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Seven wonders of Russia: don't miss out
November 16, 2009 17:19

The Places of interests in every country have different score of attraction. Some of them are worth to be seen, some of them should be seen, and others do not deserve much attention. Russia is so rich in tourist attractions, that it could be supported by the tourist industry only, but for narrow-minded businessmen, trading the natural resources in the straight sense of the word. Of course, not all of the tourist attractions are equally interesting. In order to define the main ones, a competition was carried out in 2008. As a result, following seven wonders of Russia were chosen by way of secret vote.

1. St Basil's cathedral on the Red Square

St Basil's cathedral is a masterpiece of the architecture built in 1561 in honor of the victory on the Kazan stardom. It is not a one building, but a composition consisting of nine churches, on the centre of composition and eight surrounding it. Each church has its own head and dedication. The central one is devoted to the intercession of the Holy Virgin (Pokrov), and officially the cathedral is called Pokrovsky cathedral. The church derived its second name because of the God’s fool Vasily, who lived in the 16th century on the porch of the cathedral. The church is turned into a museum now. It looks inside as unusual and beautiful as outside. The foreigners usually noted the original and exotic look of this building, compared it with a valuable casket. See also Top 18 things to see in Moscow.

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2. Mamai kurgan and Mother Motherland statue

These places are connected with the military history of Russia and its victories. Mamai kurgan is a hill in the centre of Volgograd. It is called because of khan Mamai, but this place is famous not because of the wars with the nomads. The battle of Stalingrad (now Volgograd), one of the most hard and bloody battles of the Second World War took place and finished here, at the main highpoint of the city. The battle of Stalingrad is supposed to be the critical point in the war for Russia, which begun winning. The memorial complex was constructed on the hill after the victory. It includes a huge sculpture of a woman with a sword. It is The Mother Motherland. When the memorial was dedicated in 1967 it was the tallest sculpture in the world, measuring 85 metres (279 feet) from the tip of its sword to the top of the plinth. The figure itself measures 52 metres (170 feet), and the sword 33 meters (108 feet). Two hundred steps, symbolizing the 200 days of the Battle of Stalingrad, lead from the bottom of the hill to the monument. The lead sculptor was Yevgeny Vuchetich (a famous Russian sculptor of Serbian descent), and the significant structural engineering challenges of the 7,900 tons (7,800 LT; 8,700 ST) of concrete sculpture were handled by Nikolai Nikitin. See also: The Best Places to Visit in Volgograd

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3. Peterhof

Peterhof is a palace complex, founded and constructed in the early 18th century by the Russian emperor Peter the Great not far from St. Petersburg. It was being reconstructed many times, so includes the monuments of art and architecture of 18th – early 20th century. The park of Peterhof is famous with its waterworks: 150 fountains and 3 cascades. This monument of culture was seriously damaged in the World War II, but quickly restored after the victory. Some objects in Peterhof are not authentic ones, but top-quality reconstructions, so it a monument of architecture and art is not only of 18 – 19 centuries, but also of the restorers’ work. See also: Peterhof: Main Attractions


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4. Rock pillars

The rock pillars in Komi Republic is a geological monument. There are seven rock pillars with height from 30 to 42 meters. They are the last remnant of the ancient mountains. The Mansi people, living here, suppose they are malicious giants, who were turned into stones by the brave shaman. Read more about ethnographical tourism…

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5. Baikal lake

Baikal Lake doesn’t need any special introduction. The biggest fresh water lake in the world, it contains 22 per cent of the world's surface fresh water. It is situated between Irkutsk Region and Republic of Buryatia, not far from the city of Irkutsk. The fauna of Baikal is rich and original. The aboriginal peoples worship the lake as a sacred object. Many legends are tied with it. For example, the people suppose that there is a tunnel in the centre of the lake, connecting it with the Arctic Ocean. Unbelievable, but the Baikal seals (the unique case of the fresh-water seals) remind the seas of the Arctic Ocean with the variety of the pinnipeds. Lake Baikal has perfect conditions for mirages formation, which makes it more beautiful. Read more about Lake Baikal.

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6. Geyser valley

The valley of Geysers on the Kamchatka Peninsula (Kamchatka Territory) is a volcanic trough, where a score of geysers is situated, including 20 rather big ones. The valley was discovered in 1941 by the Russian geologist Tatiana Ustinova. The valley of Geysers became available fir tourists since 1991. In 2007 the monument of nature was destroyed by the mud flow. Almost all the geysers and thermal springs have restored till the May, 2008, but a lake, formed after the mud avalanche, seems to disappear only in 20 – 30 years. Read more about Kamchatka.

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7. Elbrus mountain

Elbrus Mountain is a former volcano and the highest point of Russia and Europe. It is situated in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic (Northern Caucasus). It has two tops 5642 and 5621 meters above the sea level. The mountain is very popular object for the extreme skiing. The 5595-m-high eastern summit has a 250-m-wide, well-preserved crater, separated by a low saddle from the 5633-m-high western summit. Products of Mount Elbrus cover 260 sq km; its longest lava flow traveled 24 km down the NNE flank. The most recent lava flows from Elbrus are fresh-looking, and the latest eruptions took place during the Holocene (Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World). Weak solfataric activity near the summit continues, and hot springs are present on the volcano's flanks. Read more about Kabardino-Balkaria.

It was an opinion of the Russians, voting by SMS and Internet. Many people disagree with the results. A great plenty of objects pretending to become a wonder was left behind. Maybe you agree with this choice, maybe not. Anyway, a journey to these attractions would demonstrate the Russian society’s attitude towards places of interest, our reading of how does the place of interest look like. So such a journey could be a bit ethnographic.

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Yulia Buzykina


Tags: Russian tourist destinations Komi Republic Volgograd Kamchatka Elbrus 

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