TourStat has identified five places in the world’s largest country that are worth seeing. If you are looking for an exciting trip in 2019, you may want to consider hitting these hot-spots:
5. Lake Baikal
A trip to Russia is incomplete without watching the sun set over the world's biggest freshwater lake. Lake Baikal attracts over two million tourists per year to its one-of-a-kind scenic environment. Located in southern Siberia, Baikal offers opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, fishing and boating.
Once you are here, visit Listvyanka - the main tourist center around the lake. In the summer take a mineral bath in Chivirkuy Bay and relax on pebble beaches. In the winter, Russia’s famous steam sauna is a ‘must do’ for guests, who can heat up and then jump in the snow, as it is customary in Russia. Be sure to check out the many museums in the area, including the Limnological Museum of Baikal plants and animals.
4. Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, founded in 1337 by one of the most venerated Russian saints, Sergius of Radonezh, is considered the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church. Located 70 km to the northeast from Moscow, the most important Russian monastery is today home to over 300 monks. The site welcomes more than two million people annually.
Here, you can visit the more than 50 buildings and constructions dating to different periods throughout the site’s history, including the Assumption Cathedral, the Church of the Holy Spirit, the Bell Tower and the Tsar Palace.
3. Kazan Kremlin
For a very different version of Russia than what you find in Moscow and St. Petersburg, check out the capital city of the Republic of Tatarstan, which attracts over three million visitors annually. Kazan has its own Kremlin, a citadel rich in architectural, historic and archaeological monuments that date to the 10th century. Kazan Kremlin, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2010, is the heart of Kazan – a thousand-year old city located roughly 800 km east from Moscow.
Try not to miss the most popular landmark in the Kazan Kremlin, called Soyembika Tower, which was named after the last queen of the Khanate of Kazan. According to the legend, she threw herself from the tower in order to not have to marry the Grand Prince of Moscow, Ivan the Terrible.
Kazan is a fusion of Christian and Muslim identity in Russia. Within the same city you can visit Spassky Monastery, the Church of St. Nicholas, the Cathedral of the Saviour's Transfiguration, and Kul Sharif and Soyembika mosques.
A visit to Peterhof, the most spectacular of the royal summer residences of the Romanov royal family, is worth it for those wanting to learn about the history of St. Petersburg. Over four million visitors per year usually flock here, although in 2018 the number hit five million.
A private half-day tour of St. Petersburg is worth it so you can immerse yourself in the grandeur and imperial luxury of Peterhof Palace, or Petrodvorets, which is often compared to the French palace of Versailles. Here you will have a chance to take lots of pictures in front of the famous fountains, cascade, smaller palaces and pavilions that form a unique complex of parks and buildings.
1. Red Square
The most recognizable symbol of Russia’s capital, Red Square is the heart of Moscow. The complex dates to the 15th century, when it was first established under the rule of Ivan III.
Buildings surrounding the square have been restored and modernized many times over throughout the centuries. On its four sides stand the Kremlin, the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation; GUM Department Store; the State Historical Museum; and St. Basil’s Cathedral, with its colorful onion domes dominating the skyline.
Soviet history buffs can get up close and personal at the Kremlin with the father of Russian communism. Vladimir Lenin’s body has been preserved and on display here since 1924. Red Square has also served over the decades as a venue for public ceremonies, military parades and concerts. In winter, a skating rink with a capacity of 500 skaters is set up.