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Religious Sightseeing in Russia
February 18, 2008 14:35

Russia is a multi-confessional state where several world religions co-exist. The main confessions in Russia are Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Catholicism. Such bright palette of various faiths has given a number of unique architectural and cultural monuments.

Orthodoxy is considered to be the most mass religion in Russia. According to different statistics, from 40% to 85% of Russian citizens regard themselves as Orthodox. One can find Orthodox monuments in every corner of the country: starting with the renovated Christ the Saviour Temple in Moscow and finishing with a small wooden church in a Siberian village.

Icons and icon painting are amongst the main features of Orthodox Christianity. The rules of icon painting remain unchanged during all last century.

From the tourist point of view the Orthodox relics of Russia are a long route. A tour around the Golden Ring of Russia with visiting the famous monasteries and churches of the cities of Yaroslavl, Novgorod, and other ancient cities, cruises to Valaam and Solovki are only a small part of all possible trips to sightseeing sites of Russia created and developed by Orthodoxy.

Islam is the 2nd spread religion in Russia. The main centres of the Islamic religion in Russia are the Republic of Tatarstan, Bashkiria and the regions of Caucasus. Mosques predominate amongst the multiplicity of the monuments of Islamic culture. The most gorgeous of them are situated in Kazan the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan. Not long ago Kazan celebrated its 1000th anniversary; by that date the majority of the city mosques had been renovated.

Judaism and Buddhism have also enriched image of the Russian cities. While it is possible to find synagogues mainly in large cities Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Buddhist sacred buildings are mainly located in the east of Russia. The main Buddhist region of Russia is Buryatia. On the territory of this republic there is the spiritual centre of Buddhism in Russia Ivolginsky Datsan which also attracts thousands of believers by the preserved body of the Khambo Lama, who died in 1927 and is still sitting upright in the lotus position. It is possible to combine attending the Buddhist temples with an excursion to Lake Baikal which is partially situated on the territory of Buryatia.

Kaliningrad should be mentioned first when talking about the sightseeing sites belonging to the Catholic Church. Amongst them is one of the most famous cathedrals of the world where the grave of the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant is situated. Apart from being a tourist object the cathedral also functions as a religious establishment. It is also possible to see a number of Catholic churches while travelling to the cities located at the Volga River.


Translated by Lavrentyeva Natalya


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