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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kolomna Calling

If you've done the Golden Ring and you're looking for another short, easy trip out of Moscow, Kolomna could well catch your attention.

In its favor, it's easily accessible. Just over 100 kilometers from the capital, it's a painless 1 1/2 hour ride away on the comfy Ryazan express train that departs from Kazansky Station several times a day.

Kolomna is about as old as Moscow, and it has all the churches, bell towers and monasteries of a Golden Ring town. The historical center is compact, and the preserved fragments of the Kremlin wall and towers are unlike those seen elsewhere. There's also a posh place to stay -- a yacht club hotel by the Oka River.

With all this, one might wonder why Kolomna isn't always listed in tourist itineraries alongside Suzdal, Sergiyev Posad and Rostov-Veliky, especially since it is so much easier to get to. Kolomna is like a Golden Ring town that might have been -- one that got stuck with heavy industry instead of tourism.

Viktor Velikzhanin / Itar-Tass
One of Kolomna's tourist attractions: the Uspensky-Brusensky women's monastery.
The 40th Meridian yacht club and hotel's web site tries to put a romantic spin on things, describing how "the sky-pointing spires of churches peacefully coexist with factory tubes." But still, the cement factory and power plant, standing along the route between the center and this stylish retreat, take much of the romance out of the visit.

Better located but less glamorous is the Kolomna hotel, right in the center of town, although staying here won't exactly put you in proximity to any partying. Cafes, bars and restaurants are scarce. For all its industry, Kolomna doesn't particularly seem to be prospering, and if Moscow's wealth is trickling down anywhere, it doesn't seem to be here.

Promoting a new vision for Kolomna is the glossy magazine "Gorod" (, which this summer reported that the city is "entering the final stage of its transformation from a closed industrial city to an open tourist center."

As Gorod's expert commentators noted, most visitors come on day trips, but Kolomna's tourism sector depends on getting people to stay the night. The advantage of being so close to Moscow thus puts Kolomna at a disadvantage, and right now there's little reason to spend the night there when you can take the 7:15 a.m. or 12:40 p.m. train there and the 6:14 p.m. train back, and still see all the sights.

If you decide to go, the most difficult part is finding the special ticket office for the Ryazan express at Kazansky Station. The destination you need is called Golutvin, not Kolomna, and a first-class one-way ticket costs about 300 rubles.

Where to Stay:

40th Meridian: This new yacht club hotel is a luxurious place to stay, although the location may leave something to be desired: a rustic residential district about 15 minutes' drive from the center, on the other side of the smoggy factory zone. Public minibuses run regularly between the hotel's front gate and the central train and bus station, and taxis are available for about 100 rubles. The 2,900-ruble-a-night standard double rooms are clean and seemingly virginal, and the gleaming modern bathrooms even have bidets. A modest breakfast is included (yogurt, fruit, toasted sandwiches and a choice of hot dishes such as syrniki and vareniki), but for some reason it's not always served in the highly regarded restaurant overlooking the river. There's a helipad on the premises, but no shop -- the nearest is 150 meters down the road.

48 Beregovaya Ul., (495) 459-7133, (4966) 15-20-27,

Kolomna Hotel: It looks like a typical Soviet-era provincial hotel from the outside, but it has some renovated rooms. The main advantage of staying here is the central location, which spares you from having to experience the town's industrial outskirts. Standard double rooms go for 1,300 rubles a night, while renovated doubles start from 1,950 rubles, both with breakfast included.

2 Ploshchad Sovetskaya, (26) 12-18-96.

Where to Eat:

Status: This Moscow-standard, Moscow-priced restaurant offers refined, modern cuisine: lobster cream soup with a cappuccino top (195 rubles); baked eel with ginger-soy sauce (390 rubles); scallop salad with saffron sauce (340 rubles). The pretentiousness of the place -- all the more glaring in this humble town -- is forgiven once you taste the food. Its cafe, looking onto the park, has great coffee and desserts, including a correct cheesecake and a custardy concoction resembling a Key lime pie.

69 Ul. Lenina, (26) 12-56-28.

Art Club Namyoki: The food is cheaper and the menu simpler than at Status, but this arty basement eatery attached to a gallery has a cooler vibe. Situated amid all the main historical sights.

5 Ul. Lazhechnikova, (26) 12-10-25,