Before a recent business trip to Moscow, I had a day of leisure time to see again the Red Square & Kremlin (did this before in 2012). After the trip I had some time to discover the UNESCO sites Kolomenskoye and Novodevichy too. During this 6-day trip which included 3 business days one can perfectly see all these places on the remaining 3 days in Moscow. I love bleisure trips! They are all well worth seeing and easily reached from the Intercontinental Moscow hotel. Let me show you these places and what to expect!
3 days in Moscow – Kolomenskoye
Kolomenskoye is situated in the southeast of Moscow and to get there it’s a 30-minute metro ride away from central Moscow. The area is a large park as you can see in the following map. To take it easy and see everything it will take most of the day. Best of course if the sun shines and if there is rain go first explore the Moscow Metro and see Kolomenskoye another day.
Kolomenskoye dates to the 14th century and the Ascension church to the early 16th century. The architecture of the church, a tent-like stone structure, was the first in its kind in Russia. This is the reason Kolomenskoye is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stone structure is reaching to the sky like most churches of that time did in northern Russia. Within the premises of Kolomenskoye Tsar Alexis I build a huge wooden palace but it burned down completely and nothing is left of it. Due to the survival of the plans a reconstruction was made and finished in 2010. From the original buildings one can see various churches, bell towers, water tower, gates, and pavilions. Beside the church of Ascension there are various other buildings originating from all over Russia. It functions as an open-air museum too. I recommend spending up to 5 hours in the park if you don’t want to rush it. This shouldn’t be the case if you have 3 days in Moscow to explore all the important places.
3 days in Moscow – Novodevichy
Novodevichy is a monastery located about 20 minutes by Moscow metro from downtown which I visited on the second day of my 3 days in Moscow. On the map below, you will find the layout of the area. It takes about 3 hours to explore Novodevichy so take the rest of the day to go shopping!
Novodevichy Convent, or Bogoroditse-Smolensky Monastery is a Monastery in Moscow since the 17th century and survived all those years without getting seriously damaged. The Monastery is fully walled, with towers. Inside the premises one can see various objects and exhibitions. At the time of visit the octagonal bell-tower was under renovation unfortunately. Probably the most interesting building is the oldest building: the cathedral of Our Lady of Smolensk. It’s a six-pillared five-domed cathedral and has the finest frescos in Moscow. It makes a great half day trip in Moscow and leaves enough time to go shopping or possible explore Moscow’s Metro.
3 days in Moscow – Red Square & Kremlin
The Red Square is a square in the center of Moscow separating the old Kremlin with the area Kitai-gorod. It’s a place not to be missed if 3 days in Moscow. The square has been and is used for all kinds of official ceremonies. I visited it twice most recently during a business trip. The map below shows the layout.
Around the square there are several sights including the State Museum, Kazan Cathedral, Gates, Lenin Mausoleum, Saint Basil Cathedral, view on the Kremlin and other things. I entered the square through the gate near the Kazan Cathedral. It’s a beautiful cathedral with lots of decoration on the inside, see my photo taken secretly in the gallery. The current cathedral is, however, a reconstruction of the 17th century cathedral. It’s a Russian Orthodox cathedral devoted to Our Lady of Kazan.
If you walk from this end to the other end where the Saint Basils cathedral is located you’ll see on the right the Kremlin view with in front the Lenin Mausoleum and on the right, you see the GUM department store. The Saint Basils cathedral is devoted to Vasyli the Blessed and build in the 16th century now housing a museum. Inside you will see various icons, fresco’s, and other religious items. The architecture is one of its kind from that period with lots of colors used on the outside. To explore the Red Square and it sights one needs just over an hour if you do not plan any shopping at the GUM Department store.
From the Saint Basils cathedral, I walked back taking a left turn at the end of the Kremlin to get tickets. There are big rows; but there are self-service machines with no rows at all and I got my tickets in a few minutes. The Kremlin is the old city core of Moscow which consists of various churches and government buildings these days. Many cities in Russia have a Kremlin which means a fortified complex. The Kremlin is a fully walled complex with various towers.
On the Cathedral Square you will see three cathedrals build from the 15th century onwards. Beautiful golden cupolas on the outside. Inside the churches you will find beautiful icons and fresco’s and other religious items. Other notable structures are the Bell Tower, the Palace of Facets, Grand Kremlin Palace, and others. To explore the Kremlin, it takes up to three hours including the churches but not the museums.
Moscow is the (financial) capital of Russia and a beautiful city to visit. 3 days in Moscow is enough to see the cultural places mentioned in this article. I enjoyed Moscow and I will return. One my list is still to make a day trip to Sergiev Posad, see Moscow’s Metro and go urban exploring in the never finished Hovrinskaya Hospital. The Kremlin museums and other museums are also still on my wish list to see!