Russia is the largest country in the world by land area, and its rich, diverse culture is reflected in its cities! History can be found around every corner here, and it can be hard to know where to start on your journey through this expansive land. Check out these 5 cities to get a glimpse of what's waiting for you in Russia.
Considering Russia's huge size, being named the country's most beautiful city is no small feat! But don't just take Russia's word for it. The center of St. Petersburg and some of its surrounding monuments have been on UNESCO's World Heritage list since 1990. Fun fact: there are over 400 bridges crossing the city's canals, and a boat ride on the Neva River and its many tributaries is the best way to get a sense of spectacular St. Petersburg.
Dynamic and enigmatic, Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan, one of 22 republics located within the Russian Federation. Found on the banks of the Volga at the confluence of the Kazanka River, it's known for its mix of Tatar and Russian culture. Sunni Islam and Orthdox Christianity are the most widely practiced religions, but a variety of faiths are represented as evidenced by the city's architecture. Kazan's Temple of All Religions is a community and cultural center that draws on a number of different religious architectural styles and aims to honor the city's historic diversity. In addition, the Kazan Kremlin has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2000, and it's the only remaining Tatar fortress in Russia.
History and architectural prowess blend seamlessly in this city in the eastern Ural Mountains. Yekaterinburg's main claim to fame for foreign tourists is the Ipatiev House where Tsar Nicolas II and his family were imprisoned and eventually executed in 1918. But the city's rich mixture of old, older and new makes it a surprise favorite among visitors expecting to explore the natural beauty of the Ural Mountains. Neoclassical structures exist alongside constructivist buildings from the 1920s and 1930s, giving Yekaterinburg a flair all its own. It's also home to one of Russia's best international airports, making visits here a breeze.
Although Peter the Great moved his imperial capital to St. Petersburg in the 1700s, Moscow never lost its historic and cultural importance. It was restored as the capital after the Russian Revolution in 1918 and has remained so ever since. Over the course of its long, eventful history, Moscow has born witness to Russia's many cultural, ideological and geographical changes. One of its most famous monuments is the splendid St. Basil's Cathedral, characterized by its iconic, colorful onion domes. Also, the Moscow Kremlin and the Red Square have been UNESCO World Heritage sites since 1990, thanks to their historic and political importance. The walls of the Kremlin itself date all the way back to the 15th century.
Pskov can be found about 12 miles east of the Russian border with Estonia on the Velikaya River. It stands out thanks to its well-preserved medieval walls, built during the 13th century. Here you'll find the Pskov Kremlin and the Trinity Cathedral. At over 250 feet high, the cathedral is believed to have been first built in 1138 and rebuilt in 1690. In addition, Pskov is rich in picturesque, tiny churches dating mainly from the 15th and 16th centuries.