Main attractions: Neskuchny sad (Garden) (Нескучный сад), Pushkinskiy (Andreyevsky) Pedestrian Bridge (Most), Church of St. Nicholas in Khamovniki, Tolstoy’s House in Khamovniki, 21,Ulitsa Lva Tolstogo, Tolstoy Monument, Combined Arms Academy of the Armed Forces, St. Archangel Michael Church, The State Archives, Statue of NI Pirogov, The "Autoville" car museum, Trubetskoys’ Estate in Khamovniki (Mandelshtam Park), Kamelot residence complex, Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery, Krymsky Bridge.
Orientation: for more advanced travelers of Moscow. Please allow one day for these sights AFTER you've browsed the more famous sights of the capital. Old-vintage, aristocratic Moscow at its best. For the photographers: our itinerary moves from east to west.
Distance: 10-12 km. You can cut this itinerary. Metro stations are referenced in the various appropriate spots of the route.
Duration: 1 busy day.
Weather: no rain please. Most of the route - without shelter (embankments, parks, main roads). At least, the first part of the day should be sunny or partially cloudy.
Access: from the Gorky Central Park of Culture and Recreation (ЦПКиО имени Горького.) - just continue southward along Andreyevsky (St. Andrew) pedestrian bridge (Андреевский пешеходный мост.) when Moskva river on your right. The park has access from/to the Moskva River embankment.
Many locals say that Neskuchny sad is the best place for walking in Moscow.
In summer you can get to this oldest Moscow park by a river boat. Along the year you can walk as well as along Andreyevsky (St. Andrew) pedestrian Bridge from Frunzenskaya Embankment.
From Leninskiy Prospekt Metro station (Line 6, the Orange line) it is 1.4 km, 20 mins. walk to the HEART of the PARK. When you come out of Leninsky Prospekt metro, head straight down towards the river keeping to the right of the bridge to find one of Moscow's oldest parks - the 'Not Boring' gardens. Head southwest, Take the stairs, 230 m. Turn left toward 60 anniversary of October (пр. 60-летия Октября), 270 m. Turn right toward 60 anniversary of October (пр. 60-летия Октября), Take the stairs, 170 m. Turn left onto 60 anniversary of October, 170 m. Continue onto Kosygin street (ул. Косыгина), 170 m. Turn right toward Kosygin street (ул. Косыгина), 40 m. Turn right onto Kosygin street (ул. Косыгина), 65 m. Turn left, 140 m. Turn right, 8 m. Turn left and the park gate will be on the right, 140 m.
Another option: from Oktyabrskaya Metro station to the garden entrance in Leninskiy prospekt, 14 it is a 2.4 km. walk (30-40 minutes).Head west, 70 m. Turn left toward Leninsky Ave. (пр. Ленинский), 32 m. Turn left toward Leninsky Ave, 110 m. Turn right onto Leninsky Ave, 1.7 km. Turn right to arrive the entrance at Leninskiy prospekt, 14.
or use public transportation: walk south-west along Leninskiy prospekt approx. 850 m. to City Hospital № 1 ( Городская больница № 1) and catch 84
Trolleybus No. 84 towards south-west and get off in the 3rd stop Hospital of St. Alexis (Больница Святителя Алексия). Walk to Leninskiy prospekt, 14. It is approx. 500 m. to the heart of Neskuchny sad (Garden).
The Neskuchny (not Dull Garden or non-boring park) contains a few landmarks including the house of Count Orlov by 1796 (there is a library and a reading hall now), a house with rotunda is on the Elizavetinskiy pond, three-span stone arch bridge, descents and flights, hunting lodge, a grotto, a tea house and foot bridges over ravines. This park is not flat but has interesting hills and winding paths with diverse landscape. Come in May-June and see tulips planted around the center of the park. Bring nuts and feed the squirrels with your hands. Hands-fed birds. In the heat it is always cool in the shade of the trees. There are toilets.
If we start at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninskiy prosp, 14, (Ленинский просп., 14) - we see the extravagant building of the Russian Academy of Sciences which reflects the importance attached to the sciences in the Soviet Union. With its anodized gold and electric style, this complex expresses an old-fashioned post-Soviet postmodernism splendor. The building looks very monumental, unusual and even fantastic because of the golden metal structure on the roof. At sunset, the sun is reflected from the beautiful design and it seems that the head of the building is burning. Building height of more than twenty floors. The building complex houses rooms for the Academy, boardrooms, a large conference hall for 1500 people and exhibition areas. On the top floor there is a descent restaurant (Sky Lounge - se below) that is accessible for the public. From there you have a fantastic view over whole Moscow. From here it is possible to see the multi-colored roofs of elite residences and St. Andrew’s monastery, the Moscow river, bridges, the sports arena Luzhniki, Moscow State University’s main tower, the skyscrapers of Moscow City, Christ the Savior Cathedral and the Bell of Ivan the Great. The security guards are quite relaxed as the square is so little known. Take along a blanket, a thermos full of tea, a couple of sandwiches and arrange a romantic picnic and take in a Moscow sunset:
Head southeast, 120 m. Turn left, 160 m and the Alexandrinsky Palace ("Neskuchnoye" Estate) is on the left.
The vast gala courtyard leads to the main house. Have a look at the adorable cast iron fountain made by the mentioned Ivan Vitali. The fountain depicts a group of playing boys. It was moved here from Lubyanka Square in 1934 to vacate the place for Dzerzhinsky Monument. For almost a century it had been the water supply facility for local dwellers and horses. Ivan Vitali is also famous for his fountain installed in Teatralnaya Square:
Have a look at the severe stone bulldogs guards lying by the stairway. Two marble sculptures of dogs are preserved in the entrance to the palace, brought there from the Lower Presnensky pond:
In 1754, Matryona Demidova, the wife of Prokofy Demidov, son of the Ural-based factory-man, bought lands from the Countess Repnin. Two years later, the baroque Demidov palace was constructed under the aegis of an Prague-based architect. Behind the palace is a garden with five terraces descending to the river, and eight orangeries were located on them. The garden was opened up to the public; at one time, instead of statuary, the owners arranged for chalk-smeared peasants to stand still at various points in the garden to cry out at visitors who attempted to pick flowers. In 1804, the main house was rebuilt in a mature classical manner. In the beginning of the 19th century, the palace belonged to Anna Orlova, daughter of the Peter III. In 1826, in honor of the coronation of Nicholas I, she organized a ball that was attended by 1,200 guests; the halls were illuminated by 7,000 candles. The Archimandrite Photius of the Yuriev monastery, who wielded some influence over Orlova, persuaded her to sell all that remained after the ball and give the money to Church and monastery, to atone for the sins of her father. In 1832, the house was taken into administration for the imperial family. Nicholas I gifted it to his wife Alexandra, since when it took on the name of Alexandrinsky Palace. From 1834, whenever the royal family was not in residence, the house was open to the public. In the 1890s, the governor of Moscow took over the property for his residence, and closed access to it. Since 1934, it has been occupied by the Russian Academy of Sciences, at which time also a grand 19th century fountain (by Ivan Vitaly) that used to be at the Lubyanka square was installed in front of the house.
Today, there is no public entry to the building, which preserves the pre-Revolutionary decor indoors.
Now, take a left turn passing through a green grove towards the three-span stone Upper Bridge leading to the former Summer House of Count A. Orlov (Leninskiy pr.18). The palace grounds are open for visitors during working hours ONLY on weekdays. In 1804-1806, the two-floor Summer (Tea) House with 4 Corinthian columns was built at the estate of Count Fyodor Alekseevich Orlov. One version has it that it was a place for Grigory Orlov to meet with Empress Catherine II. Another version has it that it was a play area for Anna Alekseevna Orlova-Chesmenskaya. A scenic view opens out onto Moscow River and Frunzenskaya Quay from the house. The tranquillity of the spreading landscape around Neskuchny Garden simply captures the imagination:
From here, continue northward to the past Orlov Manege - now, the Museum of Mineralogy with a unique collection of minerals, crystals and precious stones. It’ s worth mentioning that on Wednesdays the entrance to the museum is free of charge. Monday and Tuesday museum closed
for public. WED 11.00 - 17.00 (free entrance), THU to SUN 11.00 - 17.00 (Adult - 80 rubles, Students, children, soldiers - 40 rubles). This mineralogical museum was named after famous Russian Geo-chemist and Mineralogist Alexander Fersman (1883-1945) who used to be at its head. The origin of this world renowned museum is very old. The first of its collection was gathered by peter the Great in 1716 in Saint-Petersburg in the “Curiosity cabinet”. Later it was given to the Russian Science Academy and finally it was incorporated to a museum. Founded in 1716 in St. Petersburg as a the Mineral cabinet of Kustkammer. Under support Russian Academy of Science since 1725 . Museum was moved from St. Petersburg to Moscow in 1934 together with Academy of Science. It was placed to a historical building which represents Moscow's architecture of the beginning 19 century. It was built for Count Orlov-Chesmensky as a manege to accommodate a riding hall and stables. Under Emperor Nicholas I the building was served as an out of town dancing hall for Russian Court.
Access to the museum:
North-west to the museum there is the Teatr Muzyki I Dramy P/r Stasa Namina (Performing Arts Theater) (Green Theatre), Krimsky Val (Крымский Вал) 9с33. Open everyday · 10:00 – 20:00. The Green Theatre was opened in the park in the mid-1930s. The enormous outdoor theatre, designed for 20.000 spectators, was used for very diverse events. Here political rallies were held, Soviet leaders gave speeches, and themed performances and sporting events also took on a regular form. The Green Theatre also served as a cinema ground. A unique and unprecedented custom 15x17 m ‘Gigant’ cinema screen was built for it. The premiere showing of the film ‘Circus’ (Tsirk), starring Lyubov Orlova, was shown here in 1935:
Hunting lodge of Count Orlov. Prince Nikita Yurievich Trubetskoy’s hunting lodge is the oldest construction of Neskuchny Garden and the only building from the ensemble of Trubetskoy that has made it to the present. The stone lodge originally accommodated a stone gallery and stored hunting rifles and gunpowder. Servants lived there and kennels were built near.
The Samovarnik tearoom was housed here in Soviet times, and the hunting lodge has been an area for holding televized elite club games “What? Where? When?” The pavilion in Neskuchny Garden where thefamous Russian TV game What? Where? When? takes place:
A group of eight young professionals that Zobova spearheaded has carved out a spot for lovers in Neskuchny Sad. The organizers of the Lover's Lane project raised 170,000 rubles to erect a monument to love -- a restored garden and a clock stopped at five minutes to six, lovers' meeting time. Fireworks, musical performances and poetry readings marked the official opening of Lover's Lane in early August 2007, just in time for Moscow's 860th anniversary. The clock set at "lovers' meeting time." - the Lovers Lane:
Medium and Little (Grotesque) Stone Bridges were built in the late XVIII century as a part of the ‘Neskuchnoye’ estate’s beautification on the order of the landlord - Count A. Orlov. Subtly blending into the landscape, the bridges eased access to the estate on horse and walking around the park. A scenic alley led up from the embankment of the Moscow River towards the estate under the three bridges - their relics still standing in the park:
Rotunda commemorating the 800th anniversary of Moscow. The rotunda was built in 1951 in honour of the city’s jubilee. In 1947, Joseph Stalin signed a decree for the construction of the complex. A historical site was chosen for its construction. Here is where the estate of Natalya Petrovna Golitsyna was located in the late XVIII and early XIX centuries, who served as the archetype for Pushkin’s ‘Queen of Spades’. Now the rotunda is a favourite recreational site in Neskuchny Garden. Poems are recited and music groups perform here in summer:
From the pond you can clearly see the “ Girl Divers” sculpture overlooking a cascade at the bank of the Moskva River. You would not regret descending the steps. A smart grotto is to be found as you walk under the cascade at the Moskva river’ s embankment:
In case you approach the river coastline - you'll see on the opposite bank of the river (the west side) - the Frunzenskaya embankment (named after revolutionary leader Mikhail Frunze), in parallel to the Neskuchniy garden:
The Defence Ministry building (Russian Ground Forces Headquarters) on Frunzenskaya Embankment:
Frunzenskaya Embankment, 40, Apartments Building:
Frunzenskaya Embankment, 48-52, Apartments Building:
Continuing NORTHWARD from the Green Theatre, along the river's Pushkinskaya Embankment (Pushkinskaya naberezhnaya) (approx. 500 m.) -
you arrive to the Pushkinskiy (Andreyevsky) Pedestrian Bridge (Most) This pedestrian bridge connects Pushkinskaya and Frunzenskaya embankments. It was built in 1999 with structural elements left over from the Andreyevsky Railway Bridge, an architectural and engineering monument built further upstream in 1907 and demolished in 1998. It took three barges and 1.5 hours to tow the 1,500-ton main span of the Andreyevsky Bridge to where the new pedestrian bridge was being erected. The bridge spans between Gorky Park (east bank of Moskva river) and Frunzenskaya ulitsa (west bank):
Our next destination is the Church of St. Nicholas in Khamovniki, 1.3 km. (20 minutes) walk from Pushkinskiy most. Cross the Pushkinskiy most (Пушкинский мост) from east to west, 300 m. We are, now, on the western bank of Moskva river. Turn right toward 1st Frunze street (ул. 1-я Фрунзенская), 60 m. Turn right onto 1st Frunze st. (ул. 1-я Фрунзенская), 50 m. Turn left onto Frunzenskaya nab. (наб. Фрунзенская), continue to follow Frunzenskaya nab., 600 m. Turn left onto Frunzenskaya nab. (Фрунзенская наб.), 110 m. Turn right (45 degrees) toward Komsomolskiy pr.( пр. Комсомольский), 55 m. Turn left toward Komsomolskiy pr. (пр. Комсомольский), 6 m. Sharp right toward Komsomolskiy pr. (пр. Комсомольский), 10 m. Turn left onto Komsomolskiy pr. (пр. Комсомольский), 23 m. Turn left to stay on Komsomolskiy pr. (пр. Комсомольский), 78 m. Turn right onto ul. Lva Tolstogo/ул. Льва Толстого. Church of St. Nicholas in Khamovniki will be on the right, 36 m. Church of St. Nicholas in Khamovniki, ulitsa Lva Tolstogo, 2 Church of Saint Nicholas in Khamovniki (Церковь Cвятителя Николая Чудотворца в Хамовниках) is a late 17th-century parish church of a former weavers guild in Khamovniki District of Moscow (the former settlement of weavers). The "Khamovniki” word is derived from an old root “ kham” meaning flax. The church stands in the corner of Komsomolsky Prospect and Leo Tolstoy Street, two blocks beyond the Garden Ring. The church yard occupies a whole block between Leo Tolstoy and Timur Frunze streets and includes a row of small old houses. The church is an example of late Muscovite Baroque that preceded short-lived Naryshkin Baroque of the 1690s. The main, gold and green, five-domed church was built in 1679-1682 (Tsar Fedor Alekseevich time); bell tower and refectory were completed around 1694. The bell tower in Khamovniki is one of the highest tent-style bell towers in Moscow region. In 1757 the builders added a side annex dedicated to Saint Dmitry of Rostov. The church was severely damaged by the fire of 1812 and reopened only in 1849. It is located in a pastoral, tranquil location and its exterior is gorgeous - bright green and red tiles on white brick background. Leo Tolstoy was married in this church. Located south to the Park Kultury Metro station - literally, a few minutes walk. The church operates continuously since 1849. It was never closed in the Communist era.
A row of small houses in the church yard:
The interior is equally beautiful and wonderfully preserved. Inside there is a striking unique decoration. in 1848, the church acquired its principal relic - a copy of Defender of the sinners icon of Theotokos from Odrin convent, donated by Dmitry Doncheskul; the icon was permanently placed in the former Saint Dmitry annex. It also possesses 17th century icons of Saint Alexis and Hodegetria of Smolensk.
Surity of Sinners icon of the Mother of God, Moscow.
Surity of Sinners icon of the Mother of God, Moscow: The icon is known by this name because of the inscription on the icon: “I am the Surety of sinners for My Son Who has entrusted Me to hear them, and those who bring Me the joy of hearing them will receive eternal joy through Me.” The icon was first glorified by miracles at the St Nicholas Odrino Monastery in the Orlov province of Russia in the mid-nineteenth century. It was in an old chapel beyond the monastery gates, and stood between two other ancient icons. Because it was so faded and covered with dust, it was impossible to read the inscription. In 1843, it was revealed in peoples’ dreams that the icon was endowed with miraculous powers. These same townspeople solemnly brought the icon into the church. Believers began to flock to the church to pray for the healing of their sorrows and sicknesses. The first one to receive healing was a crippled child, whose mother prayed fervently before the icon in 1844. The icon was glorified during a cholera epidemic, when many fell deathly ill, and were restored to health after praying before the icon. In 1848, through the zeal of Demetrius Boncheskul, a copy of the wonderworking image was made and placed in his home. Soon it began to exude a healing myrrh, which healt many after grievous illnesses. This wonderworking copy was brought to the church of St Nicholas at Khamovniki in Moscow, where a chapel was built in honor of the icon.
Saint Nicholas icon in the church:
Side detour - on the steps of Leo Tolstoy:
If you want to see Leo Tolstoy's house - walk 400 m. northward along Ulitsa Lva Tolstogo. In 1882, the author of “War and Peace,” Leo Tolstoy, bought a house in Khamovniki where he and his family spent the winter months. This quiet side street is now named after him and the house itself was turned into a museum, with plenty of memorabilia related to the author’s life. Tolstoy’s House in Khamovniki, 21,Ulitsa Lva Tolstogo. Moscow’s Tolstoy museum, has three branches across town. The Literary museum on Prechistenka deals thematically with his works and the little house where he wrote the Cossacks, on Pyatnitskaya Ulitsa, has exhibitions. It is this house and garden in Khamovniki, where the writer lived on and off from 1882, that preserves the spirit and atmosphere of Tolstoy’s life. After buying the house Tolstoy spent each winter here until 1901 (the summers he spent at his estate at Yasnaya Polyana) and he wrote over 100 stories at the estate. The eighteen rooms are filled with details of family life: the desk where Sophia copied her husband’s manuscripts and the tablecloth where his daughter Maria embroidered over visitors’ signatures. You can see Tolstoy’s bicycle, desk, weights, the skin of a bear that he shot and even hear a recording of his voice. The museum is closed on Mondays and the last Friday of the month. Open: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 10.00 - 18.00, Thursday 12.00 - 20.00. Price: 100 - 200 Rubles. Children till 7 years free of charge. Closed last Friday of every month:
From Tolstoy Museum you can walk 350 m. further north-west along Ulitsa Lva Tolstogo until it meets Bolshaya Pirogovskaya ulitsa (Большая Пироговская ул.). In this crossways (a bit north-west to the intersection) stands Tolstoy monument ((Pamyatnik LN Toltom)) at the front of the small triangular-shaped park of Skver Devichievo Polya (Devichye Pole Gardens) (Девичье Поле), (Maidens' Field).
The monument was unveiled in 1972 and depicts the great author carved into large blocks of stone sat down cross-legged. Tolstoy is forever connected with the Khamovniki district of Moscow as he lived nearby in his city estate from 1882 and 1901 (see above) (sculptor Alexei Portyanko). Tolstoy’s head is gargantuan. The beard, like the hair and the back are unfinished:
The massive structure on the other side of the park, north to is the Combined Arms Academy of the Armed Forces (Obshchevoyskovaya Akademiya Vooruzhennykh Sil RF), proyezd Devichyego Polya, 4 (Военный учебно-научный центр Сухопутных войск) of the Russian Federation. It prepares commissioned officers for the Russian Armed Forces. More than its 700 graduates were awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Hero of Russia. At the corner of the stylobate supported by a large cube, stands the armoured vehicle carrier BMP-1:
A few words on Skver Devichievo Polya ("the Maiden's field"): The unique complex of medical institutions with a beautiful name: "Clinical town on Devichye field is located in the center of Moscow, near the Novodevichy Monastery. This town was constructed in the second half of the XIX century as part of Moscow University, and it became a major center of theoretical and practical medicine.
We shall cross the Maiden's field/garden from north-east to south-west. Our destination is the south-west edge of the park. You can try to cross the garden itself or use the following instructions: Head south on Novokonyushennyy per. (Новоконюшенный пер.) toward pr-d Devichyego Polya (пр-д Девичьего Поля), 130 m. Turn right onto pr-d Devichyego Polya (пр-д Девичьего Поля), 270 m. Turn left onto ul. Plyushchikha (ул. Плющиха), 270 m. Continue onto ul. Elanskogo (ул. Еланского), 300 m.
The beautiful church dedicated to St. Archangel Michael (Elansky/Elanskogo Street, 2) (2 ул. Еланского), which became an integral part of the medical town, was constructed in the end of 19th century by the initiative of director of obstetric department, professor Makeev in memory of his brother, and he also financed the construction. During soviets the building was used as gym, pharmacy, warehouse, almost turned to ruins, but was restored in 1990-1999. Now it is the part of the clinical town again.
For the next two buildings - you have to trace back Bolshaya Pirogovskaya street, after turning from ul. Elanskogo. In Bolshaya Pirogovskaya street are the main building of the State Archive of the Russian Federation and the clinic of the First Moscow State Medical University.
Pirogov Medical and Biological Faculty, Bolshaya Pirogovskaya street 9 (photo taken from the Wikipedia):
Embassy of Vietnam, Bolshaya Pirogovskaya ul 13 (photo taken from the Wikipedia):
Slight right onto Bolshaya Pirogovskaya ul. (Большая Пироговская ул.), 17 m. The State Archives building, Bolshaya Pirogovskaya ulitsa, 17 is on the left. Several archives are comprised here including the oldest one – the Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts. It was founded in 1724 by Peter I decree:
The old red-brick industrial building at 27, Bolshaya. Pirogovskaya St. is a business center. Following the European tradition industrial grounds in Moscow are being converted for contemporary use. These were the premises of the Electroluch (Electric beam) Plant. Its products were used to illuminate the metro, the Kremlin towers and halls. The attentive ones would notice that the pseudo windows on the preserved facades of the building have the shape of a bottle which indicates that prior to the plant this building was occupied by a State “ wine court”:
A bit further, down Bolshaya Pirogovskaya , at the intersection with Pirogov street, 2/6 (Пироговской улице, 2/6) - stands the statue of the great physician NI Pirogov (Pamyatnik NI Pirogovu) (Памятник Н.И. Пирогову). NI Pirogov was not just a physician - medicine was his passion throughout life. Everyone on the planet should be thankful to him for the fact that it is NI Pirogov first applied anesthesia during surgery:
It is 500 m. walk to the next attraction - The Autoville Museum of retro-cars (This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths). From the State Archives head southwest on Bolshaya Pirogovskaya ul. (Большая Пироговская ул.), 25 m. Turn left onto 1st Archive per. (пер. 1-й Архивный), 150 m. Turn right onto small Pirogovskaya st. (ул. Малая Пироговская), 180 m.
A small detour: Before turning left to Trubetskaya st. (ул. Трубецкая) - if you continue to Bolshaya Pirogovskaya ul 35. Don’ t miss this building with its beautiful cast iron balconies (right and left side of the building). This is one of M. Bulgakov’ s Moscow addresses (35a, block 2, Bolshaya Pirogovskaya Street). Bulgakov had spent seven years of his life in this house. It was here that he started his celebrated novel “ The Master and Margarita”. Before the revolution, the house belonged to the Reshetnikov merchant family. Notorious Grigory Rasputin was a frequent visitor here due to his close acquaintance with the owners:
Turn left onto Trubetskaya st. (ул. Трубецкая), 140 m. Turn left onto Usacheva street (ул. Усачева), 35 m and the Autoville Museum is on the left. The Autoville Museum of retro-cars stands opposite the entrance to the park (ulitsa Usacheva, 2). The "Autoville" car museum with area of 2,000 square meters gives place to the unique and updated collection of more than 50 rarity old-timers. The exhibits are in such condition that they take part in retro-rally and are objects of art at the same time. The oldest vehicle on display is over a century old. There is a cafe' with light snacks and billiards for the keen inside the museum building. The center has a restaurant "Moscvich" and a café "Volga":
If you continue south-east along Trubetskaya st. (ул. Трубецкая), crossing Usacheva street (ул. Усачева) - you'll see, on your left, Trubetskoys’ Estate in Khamovniki (Mandelshtam Park) (officially renamed Usadba Trubetskih, but the poet’s name endures) - one of the best family parks in Moscow. The history of the park and estate originate in the late 17th century, when a court with a garden in Devichye Pole was transferred from the Zemsky order to Prince Vasiliy Vasilievich Golitsyn as a country seat. In the 18th century, ownership passed to Dmitry Yurievich Trubetskoy, under whom the main house of the estate was built in 1758. On 16 September 1826, the estate was visited by Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin, who was returning from a holiday stroll on Devichye Pole on the occasion of the coronation of Nikolai I. In 1923, the estate was turned into Mandelshtam Park in honour of the revolutionary poet Aleksandr Vladimirovich Mandelshtam. Restoration works were carried out on the territory in 2002. Right next to Frunzenskaya metro station, cinema, shops and market, this is a wonderfully developed and family-friendly area. Beautifully kept, full of flowers, with a good sized lake. There is also ice skating, sledging, birds and squirrels (caged, sadly). At any time on weekends, the park is thronged with families, prams and pets. It even boasts a recently built sledging hill. The whole area feels solid, secure and green. Note: Frunzenskaya (Фрунзенская) Metro station is on your left, near the end of Trubetskaya st. - where it meets Komsomolskiy pr. street (Комсомольский пр. (дублер)):
Right next to Mandelshtam Park or Usadba Trubetskih Park, located at Komsomolsky prospect 32 - Kamelot is one of the few modern residential buildings in Frunzenskaya area. There is a supermarket on the ground floor. The view from the top floors to the park is stunning:
The Komsomolsky Prospekt is a very bustling street:
From Komsomolsky Prospekt we change direction and head (1.75 km.) to north-west to one of our last destinations, one of the finest attractions in Moscow - the Novodevichy (New Maidens’) Convent. From the Kamelot complex, Komsomolskiy prospekt, 32 head south, 150 m. Turn right toward Efremova Street, Ephraim street (ул. Ефремова), 110 m. Turn left toward Efremova st. (ул. Ефремова), 75 m. Turn right toward Efremova st. (ул. Ефремова), 30 m. Turn left onto Efremova st. (ул. Ефремова), 220 m. Turn right onto Kooperativnaya ul, Cooperative st. (ул. Кооперативная), 450 m.
Turn left onto ul. Usacheva (we've been in this road, before) (ул. Усачева), 11 m and, immediately turn right toward small Pirogovskaya st., Malaya Pirogovskaya street (ул. Малая Пироговская), 170 m. Turn left onto Malaya Pirogovskaya (ул. Малая Пироговская), 25 m. Turn right (we've been in this road) toward Bolshaya Pirogovskaya ulitsa (ул. Большая Пироговская), 170 m. Walk 170 m to Bolshaya Pirogovskaya ulitsa, 53/55 to see the unique Elena Kamburova Theatre of Music and Poetry (53/55, Bolshaya Pirogovskaya Street). Elena Kamburova is a Russian singer and actress. In 1992, Kamburova founded The Moscow Theater of Music and Poetry, where she acts as the director, a performer and an actress. The theatre's repertoire is a mix of Russian language plays and pieces in Hebrew, French, English, Polish and Greek. The monument in the square standing in front of the theatre is one of the first famous Soviet-time sculptures combined under the name “ Girl with a paddle” to act as a symbol of sporting events:
From Elena Kamburova Theatre we have 230-250 m. to the Novodevichy Convent. Head west on Bolshaya Pirogovskaya (ул. Большая Пироговская) toward Novodevichy pr-d (Новодевичий пр-д), 11 m. Continue onto Luzhnetsky proezd (Лужнецкий пр-д), 130 m. Turn right, 90 m. and the Novodevichy Convent and cemetery are on your right. Novodevichy Convent (Новоде́вичий монасты́рь) also known as Bogoroditse-Smolensky Monastery (Богоро́дице-Смоле́нский монасты́рь) is the best-known monastery of Moscow. It is particularly notable for its architectural harmony of which its position, on the banks of the Moskva River, allows excellent views.
How to arrive to Novodevichy Convent: take the metro and get off at Sportivnaya Metro station (Red line No.1 at SW suburbs of Moscow). It is a 800 m.walk along a leafy avenue of ul. 10-letiya Oktyabrya. From the Metro station head southeast, 40 m. Turn left toward ul. 10-letiya Oktyabrya, 90 m. Turn right toward ul. 10-letiya Oktyabrya, 40 m. Turn left onto ul. 10-letiya Oktyabrya, 350 m until the cross-lights and the small garden/park. Continue onto pl. Novodevichyego Monastyrya,
100 m, turn left onto Luzhnetsky proezd, 85 m and turn right, 90 m into the walled Novodevichy Convent.
The Novodevichy Convent is one of the most beautiful sights in Moscow. Its name, sometimes translated as the New Maidens' Monastery, was devised to differ from an ancient maidens' convent within the Moscow Kremlin. Unlike other Moscow cloisters, it has remained virtually intact since the 17th century. In 2004, it was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A large-scale restoration, completed in 2010, has returned the convent back to its former splendor, and it now attracts an ever increasing flow of visitors. Founded in 1524 by Grand Duke Vasily III (1479-1533) to celebrate the recapture of Smolensk from the Lithuanians. The Convent's original function was one of the ring of fortresses that guarded the outskirts of the Moscow medieval city. it was intended to serve not only as a religious institution but also as a fortress is evident from its strategic location and strong wall with 12 battle towers. Novedichy was positioned strategically to protect the main southern access road to the city at the point where it crossed the Moskva river. The nuns of the monastery, as a rule, were from the upper strata of the nobility. In the 16th – 18th centuries the convent became an arena of political life in Russia – there, women from royal families took the veil. Behind the walls of this convent lived the daughter-in-law of Ivan the Terrible, Elena Sheremeteva (widow of Prince Ivan). In 1598, after the death of Tsar Fyodor Ivanovich, his widow Tsarina Irina Godunova took the veil there too. Boris Godunov, her brother, also became a monk. It was there that the boyars arrived to beg Boris Godunov to take the reins. There he was crowned. From 1610 the convent became home of Boris Godunov's daughter, Xenia. AS we said, the convent has enjoyed a prominent place throughout its history, in part as a repository for powerful and troublesome women, most famously the Regent Sophia, Peter the Great's half-sister. Peter the Great’s half-sister rebuilt the monastery during her rule of the 1680’s. Peter, aged 17, deposed Sofia to Novodevichy and imprisoned her for life for her part in the 1698 Streltsy (the Tzar guardsmen) revolt in support of her in 1698. During the war of 1812 Novodevichy was captured by the French army and used as a warehouse of the army provisions. To reinforce the convent the inner wall was made and the church of John the Baptist was demolished. There is a legend according to which the cathedral was on the verge of being brought down in 1812. During Napoleon's invasion, the monastery weathered French efforts to blow it to pieces, thanks to some quick-thinking nuns who managed to extinguish the fuses on casks of gunpowder after the soldiers had fled. The convent also made notable appearances in 19th Century fiction, as the site of Pierre's proposed execution in War and Peace, and as the meeting place for Lyovin and Kitty in Anna Karenina (the Maiden Field, we've visited before, north-east to the convent walls, was Moscow's most fashionable skating rink, frequented by Tolstoy). After the Revolution, the Convent was turned into the Museum of the Emancipation of Women, but suffered less than many of its counterparts, and was one of the first to be returned to the Church in the patriotic fervor that followed WW2 victory in 1945. Nuns did not return here until 1994, however, and it is still much more of a tourist attraction than a working religious institution - for which we can only be grateful considering the wealth of treasures to be seen. The monastic life in the convent resumed in 1994, and since 1995 on church holidays Smolensk Cathedral has been the place of church services. In 2004 when Novodevichy Convent celebrated its 480th birthday, its architectural complex was included in the list of cultural and natural heritage of UNESCO.
The monastic complex comprises several churches. The most relevant one is the Cathedral of the Virgin (or: our lady) of Smolensk. This follows the architectural style of the Cathedral of Assumption, located in Kremlin, and consists of five colossal domes, an outstanding iconostasis which comprises 84 wooden piers, to which are added 16th and 17th century icons. Most of the other buildings of note date from Regent Sophia's time, including the red and white Church of the Assumption and the neighboring refectory, the soaring bell-tower and the north and south gate churches, all of which display variations of the same Moscow Baroque style, making the Convent one of the most resplendent examples of the period. The Church of Assumption is located to the right of the Cathedral of the Virgin of Smolensk. The Church of St. Ambrose is located at the back. This later church is all painted in white and contains within its walls icons from the 18th century as well as an exhibition of clergy apparel. Adjacent to the temples are Mariinsky and Lopukhinsky Houses (finished in 1688).
Now, the monastery is surrounded by a picturesque little park, it is a wonderful place for peace and quiet in the heart of the city, where you can listen to the toll of bells instead of car horns, and watch ducks paddle peacefully on a tranquil pond.
Opening hours: The museum is opened WED to MON from 09.00 until 17.00, The Convent is opened everyday from 10.00 until 18.00. Hours.
Closest Metro: Sportivnaya (see, above, instruction for walking from the Sportivnaya Metro station). Prices Admission to the grounds free; a combined ticket including churches and exhibits adult/student 300/100 rubles. Cemetery admission 50 rubles. Photos: 100 rubles (not quite sure if their demand is formally legal...).
The convent walls:
Smolensk Cathedral Novodevichy convent:
Church of Assumption:
Church of Ambrose:
Refectory of Saint Ambrose Church:
The Transfiguration Church above the convent entrance gate:
There are 12 towers along the convent walls. The picture below - the Tsarina Tower:
Seitanskaya Tower and the reconstructed Library:
The Dining Hall:
The Smolensk Cathedral interior is also impressive, with glorious frescoes dating from 1684 and painted by Dmitry Grigorev of Yaroslavl. There is also a fine five-tiered iconostasis dating from the same period, but in fact brought from the Assumption Church in Pokrovka, which was destroyed by the Bolsheviks. Inside the Cathedral of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God. It has a five–tiered Russian Iconostasis. The top tier depicts patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament. The second tier is the Festival Tier and it depicts important feast days and holidays in the Russian Orthodox calendar. The third tier is the Deesis Tier and is the most important as it depicts saints, apostles, and archangels. Christ Enthroned is always shown in the center of the tier and is usually flanked by the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist. The tier below the Deesis Tier depicts the months of the year. The bottom tier is called the Local Tier and it contains icons of saints with a strong link to the church. The Royal Gate is in the center of the Local Tier and usually shows the four apostles and the Annunciation. The gate represents the entrance from the temporal to the spiritual world. The Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God, which this cathedral is named after, is located to the left of the Royal Gate:
Dome (cupola) of Smolensk Cathedral of Novodevichy monastery:
Smolensk Cathedral interiors - The iconostasis inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of Smolensk:
Tsarevna Sofia Alekseyevna at the Novodevichy Convent (1879), by Ilya Repin:
The convent is also famous for its next-door, new Cemetery, which became the most prestigious in the city in the last century and the final resting place for a number of great cultural and political figures. Novodevichy Cemetery (Новодевичье кла́дбище) is the Moscow's third most popular tourist site. It has a park-like ambience, dotted with small chapels and large sculpted monuments. The cemetery was built next to the Novodevichy Convent immediately upon the convent's completion. The cemetery was first used primarily as a burial place for Moscow's feudal rulers and church officials. Later it came to be used for Russia's intellectuals and merchants, while in the 20th century, it was the burial place for many of the Soviet Union's most well-known citizens. Today, the cemetery holds the tombs of Russian authors, playwrights, and poets, as well as famous actors, political leaders, and scientists. More than 27,000 are buried at Novodevichy. The cemetery is well worth visiting also, not just to pay homage to the great and good buried here - Chekhov, Bulgakov, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Eisenstein and Stanislavsky, to name but a few - but also to marvel at the extraordinary granite and metal monstrosities that crown the graves of various politicians and military commanders of the Soviet era. It is a fascinating experience. In its initial phase, the cemetery was used solely for feudal rulers and for the high figures of the church. As time went by, other important figures started using the cemetery as their burial place, such as intellectuals or traders. Each historical period has its representatives buried Novodevichy Cemetery. Overall, more than 27.000 persons (political leaders, well-renowned artists, actors, authors, etc.) have found their rest here.
You exit from the Novodevichy Convent main entrance gate (your face to the north), turn right and in the main road you face you turn, again, right to the south. Walk 500 m. (possible reconstructions !) along the convent walls and you'll see the cemetery on your right.
Entrance to Novodevichy cemetery:
Nikita Khruschev's grave Novodevichy cemetery:
and his Foreign Affairs Minister - Andrey Gromicko tomb:
Boris Yeltsin tomb (was not allowed to be burried the walls of the Kremlin):
Mikhail Gorbachev tomb (near the eastern wall of the cemetery):
Heroes of the Soviet Union - all are General Commanders: Lev Dovator, Ivan Panfilov:
Heroes of the Soviet Union tombs:
Tombs of Russian Celebrities:
Yuri Nikulin (films actor) and his dog:
Cellist Rostropovich tomb:
Sergei Eisenstein tomb:
Dmitri Shostakovich tomb:
Tomb of the poet Mayakovsky:
Novodevichy Cemetery and All Sorrow Church:
In case you are very exhausted - here is the itinerary to the closest Metro station (Sportivnaya)> It is a 800 m. walk: Head southeast toward Luzhnetsky proezd (Лужнецкий пр-д), 90 m. Turn left onto Luzhnetsky proezd (Лужнецкий пр-д), 45 m. Turn right toward Luzhnetsky proezd (Лужнецкий пр-д), 40 m. Turn right onto Luzhnetsky proezd (Лужнецкий пр-д), 120 m. Turn left at small Pirogovskaya st. / Malaya Pirogovskaya(ул. Малая Пироговская), 120 m. Turn right toward Usachyov st. (ул. Усачева), 120 m. Turn left toward Usachyov st. (ул. Усачева), 40 m. Turn right toward Usachyov st. (ул. Усачева), 45 m. Turn left onto Usachyov st. (ул. Усачева), 10 m. Turn right (partial restricted usage road), 45 m. Turn left
(restricted usage road), 20 m. Turn right 85 m. and Sportivnaya Metro station is on the right.
In case you are capable of walking additional 3 km back to the Moskva river - I'll send you, again, through the main thoroughfares of Khamovniki district. Part of these 3km. - you've seen before... From Novodevichy Convent head southeast toward Luzhnetsky proezd (Лужнецкий пр-д), 90 m. Turn left onto Luzhnetsky proezd (Лужнецкий пр-д), 130 m. Continue onto Bolshaya Pirogovskaya ul. (ул. Большая Пироговская).
Continue to follow Bolshaya Pirogovskaya ul., 1.7 km. (Skver Devichyego polya - Maiden's Field park is on your left) Continue STRAIGHT onto Zubovskaya ul. (Зубовская ул.), 290 m. Turn RIGHT onto Smolenskiy b-r (Смоленский б-р), 15 m. Continue onto Zubovskiy b-r (Зубовский б-р), 550 m.
Slight right onto Komsomolskiy pr. (пр. Комсомольский), 50 m. The Kultury Park Metro station is on your right. Continue onto Krymskaya pl. (Крымская пл.), 35 m. Continue onto Krymskiy pr-d (Крымский пр-д), 150 m.
Turn right onto Frunzenskaya nab. (Фрунзенская наб.), 10 m. and the Krymsky Bridge is on the right. Krymsky Most or Crimean Bridge is the only suspension bridge in Moscow. It was built in 1938 as part of the big Stalin’s reconstruction of the city where lots of historical buildings were demolished to give way to modern highways, wide roads and metro network. Krymsky Bridge is part of Sadovoe Kolco highway, and thus it’s hard to catch it without any cars racing by. The bridge links the Crimean Square to the north-west with Krymsky Val street to the south-east. The nearby Moscow Metro stations are Park Kultury (west bank) and Oktyabrskaya (east bank).
Sky Lounge Restaurant, on the top of the Academy of Sciences, Leninskiy Ave., 32A, 22nd floor, Russian Academy of Sciences.
Top restaurant, pricey, for special events, superb view (good weather is essential), not easy to sneak upstairs through the security guards of the Academy building (not simple, either, to find your way).