Near Moscow
Moscow Attractions
Attractions Near Moscow.
Zvezdny Gorodok
The Astronauts’ Training Center and the Museum of Space Exploration can be found at the closed settlement Zvezdny Gorodok. Here you can learn about the history of spacecraft, see the first Soviet rocket, spacesuits and flight simulators for the training of astronauts. If you submit to a quick medical check-up, you can try all this yourself. But strolling around the grounds through this quiet town is also worthwhile as it’s a fascinating glimpse into Soviet scientific settlements.
The Great Patriotic War was not the only time an invading army has been driven back by the Russian winter. The Napoleonic Wars also left their mark on Moscow in heroic and bloody encounters. The Muscovites burned and rebuilt their city in the early 19th century. You can visit the scores of monuments and interesting museums in rolling countryside at any time of year. You can see the spot where Russian general Pyotr Bagration fell, and explore the trenches dug during World War II, when the area again saw heavy fighting.
Yasnaya Polyana
The “autumn” writer Leo Tolstoy lived and worked at his ancestral estate, Yasnaya Polyana, which is located 200 kilometers south of Moscow. There he wrote his famous novels “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina,” among a great number of his other works. This is also the location of his burial site. The Yasnaya Polyana state memorial and natural preserve currently displays authentic furniture from the estate, Tolstoy’s personal possessions, his 20,000-book library, the work house of the writer Prince Volkonsky, the Kuzminsky House, which held a school that Tolstoy opened for peasant children, and a bathhouse.
Situated 76 kilometers from Moscow, the Abramtsevo manor estate, now a museum-reserve, belonged to the writer Sergei Aksakov and, later, Savva Mamontov. Thanks to Mamontov, the Abramtsevo estate became a center of artistic life in late 19th-century Russia. The estate welcomed a roster of guests that included the writers Gogol and Turgenev, the artists Repin, Vasnetsov, Vrubel, Korovin and Levitan, and the renowned bass singer Fyodor Shalyapin. Nowadays, the 50 hectares occupied by this museum-reserve contain a park and monuments to 18th- and 19th-century architecture.
In the native village of the Russian poet Sergei Esenin, located in the Ryazan region 270 kilometers from Moscow, a museum-reserve was opened in 1965. Right after the poet’s death in 1925, devotees of his work began making pilgrimages to Konstantinvo. They met Esenin’s mother and sister in Esenin’s house, and record books show thousands of notes requesting that an Esenin museum be opened in the village. Annual festivals, poetry nights and concerts are now held in the village. The Esenins’ estate, the Church of Our Lady of Kazan, a literary exhibition, and zemstvo and teacher training schools have all been preserved in the village.
A favorite autumn destination among Russians is the “house on the Oka,” the estate of Vasily Polenov, a national artist of the RSFSR. The estate was built more than 100 years ago and stands 130 kilometers from Moscow. The artist designed the main house, the artist’s “Abbey,” and the annexes, all of which are located on the estate, as well as St. Trinity Church, which is two kilometers away. Today the estate is a state museum-reserve covering 14 hectares and including 17 memorial buildings and a park on the grounds, where most of the trees were planted personally by the artist.