Tver, on the Volga 150km northwest of Moscow, was capital of an unruly ministate that was Moscow's chief rival in the 14th and 15th centuries. Little evidence of Tver's medieval heyday remains, as it subsequently went through a series of upheavals. It was punished for rising against the Golden Horde, conquered by Ivan III, savaged by Ivan the Terrible, seized by the Poles and completely destroyed by fire in 1763.
Tver experienced a renaissance when Catherine the Great made it one of her rest stops between St Petersburg and Moscow. Today classical town houses from the late 1700s and early 1800s line the main street and riverbank of this mini-Petersburg on the Volga.
In 1990 Tver dumped its Soviet name, Kalinin (after Mikhail Kalinin, Stalin's puppet president during WWII, who was born here). Though Tver is not in the same league as some of the towns of the Golden Ring, it has just enough attractions to make it worth the trip from Moscow. You may also want to stop here for the same reason as Catherine the Great - to rest during your journey between Moscow and St Pete.