Russia is the largest country in the world. It spans from Eastern Europe to Northern Asia, covering over 12% of the inhabited area on the planet! For tourists, Russia is undoubtedly a land of contradictions. From the opulence of imperial palaces to the modest Communist monuments, and from the harsh Siberian snow to sparkling Black Sea resorts — Russia has it all. It is near impractical to limit this country with just 10 attractions, but here is our pick of 10 tourist sites that are surely not be missed when visiting Russia.
10. Trans Siberian Railway
9289 Km, 6 days 4 hrs, and a lifetime of memories — that is the Trans Siberian Railway! It is the longest railway in the world, joining Moscow with Vladivostok on the Pacific coast. Construction of this railroad was started in 1891 by Tsar Alexander III and is considered an engineering marvel. The journey could be arduous and somewhat expensive. But it is worth every bit. During the journey, you will pass through some of the most scenic parts of Russia, including the Ural mountains and Lake Baikal. Pack lightly, but smartly, as the train would be your home for almost a week!
9. Mount Elbrus
Mount Elbrus is the tallest mountain in Russia and one of its most popular tourist attractions. It is located in the Karachay-Balkar region, a short distance from the border of Georgia. Mount Elbrus is made up of two peaks — the west summit at 5642 m, and the east summit at 5621 m. Both these peaks are actually dormant volcanoes. Although the mountain is a favorite with climbers, you can also take the easy way up in a cable car. The cable car at Mount Elbrus will take you to a height of almost 3800 m.
The ancient town of Suzdal is located about 200 km northeast of Moscow. It is a part of the Golden Ring of towns. These towns are known for playing a significant role in the development of the Russian Orthodox Church. Most of these towns feature traditional Russian architecture built between the 12th and 18th centuries. The picturesque town of Suzdal has several historical churches, each an attraction in itself. It also has a Kremlin with a fortress, residential chambers, and a bell tower.
7. Valley of Geysers
The Valley of Geysers is a popular nature attraction in the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia. The region has nearly 90 geysers crammed into a 6-km stretch. There are also numerous hot springs dotted all over. These geysers and hot springs are found on the left bank of the very aptly named Geysernaya River. This natural wonder is a part of the Kronotsky Nature Reserve which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
6. Kizhi Island
Kizhi Island is located in Lake Onega in western Russia. Once a rural settlement, Kizhi Island is today very popular as an open air museum. Inhabited since at least the 15th century, most of its inhabitants moved out due to an onslaught of mining. The major attraction of the island is the Kizhi Pogost — a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is made up of 2 churches and a bell tower. The church — a 120 ft high structure — is easily recognized by its uniquely built 22 domes. There are also several wooden houses, chapels, windmills, and barns. All these reflect the craftsmanship of the Karelians who lived there.
5. Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is located in south eastern Russia, near the border of Mongolia. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the country. The lake has many records to its name. Dating back nearly 25 million years, it is considered to be the oldest in the world. It is also the deepest lake in the world — reaching 1642 m. It has the largest volume of unfrozen freshwater. To put it in perspective, Lake Baikal has more water than the Great Lakes of America combined! However, the lake does not make it to our list only for its sheer size. It is also a place of utmost natural beauty. It has a wide variety of flora and fauna. Outdoor enthusiasts will also enjoy exploring the several hiking trails. There are several resorts for those who want to stay overnight.
4. The Motherland Calls
Located in Volgograd, The Motherland Calls is a huge statue to commemorate the Battle of Stalingrad. It was the tallest statue in the world when it was inaugurated in 1966. It remains the tallest in Europe to date with a height of 85 m. 200 steps lead up to this statue – symbolizing the 200 days of the battle.
3. Hermitage Museum
Founded by Catherine the Great in 1854, the Hermitage Museum is one of the oldest in the world. However, it was open to the public in 1852. The museum complex is made up of 6 magnificent buildings, including the majestic Winter Palace. The complex is an attraction in itself for its sheer size and opulence. The museum has a collection of over 3 million items, although a fraction of it is on display. It has the largest collection of paintings in the world. Visit the museum also to get a sense of the imperial days of Russia. There is free entry to the museum on the first Thursday of every month.
2. Kremlin Moscow
Kremlin Moscow is one of the most recognized images of Russia. Dating back to 1156, the complex is a whopping 28 acres of stunning palaces, churches, and a fortress. This is the site from where the Russian leaders have decided the fate of the nation. Today, it is one of the most visited attractions of the world for its sheer glamour and opulence. The most visited sites inside the Kremlin are the Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, and the Alexander Garden.
1. Saint Basil’s Cathedral
Although the cathedral is a part of Kremlin already listed here, it deserves a listing of its own for its sheer popularity. If there is one iconic landmark that could easily make it to any fairy tale book, this is it. With its multi colored onion domes, and riot of colors, the cathedral is one of the most photographed in the world. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was built in 1561 by Ivan the Terrible. The cathedral has now been transformed into a museum.
Originally posted 2017-04-20 12:47:00.