Located 24 miles from Moscow along the Gorky Highway in a wooded area, the Monino Central Air Force Museum is the premier aviation museum in Russia and one of the largest aviation museums in the world. A bit out of the way, it is well worth a visit for anyone with a serious interest in aviation or Russian military history.
An operational air force base between 1932 and 1956, the museum was founded in 1958 and opened in 1960. It was off limits to civilians during Soviet times and until 2006, advance permission was required for non-Russians to visit. Using the base’s original structures, the museum features more than 170 aircraft and more than 120 aircraft engines, including fighter planes, passenger planes and helicopters. The most impressive of all is arguably the Ilya Muromets, the largest aircraft of the 20th century. Also on display are a variety of weapons, spy instruments and uniforms from the Cold War era.
The Monino Central Air Force Museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, except for Wednesdays, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. However, opening hours may be more sporadic than officially posted. A guided tour from Moscow is a great way to visit the museum, but you might also visit independently. To get there on your own, take the train from the Yaroslavsky station in Moscow (adjacent to the Komsomolskaya metro station) to Monino. Alternatively, take minibus or bus number 362 from the Schelkovskay metro station to Monino.