Welcome to Russia
Russia is rich in beautiful and unusual for cities, villages, resorts, lakes, rivers, mountains, so you have a wide range of places to visit on Russia vacations.
The largest and most famous cities are Moscow, the capital of Russia, and St. Petersburg, that also is called “The Northern Capital”. The travelers have a great opportunity to visit magnificent palaces and theatres there.
If St Petersburg’s Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood deserves a star on the tourist map, then surely the church around the corner, which does not, is no less of an attraction? No tourist should disregard guidebooks and their tips from experienced tourists, or they will be left disappointed at not having seen some spectacular sight or other which everyone else has.
The towns – residences of the Russian Tsars – open their doors for you. Pushkin- Tsarskoe selo, Pavlovsk, Peterhof (Petrodvorets) are the best places to have rest and enjoy summer time.
You can also make the famous Golden Ring and Silver Ring tours and get acquainted to such Russian cities as Vladimir, Kostroma, Sergiev-Posad, Rostov Veliky, Uglich, Yaroslavl, Tihvin, Vologda, Veliky Novgorod and many others.
There are a lot of possibilities to get to know Russian nature. For example, you can go to Lake Baikal – the longest and the deepest lake of the world.
If you want to get memorable impressions, enjoying traveling and discover for yourself a lot of new and interesting things, Russia vacations are waiting for you.
St Petersburg - The cultural “Northern Palmyra”
Many of Petersburgers do not consider themselves Russians, but rather as Europeans. They go to Finland every weekend, they give their cafes and hotels Finnish names and distinguish 100 shades of grey in clothes. Yet by building the Peter and Paul Fortress, Peter the Great aimed to protect the city from the Swedes.
As well as the Hermitage with its baroque and rococo styles, and Voltaire’s library which was bought out by the educated Catherine, the Kunstcamera museum is a must for visitors to St Petersburg. After looking at two-headed dogs and embryos preserved in alcohol, visit the monument of Peter the Great which is surrounded by a fence of champagne bottles. No matter how many times the place is cleared, newlyweds still hang their “trophies” on the fence.
Palace Square is at its best at night, whereas the interiors of Saint Isaac’s and Kazan Cathedrals look better in daylight when rays of light play on the mosaics and paintings. However, the best mosaic collection is in the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood.
For a true feeling of the city, make sure you go and see a ballet in Mariinsky Theatre, watch the bridges raise, take a stroll along Nevsky Prospect, and don’t forget to go into backstreets, as in Venice. There is a reason why the city is called the “Venice of the North”.
Moscow – magnificence and poverty the Russian way
In contrast to St Petersburg, Moscow is a city of wide avenues and massive Soviet buildings – from the Lenin Russian State Library which has 275 km of shelves, to Stalin skyscrapers representing Stalin’s Empire style.
All tourists, however, go to see the Kremlin and Red Square first. Having originally been a market and an execution yard (the place of bread and circuses), Red Square is now the first port of call for foreign and local tourists alike. Even today, it is the centre of Moscow life, allowing you to plunge into the history of the city quickly and easily.
Here you can visit the Mausoleum, the Russian Historical Museum (which formerly housed the Lomonosov State University), and multicoloured Saint Basil’s Cathedral, whose architect is said to have had his eyes poked out so that he could not recreate it! TsUM (Central Universal Department Store) is also located here where prices start with three-digit figures.
When you go to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, don’t forget that this is a Cathedral, so please dress accordingly. You will not be allowed in with bare stomachs and backs. However, if you forget, you can visit Tverskaya Street which is famous for its fashionistas, boutiques and night life.
Lake Baikal – the pearl of Siberia
The oldest and deepest freshwater lake on the planet with unique, untouched flora, fauna and tasty omuls which the locals catch and then cure by smoking.
Lake Baikal, Russian Ozero Baykal, also spelled Ozero Bajkal,
lake located in the southern part of eastern Siberia within the republic of Buryatia and Irkutsk oblast (province) of Russia. It is the oldest existing freshwater lake on Earth (20–25 million years old), as well as the deepest continental body of water, having a maximum depth of 5,315 feet (1,620 metres). Its area is some 12,200 square miles (31,500 square km), with a length of 395 miles (636 km) and an average width of 30 miles (48 km). It is also the world’s largest freshwater lake by volume, containing about one-fifth of the fresh water on the Earth’s surface, some 5,500 cubic miles (23,000 cubic km). Into Lake Baikal flow more than 330 rivers and streams, the largest of which include the Selenga, Barguzin, Upper (Verkhnyaya) Angara, Chikoy, and Uda.
Baikal lies in a deep structural hollow surrounded by mountains, some of which rise more than 6,600 feet (2,000 metres) above the lake’s surface. The sedimentary strata on the floor of the lake may be as much as 20,000 feet (6,100 metres) thick. Breaks in the Earth’s crust produce hot mineral springs in the area.
Walking along the area’s ecological routes and communicating with the locals who are untouched by civilisation will help you immerse yourself in nature. You can also visit an inhabitable Buryat yurt.
Trans-Siberian Railway – “You will come back!”
You need strong nerves to go on a train journey around Eurasia. The Trans-Siberian Railway has many routes; however, the main route is that which starts in Moscow and goes east to Vladivostok. The Trans-Siberian splits off into a few other interesting directions as well:
- The Trans-Mongolian Line was built from 1940 to 1956 between Ulan-Ude at Lake Baikal′s eastern shore and the Chinese capital Beijing. From Ulan-Ude the tracks go south, towards Mongolia, crossing the large Gobi desert and finally ending up in Beijing. This route is a mere 7867 kilometers long (Moscow - Beijing).
- The Trans-Manchurian Line coincides with the Trans-Siberian as far as Tarskaya, which is a few hundred miles east of Baikal. From Tarskaya, the line heads southeast into China near Zabaikalsk and makes its way down to Beijing. This route is a 9001 kilometres long (Moscow - Beijing).
- The Baikal Amur Magistrale (BAM) was officially opened in 1984. It starts in Taishet and stretches to the Pacific Ocean northeast of Khabarovsk, at Sovetskaya Galan. The 3843-kilometer-long BAM runs several hundred kilometers north of and parallel to the Tran Siberian Railway. This route is not advertised or found in any travel agencies because there isn′t one train that runs the entire track. If you do ride this railway, you have to hop on different trains and sometimes even take a bus to get to your destination.