Russia might not be high on everyone’s list of holiday destinations – but it should be. It is one of the most extraordinary countries in the world, with almost matchless depth of cultural and historical riches, and landscapes that have inspired artists and poets for generations. For so long, Russia was out of bounds under the Soviet system and many people still think of it as difficult and inaccessible. Yet Russia has opened up tremendously, and those who have taken the plunge and traveled to Russia come back with a wonderful treasure trove of memories – whether it is the glittering spires of St. Petersburg, the fabulous palaces of the Tsars or simply the haunting and unique landscape of the steppes
Moscow, on the Moskva River in western Russia, is the nation’s cosmopolitan capital. In its historic core is the Kremlin, a complex that’s home to the president and tsarist treasures in the Armoury. Outside its walls is Red Square, Russia’s symbolic center. It’s home to Lenin’s Mausoleum, the State Historical Museum’s comprehensive collection and St. Basil’s Cathedral, known for its colorful, onion-shaped domes.
St. Petersburg is a Russian port city on the Baltic Sea. It was the imperial capital for 2 centuries, having been founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, subject of the city’s iconic “Bronze Horseman” statue. It remains Russia’s cultural center, with venues like the ultramodern Mariinsky Theatre hosting opera and ballet, and the State Russian Museum showcasing Russian art, from Orthodox icon paintings to Kandinsky works.