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As the largest country in the world, Russia offers an overabundance of historical and cultural attractions to whet your appetite. Big cities such as St. Petersburg, Moscow and Novgorod are shrouded in heritage and boast postcard-perfect sights such as St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin. The country is also home to diverse and dramatic landscapes; from the dense forests of Karelia, to icy tundra inhabited by bears and wolves, to the longest river in Europe, Russia’s spectacular works of Mother Nature will leave you breathless.
Exploring a country that spans over 17 million square kilometres can be overwhelming, but in Russia, the popular tourist spots of St. Petersburg, Moscow and Novgorod are perfect places to start.
In St. Petersburg, don’t miss seeing the Tsar’s Winter Palace, Nevsky Prospekt, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the statue of Peter the Great, and the Peter and Paul Fortress. Art enthusiasts should head to the Hermitage Museum to see one of the world’s largest and most valuable art collections, which includes over three million items and presents the development of world culture and art from the Stone Age to the 20th century.
Moscow, the capital and largest city in Russia and Europe, deserves much attention and at least a few days of exploration to soak in its profusion of sights. Head to the vast Red Square and you may think you’ve stepped into a fairytale wonderland when you see the colourful domed St. Basil’s Cathedral. The imposing Kremlin overlooking the Moskva River is another symbol of Moscow that should not be missed. Stroll through the historic centre and marvel at the ancient architecture that surrounds you or shop for some babushka dolls.
Head to Novgorod, one of the oldest cities in Russia, and you’ll be greeted by beautifully preserved architecture and a wealth of historic sights. The Millennium Monument is an iron statue that depicts important players from Russian history, including tsars and patriarchs. You should also visit St. Sophia Cathedral, which is renowned for the Virgin of the Sign and is the oldest surviving stone structure in Russia.
Don’t be afraid to head off the beaten track in expansive Russia, as you’ll be rewarded with new and enchanting experiences. Tver, a picturesque region at the confluence of the Volga and Tvertsa rivers, is worthy of a visit. You should also make your way to Klin, the former home of great composer Tchaikovsky. For a religious pilgrimage, visit Zagorsk, long regarded as one of the largest religious and cultural centres in Russia. Here, you can marvel at works of great religious icons displayed in churches and monasteries.
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