A great city escape tip for you! The “New Jerusalem Monastery” is one of the most beautiful monasteries in Russia and it's just 1 to 1.5 hour by car from Moscow, depending on the traffic and your starting point, so it's perfect to do it on the weekend.
The baroque monastery is originally from the 17th century, but it got badly damaged during The Second World War and was recently restored. The inside of the cathedral is probably the most impressive part of the entire monastery with its high dome, bright glazed tiles, side chapels and a little church in the middle. This church is a symbolic copy of The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem which was built above the empty tomb of Jesus. There is a symbolic stone "tomb" here also - and you will people lining up to go in for a prayer.
New Jerusalem was a favorite project of an ambitious Patriarch - Nikon. He even gave new name to the local river Istra - it became no less than Jordan (you can see its name written on the map in the monastery).
We also recommend a walk on the walls - the best view open from here.
There are several eateries on the premises, selling bliny (crepes) and dumplings (pelmeni). From the back archway you can get to "Gethsemane garden" - practically, a forest, and walk to the bank of "Jordan" - Istra. Cross the river by a bridge and you will see the next point of interest - New Jerusalem Art Museum.
Its exhibitions not necessarily have something to do with religious art. It held a big show of Flemish art recently and this season exhibition is called "ABC of a Masterpiece". It is built around 33 characters of the Russian alphabet, each of which is the first letter of some word. For example, В - Воздух (air), З - зеркало (a mirror), etc. The paintings dedicated to this subject are grouped around it. A chance to see canvases by very different, but equally famous painters and to learn a few new Russian words.
Tickets are sold only online - here.
Enjoy your visit!
Istra, Sovetskaya, 2 is the monastery
Istra, New Jerusalem embankment 1 is the museum