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Things To Do In Russia
When in Russia, do as the Russians do, isn’t it? That means visiting the city of St. Petersburg to celebrate the festival of White Nights and admiring Kremlin in Moscow for the once fortified city it was, drinking neat Vodka from the bottle and eating everything that has potatoes or meat in it. Of course, there are many more things to do in Russia for the tourist crowd, as described in the outline below.
Explore Red Square in Moscow
The Red Square is the world’s largest square and is the highlight of Russia’s capital Moscow. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and should be explored for its varied mix of ancient buildings, cathedrals as well as modern malls. The square is also bordered by the iconic Kremlin to its east and you can club a visit between the two. For the Red Square only, start with the St. Basil Cathedral, then head to chase some of world’s most luxurious and high street brands at The GUM department store, see Kremlin graveyard and Lenin’s Tomb, followed by the State History Museum. Not only by day but this square shines bright with lights and activity even by night.
Visit the Winter Palace of St. Petersburg
The Winter Palace is one of the most iconic symbols of Russia, located in its ancient capital St. Petersburg. It dominates the Palace Square with its beauty, holding deep history and rich culture in the art that forms its walls and windows and ceilings. Take a tour of the interior of the palace, and see for yourself the stunning staircases, grand marble work, and gold leaf trimmed beams and arcs.
Explore the Kremlins
Kremlin is a Russian fortified city, built and ruled in the ancient times. Over the centuries, population expanded and the settlements spilled beyond the walls of these Kremlins. That is why one would find a Kremlin in almost every ancient city of Russia. The most famous of them all is the Moscow Kremlin, for the fact that it today houses the Government of Russia along with the President’s Office. There are palaces and museums and cathedrals inside the fortified walls that you can visit - the Armoury Chamber, Assumption Cathedral (Russia’s state church) and Archangel Cathedral. The Kremlin is best toured with a combined afternoon lunch at the nearby Alexander Gardens.
Experience White Nights in St. Petersburg
What is known as the ‘midnight sun’ in Nordic countries is called ‘white nights’ in Russia. In some of its northernmost countries, including the beautiful St. Petersburg, summers are marked by the sun never setting but hovering just below the horizon. The city of St. Petersburg celebrates this time of summer solstice by hosting a lovely Stars of the White Nights Festival, somewhere between May and July. There are late night ballet shows, concerts, special curated museum displays, overnight fun and eating. The two months of this festival are characterised by a high number of local as well as international tourists. And almost everything, from museums to theatres to restaurants and cafes remain open all night long.
Go to the City of Dead
The City of Dead is a mysterious village in Russia, holding a haunting but poetic history of life and death. The village was officially known as Dargavs and has a cemetery along with empty houses where once people lived. Around a hundred stone crypts stand testimony to the plague that swept the whole village clean 400 years ago. It is said that many died, and those that survived were so ill that they waited in the cemetery to take their turn with the angel of death. Aside from the cemetery, you will find that the houses are also from an era bygone, with grooved stone roofs and pale bodies.
Russia sees very cold winters, with loads of snow, making it the perfect destination for skiing enthusiasts. From October to April, the ski resorts do great business here, attracting vacationers for winter sports and adventure. Head to the Red Valley, which is THE place for snowboarding, skiing, sledding and which even hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics. The slopes are perfect and snow finely powdered. Another very coveted skiing paradise is Lake Baikal, surrounded by many luxurious ski resorts.
If you went to Russia and didn’t check out its amazing museums then did you even go to Russia? While there are a great many iconic museums in this country like the Hermitage, Tretyakov and Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, you will also find offbeat galleries and museums like Museum of Soviet Arcade Games and St. Petersburg’s Museum of Hygiene.
Also, if you give all other museums a miss and only take the Moscow Metro, you will find that the stations and underground crossings are just as breath-taking as any museum worth its grain. With its finely detailed arcs, chandeliers and baroque work, most old stations reflect the era they were constructed in - 1930s.
World War II Tour
Russia became one of the strongest countries fighting World War II, along with the Allied powers UK and USA. Thus the country saw just as much mass destruction as other European nations. Now most tourists coming to Russia are curious about the World War sites, and there are regular tours for the same. You should go for these historical war places - Victory Park and Museum, Kubinka Tank Museum and Volokolamsky (Moscow), Leningrad (St. Petersburg) and Stalingrad (Volgograd).
For those interested in the Cold War and Socialist fabric of the Soviet Union, do cross the Volga river in St. Petersburg to visit the Factory District.