Moscow Oblast



Having explored Moscow City, a right thing to do is to visit the New Jerusalem Monastery in the town of Istra 50 km from Moscow. The monastery was founded in 1656 as a residence of Nikon the then patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church whose reforms drove the Old Believers from the Orthodox Church.  According to Nikon`s concept, the monastery had to become the center of Eastern Christianity. The Istra River was renamed Jordan. The areas around the monastery were given biblical names Bethlehem, Galilee, Mount of Olives, Zion, etc. Nikon`s house stood in the garden of Gethsemane. Some buildings resemble the outlines of those built in true Jerusalem. For instance, the Resurrection Cathedral was constructed after the image and likeness of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Like its prototype, it houses several churches under one roof.

Do not miss the unusual underground Church of Saint Konstantin and Elena with only its belfry peeping up above the ground. Patriarch Nikon was buried in the cathedral. Visitors can see his resting place.


In June 1812 Napoleon invaded Russia. On 26 August the Napoleon and Russian armies met in a bloody battle at the village of Borodino 130 km west of Moscow. The battle lasted from dawn to dusk leaving over 100,000 soldiers dead. The Russian army withdrew and abandoned Moscow. Napoleon seemed to be the winner. But Borodino was the beginning of the end for Napoleon, who was soon in full, disastrous retreat. Out of 600,000 strong army that entered Russia, only 20,000 people managed to survive and to flee back to Europe.

You can study a diorama of the battle at the Borodino Museum.

The hill-top monument in front of the museum is the grave of Prince Bagration, a heroic Georgian infantry general who was mortally wounded in the battle.

The location of the headquarters of Russian commander Mikhail Kutuzov is marked by an obelisk.

The entire battlefield is dotted with memorials to specific divisions.

In 1941-42 the Soviet Army confronted the Nazis on this very site. Memorials to this battle also dot the field.

The Saviour Borodino Monastery was founded in 1817 by Margarita Tutchkova, widow of Russian general Alexander Tutchkov who fell in the Borodino battle.