The exotic boyar castle on a little lane in Zamoskvorechie contains the main branch of the State Tretyakov Gallery, housing the world’s best collection of Russian icons and an outstanding collection of other prerevolutionary Russian art. Show up early to beat the queues The building was designed by Viktor Vasnetsov between 1900 and 1905.
Set amid 4 sq km of parkland, on a bluff above a bend in the Moscow River, this Museum-Reserve is an ancient royal country seat and Unesco World Heritage Site. Many festivals are held here, so check if anything is happening during your visit.
One of Russia’s most atmospheric religious centres is the Old Believers’ Community, located at Rogozhskoe, 3km east of Taganskaya pl. The Old Believers split from the main Russian Orthodox Church in 1653, when they refused to accept certain reforms. They have maintained the old forms of worship and customs ever since.
No other place sums up the rise and fall of the Soviet dream quite as well as the All-Russia Exhibition Centre.
It’s not exactly Universal Studios, but it is the oldest and most established film studio in Russia, responsible for films such as Alexander Nevsky, War & Peace, White Sun of the Desert and Irony of Fate .
A few vestiges of Birobidzhan’s Jewish heritage remain. Note the Hebrew signs on the train station , the livelyfarmers market and the post office on the riverfront at the southern terminus of ul Gorkogo.
Dasha Zhukova has so many claims to fame. She is the gorgeous girlfriend of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, she is a successful fashion designer and she has her own inheritance. Now she is also a proud patron of the arts, with the 2008 opening of the Garazh Centre for Contemporary Culture.
Next door to the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, this smaller museum shows off art collections donated by private individuals, many of whom amassed the works during the Soviet era. Exhibits are organised around the collections, each as a whole, and the details of collectors and donors are displayed alongside the art.
The original Kazan Cathedral was founded on this site at the northern end of Red Square in 1636 in thanks for the 1612 expulsion of Polish invaders (for two centuries it housed the Virgin of Kazan icon, which supposedly helped to rout the Poles).
The premier venue for 20th-century Russian art is this branch of the State Tretyakov Gallery, better known as the New Tretyakov. This place has much more than the typical socialist realist images of muscle-bound men wielding scythes, and busty women milking cows (although there’s that too).
Outside the front gate, overlooking the river, rises Kolomenskoe’s loveliest structure, the Ascension Church, sometimes called the ‘white column’. Built between 1530 and 1532 for Grand Prince Vasily III, it probably celebrated the birth of his heir, Ivan the Terrible.