December 1 started the annual festival project “Winter in the Moscow Region” . This year, the focus will not be on mass festivities and entertainment shows, but on small chamber events, mainly for families and children. But all major cities will traditionally decorate for the New Year. You can visit them now: walk along the snow-covered streets, go to eco-farms and try local products. “Izvestia” together with the travel service “Tutu” went to Serpukhov near Moscow. What to see 100 km from Moscow for those who have already seen everything – in our material.
Where to walk in the center of Serpukhov
“Serpukhov is called the capital of the southern suburbs. No one knows what the southern Moscow region is, but we are its capital,” the guide Lyudmila cheerfully walks along Lenin Square (formerly Torgovaya) to the remains of the stone foundation. There used to be a temple of Alexander Nevsky, but in 1934 a monument to Vladimir Lenin was erected opposite, and the church was dismantled – the leader’s hand was uncomfortably directed directly at it.
In 1959 the sculpture was replaced. The monument was dismantled and another one was put up – with lowered hands, the guide explains. . It has changed little: the same houses mostly stand along the perimeter, and the reconstructed Gostiny Dvor is in the center. It is still used for its intended purpose today.
“In general, continuity is maintained in Serpukhov. Where there was a pharmacy a hundred years ago, there is now a pharmacy, where there was a tavern, there and now a bar or cafe, where there was a hotel, there is a hotel,” our guide explains. Because of the closed architecture and low buildings, I would like to call the square rather Torgovaya than Lenin.
A house with a clock opens here. A clockwork with three dials, built at the end of the 19th century, is mounted on a small corner tower. Previously, he crowned the bell tower of the Vysotsky Monastery, which is located a kilometer from the square. In 1933, the clock was moved to a residential building and kept running for some time, but now it is standing.
“In order to work, you need to come here every day – and moreover, people who know how to manage the old mechanism. There are no such people left,” Lyudmila sighs.
Torgovaya Square is for lovers of traditional tourist routes. Fans of abandoned places should not miss the moment: there are many buildings outside the center that have not yet begun or are undergoing restoration. They will not let you into the old bank near the house with the clock – it is in disrepair and sealed, but you can get into the Sollogub estate.
Until recently, life was in full swing in it: until 2017, the fifth building of the Provincial Vocational College was located here, before it – a medical school, and even earlier – a pre-revolutionary school for seamstresses. The building is empty, but not abandoned: something is repaired in it from time to time, in some classes there are still desks and drawings of design students. A lonely piano lives in the assembly hall, and the ominous inscription “We’ll be back” flaunts on the wall over red paint stains. which can only be guessed at. A drowning man with a guitar is signed as “Gypsy in an unaccustomed environment.”
A hundred meters from the estate, there is another convincing dilapidation – the Crucifixion Church and its dilapidated bell tower. “Sorry for the smell, they poisoned the rats,” a temple attendant fussily meets us. The cathedral is active, and the most remarkable thing in it is the lower floor. In Soviet times, a gym was equipped there: the floor was laid out, the walls were painted, sports symbols were drawn, and racks for shells were installed. Pupils of the medical school lived here.
In 2013, restorers discovered old frescoes under 16 layers of paint that adorned almost the entire space of the church. It is difficult to restore them, so for now, the elegant painting by an unknown master is adjacent to the typical decoration of the former gym. We didn’t hear the rustling of rats.
After the Crucifixion Church, you can go further – to Cathedral Hill and to the Serpukhov Kremlin. This is one of the oldest city sights, although little remains of it – the foundation and two fragments of a stone wall. Buildings on a hill bear little resemblance to the Kremlin of any ancient Russian city familiar to a modern tourist, but you can roughly understand how this place was seen a couple of centuries ago – one-story residential buildings with their farms and livestock have been preserved here.
At the base of the Cathedral Hill, it is worth stopping by the Fabrikant restaurant, located in a late 19th-century building. You won’t find anything extraordinary on the menu, and the chefs themselves describe their dishes as “simple and understandable positions for every day”, but their quality and taste will pleasantly surprise you. “In general, we have 150 cafes and restaurants in Serpukhov, we are called the gastronomic capital of the Moscow region,” the guide emphasizes.
Where to feed the animals and try farm products
You can completely fence yourself off from the bustle of the city at local eco-farms. One of them is located 30 minutes from Serpukhov – this is Bunin Ruchey. Lovers of a measured rural holiday come here on weekends to feed the animals, ride horses and try local cheese or cottage cheese.
The farm is home to spotted deer, alpacas, ostriches, horses, deer, edilbay sheep, Nubian goats, rabbits, cute tame goats and calves, cows and bulls, as well as chickens, roosters, indo-ducks, geese, turkeys, quails.
“Our names of ostriches are Boris Johnson, Jan Psaki and Ursula von der Leyen,” Vladimir Kolovratov, art director of the eco-farm, grins, after which he allows the group to feed them with specially prepared vegetables.
The animals are friendly and welcoming, only alpacas could not be seen: they hid in the houses and flatly refused to leave them. According to our guide, they were brought recently – the animals did not have time to get used to people. “They are almost like cats when tamed. I’m even thinking about coming here in the summer to work on a laptop so that they constantly feel the presence of a person and get used to it, ”explains Vladimir.
Here you can buy and try your own Bunina Rucheya products are milk, cheese, butter, cottage cheese and meat. Entertainment is mainly aimed at children, but adults can also ride a horse or ride a swing on the banks of the Nara River.
Road from Moscow to Serpukhov takes about an hour and a half by car or two by train from the Kursk railway station. “When we ask people what you know about the city, they usually say:“ near Moscow” and “deputies stole from you”. And it’s not limited to this, ”Lyudmila escorts us with a smile. Serpukhov has everything that a resident of a metropolis lacks: provincial streets, rural landscapes and a sparsely populated area. For lovers of history – the ruins of fortress walls, for stalkers and urbanists – abandoned places.