8. Novodevichiy Convent
This splendid UNESCO-listed convent was founded in 1525 to celebrate Grand Prince Basil III’s recapture of Smolensk in 1514. Many aristocrats took their vows here and it became known as a nunnery of nobility. Tsarevna Sophia Alexeyevna (1657-1704), who served as a transitional ruler of Russia, ordered the reconstruction of many of the buildings in Moscow Baroque style, with fine ornamentation. The convent was occupied in 1812 by Napoleon’s troops, and later used as a female prison before becoming a museum during Communism.
9. Kolomenskoe Estate
Set in idyllic riverside parkland, Kolomenskoe was the favourite summer residence of Ivan the Terrible and was also popular with Tsar Mikhail I (1596-1645). Both leaders made improvements, but it was Tsar Alexei (1629-76) who decided to build his “country Kremlin” here. A fine wooden palace, with an eclectic ensemble of buildings and 270 lavishly furnished rooms, was created in 1667. After Alexei’s death the palace fell into disrepair and was demolished by Catherine the Great (1729-96). Today the estate draws Muscovites, who come to picnic, sledge and attend festivals in the grounds.