Russia, Russia, where do I start. When you’re thinking about visiting someplace new, Russia is not exactly the first choice that comes to your mind. That is not because it’s not pretty, but simply because it is not a close destination. When it comes to Russia, people are mostly skeptical about the weather, or what time of the year they should visit. To be honest, I’ve always wanted to visit Russia, but I never thought that I’d actually get a chance. I always admired it as a country, because it is one of the most powerful countries in the world.
The sightseeing in Moscow
One of the first things you should visit is the Kremlin. The Kremlin is basically the heart of Moscow. It is a cultural landmark and the residence of the Russian president. It is a fortified complex overlooking the Moscow River to the South, Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral to the East, and Alexander Garden to the West. It consists of five palaces, four cathedrals, and the enclosing Kremlin Wall with Kremlin towers.
While you are inside of this complex, the next thing you should see is the Tsar Bell, also called Royal Bell. It’s the largest bell in the world. The bell is located between the Ivan the Great Bell Tower and the Kremlin Wall.
Afterward, you should definitely spend some time on the Red Square. The red square is one of the most visited attractions in Moscow. It is the heart of Russia’s capital. Also, it is surrounded by other museums and attractions such as The Kremlin, The St. Basil Cathedral, and Lenin’s Mausoleum, etc.
Furthermore, the next thing on your ’’ to-do list, should be visiting the St. Basil Cathedral. It is located on the opposite side of the Red Square. The legend says that it was built under the rule of Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible, and when the tsar saw the finished cathedral, he ordered the architects to be blinded and in that way, they could never build such a beautiful building anywhere else in the world.
One of the most recognizable landmarks on the Red Square is Lenin’s Mausoleum. The Lenin’s Tomb is where the body of the famous Russian revolutionary, Vladimir Lenin, rests. I’m highly recommending you to go inside and see it, even though for this particular landmark the waiting line is too long.
Besides all of the attractions above, the next thing that will catch your eye will be one of the most beautiful department stores called GUM. If you are a Shopaholic or you have a slight interest in shopping, this is definitely the place for you. This is an exclusive department store with many different designer boutiques and charming coffee shops. Also, it is probably one of the largest shopping malls in Europe. GUM is located on the Red Square and it is recognizable for its architecture.
In addition to this, moving on to the more central part of the city is located one of the most famous theatres in Moscow called the Bolshoi Theatre. Approximately the theatre shows around 3-4 different operas and 2-3 ballets each year. The main focus of these shows is on classical masterpieces from composers such as Verdi, Mozart, Wagner, and last but not least Tchaikovsky. A most important part of Russian culture is ballet. The Bolshoi Theatre is also famous for performing the Swan Lake ballet. In my point of view, if you are a big fan of ballet and opera, and if you ever decide to visit Moscow, this theatre is a must-see.
Also, if you ever visit Moscow, you HAVE to take a ride on the Moscow metro. The metro paints a perfect picture of the diversity of the city. It is a huge attraction for tourists, especially because every station is decorated differently from the other stations.
The sightseeing in Saint Petersburg
One of the first things that you should visit it’s the famous Hermitage Museum. It is a museum of art and culture and also it is the second-largest in the world. The museum has over three million items, including the largest collection of paintings in the world. The Hermitage is so big that you can’t see all of the exhibitions even if you wanted to. It would take almost 15 years to see every exhibition in this museum. 🙂 You can definitely try haha.
The next thing on your list should be the Winter Palace. This palace is the official residence of the Russian monarchs. Today the palace forms a part of a complex of buildings housing the Hermitage museum. For those of you who love history, this is the place to be. Here you can learn about the great and unique history of the Russian Imperial family.
Moreover, the next place that you should see is the Catherine Palace. This palace is the summer residence of the Russian tsars and it is located only 30 km outside Saint Petersburg in a town called Pushkin. Also, it is one of the largest palaces in St. Petersburg. The architectural style of this building is Rococo. This palace has been renovated many times. First, it was commissioned by Catherine the I, and then it was expanded by Empress Anna after that was renovated by Empress Elizabeth, and at the end, its façade was once again changed by Catherine the Great. After the Revolution of 1917, the palace began to be used as a museum. During World War II, it was severely damaged but also was restored up again until the present.
Additionally, I would recommend you to visit the Peterhof Palace, which made a big impression on me. This palace is actually a series of palaces and gardens located in Petergof. The palace and park at Peterhof are also referred to as “the Russian Versailles”. However, Versailles was the actual inspiration for Peter the Great’s desire to build an imperial palace in the suburbs. This complex consists of the grand palace, many parks and gardens, fountains, and much more.
And last but not least, you should definitely visit the Mariinsky theatre, even if you are not a big fan of ballet and opera. Here are some of the reasons why this place is a must-see. Mariinsky theatre is one of the most famous theatres in Saint Petersburg. It is a historic theatre of opera and ballet. Many masterpieces of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and others got their first premiers on this very stage in this theatre. The Mariinsky theatre consists of Mariinsky Ballet, Mariinsky Opera, and Mariinsky orchestra. If you are into those types of performances I’m highly recommending you to visit it.
All in all, if you decide to visit both Moscow and Saint Petersburg at the same time, you will need approximately two weeks to see all of these attractions. You can definitely see them all in less time, but why hurry.