Russia

Russia is a mysterious expanse of majestic snow-capped mountains, deep lakes, golden sands, icy tundra and thousands of rivers that pass through quaint villages and scenic national parks. Nevertheless, the world’s largest country is home to some incredible works of art, overwhelming palaces and grandiose cities whose charm and drama have inspired writers and poets for centuries.

Fountains in Peterhof

The fountains of Peterhof are one of Russia’s most famous tourist attractions, drawing millions of visitors every year. Fountains were intrinsic to Peter the Great’s original plans for Peterhof, it was the impossibility of engineering sufficiently powerful jets of water that prompted him to move his attentions from the Strelna site to Peterhof – and subsequent generations competed with their predecessors to add grander and ever more ingenious water features to the parkland surrounding the Grand Palace.

Fountains in Peterhof

Peterhof Fountain Season starts with the Grand Ceremony of the Fountains Opening held in Peterhof on May 16, 2015. An all-day festival with classical music, fireworks, and performances signifies the opening of the fountains of the Peterhof Palace.

Fountains in Peterhof

At the centre stands Rastrelli’s spectacular statue of Samson wrestling the jaws of a lion. The vista of the Grand Cascade with the Grand Palace behind it, the first sight to great visitors who arrive in Peterhof by sea, is truly breath taking. The Grotto behind the Grand Cascade, which was once used for small parties, contains the enormous pipes, originally wooden, that feed the fountains.

Fountains in Peterhof

Elabuga – an Ancient Russian Town

Elabuga is an ancient town located in the European part of Russia, near Kazan city, on the banks of the Kama River, surrounded by centuries-old forests, those that were praised in the paintings of the great Russian artist of the 19th century Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin.

Elabuga – an Ancient Russian Town

You can feel the ancient spirit of the city better and deeper, while staying at Yelabuga you should forget about any transportation options and move around the city on foot. It is better if you start your tour from the main street Kazanskaya. There is an open-air museum of the 19th century architecture.

Elabuga – an Ancient Russian Town

Elabuga – an Ancient Russian Town

Elabuga – an Ancient Russian Town

St. Basil Cathedral

St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia, was built by Ivan the Terrible between 1555 and 1561. According to some stories, the builder of this cathedral was blinded so that such a beautiful structure could never be built again. Ivan the Terrible commissioned the building of the cathedral to commemorate the capture of the Tartar stronghold of Kazan. 

St. Basil Cathedral

The ‘holy fool’ Basil the Blessed, who Ivan the Terrible was a big fan of, is the reason why the church is nicknamed St Basil’s Cathedral. The cathedral is vividly colourful and contains redbrick towers that add to its beauty. The church’s design consists of nine chapels, each mounted with its individual dome that marks the assault on the city of Kazan. 

St. Basil Cathedral inside

French ruler Napoleon even wanted to take St. Basil’s Cathedral back to France with him but he couldn't and instead he ordered to destroy it. Before he could, rain washed out his plan as gunpowder soaked with water.

St. Basil Cathedral night

Stalingrad Battlefield

The city of Stalingrad is a historic city that witnessed one of the bloodiest battles of the World War II. According to many, here the seeds of alliance victory was planted. Still containing many remnants of the battle like ruins of buildings and statues and bomb craters, the city is of staggering historic importance. 

Stalingrad Battlefield

What would eventually bring about the downfall of Hitler began here, carnage, brutality and loss of life unlike any the world had ever seen would mark the bloodiest battle of the most destructive war in history. However, some historians believe that Hitler ordered the taking of Stalingrad simply because of the name of the city and Hitler’s hatred of Joseph Stalin. For the same reason Stalin ordered that the city had to be saved.

Stalingrad Battlefield

Today, the city is known as Volgograd and contain many dedicated monuments like Mamayev Kurgan and museums to explore the horrors and the glory of that past and very easily makes this list of top tourist attractions in Russia.

Stalingrad Battlefield

The Kremlin

The Kremlin is Russia's mythic refuge, a self contained city with a multitude of palaces, armoires, and churches, a medieval fortress that links the modern nation to its legendary past in the ancient state of Kievan Rus'. As the dominance of Kiev faded and its empire fragmented under the weight of foreign invasion and internecine strife in the 11th and 12th centuries, regional princes gained power. 

The Kremlin

“Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow” is a Cultural Heritage Site of federal importance. At the foot of its ramparts, on Red Square, St Basil's Basilica is one of the most beautiful Russian Orthodox monuments. 

The Kremlin

Many monuments and buildings were damaged during the early 19th century through acts of barbarism, but by 1918, the Kremlin had once again become a central component of state and political life. The Kremlin has been home to the Russian president since 1991 and today is the hub of the country’s history, culture, and politics. 

The Kremlin inside interior

The Kremlin Inside beautiful interior

The Kremlin inside

Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus in the Kabardino-Balkaria region is the greatest peak of the Caucasus Mountains and an inactive volcano. Famous for the unique shape that its two summits make, Mount Elbrus is very popular for the professional and amateur mountain climbers. 

Mount Elbrus

Standing at 5,642 meters above sea level, Mount Elbrus is one of the seven highest summits in the world. With cable cars taking the visitors up to 3,800 meters, this mountain is one of the must-visit tourist attractions in Russia.

Mount Elbrus

Climbing Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe and one of the Seven Summits, is a perfect immersion into expedition climbing and gaining experience with the acclimatization process. Time spent in Moscow also offers interesting glimpses into Russia's rich culture and history. And for Kilimanjaro climbers looking for an introductory glacier climb, there's no better objective for those with no experience our guides show you the ropes on the trip. 

Valley of Geysers

The Valley of Geysers, located in the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia is the only geyser field in Eurasia and the second largest concentration of geysers in the world. Approximately 200 geysers exist in the area along with many hot-water springs and perpetual spouters.

Valley of Geysers

The geysers of Kamchatka were discovered by a local scientist, Tatyana Ustinova, in 1941. She published her findings fourteen years later, but there was little exploration of the area until 1972. Since the 1980s, it became a renowned tourist attraction in Kamchatka. 

Valley of Geysers

The Valley of Geysers continue to restore itself as the geysers, that were flooded in 2007, showed up again and the water level of the affected Lake Geysemaya dropped. The 6 km valley may not look exactly like it was before but you can still see its wonders through guided tours. Access to this place is difficult due to remote location and lack of communication, however if you can get a rented helicopter you can visit these geysers.

Valley of Geysers

Suzdal

Suzdal is an extremely beautiful, world-wide known city-museum, which is situated under the open sky of the generous Suzdalian land, a city which is so captivating with its beauty, where numerous sightseeing and modern hotels have formed a new Russian tourist centre of momentous significance  and with constantly increasing popularity. 

Suzdal city wooden architecture

There are many interesting historical monuments here in Suzdal as the history of the town dates back to 1024. Beginning with the southern valley called ‘Sursdalar’ or ‘Sudrdala’ in the Norse Sagas, Suzdal was functioning as the capital of several Russian principalities. Then it forms part of the Golden Ring which consists of a ring of cities northeast of Moscow.

Suzdal City

White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal

 

The White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal are inscribed by UNESCO on the World Heritage List. They include: the Golden Gate, the Assumption Cathedral, and the Cathedral of Saint Demetrius in Vladimir; the Suzdal Kremlin, the Cathedral of the Nativity, and the Monastery of Saint Euthymius in Suzdal.

White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal

St. Euthymius Monastery

The St Euthymius Monastery of the Saviour was founded in Suzdal in the middle of the fourteenth century, when cenobitic traditions were being restored in Russia.

 

In 1958, the architectural ensemble of the St Euthymius Monastery of the Saviour was awarded to the Vladimir-Suzdal Museum of History, Art and Architecture.

St. Euthymius Monastery Suzdal

In 2007, the museum started renovating the chapel-mausoleum over the grave of Prince Dmitry Pozharsky, which had been built on public donations in the nineteenth century and destroyed in the 1930s. By 1981, nineteen bells had been returned to the belfry, which was also restored.

White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal

Convent of Intercession

 

The founding of the Convent of the Intercession in the middle of the fourteenth century was the direct result of a promise made by Prince Andrei Konstantinovich of Suzdal and Nizhny Novgorod. Sailing down the River Volga from Nizhny Novgorod to Suzdal, he ran into a terrible storm and vowed that, if he were saved, he would found a convent as his way of giving thanks to God.

Convent of Intercession

Prince Andrei survived the storm and joined forces with Bishop John of Suzdal. The two men approached St Euthymius, who selected a place on the bank of the River Kamenka, opposite his cloister, on land that he himself owned. In return for the land, the prince donated a large sum of money to the Monastery of the Saviour. 

Convent of Intercession

In 1364, with the blessing of Bishop John, he founded the Convent of the Intercession and built a wooden Cathedral of the Intercession.

 The Convent of the Intercession was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1992, becoming the first cloister to reopen in Suzdal. 

Kizhi Island

The supreme example of Russian wooden architecture is Kizhi's Church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour, built in 1714 ostensibly in honour of Peter the Great's victories over the Swedes, although a Transfiguration Church had existed at Kizhi since at least the early 17th century.

Kizhi Island

The church of the Resurrection of Lazarus is the oldest building that you will find in the open air-museum of Kizhi Island. This tiny church dates back to the 14th century and was taken there from Murom, that’s an important place of Russian history.

Kizhi Island

The middle and northern parts of Kizhi also have their chapels, brought to the island from villages in the surrounding area. All of them have the modest charm and beauty characteristic of traditional Russian log architecture for places of worship, with decorative carved end boards and small wooden cupolas. 

Hermitage Museum

The Winter Palace is a fabulously large green, white, and gold building on the side of the Neva River, houses the world famous Hermitage Museum that represents Russia’s love with art and culture. It is holding the largest collection of paintings in the world. The total number of pieces kept by the museum tallies around 3 million.

Hermitage Museum

Visitors might see exhibitions in any of several buildings that are mostly lined up along the Palace Embankment of the Neva River. Firstly the Small Hermitage, the original home of the collection, the Great or Old Hermitage, its first great extension, the New Hermitage, opened along with the Old one in 1852 and the many exhibition halls in the Winter Palace, including the Malachite and Great Nicholas rooms.

Hermitage Museum inside

Hermitage Museum

Hermitage Museum

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake, curves for nearly 400 miles through south-eastern Siberia, north of the Mongolian border. The lake is so large and so deep that it is estimated to hold 20% of the world’s unfrozen fresh water. 

Lake Baikal

The lake is known for not only its size, but also its remarkably crystal clear water and biodiversity. Lake Baikal is home to a large variety of species found nowhere else on earth and this rich ecology and biodiversity has earned it the nickname “The Galapagos of Russia,” and helped it to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Lake Baikal

Its remote and wild locale, its enormous, and so ancient, it is perhaps no surprise that Lake Baikal has a long history of bizarre events, strange occurrences, legends, myths, and folklore. Large mysterious lake monsters are not the only things said to haunt Lake Baikal. The area has long been known for its UFO related weirdness as well. 

Winter Lake Baikal frozen

There have long been numerous reports of strange lights and alleged alien spacecraft over the lake, but perhaps the most interesting stories come from declassified Soviet era documents.

Winter Lake Baikal frozen

St Sophia Cathedral, Novgorod

The cathedral was founded by Yaroslav the Wise and his son Vladimir. The cathedral was meant to be the main temple in the town. Even after many centuries, divine services are still held in the Cathedral of St. Sophia, and everyone can see the ancient Orthodox sanctuary. 

St Sophia Cathedral

Nowadays, visitors can enter the cathedral through the northern Gates. However, the western gates are considered to be the main. They are opened during the ceremonial services. These gates are unusual. They got into Novgorod as a war trophy from Sweden in the 12th century. 

St Sophia Cathedral Gate

The Gates were made in Germany, in Magdeburg. In the 15th century, the Gates were reconstructed by Russian master Abraham, whose picture can be seen on the gates together with the German masters Veismut and Rickwin.

Vladivostok

Vladivostok was founded in 1860 with mission to defend the south-eastern border of Russia. During the Soviet time the city of Vladivostok, was the home base of the Pacific Russian military fleet and was a forbidden city to foreigners, free access was given to tourists and visitors only in 1992. The construction of the Trans-Siberian Railroad that began in 1891 served as a jump-start for the rapid growth of the city. 

Vladivostok

The Aquarium of Vladivostok

 The oceanarium is the sea museum including dry and alive expositions which are devoted to the nature of Pacific ocean. It has two exposition halls which general area makes more than 1500 sq.m.

The Aquarium of Vladivostok

In a museum exposition the central place borrows diarama a rookery of pussy-cats and the bird's market. Its other part is made by biogroups with penguins, albatross, latimeriej and kalanom in which sea animals are shown in natural conditions. In show-windows collections of sea bowls, corals, sponges, fishes and other sea animals are submitted.

The Aquarium of Vladivostok night

The delphinarium has been constructed in 1987 as experimental base of institute. In 1988 the demonstration program and the Delphinarium has been prepared is open for visitors.

The Vladivostok Railway Station

 The almost legendary train station is the end station of the trans Siberian railway, which connects Moscow and Vladivostok. It is by far the longest railway line ever build - the distance is 9289 km. the trains need about 7 days. 

The Vladivostok Railway Station

On platform 1 a bulky historic steam locomotive is presented. in the central hall, high decorated columns and large chandeliers are significant.

The Vladivostok Railway Station

The Pushkin Theatre in Vladivostok

 The Pushkin Theatre in Vladivostok dates back from 1907, it was built in Russian Gothic style and Art Nouveau, according to the plans of architect P. Wagner. At the time of its construction, the building didn’t house a theatre, but here were gathering the clerks of the city and the amateur painters of the region. 

The Pushkin Theatre in Vladivostok

The Golden Ring

The Golden Ring is the name for several cities and smaller towns North-East of Moscow. It's a great route to travel if you want to enjoy the quiet and peaceful life in the Russian province, beautiful countryside views, and enjoy ancient architecture.

The 'classical' route (counter clockwise) starts from Moscow, goes through Vladimir, Suzdal, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Rostov Velikiy, Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, Sergiev Posad. All cities and towns are located relatively close to each other, the 'Golden Ring' forms a ring, so from one place you can reach to another and make a circle until you get back to the one you started with.

The Golden Ring Russia

New Holland Island, Saint Petersburg

The newly open space to which he was referring is New Holland, a 19-acre triangular island created by Peter the Great that for much of its history was used by the navy. All that most people saw of it was the magnificent red brick archway rising over a narrow channel of water leading there, and glimpses of its red brick warehouses. 

New Holland Island, Saint Petersburg

Investment Committee and the Council for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage of the city of Saint Petersburg, New Holland Island’s first phase of restoration and regeneration is approaching completion.

New Holland Island, Saint Petersburg

The Island will reopen to the general public in August 2016, with a newly completed phase one launch that will feature:

The organization and landscaping of park areas in the interior of the island

* The restoration and contemporary outfitting of the former blacksmith's building (The Foundry), the administrative building (The Commandant’s House), and the old naval prison (nicknamed The Bottle);

* The restoration and landscaping of the embankment of the Admiralteisky Canal and the island’s inner basin;

* The installation of infrastructure for the engineering and technical support of the island;

* The installation of lighting architecture for the park areas and the restored buildings;

* A playground modelled after the historical frigate ship Petr and Pavel;

* The planting of a herb garden outside the Foundry building;

 * The placement of temporary pavilions for hosting cultural events as well as facilities necessary for the administration of the park 

New Holland Island in Saint Petersburg

Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Founded in 1856, State Tretyakov Gallery is classified as an art museum. The estimated attendance for State Tretyakov Gallery is nearly 1.5 million people each year, making it one of the top 100 most popular museums in the world.

Tretyakov Gallery

Visitors can browse through the Ancient Russian Art of the XII-XVII centuries, Art of the XVIII century, Art of the first half of the XIX century, Art of the second half of the XIX century, Art of the end XIX - beginning of the XX centuries, Art of the first half of the XX century, Art of the second half of the XX century, Contemporary art.

Tretyakov Gallery

Red Square

Red Square began life as a slum, a shanty town of wooden huts clustered beneath the Kremlin walls that housed a collection of peddlers, criminals and drunks whose status left them outside the official boundaries of the medieval city.

Red Square

The square's name has nothing to do with communism or with the colour of many of its buildings. In fact it derives from the word 'krasnyi', which once meant 'beautiful', and has only come to mean 'red' in contemporary Russian.

Red Square

St. Basil's rises from Red Square in an irresistible profusion of colours and shapes. Its montage of domes, cupolas, arches, towers, and spires, each bearing a distinctive pattern and hue, have fascinated the eyes of visitors since its construction in the 1550s.

SkyBridge

The 439-metre-long SkyBridge lies 207 metres above the Krasnaya Polyana valley, and forms part of the Sochi SkyPark, located to the north-east of this year's Winter Olympic host city. The footbridge, which opened in the summer, also includes two observation platforms, each offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the Black Sea coast, while the most intrepid visitors can bungee jump from an observation deck halfway across.

SkyBridge Russia

The bridge, which can carry up to 30,000 people at a time, stretches for almost a kilometre over the Krasnaya Polyana valley. The new footbridge is among the latest vertigo-inducing attractions around the world to have recently opened.

SkyBridge Russia

Kazan Zilant

Zilant a mythological creature known from the Tatar fairy tales. In fairy tales Zilant appears that the dragon, the snake. Now the coat of arms and flag of the city of Kazan is the image of the dragon Zilant.

Kazan Zilant

With a history of the city is connected a beautiful legend in which the hero saves Kazan from the dragon, who, after the victory did not bother more people. Zilant monument was donated to the city in the millennium city of Kazan.

Kazan Zilant

Suyumbike Tower

Suyumbike Tower, the legendary seven-storey leaning tower, is an architectural symbol of Kazan. Kazan is recognized in the photos by the staged outlines of its tiers and its spire, heading toward the sky. The origin of the tower is surrounded by legends.

Suyumbike Tower

The most famous legend revolves around the story of Ivan the Terrible, who desired so much to have beautiful Tatar Suyumbike, the widow of Khan Girei, as his wife, that he promised to fulfill her seemingly impossible conditions. In seven days, he built a seven-storey tower for Suyumbike. The Queen climbed the wooden stairs of the Tower, ascended to the top of the observation deck, surveyed the dear city, bade farewell to her people - and dove down like a bird.

Suyumbike Tower

Kazan Family Center

On the Kazanka riverside there is a building looking like a huge cooking pot (“kazan”) that has become a new sightseeing attraction for the citizens and the visitors of Kazan city. It was designed by the famous sculptor Dashi Namdakov and now a Civil Registry Office is located here.

Kazan Family Center

Those who manage to overcome a 9 floor climbing and buy a 50 ruble ticket can enjoy the beauty and a remarkable view of the city.

Qolsärif Mosque

The Qolsärif Mosque located in Kazan Kremlin, was reputed to be at the time of its construction – one of the largest mosques in Russia, and in Europe outside of Istanbul.

Qolsärif Mosque
Qolsärif Mosque

Wakeboarding in Serebryany Bor

Zhivopisny Bridge is a cable stayed bridge near the picturesque birch forest (Serebryany Bor) in the north-west of Moscow. In Russian Zhivopisny literally means picturesque. Opened on 27 December 2007, the bridge is Moscow's first cable stayed bridge and highest of its kind in Europe.

Wakeboarding in Serebryany Bor

The designers of the bridge were constrained with environmental restrictions and unavailability of sufficient space on both sides of the river so they came up with a design wherein the main span is hung from a high arch. 

Wakeboarding in Serebryany Bor

The 100 metres tall arch uses minimal foundation area on each side of the river bank without encroaching on the adjoining land. The 409.5 meters long main span is supported by the arch by means of 72 suspension cables. 

Wakeboarding in Night

You can enjoy wakeboarding below the bridge. Night wakeboarding feels awesome through low light with less traffic in water.  If you like rope jumping, it’s a place you never forget the thrilling experience over water.

Wakeboarding in Evening
Rope jumping