick up a lot of berries and mushrooms, and rest in peace at numerous lakes (for example, Senezh Lake). If time remains, be sure to visit the largest in Russia Christmas tree toys museum in the city of Klin, which is famous for its production of Soviet Christmas decorations for many decades.


After traveling a few dozen kilometers east of Dmitrov, you will find yourself in the big city of Sergiev Posad, where the unforgettable towers of Holy Trinity Sergius Lavra, main orthodox monastery of the Russian land, is rising. It was founded by Saint Sergius of Radonezh in the 14th century AD, and since then has steadily grown and flourished. The recently completed reconstruction brought to the monastery a rich decoration, landscape design and a great many tourists. Due to the latter factor, the monastery today has become more of a tourist object of the Golden Ring than an Orthodox monastery, but the legal status allows you to visit it for free, which is very pleasing. Powerful walls surround the incredible wealth of interior decoration, which can be seen all year round. Truly, inside this structure you feel the full power and wealth of the Russian Orthodox Church.

In general, the west of the Moscow region is full of incredibly beautiful landscapes and historical sites. This is the ancient complex of Savvino-Storozhevsky monastery in Zvenigorod, which served as a place for prayers of the Russian tsars, and Zvenigorod itself was founded at the same time as Moscow!  This is the Kremlin in Volokolamsk, the New Jerusalem Monastery and numerous estates. Finally it is ancient Kremlin in Mozhaysk, created on the western frontiers of the Moscow principality to protect against the Poles and Lithuanians, which is partially preserved to this day. There, near Mozhaisk happened the famous Borodino Battle, during which general Kutuzov defeated Napoleon’s army. In honor of this victory, the Spaso-Borodinskiy Monastery and the Borodino history museum were constructed, which preserve the history of the past days.