Off the Beaten Track: 5 interesting places in Moscow

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01Central Armed Forces Museum of Russian Federation

Central Armed Forces Museum of the Russian Federation was established in 1919 and got a new building not so long ago, on May 8, 1965. It is curated by the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. The idea to establish a museum for celebrating Russian war forces came to its founders when troops of the military leader Anton Ivanovich Denikin were demolished, and the crisis of the Russian Civil War was left behind. It was a challenge to keep the Central Armed Forces Museum displays safe during Great Patriotic War (1941-1945), but people who worked here used all those things to raise the soldiers’ spirit.

Now exhibits of the museum take 24 halls in the building located on Soviet Army street in the center of Moscow. There are almost a million exhibits there. Among them are battle and trophy flags, photos, documents, military awards and decorations, weapons and personal belongings of officers, soldiers, and famous commanders. Also, there is an outdoor exhibition as well. On the open platform close to Ekaterininsk park (not far away from Olimpiysky sports complex), one can see about 150 units of different military equipment — artillery, armored, missile, aircraft, marine. There are, for example, Russian Civil war era tanks and modern strategic rockets as well.

Central Armed Forces Museum is visited by a million guests a year. The entrance ticket is not so expensive, for now, it costs only 150 rubles. The museum is open from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday.

02Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics

Outer space and Russia are two inseparable essences. Everybody knows the most famous Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first person to enter outer space on April 12, 1961. Museum of Aviation and Cosmonautics or just Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics was opened to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Gagarin’s flight. However, the museum's history began in 1964, when the Monument to the Conquerors of Space was erected in Moscow because the museum is located just in the very heart of this monument, right in its stylobate.

The first exhibits of the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics were at the same time the first evidence of Russia’s space triumph. Space-suits, artificial Earth’s satellites, space vehicles for research of the Moon and Solar system planets were among those exhibits. In 2006, the museum was closed for reconstruction, which had lasted for three years. The Museum of Cosmonautics was re-opened in 2009 in a new format, and the exhibition space became four times larger. Now the exhibition takes eight halls, and the museum has one cinema hall and a conference hall.

The exhibition includes more than 93 thousand units which are now pieces of art, stamps, and coins. The museum is opened from 10 a.m. till 7 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday, and on Thursday it’s opened till 9 p.m.

03Gorky’s House

Gorky’s House is one of the best buildings located in the center of Moscow, in its old part, close to the Boulevard Ring. Famous Russian architect Fyodor Shekhtel built it for another well-known person, the millionaire Sergey Ryabushinsky, the first automobile plant in Russia. Ryabushinsky had been living there till the 1917 revolution and then left for emigration. The house was recalled by the city’s authorities and granted to Russian writer Maxim Gorky after he returned to Moscow from Sorrento, where he was on treatment. There, Gorky had been living from 1932 through to his death in 1936.

Gorky’s house is modern style. It’s known among Muscovites as the house with beautiful iris mosaics on it.

The museum was created thanks to Nadezhda Alexeevna Peshkova, a widow of Gorky’s son, who had been living in this mansion through to 1965. In this house, the original Gorky’s library is being kept, like his other belongings. The museum employees managed to keep that very interior which Gorky witnessed, although many things were gone or destroyed when the Ryabushinsky family left the house. By the way, the magnate's family were Old Believer, and even now, the guests may visit the original Old Believers’ chapel located in the attic and stylized like an ancient church. But the main decoration of the house is the famous waved staircase made of Estonian marble, which symbolized an uneasy situation in Russian society at the beginning of the 20th century.

Nowadays, Gorky’s house has a back entrance. The entrance is completely free of charge, although one has to pay for taking photos inside.

04Cathedral of The Roman Catholic Church of The Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary

The Cathedral of The Roman Catholic Church of The Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary is one of two Catholic cathedrals in Moscow and the most prominent Catholic cathedral in Russia. It was built at the beginning of the 20th century by request of the Roman Catholic counsel of Moscow. Although asked to observe some terms, authorities gave their permission, for example, to build this Catholic cathedral far away from the city center and Moscow Orthodox churches.

The Cathedral of The Roman Catholic Church of The Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary took ten years. The money for it was collected by Polish Catholics who lived near Malaya Gruzinskaya street, where the cathedral is located and worked for the Moscow Smolensk railroad. The new cathedral was built in neo-Gothic style, with massive decoration elements.

In 1938, due to the uneasy situation in the country, the Cathedral was closed, and a dormitory was organized inside it. During the Great Patriotic War, the cathedral suffered from some bombings when some spires and turrets were demolished. After the war, in 1956, the building was given to ‘Mosspetspromproekt’ research institute, and its interior differed entirely. Only at the end of the 80s, Moscow Polish society raised an issue considering the cathedral’s return to Catholic church people.

The Cathedral of The Roman Catholic Church of The Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary has its parish. It attracts people from all over Moscow who love to listen to organ music. It’s also gorgeous, and it’s always a pleasure to pass by it.

05Krutitskoye podvorye

Krutitskoye podvorye is located in Tagansky district in Moscow, not very far away from ‘Proletarskaya’ metro station, close to the Moscow River. It seems that this place turns you back in time because inside it looks totally like another era, especially in summer when the leaves are green, and there are many blossoms.

‘Podvorye’ is a complex of different types of church buildings, like churches, cathedrals, monasteries, chambers, and wooden houses dated back to the 19th century. From 1991 it has also been served the Patriarchal Metochion. Krutitskoye Podvorye, or just Krutitsy, is very old. It was established in the 13th century. Krutitsy was built on the left bank of the Moscow river, which is very steep. That’s why this area is called Krutitsy — ‘krutoy’ means ‘steep.’

Krutitskoye Podvorye has its great history. Many centuries ago, it was surrounded by water from three sides. This area is unique for the fact that close to it, another two ancient monasteries are located. They are Novospassky and Simonov monasteries. During the Soviet era, podvorye was closed, and military forces occupied the buildings. When Krutitskoye podvorye was given back to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1991, restoration began. Now it’s almost a hidden gem located in the city center, near the old Zamoskvorechye district, where visitors can feel the old Russian spirit and virtually travel in time.

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