10 Places in Russia You’ll Regret Not Seeing At Least Once
Tours to Russia are often the crown of many travelers’ bucket lists. For those planning to travel to Russia’s two capitals and experiencing their wonders, here’s a list of the top 10 places you wouldn’t want to miss!
1. Red Square
As you might have guessed the number one unmissable attraction in Russia is the Red Square. This scarlet ruby is the beating heart of Moscow, receiving over 10 million tourists a year! It encloses the main symbols of Russia and numerous attractions including the colorful St. Basil’s Cathedral, Kremlin’s Spasskaya Tower topped with a star, Lenin’s Mausoleum, the old mint and the GUM shopping mall — all absolute musts during Russia tours.
2. Tretyakov Gallery
When in Moscow make sure to save some time for exploring the Tretyakov Gallery as this museum embraces an outstanding collection of genuine Russian art. The gallery was once privately owned by local merchant Pavel Tretyakov, who founded and gave the museum to the city of Moscow in the 19th century. Today this showpiece of authentic Russian artwork displays pieces by famous artists like Shishkin, Malevich, Vasnetsov, Vrubel, Repin and more.
3. Kremlin & the Armoury Chamber
The mighty red-walled Kremlin is Russia’s emblematic landmark, dating way back to the establishment of Moscow. During your tour of Russia make sure to step inside the walls of this exuberant historic fortress complex that encompasses palace buildings, cathedrals and the famous Armoury Chamber. This treasury holds exclusive exhibits with crowns, jewels, garments and original regalia of the tsars as well as fine weaponry.
4. Novodevichy Convent
Marking a prominent historic period of Russia, the Novodevichy Convent is seamlessly worth a visit. Encircled by walls, the fascinating conglomeration is made up by breathtaking cathedrals and buildings that were constructed in the 16th -17th centuries. Interestingly, this is the only ancient convent that functioned as a fortress and a nunnery at the same time. The Novodevichy cemetery is no less intriguing as here many notable figures like Chekhov, Gogol, and Mayakovsky are buried.
5. Moscow Subway
Who would have thought that “the underground palaces of Moscow” are a reference to Moscow’s Subway? Surprising as it may sound many of the capital’s stations are very visually impressive. The metro’s first stations were erected in the 1930’s and feature extravagant chandeliers, exquisite artwork, and lots of marble to celebrate the prosperity of the Communist regime. Riding the Moscow metro is the single best way to get an insight into the daily life of the city.
No trip to Russia’s northern capital is complete without a visit to the Hermitage Museum, housed in the former imperial palace. Being St. Petersburg’s headline attraction this lavish museum set on Palace Square can keep any art lover busy as it is made up of about 120 rooms with over 3 million works of art. It can literally take you weeks to admire the beauty of its extensive collection and spectacular rooms such as the Malachite Room or the Knight’s Hall.
7. Peter and Paul Fortress
One of the most popular attractions in St. Petersburg, the enthralling Peter and Paul Fortress, marks the birthplace of the city. It was this citadel that Peter the Great originally founded as a military base on Hare Island. The major landmark houses a History Museum, the Peter and Paul Cathedral, the burial ground of the Russian Imperial family, beautiful parks, and the Trubetskoy Bastion that gained world-fame for being a despotic political prison.
8. Fabergé Museum
For anyone interested in luxurious imperial treasures, the museum dedicated to the works of extraordinaire Carl Fabergé, jeweler of the Russian tsars, is a place not to be missed. The Shuvalov Palace on the Fontanka River Embankment became home to the royal resplendence. The upscale exhibition comprises one of the most complete collections of the priceless Fabergé eggs, adorned with gold and precious gemstones, each with a unique design.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the finest of them all? — Indeed, the stunning Peterhof Palace Complex. The foundation of this “Russian Versailles” was laid on the banks of the Gulf of Finland by Tsar Peter the Great in 1710. Until this day Peterhof is among the unquestionable must visits in Russia. The former royal summer residence boasts lush gardens, approximately 150 fountains coupled with stunning buildings all on a territory of over 100 hectares!
10. Catherine Palace
If you wish to continue the tsar experience, going to the palace-park ensemble in Pushkin is among the must-do’s during tours to Russia. “Brilliant” and “mesmerizing” are the two words that best describe Catherine Palace. Also called Tsarskoye Selo, this marvel was built by Peter the Great’s wife Catherine I in the beginning of the 18th century. The royal residence holds innumerable treasures, including the refined and ornate Amber Room and the delightful Pavilion Grotto.
It’s difficult to find two cities more different and inspiring than the stately Russian capitals. Both Moscow and St. Petersburg offer travelers plenty to explore. Discover Russia with tailor-made tours to Russia by Firebird Tours.
Featured image courtesy of Mariano Mantel