Istra, Russia

Istra is a city in the west of the Moscow region, 40 km from the Moscow Ring Road. People usually come here to see New Jerusalem - the second most famous monastery in the Moscow region (after the Trinity-Sergius Lavra), founded by Patriarch Nikon as Russian Palestine. At the foot of the hill with the monastery there is a park with objects of wooden architecture transported here from the surrounding villages, and across the river there is a new building of the New Jerusalem Museum, the largest museum and exhibition center in the Moscow region.



New Jerusalem Monastery

✦  Resurrection New Jerusalem Monastery for Men, Stavropegic Monastery, st. Sovetskaya, 2. ☎ +7 (495) 994-61-70. The monastery was founded in 1656 by Patriarch Nikon, according to whose plan a complex of holy places in Palestine was to be recreated near Moscow.

1  Resurrection Cathedral. The main church of the monastery, built in 1658-1685, repeats in plan the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, but is not its exact copy. Unlike the original, which was tightly surrounded by houses, the Istra Cathedral is freely located in the center of the monastery courtyard. The main cruciform volume of the temple is covered with a powerful dome, from the west of which rises a spectacular rotunda tent with a diameter of 23 meters with three tiers of dormers. Adjacent to the cathedral from the south is a seven-tiered bell tower with a clock, restored in 2014 - the entrance to the temple is from the north. The facades and interiors of the Resurrection Cathedral, unlike the one in Jerusalem, are richly decorated with multi-colored tiles. The main tile patterns were created by master Stepan Polubes from Mstislavl. Before this, Moscow churches were not decorated with tiles, since the locals did not know how to make colored enamel.
Inside, the Resurrection Cathedral consists of a complex of rooms with luxurious tile decorations, carvings and stucco, and at first it is not easy to find your way around. Under the main dome of the cathedral there is a 12-tier iconostasis: it was destroyed in 1941 and has now been restored. To the right of the iconostasis lies the Stone of Confirmation, a copy of the marble slab from which the body of Christ was removed - the stone cracked during the German occupation of Istra. Next to the stone are the stairs of the two-tier chapel of John the Baptist, on the second floor of which there is Golgotha (the site of the crucifixion of Jesus) with a cypress cross brought from Palestine. Patriarch Nikon himself was buried on the first floor under Golgotha (as, according to legend, the remains of Adam rested under Golgotha), but the relics of the patriarch disappeared during Soviet times. Behind the iconostasis is the entrance to the underground Church of Constantine and Helena.

Through the triumphal arch from the iconostasis you can enter the rotunda, covered on the outside with a powerful tent. The first stone tent of the temple collapsed in 1723, and according to the design of Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, a new wooden tent was erected in the Baroque style. It is richly decorated with carvings and stucco. Under the tent is the main shrine of the monastery - Edicule, the Chapel of the Holy Sepulcher. The Edicule, topped with a small hipped tower, consists of two small rooms where one or two people enter at a time (on a first-come, first-served basis, bags are left at the entrance). Here you can see a boulder similar to the one that blocked the entrance to the tomb of Christ in Jerusalem, and then a stone bed - an imitation of the Holy Sepulcher. Along the perimeter of the rotunda there is a gallery with many niches in which chapels should have been located: according to Nikon’s plan there should have been 365 of them, but only 29 were built.

2  Underground Church of Constantine and Helena. The temple is deepened 6 meters into the ground - it was at this depth that Queen Helen found in Jerusalem in 326 the cross on which Jesus was crucified. The Palestinian church is carved into the rock, and the one near Moscow seems more impressive. The temple is adjacent to the Resurrection Cathedral and is the first to greet visitors immediately after the main entrance to the monastery. From the outside, the church rises 1.5 meters above ground level; its drum and the chapels added to it later are decorated with tiles and carved frames. In the 18th century, the church was surrounded by a protective moat, but after a special tunnel was built in the 19th century to drain groundwater, the moat was lined with white stone. You can get to the temple from the altar part of the Resurrection Cathedral - a steep staircase of 33 steps leads down. The church has preserved a chased copper iconostasis from the mid-18th century, and its vaults are decorated with Baroque stucco. At the site where the Life-Giving Cross was found, there is a spring where you can collect holy water. Next to it they sell empty containers and there is a small church shop.

3  Church of the Nativity with refectory chambers. The single-domed, two-story church was erected in 1685-1692, after the death of Patriarch Nikon, in the Moscow Baroque style with corresponding bright decor. The lower floor, decorated with an arcade along the eastern facade, was previously used as a warm winter temple. A long building of refectory chambers adjoins the building, and the church stands perpendicular to them. Under the altar of the temple there is a similarity to the Bethlehem Den (the cave of the Nativity). By going around the church, through the western gate of the monastery, you can get into the Garden of Gethsemane.
✦  Walls and towers.


Garden of Gethsemane

The garden is named after the Jerusalem Valley, which lies at the foot of the Mount of Olives and the tomb of the Virgin Mary, revered as the place of prayer of Jesus Christ on the night of his arrest.

4  Skete of Patriarch Nikon (Waste Hermitage), st. Sovetskaya, 2 building 4. Place of residence and prayerful retreat of Patriarch Nikon, 300 meters northwest of the Elizabeth Tower of the monastery (western gate). The tall, narrow, four-story brick building was erected in 1658 in the likeness of the residential towers of the Athos monasteries and is partially decorated with tiles. At the top of the snow-white building rises the octagonal dome of the Church of the Apostles Peter and Paul - here Nikon prayed in a small cell, where you can only be bent over. The building, one of the few, was not damaged during the Great Patriotic War. The monastery is separated from the monastery by an artificial ditch called the Kidron Stream, but now all that remains of it is a narrow ravine with a miniature bridge thrown across it. On the way to the monastery there is a Holy Spring, which can be recognized by the wooden cross against the backdrop of the monastery walls. The monastery is closed to visitors, but immediately behind it there are open fonts on the banks of the Istra River: where it is pleasant to plunge into the summer heat, and in winter it is one of the most popular places for plunging into the ice hole for Epiphany.

✦  Museum of Wooden Architecture. It is located in the open air on the other side of the fence in the Garden of Gethsemane of the monastery. It was founded in 1981, when a windmill, a peasant hut, a chapel and a church were transported here from the surrounding villages. Church of the Epiphany XVII-XVIII centuries. from the village of Semenovskoye, Pushkinsky district, burned down in 2000, so now only three objects remain here. After the museum was given over to the monastery several years ago, huts and mills were no longer allowed inside, and the objects themselves gradually began to fall into disrepair. Currently, all objects are closed to the public “until their comprehensive restoration”, but you can view them from the outside. In the recent past, the museum was part of the New Jerusalem International Exhibition Complex: the wooden buildings were in good condition, and excursions were held to the Kokorins’ hut and the mill.
5  Peasant hut of the Kokorins 1830-1840. Brought from the village of Vykhino (now the territory of Moscow). The residential building is quite spacious and consists of four rooms: a canopy, a light room, a living room and a kitchen. Previously, excursions were held here and you could see items from the recreated interior of peasant life.
6  Copy of an 18th century chapel from the village of Sokolniki. Recreated in 1978 by architect D.Ya. Statchevsky. Similar chapels in the shape of a chopped octagon were widespread in the countryside of pre-revolutionary Russia. The original burned in 1976 before being transported to the museum.
7  Windmill from the second half of the 19th century. One of the tallest in Russia, it was transported here in 1974 from the village of Kochemlevo, Tver Region, where it was used for its intended purpose until the 50s of the last century. In July 2020, the fastening of the mill blades broke and they fell to the ground. Now it is in a semi-abandoned state of disrepair.


Around town

8  Monument to the Il-2 aircraft. A titanium model of the Il-2 attack aircraft taking off, the most popular Soviet aircraft, which distinguished itself during the Great Patriotic War and earned the title of “flying tank.” The monument was opened on May 9, 1965 - this is the first in a series of monuments to the legendary Il-2 and the only model: later monuments opened in other cities already represent authentic restored aircraft found by search engines. On a concrete stele that looks like a runway, you can see a map of the Soviet counteroffensive in the 1941 Battle of Moscow. The monument is installed at the end of the main alley of the Central Park on a cliff, which offers a picturesque view of the Istra River and the New Jerusalem Monastery.
9  Monument to the warriors-defenders of the city of Istra. A stele in memory of the fallen soldiers who liberated Istra from the Nazis in 1941.
10  Bust of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov.
11  Remains of the gate of the house in which Anton Pavlovich Chekhov lived. At this point A.P. Chekhov lived in the 1880s, working as a doctor in Voskresensk (the former name of Istra). The building was destroyed during the Second World War.
12  Monument to Anton Pavlovich Chekhov. The monument depicts a writer sitting on a bench.
13  Sculpture “St. Martin”. A gift to the city of Istra from the German sister city of Bad Orb. The work of sculptor Sergei Sergeevich Kazantsev.

14 “Tesla Coils” (Test stands of the High-Voltage Research Center of the All-Russian Electrotechnical Institute). The test site was created in the 1970s to test the effects of super-powerful electromagnetic pulses on various objects. For example, you can clearly see what will happen to an airplane when it is struck by lightning. Three objects are of greatest interest:
The Arkadyev-Marx generator is a 30-meter tower capable of delivering a discharge of 9 billion volts, creating artificial lightning. The installation is still functioning, but tests are extremely rare due to the high cost of electricity.
The cascade of 3 MV transformers is an unusual futuristic installation that attracts lovers of original photo shoots and man-made objects. This is the largest transformer in the world, but, unfortunately, it is not in working condition.
The 2.25 MV constant voltage setting also has an alien look to it, like a giant DNA model. Currently, it is no longer functional and is covered in rust in places.

The landfill is in a semi-abandoned state, but in a closed area and is guarded by a guard with a dog. Officially it is closed to the public, but usually you can negotiate with the watchman for 100-200 rubles. per person. It’s better to come in a group - this way the likelihood of entering the territory is higher, although a lot depends on the mood of the guard. For introductions and photo sessions, 15-30 minutes are usually enough. You can get there from Novoierusalimskaya station, from which you need to walk about a kilometer along Pochtovaya Street. The facility gate will be on the left side of the street immediately after the cemetery.


Things to do

1  Historical and Art Museum “New Jerusalem”, New Jerusalem Embankment, 1 (On the opposite bank of the Istra River from the New Jerusalem Monastery). ✉ ☎ +7 (498) 314-02-36. Tue-Fri and Sun - 10:00-18:00, Sat - 10:00-19:00, closed Mon. On average 300-400 rubles (depending on the exhibition). One of the most modern and largest exhibition venues in Russia, the main exhibition center of the Moscow region. The new three-story museum building opened in 2014 on a site with an area of 4.28 hectares, where the Museum of the New Jerusalem Monastery moved. Jan 2020 edit
Parks and squares

2  Central Park.
3  Square on Revolution Square.

4  Istrinsky Drama Theater  , st. Lenina, 114. ✉ ☎ 8(496) 314-66-24, 8(496) 315 51 15, fax: 8 (496) 314-66-24.
5  Kinomir, st. Lenina, 12, Leisure Center "Mir". ☎ (495) 994-52-72.
6  House of Culture, st. Pervomaiskaya, 3. ☎ (495) 994-56-04.


How to get there

Istra is located 40 km west of Moscow, and the easiest way to get there is through Moscow.

By train
From Moscow: by train in the Riga direction, going to Volokolamsk or Shakhovskaya. You can take the train at:
Rizhsky railway station in Moscow (metro station Rizhskaya) - approximate travel time 1 hour 20 minutes,
railway station Dmitrovskaya (metro station Dmitrovskaya) - approximate travel time 1 hour 10 minutes,
railway station Streshnevo (Leningradskaya) (metro station Voikovskaya) - approximate travel time 1 hour,
railway station Tushinskaya (metro station Tushinskaya) - approximate travel time 55 minutes,
railway station Volokolamskaya (metro station Volokolamskaya) - approximate travel time 50 minutes.

You can get off at the following stations:
1  Istra. Located in the south of the city. The path to the New Jerusalem Monastery (about 2.5 km) passes through the main streets of the city, close to many attractions.
2  New Jerusalem. Located in the western part of the city. The route to the main entrance to the New Jerusalem Monastery (about 2.3 km) includes crossing a bridge over the Istra River and runs along the wall of the monastery.

By bus
From Tushinskaya metro station take bus 372 to Istra.
3  Bus station (near the Istra railway station). 6:00–21:00.

By car
Moscow and Istra are connected by the Volokolamskoye Highway, and 8 km south of the city there is the M9 high-speed Novorizhskoye Highway. From other cities, it is convenient to travel around the capital along the recently reconstructed toll Central Ring Road, which intersects with the same highways a few kilometers from Istra.

It’s about 40 km along the Volokolamsk Highway from the Moscow Ring Road to Istra, but you have to go through traffic-rich Krasnogorsk and a bunch of other settlements. For most of the route, the speed is limited to 40 km/h and there are constant traffic lights.

Novorizhskoe highway M9 is more convenient - it is a highway and you can get there faster, although the distance is 15 km longer.



Restaurant “Istra”, st. Lenina, 80. ☎ +7 (498) 314-61-10. 12:00–0:00.
Restaurant “Old Mill”, st. Panfilova, 55.
Cafe Ogonyok, st. 9th Gvardeyskaya, 1.
Pizzeria “House of Pizza”, st. Yubileinaya, 6.
Bakery No. 28, st. Bosova, 23/44. ☎ +7 925 807-49-19; + 7 991 277-76-04. 09:00-20:00. Bakery and cafe. Breakfasts. Coffee and pastries. In the hall and to go. Cakes and desserts to order.



Average cost
1  Hotel “Livadia”, Sovetskaya street, 15A. ✉ ☎ 8 (49631) 4-19-94, 8 (916) 780-40-84. 24/7. Single room from 2400 rubles per day, double room - from 3000 rubles per day. The hotel is located near the New Jerusalem Monastery. Free secure parking, free Wi-Fi hotspot.
2  Hotel complex Novoierusalimsky, st. Sovetskaya, 2 (on the left before the entrance to the monastery). ☎ +7 (985) 834-03-16. Consists of two hotels located nearby: Eastern and Western
3  Hostel MinIstra  , Istra Adasko 7/3 4th floor (entrance from the Biomarket store). ✉ ☎ +7 964-766-43-42. 7-00 to 23-30. 500. Rooms for 1-6 people. City center, free parking. Accounting documents. Walking distance to bus 372 Istra - Moscow (Tushino) - Istra and the Istra railway platform. Free Internet.


Physiographic characteristics


Istra is located in the MSC time zone (Moscow time). The applied time offset relative to UTC is +3:00.



According to the physical-geographical zoning of the Moscow region, the Istrinsky district is part of the Klin-Moscow zone, located in the west of the Moscow region. According to the degree of transformation of natural landscapes, the territory is classified as natural-technogenic with an average degree of restoration of resource potential. Most of the territory is dominated by landscapes with a transformation depth of up to 3 meters. A characteristic feature is the deep through valleys crossing it from north to south, which is why it is, as it were, cut into a number of separate massifs. Due to this morphology, the ravine-gully network is quite widely developed. All this contributes to good drainage of the hills, especially in the valley areas. The territory of the district has a significant supply of water and forest recreational resources favorable for recreation.



According to the climatic zoning of Russia, Istra is located in the Atlantic-continental European (forest) region of the temperate climate zone. Winters are relatively cold, summers are warm. The average monthly temperature of the warmest month (July) is +18.7 °C, the coldest months (January and February) are −7.2 °C. The lowest temperature in 100 years of observations was −53 °C. The last lowest temperature - 48 °C - was observed in the winter of 1947/1948. The predominant wind directions during the year are south and west. Calm weather in this area is not often observed (the average annual frequency is 18%). More often, calm weather occurs in July (22% of cases), less often in winter (13%).

Climatic data are given for the Novo-Ierusalem meteorological station closest to Istra, which is located in the village of Luchinskoye.

The World Meteorological Organization decided on the need to calculate two climate norms: the climatological standard and the reference. The first is updated every ten years, the second covers the period from 1961 to 1990.


Soils and vegetation

In the region where Istra is located, in certain areas one of the types of physical degradation of soils is manifested - over-compaction, caused by recreational load on the territories newly developed for dacha and cottage development, which has become characteristic in recent years for the Moscow region as a whole. There is a tendency for the humus content in soils to decrease in the region. Currently, the natural landscape has practically exhausted its ability to self-heal.

The ecological state of soils, according to their geochemical assessment, is considered satisfactory, which is associated with the moderate use of chemicals on agricultural farms.


Ecology and nature conservation

The Istra district is not classified as industrial (the share of industrial land is 4-6%, which is a fairly low figure in the Moscow region). The average annual level of air pollution in the region with the main harmful substances (sulfur dioxide, suspended solids, carbon monoxide) does not exceed the permissible MPC values.

The radiation background in the territory under consideration is at the level of the natural content of radioactive elements in the air (9-17 microroentgens/hour), which does not pose a threat to public health.



On the site of the future city in the 16th century there was the village of Safatovo. In 1589, the village was renamed Voskresenskoye - after the Church of the Resurrection of the Lord. In 1656, Voskresenskoye and three adjacent villages (Makrushino, Sychovo, Redkino) were bought by Patriarch Nikon from the steward Roman Boborykin. In 1781, the village was transformed into the district town of Voskresensk. Since 1796 it has been a provincial town.

In the “List of Populated Places” of 1862 it is listed as a provincial town of the 2nd camp of the Zvenigorod district of the Moscow province on the Istra River, 726 versts from St. Petersburg and 50½ versts from the provincial city, with 121 houses and 2784 inhabitants (1467 men, 1317 women ). In the city there was a monastery (Resurrection New Jerusalem Monastery), an Orthodox church, a postal station, two factories and a fair. two copyists, one of whom was John the clerk, the name of the second is unknown. The collection was found for the Russian public in

In 1817, in the New Jerusalem Monastery, the expedition of K. F. Kalaidovich and P. M. Stroev found the Izbornik of 1073, compiled for the Grand Duke Svyatoslav Yaroslavich, one of the oldest surviving (along with the “Ostromir Gospel”, “Izbornik” of 1076 and the “Novgorod Code”) of ancient Russian handwritten books.

Throughout the 19th century, Voskresensk remained one of the smallest cities in the Moscow province: its population did not exceed 3 thousand people.

According to the materials of the All-Union Population Census of 1926, the center of the Voskresensky district of the Moscow province with a population of 3,281 residents (1,498 men, 1,783 women). The city housed the district executive committee, the Luchinsky volost executive committee, there was a hospital, a dispensary, a veterinary hospital, an agricultural center, a silk-winding factory and a steam flour mill.

In 1930, the city was renamed Istra, after the name of the river flowing through it.

As a result of a short occupation during the Great Patriotic War from November 26 to December 10, 1941, Istra was almost completely destroyed.

The project for the restoration of the city (published in 1946) was developed by academician Alexei Shchusev, who visited Istra to survey the destruction of the New Jerusalem Monastery. According to the architect's plan, Istra was to become a health resort near Moscow. The project took into account the natural features of the city’s surroundings and its historical past. Some city buildings designed by Shchusev were supposed to resemble structures of Russian architecture of the 17th century. In the central square, it was planned to erect buildings made of red brick with white trim and window frames decorated with majolica, similar to the ceramic decorations of the New Jerusalem Monastery. The residential building was supposed to be low-rise wooden, repeating the shape of a Russian hut, on lightweight frame structures with partial use of preserved old foundations. On the right bank of the Istra River it was planned to build sports facilities with a reservoir. It was planned to remove the Volokolamsk Highway from the city limits. However, the project was not implemented; according to Shchusev’s plan, only a few houses were built on Kooperativnaya Street.

The economic development of the city in the second half of the 20th century was associated first with the location of an enterprise for the production of equipment for coal mining (the Uglemash pilot plant), and then with the opening of branches of Moscow research institutes of the electrical industry.

In 2015, by resolution of the Moscow Regional Duma, the city was awarded the honorary title “Settlement of Military Valor.”