When thinking of Russia, images of snow-capped mountains, vast plains, and dense forests likely come to mind. But this massive country has much more to offer than just its natural beauty. From historic cities and grandiose architecture to museums and art galleries, Russia boasts an array of stunning sights that are sure to leave visitors in awe.
Here are 10 of the most stunning sights to see in Russia:
1. The Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow
No visit to Russia would be complete without a stop in its capital, Moscow. The Kremlin, a fortified complex in the center of the city, is home to the president of Russia and is one of the country’s most iconic landmarks. Admire the grandeur of the Kremlin’s buildings and cathedrals, then head to Red Square, one of the largest squares in the world. Here you’ll find the mausoleum of Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union, as well as the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral.
2. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
Founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great, the Hermitage is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world. Housed in the former winter palace of the Russian tsars, the museum’s collections span a wide range of categories, from Egyptian antiquities to Western European art. With over three million items on display, you could spend days exploring the Hermitage and still not see everything.
3. Lake Baikal, Siberia
Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake in the world and is one of Russia’s most popular tourist destinations. Located in Siberia, the lake is known for its clear waters and stunning scenery. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities here, from hiking and camping to boating and fishing. In the winter, the lake freezes over, making it a popular spot for ice skating and other winter sports.
4. The Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Moscow
The Cathedral of Christ the Savior is the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world. The current structure was built in the 1990s, on the site of the original cathedral which was destroyed in 1931 by the Soviet government. The cathedral is an impressive sight, both inside and out, and is worth a visit when in Moscow.
5. Novgorod Kremlin, Novgorod
The Novgorod Kremlin is a well-preserved fortification in the city of Novgorod, dating back to the 11th century. The kremlin is home to a number of historic buildings, including the Cathedral of St. Sophia, one of the oldest churches in Russia. The Novgorod Kremlin is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions.
6. The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
The State Tretyakov Gallery is one of the largest and most important art museums in Russia. Housed in two buildings in Moscow, the gallery’s collections focus on Russian art, from the 12th century to the present day. The gallery’s extensive collections include works by some of Russia’s most famous artists, such as Ilya Repin and Wassily Kandinsky.
7. The Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg
The Mariinsky Theatre is a world-renowned opera and ballet house in St. Petersburg. The theatre was founded in the 18th century and has been home to many of Russia’s most famous performers, including Anna Pavlova and Mikhail Baryshnikov. The Mariinsky Theatre is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions and is a must-see for any visitor to St. Petersburg.
8. The Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Petersburg
The Peter and Paul Fortress is a historic fortress located on Zayachy Island in the Neva River. The fortress was founded by Peter the Great in 1703 and served as a prison for many of the country’s political prisoners, including Leo Tolstoy and Vladimir Lenin. Today, the fortress is a popular tourist attraction and is home to a number of museums, including the History of the Russian Navy Museum.
9. The Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow
The Bolshoi Theatre is one of the world’s most famous opera and ballet houses. Founded in 1776, the theatre has been home to some of Russia’s most celebrated performers, including Anna Pavlova and Mikhail Baryshnikov. The theatre’s grandiose architecture and lavish interior make it a must-see for any visitor to Moscow.
10. The Valley of the Geysers, Kamchatka
The Valley of the Geysers is a geothermal field on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. The valley is home to over three hundred geysers, making it the largest geyser field in the world. The valley is a popular tourist destination and is one of the most unique and scenic places in Russia.