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Moscow, Russia

Moscow (Москва́), is Russia's capital and largest city, with a rapidly growing population of more than 11 million people. Moscow is the country's primary transportation hub and home to its most renowned cultural, political and religious institutions. Founded in the 12th century as the capital of a minor principality, Moscow eventually emerged as the center of a unified Russian state in the 15th century. The capital was moved to the new city of St. Petersburg in 1703 under Peter the Great, but Lenin moved the capital back to Moscow in 1917.

Moscow has been a site of great spiritual importance for most of its history. It has long claimed the title of "Third Rome," regarding itself as a spiritual successor to the imperial Christian capitals of Rome and Constantinople. The city is still the center of Russian Orthdodox Christianity. The Patriarch of Moscow, whose residence is the Danilov Monastery, serves as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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Sacred Sites and Religious Attractions in Moscow

  • Andronikov Monastery
    Named for its first abbot, Andronikov monastyr was founded in 1360 by Metropolitan Alexei in fulfillment of a vow. The famous icon painter Andrei Rublev (d. 1430) was a resident here.
  • Cathedral of the Epiphany
    One of the oldest monasteries in Moscow, Bogoyavlensky Sobor was founded in 1342. Today only its cathedral remains.
  • Cathedral of the Annunciation
    Blagoveschensky Sobor was built 1484-1489 by Russian architects and was the personal church of the royal family until the 20th century.
  • Cathedral of the Archangel
    Arkhangelsky Sobor was built 1505-08 by an Italian architect. Inside are frescoes by Russian artists from the 16th and 17th centuries.
  • Cathedral of the Assumption
    Uspensky sobor in the Kremlin was built 1475-79 by an Italian architect. The relatively austere gray facade hides an interior covered in frescoes on every available space.
  • Cathedral of Christ the Savior
    The khram Khrista Spasitela may well be the largest Orthodox church in the world. The building is magnificent, but not as old as it looks: it was rebuilt in 2000 after the original was demolished by Stalin.
  • Choral Synagogue
    Built in 1886, this Orthodox synagogue represents the turbulent status of Moscow's Jewish community over the years. The interior is a fine example of Moorish synagogue architecture.
  • Danilov Monastery
    Danilov was founded in the late 13th century by Prince Daniil Aleksandrovich and restored by Ivan the Terrible in 1560.
  • New Jerusalem Monastery
    New Jerusalem Monastery is located on the river Istra outside Moscow. It was founded in 1656 by Patriarch Nikon, who patterned it after Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
  • Novodevichy Convent
    The New Maiden's Convent was founded in 1524 by Tsar Vasily III to commemorate the capture of Smolensk from Lithuania. Thanks to its magnificent buildings and historic cemetery, it is a very popular tourist destination.
  • Novospassky Monastery
    The New Monastery of the Savior was founded in 1491 but entirely rebuilt by the Romanovs in the 1640s. Its cathedral contains frescoes by the best 17th-century painters.
  • St. Basil's Cathedral
    This famously colorful cathedral was built by Ivan the Terrible between 1534 and 1561 to commemorate a military victory. It consists of nine chapels built on a single foundation.