Sight of interest of the Moscow suburbs. Moscow Region.
Moscow region is a territory within a radius of about 50 - 150 km from Moscow, a historically developed district without any exact boundaries, broader than the Moscow area itself. It is the heart of Russia, from here the Russian lands started to spread. In the XIV century at the territory of the nearest Moscow suburbs there was a small Moscow princedom. For a long period more and more lands were joining it until it turned into a powerful Russian state.
Estates, monasteries, art, military, historical and literary museums, small towns with long history, a lot of health centers and holiday homes - all these attract a lot of tourists and holiday-makers to the Moscow region. It is most convenient to travel here by car. The region, as well as the capital, has a radial-circular structure. Roads run like rays from Moscow, and two circular roads, once of military significance and thus not shown on the maps, connect them with each other. Markets and trade centers occupy first several kilometers from Moscow, then forests and fields follow, as well as small villages and churches - all those things that from ancient times called forth melancholy folk «road» songs and inspired poets and artists.
The territory of the Moscow region is large; it is much larger than the areas of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg taken together. There are tens of towns in the Moscow region. The oldest of them are Volokolamsk, Dmitrov, Mozhaisk, Zaraisk, Zvenigorod, Kolomna, Serpukhov, Sergiev Posad. In some of them ancient buildings, churches, kremlins, monasteries have survived. Most popular with the tourists is Sergiev Posad where the Orthodox center of Russia - Troitse-Sergieva lavra, part of the tourist rout «Golden Ring» is situated.
Products of Moscow region craftsmen are famous the world over. Many travelers wish to buy the Gzhel white-blue ceramics, the Sergiev-Posad matrioshka, a tray of Zhostovo, a shawl of Pavlovo-Posad or a Fedoskino lacquered box.
A Moscow nobleman's estate of the XVIII-XIX centuries is not just a private residence surrounded by a picturesque park. Most estates were centers of cultural life. Famous artists, writers, musicians and actors lived in them or visited them. Now some of these estates are turned into museums: Abramtsevo, Melihovo, Muranovo and certainly Yasnaya Poliana - the place where for many years the great Leo Tolstoy worked and where he wrote "Anna Karenina" and “War and Peace”.
Severe battles have taken place many times at the lands of the Moscow region. The former battle sites are museums now. Such is Kulikovo Field where Mongol and Tatar troops were defeated in 1380; Borodino military-historic museum-reserve in memory of the hardest battle of Russian army with Napoleon, a memorial complex and museum near passing-track Dubosekovo - a memorial of the Moscow battle of 1941.
To understand Russia, to feel the beauty of its soft nature, to come to know its history and culture, one must visit the Moscow region - this ancient land keeping the memory of great events and great people.
- Archangelskoe estate (Musey - usadba Arkhangelskoe)is by right compared to Versailles. In the early XIX century its owner prince Nickolay Yusupov placed here his collections of fine arts of which a lot has survived in the Grand palace. The pride of Archangelskoe is a regular park with memorial columns, one hundred year old lime-trees, pavilions, the church of Archangel Mikhail, colonnade and the Gonzago theatre with unique ancient decorations. Russian monarchs used to visit the estate, so did the great poet Alexander Pushkin.
- In the XVII century Russian Patriarch Nikon decided to recreate the Holy Land with an exact copy of the Holy Sepulcher and Gethsemane garden in the suburbs of Moscow. The grand
New Jerusalem Monastery similar to the ancient Jerusalem temple, a park with springs and ponds and a cell of patriarchy Nikon were built. Now there is a museum of wooden architecture in the park; a wooden church, a peasants' estate, a chapel and a mill were brought here from various places of Moscow region.
- One of the centers of Russian spiritual life, Uspensky Joseph Volokolamsk (Volotsky) monastery was founded in XV century and later it was rebuilt. Since XVII century the Saint gate with a small church above it has survived. In the monastery there is a rich library numbering over a thousand manuscripts, a collection of church plate, editions of the Bible, ancient Russian needlework.
- Abramtsevo is an estate not far from Sergiev Posad of the Moscow region. Since 1870 it belonged to the famous patron of arts and manufacturer Savva Mamontov who used to be visited by many Russian artists. Under their projects an attic, a church and a "peasant's house on hen's legs" (in Russian folk tales - a home of the horrible old Baba Yaga) were built in Russian national style. Masterpiece fretworks and majolica have been created there, too. Pictures known by any Russian, such as «A Girl with Peaches» (Mamontov's daughter) by Valentine Serov and «Alionushka» - a barefooted peasant girl grieving at the bank of a pond (a heroine of many Russian tales) by Victor Vasnetsov were created in Abramtsevo. Since 1918 there has been a museum in the estate.
- Borodino. This famous village is located in 124 km distance to the West of Moscow. The field of Borodino is situated in its suburbs. On September 7, 1812 there was a battle between the Russians and Napoleon's army which strongly influenced the result of the Patriotic war. Later Napoleon called the battle at Borodino one of his most horrible battles. The causalities of both sides numbered about 80 thousand people. Nowadays a military historical reserve is situated there. Every year on September, 7 celebrations and festivals are held, scenes of the battle at Borodino are acted, parades and concerts of military brass band take place.
- In 40 km from Moscow there has survived a wonderful romantic corner with an overgrown park and a
typical nobleman's estate Marfino. From the road to the estate there stretches a pseudo-Gothic bridge-dam reminding of an English castle. White stone griffins meet the visitors at the gate; lonely arbors and two small churches of the XVIII century are seen through the trees.
- Zvenigorod is a typical Russian provincial town. Loghouses with carved platbands are surrounded with gardens and vegetable gardens; there are several old stone buildings, churches, museums and a monastery in the suburbs. Anton Chekhov used to work in the hospital of Zvenigorod. But there is a legend, which attracts foreigners and especially Frenchmen there. During the war of 1812 prince Eugene Bogarnet, Napoleon's stepson, stopped to spend a night in Sawino-Storozhevsky monastery in Zvenigorod. In his dream an old monk appeared before him and told him not to profane Russian sanctuaries, then he would return home safe and his descendants would live in Russia. Everything happened just this way: Bogarnet's son married a Russian tsar's daughter and settled in Russia.
- Melikhovo. Over a hundred years ago the famous Russian writer Anton Chekhov lived in this estate. There his play «Sea gull» was written. The interior of the main house with a porch in form of a fairy-tale castle remains the same as in the writer's lifetime. It seems that the inhabitants of the house have left for a while and will be back just in a minute. In the estate garden there is a bell, which used to call the household to the table, a pond and the Alley of love where an old elm still grows. Flowers are grown in beautiful flower gardens just the way the writer used to do it himself. Nowadays Melikhovo keeps the spirit of Chekhov's epoch.
- In 12 km from the Moscow regional town Serpukhov there is one of the few places in Russia where bisons live. By the beginning of the XX century they were exterminated, only several animals survived in the zoological gardens. This species in Russia is rehabilitated in the Northern Caucasus and there, in the
Oka reserve. Beside the bison, one can also see a spotty deer, a Russian musk-rat and rare birds there. The natural zones of the reserve go down in terraces to the Oka, the biggest tributary of the Volga.
- The tall Zachatievsky monastery and Vladichny Vvedensky convent - the oldest in the Moscow region - beautify a small nice provincial town of Serpukhov in the Moscow region. This town is rich in memorials of Russian history and culture. Fragments of a white stone Kremlin and churches are expressive. Serpukhov is also famous for its production of jacquard blankets.
- The Museum-estate of the great Russian writer Lev Tolstoy is situated in Tula region, to the South of Moscow. In
Yasnaya Polyana the writer was born, lived about 60 years and is buried. The novels «War and Peace » and «Anna Karenina» were written in Yasnaya Polyana. Tolstoy used to teach peasants' children in the school built by him, edit a teacher's journal, work in the field. Famous artists, writers, composers and followers of Tolstoy's philosophic theory used to come here to meet the «Great Old Man».
- Tula. From old times this town, in 200 km to the South of Moscow, has been famous for its metal-work, no matter if that were arms or samovars. Among the main places of interest of Tula there is certainly The Armory museum was founded in the period of Peter the Great. There is no other like it in the world; all people's arms are presented here, beginning from the bow and arrows and up to the most modern infantry arms. Tula has been famous for production of spice-cakes since old times. Tula's spice-cakes baked in special forms are not only tasty, but beautiful too. Accordion business came into being in Tula in the XIX century and Tula's accordion became very popular in Russia. Local masters not only polished up the foreign accordion, but created quite a new instrument which no Russian national orchestra can do without.
- Kulikovo Field is a military and historical reserve in Tula district, in 250 km from Moscow. In autumn 1380 a grand battle between Russian retinue and the army of Golden Horde took place here. And though Russia remained under Mongol and Tatar yoke for 100 years more, the victory in Kulikovo Field played a great role in realizing by the Russians their force against foreign conquerors. The leader of the Russian retinue prince Dmitry Donskoy is considered a national hero.
- In a town of Sergiev Posad (in 70 km to the North of Moscow) there is
Trinity-St.Sergius lavra - an Orthodox center of Russia, a memorial of ancient Russian architecture. Monk Sergius of Radonezh in the 1930s - 1940s of the XIV century founded it. Russian religious philosopher Pavel Florensky wrote: «Lavra is an artistic portrait of Russia in its whole compared to which any other place is no more than a photo». One can see there an iconostasis of the XV century with the rarest collection of ancient Russian painting. The center of the monastery is the Uspensky (Dormition) cathedral (1585), which is a copy of the Uspensky cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin by forms, and in terms of the size, is somewhat larger.
- In this small village of the Moscow region Sergius of Radonezh, the most respected Russian saint, spent his childhood. One can see the landscape of this place in the picture "Vision of Adolescent Bartholomew" by Mikhail Nesterov depicting a little herdsman, the future founder of the Troitse-Sergieva lavra. Radonezh has once been the capital of local princedom. In the wooden fortress in 1446 grand prince Vasily II was captured by his cousin Dmitry Shemiaka and blinded.
- Kolomna is a coeval of Moscow, a reserve of ancient architecture, religious memorials, remainders of Kremlin towers and walls, which survived in their original form. A walk along the ancient streets and suburbs of this small cosy town brings us now into the romantic realm of old Russia and then into the XIX century.
- The Russian city of Ryazan' situated to the South of Moscow dates back to the XIV century, though there was once an older town of the same name burnt down by Mongol and Tatars. One of its memorials is the Archangelsky cathedral famous for its architecture. Not far from the city there is an underground monastery in a rock. Riazan' land is closely connected with the name of Russian remarkable poet Sergey