The Silver Necklace of Russia

An amazing journey through the Russian North

The Silver Necklace of Russia can be called an analog of the famous Golden Ring tourist route, except that all of its points are in the north-west of the country. The Silver Necklace unfolds the unique originality of the Russian North: cities with centuries-old history and vivid national architecture, and natural and ethnographic sights, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Regions and Cities

The Silver Necklace of Russia integrates 11 regions. The routes go through Saint Petersburg, Leningrad, Arkhangelsk, Vologda, Kaliningrad, Murmansk, Pskov and Novgorod Regions, the Republics of Karelia and Komi, as well as Nenets Autonomous Area. Here you will visit monuments of traditional Russian wood architecture, endless forests and blue lakes full of fish, experience old Russian traditions and try lots of delicious treats, such as tea from a "samovar" with "baranki"!

We start from Saint Petersburg

You can start the journey through the Silver Necklace of Russia from the cultural capital of the country St. Petersburg. The sights of this city are innumerable: Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Isaac's Cathedral, the Hermitage with its huge collection, the Admiralty, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, etc. – even just a narration will take a lot of time. The amazing atmosphere of the Northern Capital attracts creative people from all over the world. Thus, the modern French writer Frederic Beigbeder remarked in his book L'Idéal: "Everyone who comes to Saint Petersburg just keeps saying "fantastic!"

The next destination is Leningrad Region. It is difficult to underestimate the historical significance of this region. Here are the "Oreshek" fortress in Shlisselburg, majestically towering on a small island, the Chapel of Nicholas the Wonderworker in the village of Gomorovichi, the tourist village of Verkhnie Mandrogi, as well as the Gladyshevsky reserve, the Tikhvin Assumption Monastery, the sights of the Lodeinoy Field, Vyborg, Strelna, Staraya Ladoga, and Priozersk.

The contemporary French author Frederic Beigbeder in his book L'Idéal wrote: "Everyone who comes to Saint Petersburg just keeps saying fantastic!"

In the Far North

The Arkhangelsk Region is rich in natural landmarks and outstanding architecture. Tourists are interested to visit the city of Arkhangelsk and stroll along the embankment of the Northern Dvina, where locals like to spend time, and in June there is a festival of street theaters. There you can see the St. Nicholas Church and the Gostiny Dvor of the 17th century, a monument of Russian stone architecture, visit the famous Museum of Wooden Architecture of the Northern Peoples in the village of Malye Karely, Onega and the Solovetsky Islands.

Vologda Region can be without exaggeration called the stronghold of Russian antiquity. Your tour here should include Vologda, with its majestic Sophia's Cathedral, Spaso-Prilutsky Monastery, the ancient Kremlin, and Peter the Great's house. Drop by Veliky Ustyug nearby to visit Father Frost's villa — the Russian cousin of Santa Claus. On your way, check out Prokopy's Church, the Winter Palace, Ascension Church and various merchant mansions. In Kirillov, you can visit the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery with the Archimandrite building designed after a typical Russian "terem" — a rich house. In Totma, you should go to the Sailor Museum and the Spaso-Sumorin Monastery. Belozersk is famous for its Kremlin, and Vytegra for the Devil's Cape.

The German Legacy

Another destination in the Northern Necklace of Russia is Kaliningrad Region. Although this territory became a part of our country relatively recently, the architectural legacy of Immanuel Kant's homeland is not something to ignore. Travelers bring amazing pictures of Prussian military reinforcements, including the Dona Tower and the Sackheim Gate, from here.

Before 1946, Kaliningrad was called Koenigsberg, which in German means "royal mountain"

Beyond the Arctic Circle

Beyond the Arctic Circle lies the Murmansk Region with the center in Murmansk, the largest polar city and one of the most important seaports of Russia. Here travelers can enjoy the amazing nature of the North, reserves and sanctuaries, traditional settlements of the native peoples. Objects worthy of your time: the Rybachy and Sredny Peninsulas, Lovozero with a unique Sami village, Museum of Mineral in Apatity, Seidyavr Nature Sanctuary in Revda and many others.

Cathedrals and Monasteries

Defense and cultural center of Russia is Pskov Region. This place guards remnants of the battles of the past. Tourists visit the fortress in Izborsk, the Truvorovo settlement, the Pechorsky Monastery, Trinity Cathedral and Pokrovsky Complex in Pskov, Pushkin's Reserve.

A journey across the Novgorod Region will run through ancient towns and UNESCO-protected sites. These include St. Sophia's Cathedral, Saint George's Monastery, Yaroslav's Estate in Veliky Novgorod, Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery and Dostoevsky's Museum House in Staraya Russa, the Bell Museum and Iversky Monastery in Valday.

Natural Treasures

Majestic nature and year-round tourism are what draws both the Russians and foreigners to Karelia. This is why Petrozavodsk, Kizhi, Kem and Marcial Vody were also included in the Silver Necklace route.

The Komi Republic is interesting for its culture — head here if you want to learn more about the traditions of the local peoples. The best place to do it is the Finno-Ugric Ethnopark in Syktyvkar. Fans of active vacations can enjoy the Buredan waterfall, take the route from Vorkuta to Borzova Mountain, the glaciers Bocha and Dolgushina. They will also see the sacred places of reindeer herders.

The last location on our route is the Nenets Autonomous Area. The harsh climate, local traditions and breathtaking landscapes attract many tourists here to museums, ethnic and cultural centers and the nomad camps of Nelmin-Nos and Naryan-Mar.

The Komi Republic is interesting for its culture — head here if you want to learn more about the traditions of the local peoples

Routes

On a travel along the Silver Necklace of Russia you will see medieval buildings, learn more about Finnish, Russian and Karelian cultures, enjoy the natural riches of the Russian North, for example, the beauty of the Volga—Baltic Waterway and Siysky Sanctuary.

There are organized tours to these regions for all tastes. Some tourists may be interested in historical routes dedicated to the Norsemen or Peter the Great. For instance, the tour "Cities of Peter" includes Saint Petersburg, Novaya Ladoga, Schlüsselburg, Petrozavodsk, Arkhangelsk and Vologda. "In the Footsteps of Norsemen" is a route that runs through Karelia, Staraya Ladoga, Priozersk, Vyborg, Saint Petersburg, Tikhvin, Kirillov, Veliky Novgorod, and Belozersk.

You can learn more about the peoples of the Russian North – the Karels, Vepsians, Sami, etc. – on ethnographic tours, like "Tree of Life" or "Local Peoples of the Silver Necklace of Russia." The tour "To Sacred Places" will take you to the Solovetsky Islands, Saint Ilya's Vodlozerskaya hermitage, Muromsky Monastery. Another interesting tour is "Ghost Towns of the North". It passes through abandoned villages Korzunovo, Charonda, Khalmer-Yu and Amderma, immersing you into their mysterious atmosphere.

However, the Silver Necklace of Russia is not limited to villages and sightseeings. The project includes event tourism and offers to its guests visits to festivals dedicated to historical reenactment and the Viking era: for example, the Zhelezny Grad (Town of Iron) in Izborsk, Gospodin Veliky Novgorod (Master Veliky Novgorod) and Ratobortsy (Warriors) in Ladoga.

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