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Top 10 Things You Cannot Miss Out On In Russia
October 15, 2012 15:30

Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Petersburg (Photo: Julia Shuvalova 1999)

by Dillon Michaelson

Russia is a huge country with a rich history and culture. There's no way you could possibly see everything there is to see in one trip so we wanted to put together a list of places that you shouldn't miss if you are traveling there. We compiled a list of the top 10 things you can't miss out on in Russia and because there is so much to see we picked our top 10 things from Moscow and St. Petersburg so that you will have a chance to see all of them on your trip.


1. The Kremlin
The Kremlin is in the very center of Russia's capital. It sits atop the Borovitskiy Hill and features magnificent architecture that includes ancient palaces, cathedrals with golden domes, towers, and monumental walls. If you would like to visit the Kremlin you can book a tour as part of a group or you can buy tickets at the Kutafya gate.

2. Red Square
Red Square has remained largely unchanged for centuries. It is a place with a great deal of history from Saint Basile's Cathedral built in the 16th century to Lenin's mausoleum. Prior to the 17th century, Red Square was known as Trinity Square because it was home to Trinity Cathedral. It was also the location of fierce battles during the Mongol and Tartar invasions. In the 20th century, Red Square became the official site of military parades, the first of which occurred on November 7, 1941 followed by a victory parade on June 24, 1945. In the year 2000, troops returned to Red Square for a parade marking the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.

3. Saint Basil's Cathedral In 1552
Ivan the Terrible ordered the construction of the Cathedral to mark the capture of Kazan from the Mongols. Construction was completed in 1560. Little else is known about the true history of the Cathedral but there is no shortage of legends and stories. St. Basil's Cathedral's official name is "The Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat" but it has been refered to as St. Basil's Cathedral almost from the beginning.

4. The Tretyakov Gallery
This gallery was founded by a Russian merchant named Pavel Tretyakov who donated his collection to the city of Moscow in 1892. Since then the gallery has become a world famous museum and a national treasure that is home to some of the finest art in Russia. All of the pieces in the Tretyakov Gallery are the creation of Russian artists and the gallery is home to over 150,000 works of art that date from the 11th century through the early 20th century.


5. Lenin Mausoleum
The embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin, who was the founder of the Soviet state, has been on display since 1930, which happened to be six years after his death. Lines of people can pass through the cool, dimly lit chamber to catch a glimpse but guards make sure that the lines keep moving and the entire visit takes just a few minutes. There also happen to be gravestones of a number of other Soviet icons that can be found along the Kremlin wall and these gravestones can only be accessed by visiting the mausoleum.

6. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts is another incredible art museum that is known for its collection of Impressionist and postimpressionist paintings. Many visitors have said that it is one of the finest collections of artwork that they have ever seen and others have said that the pieces in this museum will rival any impressionistic work on display in Paris. The Pushkin Museum has more than 30 rooms that house works from Picasso, Renoir, Monet and other great painters. 

Book tickets to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts


7. The Hermitage Museum
The Hermitage Museum houses more than 3 million works of art and artifacts representing cultures around the world. The majority of important pieces in this collection are artifacts found during archaeological excavations of the coast of the northern Black Sea.

8. Peter and Paul Fortress
In 1703, Peter the Great reclaimed the land along the Neva River and he decided to have a fort built to protect the area from a possible attack by the Swedish. Construction of a fortress was completed on a small island in the Neva delta on May 27, 1703, the day that also became the birthday of the city of St. Petersburg. The Swedish were defeated before construction of the fortress was completed so from 1721 and on, the fortress was used as a high-security political jail and housed part of the city's Garrison. Portions of the former jail are now open to the public.

9. The Catherine Palace
The Catherine Palace was originally a modest, two-story building commissioned by Peter the Great in 1717. It was built for and named after his wife, Catherine I. Their daughter, Empress Elizabeth chose Tsarskoe Selo as her primary summer residence and began to reconstruct the building in 1743. In 1756, construction of the palace was completed and now it is a very grand building that measures nearly 1 km in circumference.

Read: Catherine the First biography.

10. St. Petersburg Boat Tour
A great way to see many of the sites in St. Petersburg is to book a boat tour. You can take an hour-long sightseeing tour along one of two basic routes. One route takes you along the Neva River and the other route takes you along the smaller canals and the Fontanka. There are both nighttime and daytime tours that will give you a wonderful overview of some of the sites in St. Petersburg that you wouldn't want to miss.

Read: White Nights in St. Petersburg.

Author Bio – This article has been written by Dillon Michaelson working for If you’re looking to save quite a few dollars on booking cheap flights to various destinations across the globe, do visit their website today.

Author: Julia Shuvalova

Tags: Moscow St. Petersburg Russia Travel Tips   

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