The country of Russia is mysterious to many but has so much to offer. Following the Olympic games and World Cup, many are turning to this country as a vacation destination. Be advised that you may encounter diplomatic and bureaucratic discomfort and inconvenience while on your trip. However, if you make it past these inconveniences, you’ll get to experience rich history, views of the beautiful countryside and lively nightlife. Read on to learn more about the top six destinations of Russia.
Located directly outside of the Kremlin’s northeastern wall is the Red Square that is known as the heart of Moscow. The 400m-by-150m area of cobblestones is often closed for celebrations or rehearsals, which means you must appropriately plan your schedule to see this beauty. Many explain that the walking the square where so much Russian history took place is overwhelming in the best way.
Known for being the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Russian city, Sochi, is a Black Sea resort. Peak travel season here is from May to September, where visitors can enjoy the rocky beaches, subtropical climate and nightly activities at the nightclubs. Located just outside of town is the Agura Valley, which is a popular hiking destination.
Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
Known as Moscow’s top foreign-art museum, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts displays art from ancient civilizations to the Dutch Golden Age to modern art. It is split into three branches. Italian Renaissance artists like Botticelli, Tiepolo, and Veronese, are represented, as is Rembrandt from the 17th century.
In addition to showcasing this art, ancient Egyptian artifacts such as ritual items, jewelry, weaponry and even mummies are on display. Items from the ancient Greek, Italian and Roman courts and civilizations are also displayed within the museum.
It’s important to note that the main building is under construction, but remains open. It’s currently expected to be completed in 2019, and after its completion, exhibits are expected to change locations.
From the beginning of June to the End of September, tourists can visit the Grand Palace between noon and 2pm, and again from 4:15pm to 5:45pm (to 7:45pm on Saturdays). The Grand Palace today is largely a reconstruction, but the interior decorations remain original as the palace was cleared before the Germans invaded. History has it that Hitler had intended to throw a party at the Grand Palace after his plans to do so at the Astoria Hotel were ruined. Stalin decided to bomb the estate instead of letting Hitler occupy the Grand Palace. The Response was to pre-empt any such celebration by bombing the estate himself, in the winter of 1941–42, so it is ironic but true that most of the damage at Peterhof occurred at the hands of the Soviets.
The palace contains around 30 rooms, and its decor has changed over the years. Some of the most popular rooms are Chesme Hall, which is full of large paintings that depict the 1770 Russia destruction of the Turkish fleet, and the Throne Room, which is the biggest in the palace with a red velvet throne serving as the room’s centerpiece. Another popular room is the Picture Hall, which contains hundreds of portraits on its walls.
Founded in 1511 by Vasily III, the Armoury was built to create and store weapons, imperial arms, and regalia. The Armoury contains more than just weapons for viewing, though. Many recommend that you purchase your time-specific Armoury tour ticket when you purchase your ticket to the Kremlin.
On your tour of this destination, you’ll first get to look at gold and silver objects that were crafted in Kremlin workshops in the 12th and 17th century. In the next room, you’ll be able to view the world-famous Easter eggs that were made by jeweler Fabergé. Including the renowned Grand Siberian Railway egg. As you continue on your tour, you’ll see armor, weapons, chain mail, sabers and even Prince Yaroslav’s helmet. You’ll also get to see coronation dresses, secular dresses, and coronation thrones. Finally, you’ll see royal carriages and sleighs.
St. Basil’s Cathedral
The icon of Russia, St. Basil’s Cathedral, can be found at the southern portion of the Red Square. This colorful masterpiece is the ultimate symbol of Russia and was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in 1552 after he captured the Tatar stronghold. The cathedral was completed in 1561 and holds nine chapels. Each chapel was consecrated to commemorate an event or battle from the struggle Ivan faced against Kazan.
The northeastern chapel on the first floor is called The Church of St Vasily the Blessed. It also contains a crypt of its namesake saint, who is also one of the most revered in Moscow. It’s said that Vasily (Basil) the Blessed was known as a ‘holy fool,’ who humiliated himself for the greater glory of God. It’s also said that even Ivan the Terrible revered him.
Russia is a mysterious and misunderstood country. From its nature and beauty to its iconic buildings and destinations, there is plenty to do and see on any trip to Russia.