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10 Great Destinations in Russia                                                 Travel The World                                               Home

Russia stretches over a vast territory of Europe and Asia and is the largest country in the world. Travelers exploring Russia
will not be disappointed: its impressive museums, history, culture and unspoiled wilderness will leave one with a desire to see more. They can travel Russia one city at time or maximize their Russian adventure by taking a classic river cruise from Saint-Petersburg to Astrakhan, or traveling legendary Trans-Siberian Express across Russia from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok that links Moscow, most of Ural, southern-Siberia, and the Far East's major cities: Chelyabinsk, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Novokuznetsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Khabarovsk, and Vladivostok.

1. Yaroslavl. In the year 2010 Yaroslavl will celebrate its millennium. Yaroslavl, which is older than some modern countries in the world, remains a unique city with its own peculiar traditions and character. It is ancient and modern at the same time. Its look reflects the history of the whole country as well as the history of many Russian towns. Yaroslavl is a hometown of the national symbol -Russian Bear. According to legend, when tsar Yaroslav the Wise first came to the place where he later founded the
town, the local inhabitants let a bear out of his cage to chase him away, and Yaroslav killed it with his halberd. Visit Russian
Bear's house and have dinner at traditional restaurant, which is not really popular among bears but among people like Tsar
Yaroslav who like to hunt Russian bears.

2. Saint-Petersburg is one of the world's most beautiful cities and has all the ingredients for an unforgettable travel experience:
high art, lavish architecture, wild nightlife, an extraordinary history and rich cultural traditions that have inspired and nurtured
some of the modern world's greatest literature, music, and visual art. From the mysterious twilight of the White Nights to world-beating opera and ballet productions on magical winter evenings, Saint-Petersburg charms and entices in every season.

3. Kazan is an Islamic capital of Russia and Tatar people. The Kazan Kremlin was built by Russian architects after Ivan the
Terrible seized Kazan in 1552. Kazan's famous attraction is also located inside the Kremlin walls: The legendary Soyembika
Tower, named after a princess who lived in the 16th century. According to one of the many legends, Ivan the Terrible wanted to
marry Soyembika after having conquered the city. Soyembika agreed, but only under the condition that the tsar would build a
tower higher than any other building in the Kremlin within seven days. Ivan the Terrible fulfilled her request, erecting a tower of
59 meters. To avoid marrying Ivan, Soyembika climbed the tower and jumped down from the very top, killing herself. Over the
years, the tower slowly bended, and only special constructions, could fortify the building. It is now stable, though with a tilt of
about two meters. Also magnificent mosque Kul Sharif in city of Kazan is one of the most beautiful and most northern
mosques of the world. It is constructed by thousand-year anniversary of city of Kazan.

4. Kamchatka was discovered by Russian Cossacks over 3 hundred years ago. However, even today Russians know very
little about it, to say nothing about the rest of the world where most people have hardly heard of Kamchatka. This century the airplanes have made Kamchatka closer to Europe and America though not more available. The Valley of Geysers is the only
geyser field in Eurasia (apart from the Mutnovsky geyser field) and the second largest concentration of geysers in the world.
This 6 km long basin with approximately ninety geysers and many hot springs is situated on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East, predominantly on the left bank of the ever-deepening Geysernaya River, into which geothermal waters flow
from a relatively young strato-volcano, Kikhpinych. It is part of the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, which, in turn, is incorporated
into the World Heritage Site "Volcanoes of Kamchatka". Kamchatka is probably the only place where the saying "Bears walk
on the streets of Russia" is true...

5. Karelia is a strikingly beautiful land of "midnight sun", the land of white nights. Here forests spread for many miles; there
are thousands of big and small forest lakes surrounded by deep swamps or picturesque wild rocks. This is the land where
you meet industrious and hospitable people. The two largest lakes in Europe - Onega Lake and Ladoga Lake - are situated
on Karelian territory. One of the mysteries of the Onega Lake is located on the Besov Nos (Demon's Nose) cape. Here some pictures painted by the people of the late Stone Age have survived. There are a lot of outstanding landscapes on the territories
of almost a million hectares of specially protected natural territories: national parks "Paanajarvi", "Vodlozerky" and "Kalevalsky", nature park "Valaamsky Archipelago", preserves "Kivach" and "Kostomukshskiy", other reserves and nature monuments.

6. Sochi is one of Russia's most popular travel destinations. If you one imagines a place where the sea is bathed with golden
light every sunset - a place where the sands and pebbles of the beach can be enjoyed with a backdrop of snow-capped moun-
tains and where you can enjoy almost every luxury that matters - you will most likely be picturing Sochi. This is one of Russia's finest and grandest cities, a place where time stops ticking as you while away your days at one of the many fine spas, mineral baths or sanatoriums. With the unique sub-tropical climate, top-class sports facilities and well-developed infrastructure that Krasnaya Polyana and Sochi have to offer, the 2014 Winter Olympics to be held in Russia are sure to be a huge success -
to the benefit of all involved.

7. Pereslavl-Zalessky is one of the ancient cities of central Russia. The town was founded in 1152 by prince Yury Dolgoruky.
It is located halfway between Moscow and Yaroslavl, about 130 km North-East of Moscow on the bank of Pleshcheevo Lake.
Here, in 1693, young Peter the Great constructed a "funny fleet" which became a prototype of the first Russian fleet on the
Baltic sea. Pereslavl-Zalessky is the southernmost town of Yaroslavl region and belongs to the Golden Ring of the historical
cities of Russia. The pearl of its architecture is the Cathedral of Transfiguration of the Saviour is the oldest surviving monument
in Central Russia.Pereslavl-Zalessky is rich in architectural monuments of XII-XIX centuries. At present, there are four
monasteries and about twenty churches in the town.

8. Moscow, founded in 1147, is the political and financial capital of modern Russia famous for Red Square with the unique
onion domes of St.Basil's Cathedral, the magnificent walls of the Kremlin and the fabulous Armory Museum.

9. Velikiy Novgorod is one of the most ancient cities in Russia and located in the North-West, near the site where the Volkhov
river takes its waters from Lake Ilmen, and emerged as a political center of Slavic and Fino-Ugric tribes in the mid-9th century,
while as a town it was formed in the middle of the 10th century. The history of Novgorod is closely linked with all major stages
in the life of Russian state. The adoption of Christianity at the close of the tenth century turned Novgorod into a powerful ecclesiastical center. The efforts of Novgorod Bishops in spreading and promoting the Orthodoxy were given high credit in the
mid-12th century when they were elevated to the ranks of Archbishops which made the Bishops Chair of Novgorod most
powerful in the Russian Orthodoxy.

10. Volga is one of the greatest rivers of the World and a symbol of Russia. "Mother Volga" or "Mother river" symbolized huge
open spaces of the country, its image inseparably merged with concepts of freedom and will. Referred to as the Silk Road City
in Russia, Astrakhan on the delta of the Volga river, is a destination for tourists interested in wooden architecture, authentic provincial Russia, and history of Russia. Astrakhan is Russia's gateway to the Northern Caucasus and also connects Russia to Iran, via the Caspian Sea. Every Russian travel destination is unique and will provide an unforgettable experience that will stay in traveler's heart forever.

Author:     Anna Abbasi