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Exploring Russia Via Trans-Siberian Railway: The City Stops Along the Route
August 18, 2006 18:36

A usual small-scale map might create an illusion that Russia is not as large as they usually say. But when you once try to travel up the country you'll see how boundless and different Russia is. From the Eastern edge to the Western border Russia is more than 8,000 km wide. It spans 8 time zones and several different climate zones. More than 160 nationalities live here speaking more than 150 languages (though Russian is surely the one everybody knows). Even living in this country is often not enough to know Russia well. But one could make a good acquaintance with the country traveling through it from the East to the West.

The main route connecting Russian capital Moscow with the Far East is the Trans-Siberian railway. It runs from Moscow to Vladivostok via southern Siberia and with its 9,288 km of the track is considered to be the longest railway in the world. It takes 7 days to complete this journey. The Trans-Siberian line remains the most important traffic connection within Russia, and around 30% of Russian exports travel on the line. While it attracts many foreign tourists, it is widely used by Russian people to travel around the country.

The main route of the Trans-Siberian railway goes through Nizhny Novgorod on the Volga river, Perm on the Kama river, Yekaterinburg in the Urals, Omsk on the Irtysh river, Novosibirsk on the Ob river, Krasnoyarsk on the Yenisei river, Irkutsk near Baikal lake, Ulan-Ude, Chita and Far-Eastern Khabarovsk on the Amur river. The train takes passengers through the whole vastness of Russia, offering a fascinating sight of the Russian essence. Even if you don't visit the cities on the way, the route itself demonstrates an unbelievable diversity of Russian amenities: woods, mountains, plains, hills, rivers, lakes, and villages.

And surely the cities are unique, each of them representing a part of Russia, peculiat’s why tour-operators often offer ar and ingenious. The Trans-Siberian Railroad train trips, usually lasting from 2 to 3 weeks. Such tours differ from each other – in some of them several days in Moscow with lots of excursions and an entertainment programme are included, some suppose a long stay at Baikal Lake resorts. You could choose the tour according to what places in Russia you’d like to see.

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Nizhny Novgorod, for example, is the fourth largest city in Russia, with history going 800 years back. It was founded in 1221 at the confluence of two most important rivers of his principality, the Volga and the Oka. The city reflects much of the history of the Slavs. The oldest and the most impressive structure in Nizhny Novgorod is the Kremlin. After the Bolshevik devastation in the 20th c. the only ancient edifice left within the Kremlin walls is the tent-like Archangel Cathedral, first built in stone in the 13th century. Nonetheless, the scope of beautiful and old churches in Nizhny Novgorod is unbelievable. Two notable landmarks are the two great medieval abbeys, the Monastery of the Caves and The Annunciation monastery with their magnificent five-dome cathedrals. Yet the most original and delightful churches that are built in the nascent Baroque style are the Virgin's Nativity Church and the Church of Our Lady of Smolensk.

Yekaterinburg is a major city in the central part of the Russian Federation. Situated on the eastern side of the Ural mountain range, it is the main industrial and cultural center of the Urals Federal District and one of the most important cities in Russia. The city named after Saint Catherine is a cradle of education in Russia. With its 16 state-owned universities and education academies, Yekaterinburg is considered the leading educational and scientific center of the Urals. The city is beautifully surrounded by forests, mainly taiga, and small lakes. Taiga is considered to be one of the world’s wonders of Nature, and the sceneries that one would never forget is the reason why you should make a short stay in the city, when you pass it on the Trans-Siberian train.

Novosibirsk is Russia's third largest city, after Moscow and Saint Petersburg. It was founded in 1893 as the future site of the Trans-Siberian railway bridge crossing the great Siberian River Ob. The city lies along the Ob River in the West Siberian Plain. The city is one of the most buoyant cultural centres in Russia. Novosibirsk boasts opera and ballet companies, several theaters, museums, and art galleries, as well as numerous sports facilities. Lots of famous theatre companies from Novosibirsk travel all over the world with their shows, many talented musicians come from this city.

The next stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway journey is Krasnoyarsk. It lies at the midway point of the Trans-Siberian railway. Today it is one of the biggest cultural, industrial and scientific centers of Eastern Siberia. The city stretches along the Yenisei River's banks, which is considered to be one of the most powerful Russian and Siberian rivers. The railway crosses the river which is the border between Western and Eastern Siberia by one of the most famous bridges in Asia, built in 19th century. Another sight to see in Krasnoyarsk is "Stolby" nature reserve with its beautiful rocks and the Krasnoyarsk Hydro Electric Power Station, carved into the vast hills and the Yenisei River. Once closed for access due to a concentration of defense-related industries, Krasnoyarsk is now open for tourists and guests from all over the world.

Irkutsk is usually the main and the longest stay of Trans-Siberian tours. The city is located at the Angara, near Baikal Lake, one of the biggest, cleanest and most ancient lakes of world. Lots of tourist resorts are situated on the banks of the lake, so beautiful you could hardly breathe seeing its green banks and sparkling water. The city's cultural heritage also doesn't fail to impress. In the early nineteenth century, many Russian artists, officers and nobles were exiled to Siberia for their participation in the Decembrist revolt against Tsar Nicholas I in 1825. Irkutsk became the major center of intellectual and social life for those exiles.

Khabarovsk is located in a beautiful spot at the confluence of the rivers Amur and the Ussuri, some 30 km from the Chinese border. The city was founded in 1858 as a military observation post and later became an important industrial center in the region. There is abundance of greenery, gardens and parks as though the Taiga itself has swept the entire city, leaving long rows of trees and shrubs behind. Much of the local indigenous history has been well-preserved in the Regional Lore Museum and Natural History Museum and in places like near the Nanai settlement of Sikhachi-Alyan, where cliff drawings from more 1,300 years ago can be found. The Khabarovsk Art Museum exhibits a rare collection of old Russian icons. There are also many theaters, cinemas, sport clubs, stadiums, playgrounds and other recreation centers in Khabarovsk.

Vladivostok is the centre of the Russian Far East, and the Pacific port on the coast of the Sea of Japan and near both the Chinese and Korean borders. It is also a large culture and scientific centre of the region. Vladivostok has Chamber and Drama Theatres, Puppet Show, Philharmonic Society, Circus, and Picture Galleries. Many museums functioning here have collected precious historical items and heritage exhibits, with the most abundant and interesting collections displayed by the Museum of Regional Lore, History and Economics, Pacific Fleet History Museum, Museum of Fishery and Oceanography, and the Aquarium. The Marine Preserve in the vicinity of Vladivostok is a Natural Museum of Local Sea-Life. Vladivostok is also prominent in its science potential. It accommodates the Presidium of the Far Eastern Division of Russian Academy of Sciences and 14 academic and research institutes.

If you came here, you must have longed for this journey, and you can now book tickets for your Trans-Siberian railway trip online here. Not only is the booking process quick and secure, it is also nature-friendly. The "green" way of getting on the train - via the Internet - is becoming more and more popular in Russia, just as it has already happened elsewhere. When you book your journey, you will receive a confirmation letter with the booking details. To get on the train, you will only need your passport and visa. And so, you will be enjoying the beauties of the Russian landscape, while also helping to protect the environment.

Read more artikles about Russian Raiway...

Nastia Makryashina


Tags: Trans-Siberian railway stops places to visit in Russia Russian climate Trans-Siberian railway route Russian Railways 

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