From Kaliningrad to Chukotka

the most beautiful places of Russia

Russian Federation is rich in cultural heritage and incredibly beautiful natural sites. The UNESCO World Heritage List includes 28 sites located in Russia and almost half of these are ranked as those of outstanding importance. Kaliningrad is 10,000 km away from the Far East. What are the must-see places on the way? Let us check it out.

The Curonian Spit

The Curonian Spit is an amazingly beautiful natural reserve in the Kaliningrad Region where softwood and greenwood verge with the sandy dunes. Dancing forest is a unique mystery of the Curonian Spit. The pine trunks take unusual twisted shape. Scientists are yet to discover the source of this anomaly.

Another interesting fact is that the Curonian Spit was included into the UNESCO World Heritage List not as a natural site but as a cultural one. The matter is that long time ago the Curonian Spit hosted some fisherman villages and dwellers of these villages did their best to prevent marine erosion and sand structures erosion by creating unmatched engineering structures.

Historic Center of Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg, the former capital of the Russian Empire, glitters with the refined architecture and splendiferous decor of its imperial palaces. Remarkable are the rooms of the Winter Palace hosting the Hermitage Museum.

Inside is a collection of paintings, jewelry and antiquities. Along the Nevsky Prospect there are historic buildings, parks and churches. Walking in this street you may feel like inside a novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Other must-see sights include Kazan Cathedral, Saint Isaac's Cathedral and the Peter and Paul Fortress. Petergof with its variety of magnificent fountains is worth of particular attention. Saint Petersburg is better to be visited in summer. This is the season of the so-called “white nights” when even after midnight daylight outside makes you feel like in the midst of day.

Saint Petersburg is better to be visited in summer. This is the season of the so-called “white nights” when even after midnight daylight outside makes you feel like in the midst of day

Kizhi Pogost

In the Republic of Karelia there is a small island in the Lake Onega where the unique architectural ensemble of Kizhi Pogost is located. In includes two churches and a bell-tower built in the 18th and 19th centuries.

A legend says that he who built the 37-meter (121 ft) high Church of the Transfiguration used just one ax and not a single nail. Upon completion, the woodman is told to throw his ax in the lake so that no one else could create anything of the kind. The Kizhi Pogost is an extant masterpiece Russian wooden architecture.

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Solovetsky Islands

The Solovetsky Islands located in the Arkhangelsk Region have many architectural sites. These include early man sites, stone labyrinths, and grave-mounds. However, the most famous thing about these islands is the monastery with massive boulder walls.

During the 1930s the monastery was used as a prison for political prisoners. Nowadays, it hosts Solovetsky Camps and Prison museum commemorating political prisoners.

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Moscow Kremlin and the Red Square

Kremlin and the Red Square are the heart of Moscow. This is a symbol both for the country and its capital. Moscow Kremlin was founded by Yuri Dolgorukiy in 1147 as a military fortification. For this purpose he chose Borovitsky Hill on the bank of the Moskva River. Later the fort became surrounded by a town and the Kremlin itself was used as a residence of the Russian tsars, and now it is known as the residence of the Russian President. There were times when Moscow Kremlin was constructed of wood and of white stone. The red-brick walls that are 3.5-6.5 meters (11.5-21 ft) thick appeared only since the late 15th century. Inside Kremlin there is Cathedral (or Sobornaya) Square with its amazingly beautiful churches.

The Red Square in Moscow is most famous for its May 9 Victory Day Military Parades. Unfortunately, spectators are not allowed to see the parades from the Red Square itself, but you may find yourself a good position in the nearby side streets. Other famous sights of the Red Square are Saint Basil's Cathedral and Lenin's Mausoleum (you’d better double check the opening hours in advance). Shopping lovers will be delighted to visit GUM (State Department Store) where budget-friendly brands are sold side by side with the luxury ones. During the warm season the Red Square hosts open-air concerts with almost no entrance fee in most of the cases. 

Other famous sights of the Red Square are Saint Basil's Cathedral and Lenin's Mausoleum

The historic center of Yaroslavl

Yaroslavl, one of the oldest cities in Russia, was founded in 1010 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise. Located at the crossing of the trade routes, Yaroslavl is believed to be the capital of the Russian merchants. Today, in the city center one may see a unique architectural ensemble representing almost all architectural styles of the last five centuries. St. John the Baptist Church, the gem in the crown of Yaroslavl architecture of the 17th century, is particularly worth seeing. This is a red-brick church with emerald-green domes. Its 45-meter (148 ft) high bell-tower and holy doors are richly ornated both inside and outside. Another place of interest is Saviour-Transfiguration Monastery. This is here that The Tale of Igor's Campaign, a manuscript masterpiece of the early Russian literature, was discovered.

Virgin Komi Forests

Thick forests the Komi Republic occupy an area of 32,600 sq. km (12,583 sq. miles) and are almost undisturbed by humans. Forests are separated by rivers. There are also many lakes and bogs. Komi forests offer shelter to many animal and bird species, including the rare and endangered ones. Besides, this is also an archaeological site. This is here that one of the north-most Upper Paleolithic sites was found.

Golden Mountains of Altai

The Golden Mountains of Altai are located at the border area between Russia and the Central Asia states of Mongolia, China, and Kazakhstan. Nature of Altai is amazingly beautiful and varied. Cliffs here verge with scenic highland, azure lakes, rapid rivers, Alpine tundra, grassland meadows, and glaciers. Here you will also find Belukha Mountain, Siberia’s highest peak and one of the biggest mountains in Russia (4,509 meters/14,793 ft A.S.L.) Lake Teletskoye being almost 80 km long is a real gem in the crown of Altai.

It attracts tourists with its purest waters and scenic mountains. Fast Fact. The two shores of the lake have different climate: on the south shore it is in average by 4–5 °C (39-41 °F) warmer, while the north shore has more precipitation. But this is from the north shore that you can reach by boat the local sights of Korbu Waterfall and the Stone Bay.

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Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is the world’s largest and purest freshwater lake located in East Siberia not far away from Irkutsk city. Its maximum depth is 1642 m (5387 ft) and the average surface water temperature is +8… +9 °C (46-48 °F).

In terms of surface are Lake Baikal is comparable with Belgium of the Netherlands and it contains about 20% of the world's fresh surface water. Being very old and relatively isolated, Lake Baikal has many endemic flora and fauna species, i.e. local animals and plants occur only here and nowhere else in the world.

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Lena Pillars

Along the banks of the Lena River in Sakha (Yakutia) there is an unmatched rock formation that looks like giant stone forest. It is known as the Lena Pillars. These are isolated rocks about 100 m (328 ft) high separated by steep and deep ravines.

The Lena Pillars are a result of considerable temperature difference between the seasons, i.e. from -60°C (-76 °F) in winter to +40°C (104 °F) in summer, combined with the impact of the heavy winds coming from the Far East. In ancient times, the local tribes believed this place to be sacred. There are many legends and tales related to it.

The Kamchatka Peninsula

Russian Far East is a land of volcanoes, geysers, azure lakes and glaciers. You may see these incredible beauties from a helicopter cabin. A helicopter tour is available at a price of about RUR 37,000. Visiting the Valley of Geysers and seeing the Valley of Death (a place of unearthly landscape where no living creature can survive due to high concentration of gases) is only possible by a passenger helicopter Hiking is also available in Kamchatka: Khalaktyrsky Beach with black volcanic sand and the active volcanoes of Mutnovsky and Gorely are definitely worth going there.

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Russian Far East is a land of volcanoes, geysers, azure lakes and glaciers

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