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.

                  Welcome to ‘foreign’ Russia                        

1. St Petersburg - The cultural “Northern Palmyra”

2. Moscow – magnificence and poverty the Russian way

3. Lake Baikal – the pearl of Siberia

4. Trans-Siberian Railway –  “You will come back!”

5. Ekaterinburg – traditional churches and Soviet avant-garde

6. Novgorod Veliky – its own architect

7. Volga cruise –  music playing on board

8. Kazan – the oldest capital city

9. Sochi – from all-Union health resort to the Olympic capital

10. The Golden  Ring – onion-domed churches

 

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”.

 

        Sant Peterburgo          Sant Peterburgo

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.  

 

               Moscú                        Metro de Moscú

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. 

 

Welcom to Moscu. Lago Baykal Baykal

 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.

 

   Trans-Siberian Railway     Trans-Siberian Railway     Trans-Siberian Railway

Ekaterinburg – traditional churches and Soviet avant-garde

Ekaterinburg lies exactly on the Europe and Asia border, on the natural watershed. Ekaterinburg is 1667 km distant from Moscow and 2299 km from Saint Petersburg.

Ekaterinburg is not located in Siberia, as many people think. Ekaterinburg city belongs to the Ural Federal District which borders with the Siberian Federal District. The main cities of Siberia are Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Tomsk and others. For example, Ekaterinburg is located 3375 km from Irkutsk. Thus Ekaterinburg is a long way from Siberia. Though, it is connected with Siberia by famous Tran-Siberian railway. 

The city combines two delights in one – ideal for those who want to see traditional Orthodox churches whilst exploring the architectural style of the builders of the “new world” who tried to destroy these very churches.

Ekaterinburg also has the biggest collection of monuments of Soviet constructivism, standing side by side with traditional museums (the Museums of Local Lore and Art History). There is also a Keyboard Museum!

 

                       

Novgorod Veliky – its own architect

The history of the city is closely connected with the history of Russian statehood, of which one of the pillars is Orthodoxy. For this reason, you can find lots of churches, monasteries and other places of worship in Novgorod Veliky.

Velikiy Novgorod - one of the most ancient cities of Russia located in its North-West, near the site where the Volkhov river takes its waters from Lake Ilmen, emerged as a political center of Slavic and Fino-Ugric tribes in the mid-9th century, while as a town it was formed in the middle of the 10th century.

Throughout many centuries, Novgorod was a political center of vast territories stretching up from the Baltic lands and Finland in the West to the northern Urals in the East. It was also one of the greatest international trade centers on the Baltic-Volga commercial route that tied northern Europe with Asia as early as the mid - 8th century.

In the early 10th century, war campaigns of the Novgorodians against Constantinople to secure equal trade with Bizantine resulted in the integration of East Slavic tribes into the ancient Kievan Russian state.

The history of Novgorod is closely linked with all major stages in the life of the Russian state. In those times, when the statehood of Rus was just in the making, the Novgorodians invited Scandinavian prince Rurik to keep law and order, thus giving birth to the prince Rurik dynasty that ruled over all Russian lands throughout more than 750 years.

The most extraordinary is Sofiysky cathedral, which was built in the 11th century. It contains the remains of six Russian saints and many important icons, including the miracle-working icon of Our Lady of the Sign.

The republic′s special political structure, spiritual freedom and territorial independence were highly favorable to the evolution of culture and art.

 

     Novgorod Veliky – its own architect      Novgorod Veliky – its own architect      Novgorod Veliky – its own architect  

Volga cruise – music playing on board 

When it comes to river cruises in Russia, the Volga Dream offers an exceptional level of luxury, as well as the finest accommodation, delicious food and the best service and care you can wish for.

The music plays almost constantly on the top decks.

Events and discos are held here.

At night, the motorboat travels quickly, whereas during the day, it stops in cities along the way.

In Volgograd you can visit Mamayev Kurgan and see the giant statue of the Motherland. In Astrakhan you can buy fish and watermelons if you go during the season. And in the warmer months, you can swim in the Volga.

Built in 1959, the Volga Dream has been sailing the Russian waterways since spring 2007. She has been completely rebuilt and redesigned from a ship that originally hosted over 200 passengers and now accommodates just 109. With 60 crew members, the ship has the lowest passenger-to-crew ratio among Russian river cruise ships. With so few guest in such a spacious ship, it feels like sailing aboard a private yacht! Thanks to this unmatched service at one attendant to every two customers, guests are truly pampered by the attentive staff on board the Volga Dream.

Renovated each year to satisfy even the most discerning guests, the elegant vessel′s interior includes polished wood panelling, lush carpet and crisp gold touches for a luxurious yet refined and delicate finish. Thus, the atmosphere is classy yet relaxed on board the ship. With its meticulous design, elegant appointments and richly deserved reputation for impeccable service, the Volga Dream affords guests a memorable experience.

 

   Volga cruise – music playing on board     Volga cruise – music playing on board     Volga cruise – music playing on board

Kazan – the oldest capital city

Kazan is officially called “the third capital of Russia”.

Kazan is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, one of the largest and most beautiful cities of Russia, which is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage cities.

In 2005, the city turned 1000 years old. Despite its impressive age, the oldest Annunciation Cathedral, Kazan Kremlin, and the core of the old city, the Old Tatar Settlement and iconic buildings of the century-before-last, are still preserved in the centre of the city.

Interestingly, there are also many modern architectural monuments alongside the history. These include the “Frisbee” of the circus as the symbols of Kazan, and the modern Qolsharif Mosque.

The old Kazan is the center of the city. There are beautiful buildings raised in different architectural styles. Mansions in the style of modernism coexist with the Baroque monuments. You can feel the aura of antiquity spell from ancient white walls of the Kazan Kremlin wherefrom a superb view on the river opens. Imagination is boggled by the red bell tower of Bogoyavlenskaya church at the pedestrian Bauman street beloved by tourists. Architecture lovers can also see how Christianity and Islam coexist in Kazan. The decoration of Orthodox churches contains elements of Asian pomp. Raifsky Bogoroditsky Cathedral has a miracle-working icon of the Mother of God of Georgia, which is kept with special reverence.

Kazan easily combines the culture and traditions of the East and the West: next to the finely cut minaret towers there are old Orthodox churches. A prevailing feature of life in the city is peaceful, creative coexistence of different religions and nationalities.

 

              

Sochi – from all-Union health resort to the Olympic capital

In contrast, the small city of Sochi lacked prerequisite engineering sophistication, project management talent and labor required to address the challenge of an Olympic transformation. Hence, the investment program kicked off with port facilities required simply to receive construction materials and equipment, as well as construction of housing facilities for imported project management and labor.

Besides the Olympic complex, you can enjoy the remains of what several generations of ordinary Soviet workers have enjoyed for many years.

These are sanatoria, wellness activities, walks along the waterfront, swimming in the sea, an arboretum, fresh mountain air, tropical flowers, humming-birds, and the world’s tastiest khachapuris!

 

                  

The Golden Ring – onion-domed churches

Fans of Russian Orthodoxy who wish to experience the calm and profundity of the Russian faith often go on tours around cities which are famous for their unique monasteries and churches of the 12th-17th centuries.

The Golden Ring is a name for several towns located around Moscow: Suzdal, Rostov, Vladimir are among them. If you′re after a short historical tour in the Russian province, that′s the route to go.

These cities have rather poetic names: Sergiyev Posad, Alexandrov, Kostroma, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Uglich, Ivanovo, Yaroslavl, Rostov Veliky, Suzdal and Vladimir.