When going for a vacation in Russia, it is often associated with two major cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg. This is known to be the heartland of former Imperial Russia, and what comes in mind of travelers when visiting Russia are these two popular cities. Gone are the days of the traditions of communist uniformity, Russia has finally developed a different image over the years, it became a nation of diversity and tremendous vitality. Ancient architectural monuments and cathedrals neglected and ruined in Soviet times are being rebuilt and restored which always been a historical identity of Russia. It has once again regained its creative power that can be observed through the colorful markets full of activities and fun along with the literature and arts which are now more given emphasis. Considered a new Russia and travelers are more attracted discovering the beauty instore not only by the attractive destinations but also because of the honest and hospitable locals. It is amazing discovering Moscow, with its traditional ancient Russian churches and the beautiful Kremlin, and Saint Petersburg, which is the most European of all Russian cities, are the highlights of the great country. Considering as the largest country, it spans eleven time zones and two continents, ending less than 50 miles from North America. It covers the major part of Eastern Europe and Northern Asia, bordering the Arctic Ocean, between Europe and the North Pacific Ocean. Russia has a wide range of opportunities for travellers on vacation in Russia.
Russia can be visited any time of the year. During winter time the museums, theatres and places of interest, can be visited and you can choose to participate in the Russian national festivals and spend unforgettable time. Hotels and accommodation during winter time is less expensive compared to other seasons. Hotels in Russia offer a wide range of opportunities both for business and leisure travelers, comfortable rooms and irreproachable service. If you prefer to come in summer, you can visit also famous resorts, residences of the Russian Tsars and make Russian river cruises. Summer is also the time of renowned White Nights. Staying in St. Petersburg you have a unique chance to feel deeply this time of the year and enjoy fabulous strolls all nights long and the famous bridge partings. A vacation in Russia will definitely give you an experience that will linger a lifetime .
Among the famous and well visited by tourists in Moscow are described below.
St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow
St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia was built by Ivan the Terrible between 1555 and 1561. It is very popular because of the great controversy in building the cathedral according to legends, the builder of the Cathedral was blinded so that such a beautiful structure can never be copied. The Cathedral is vividly colorful and contains redbrick towers that makes it uniquely beautiful. The church was designed with nine chapels, each mounted with its individual dome that marks the assault on the city of Kazan. The Cathedral has a great religious symbolism and the architectural designs were inspired by Jerusalem. Eight of the domes make a circular form around the ninth dome, forming a star being viewed from the top. The number eight is considered an auspicious number according to Jewish calendar. There is a deep contrast between the interior and the exterior of the Cathedral. However, interior contains modest decorations and is not that spectacular. The corridors inside are narrow and don’t have adequate space for worshippers seating. The Cathedral has been restored from some damages caused by violent communal incidents. It was even told that the French ruler Napoleon wanted to take St. Basil back to France with him and since it was not possible as planned he ordered his army to destroy it so that no one else could occupy the church. His army had prepared to attack the church and had also lit up the gunpowder, but a mysterious rain shower prevented the explosions. These are legends, but people really believe in St. Basil’s mysterious powers and there are a lot of committed worshipers. So, as a traveller who wouldn’t want to witness a structure full of legends and history
Red Square, Moscow
Take time to walk into Moscow’s famous Red Square while on a vaction in Russia, it is a breathtaking experience. Let the sense of history embrace you. What surrounds you are all full of historic events and venues. It is here where the body of Lenin, founder of the Soviet Union was enbalmed. It was where the Soviet Union famous military parade in 1941 was held when Germans besieged the city. The time when the troops marched straight from Red Square to the front line and the great victory parade took place in 1945. There is more to the Red Square than just the outer beauty that amazes everyone, not the scale of the place, nor is it even the stunning architecture, though the almost caricature onion domes of St Basil’s Cathedral and the imposing Kremlin are an arresting sight but Red Square’s history that goes beyond centuries and it remains at the cultural and political heart of the city.
Catherine Palace is located in the city of Tsarskoye Selo which is about 25 km from St. Petersburg, Russia. It is one of the famous places among tourists. The palace was built in the 17th century by the Empress Catherine I. Which was later became the official residence for the Tsars of Russia. In 1773, Catherine Palace was built and served as a summer residence of the empress, designed by Friedrich Braunstein. The exterior part of the palace was designed with over 100 kilograms of gold granting the dying wished of Empress Elizabeth.The interior of the palace was built in Neo-Classical style and the wing was built in Neo-Palladian style. The palace also featured a number of personal residences for the empress. The rooms are linked with Cold Baths, Hanging Gardens and Cameron Gallery that houses the collection of bronze statues.
The entrance of the palace through the Hall of Lights features ornamented rooms with stylish flowers and painted ceiling. This hall was designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli and it was built in a Russian baroque style as well as the dining room, The dining hall was used for the evening meals and formal meals by the emperors and the entry into the dining room is through the main staircase. The hall measures about 1000 square meters and it features 15 chandeliers and 696 lamps that are being lit in the evening and features a number of windows with mirrors that provides brightness to the hall which makes it a major attraction.
There is a Portrait Hall in the palace featuring a number of paintings of the Empress Catherine I, Empress Elizabeth and Natalya Alexeyevna which makes it more interesting and a major attraction. There is also a Drawing Room that belonged to Emperor Alexander I. Walls were wrapped with Chinese silk. The other interiors in the palace include the waiter’s room, Chippendale card-tables, Carrara marble chimneys and silk wallpapers. Most of the celebrities who travelled to Russia never missed going to Catherine Palace. So take your chances while on vacation in Russia.
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
The State Hermitage is one of the oldest and largest museums founded by Catherine the Great in 1762. Housed in six buildings, including the spectacular Winter Palace and it was known to be the former home of the Tsars and one of Russia’s great sights, even without the collections that it contains. The Hermitage is where remarkable collection of art and historical treasures are, from all over Europe. There are almost three million items in its charge, including the largest collection of paintings anywhere in the world, it may take a lifetime for you to keep visiting the Hermitage but still wouldn’t be able to complete to see it all.
The Trans-Siberian Railway
What is so popular among tourists when taking a vacation in Russia is taking the Trans-Siberian Railway, this to the best way to get acquainted with people of Russia and the place. Operating several routes between Moscow in the west and Vladivostok or Beijing in the East. Since Russia happened to be the biggest country, journeys are measured in days, people begin to make their berths or compartments into homes when they board the train. A sense of community quickly develops in each carriage and the barriers that so often exist between tourist and locals are quickly broken down. You will quickly settle into the relaxing pace of the journey and get a real sense of the scale of this vast country as landscapes and time zones gradually shift around you. Be warned though that thefts are beyond authorities control so better yet, keep track of your belongings and invest in some cheap travel insurance before you set off.
Lake Baikal, Siberia
Lake Baikal is the world’s deepest lake located near the cities of Ulan Ude and Irkutsk in Southern Siberia. Approximately more than 1.5km deep and 636km from north to south this enormous body of crystal clear water contains one fifth of the world’s supply of unfrozen fresh water. The water is still, despite increasing environmental concerns, pure enough to drink and so clear and deep that there have been reports of some people suffering vertigo while swimming.
Who wouldn’t love to witness the Golden Ring, a circle of cities located to the northeast of Moscow. The region was used to be known as Zalesye. The cities in the Golden Ring are Sergiyev Posad, Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, Vladimir, Rostov Velikiy, Uglich, Alexandrov, Gus-Khrustalny, Ivanovo, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Rybinsk and Suzdal. These circles of cities are known as “open air museums” with its fine example of Russian architectures such as churches, cathedrals, and monasteries belonging to the period of 12th-18th century. These cities have played a key role in development of the Russian Orthodox Church and these cities chronicle the historical events of Russia.
Church of the Savior on Blood
The Church of the Savior on Blood is in St. Petersburg, Russia. The church was previously known as “Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ” and “Church on Split Blood”. The “blood” in the name of the church refers to the Emperor Alexander II of Russia who was assassinated on this site. The church was built in the year 1883 during the reign of Emperor Alexander III as an honor for his father Emperor Alexander II. It was in 1907 when the construction has finally been completed despite some delays. The church is very close to the Griboedov Canal, with a history beyond the construction: Emperor Alexander II was passing through this area and a conspirator threw a grenade at the emperor but missed. Within in a few minutes he threw another bomb at the emperor where the conspirator has been killed along with the emperor during the explosion. Later the church was built on the same site where the emperor died.
The Church is now recognized as the Museum of Mosaics and is a major tourist attraction in St. Petersburg.
These are just few of the most popular places popularly known among tourists. Of course if you have planned out well your vacation in Russia these are the places you have to make sure not to be missed, otherwise you know it will take time for you to organize again for another vacation in the thelargest country in the world to explore. It is important though that you have to plan out well your itinerary before getting there so that time will be well managed and days of stay in Russia will be all worth it.