Russia or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia.
Russia, or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It extends from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, and from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black, Azov, and Caspian seas in the south.
9:00am-5:00pm : St. Petersburg
5:30pm-6:00pm : Anichkov Bridge
The first structure to cross the Fontanka River, Anichkov Bridge blends a simple design with eye-catching sculptural decorations. Originally built in the 1840s and reconstructed several times since then, the bridge features a set of horse sculptures designed by artist Pyotr Klodt, the favorite sculptor of Emperor Nicholas I. The bronze sculptures crown the structure's four corners and rank among the city's most significant landmarks. Simple yet elegant, the bridge consists of three arched spans and elaborate iron railings, symmetrically decorated with representations of seahorses and mermaids. To see this bridge and the surrounding area from a slightly different perspective, join a guided boat tour of the city's canals.
10:30am-11:30am : Saint Isaac's Cathedral
Famous for its gold-plated dome, Saint Isaac's Cathedral features an observation deck offering arguably the finest views of the city. Built during the first four decades of the 19th century, the cathedral remains one of the largest Orthodox edifices in the world, its golden cupola dominating the city's skyline from a height of over 101 m (333 ft). Designated as a museum during the 1930s, the lavish interior features highly decorated granite and marble columns and pilasters. Pay special attention to the main iconostasis, framed by eight ornate columns of semiprecious malachite and lazurite stone. To reach the observation deck, climb the staircase winding its way around the drum of the dome.
12:00pm-6:00pm : The State Hermitage Museum
Saint Petersburg's prime cultural attraction, The State Hermitage Museum houses a collection of over 3 million artworks from around the globe. The massive palace-museum, once the official residence of Russian emperors, provides an elegant setting for priceless works by Rubens, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Goya, Degas, and many more. Founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and open to the public since the 1850s, the museum displays only a small portion of its collection of paintings, the largest in the world. The easiest and quickest way to see the highlights is by guided tour in your native language. The lines at the on-site ticket office can be quite long, so avoid the wait by booking your visit online.
10:00am-12:30pm : Russian Museum
Housed inside a classical building designed by famed architect Carlo Rossi, Russian Museum boasts a permanent collection tracing the history of Russian art from Byzantine church paintings to the avant-garde video presentations of the 20th century. Established in 1895 by Emperor Nicholas II, the museum contains nearly half a million artworks, including notable pieces by Alexei Venetsianov, Pavel Fedotov, and Ivan Shishkin. The museum also boasts a large collection of paintings by Ilya Repin, widely regarded as one of the country's greatest realist painters. Be sure to leave some time for the halls displaying nearly 6,000 icons, some of which date back to the 12th century.
1:00pm-3:30pm : Nevsky Prospekt
Saint Petersburg's main artery, Nevsky Prospekt cuts through the city's historical center and provides easy access to a string of tourist attractions, including churches, museums, shops, and restaurants. Planned by Peter the Great as the beginning of a major road to Novgorod and named after Alexander Nevsky, a 13th-century national hero credited with victories over both Swedish and German invading armies, this thoroughfare offers you a chance to discover a blend of architectural styles. Start at the Empire-style naval headquarters in the north, and proceed southeast all the way to the avenue's conclusion at the Neoclassical cathedral and cemetery containing the ornate tombs of Dostoevsky and Tchaikovsky.
4:00pm-5:30pm : Kazan Cathedral
Modeled after one of the Vatican's major landmarks, Kazan Cathedral houses a world-famous icon of Our Lady of Kazan, one of the most significant religious images of Orthodox Christianity. Built in the early years of the 19th century, the classically designed building boasts a massive dome, dominating this part of the city from a height of some 80 m (260 ft). The lavishly decorated cathedral features numerous columns, sculptures, and icons, created by some of the biggest names in Russian art. Famed sculptor Boris Orlovsky designed the bronze statues of the Napoleonic War heroes Barclay de Tolly and Mikhail Kutuzov, whose remains lie interred inside the cathedral.
10:00am-10:30am : Bronze Horseman, Monument To Peter I
At Senate Square, view Bronze Horseman, Monument To Peter I, an iconic monument commisioned by Catherine the Great and dedicated to her predecessor. Visit the statue facing the Neva River that depicts Peter the Great atop his horse, about to step on a snake, representing his enemies. French artist Etienne Mourise Falconet sculpted the monument, whose popular nickname comes from an 1833 poem by Alexander Pushkin. This sculpture has become a symbol of the city since it was revealed in 1782, and it survived a long siege during World War II.
11:00am-2:00pm : Yusupov Palace
Formerly the official residence of an immensely wealthy family of art collectors and philanthropists, the stately Yusupov Palace remains best known for its role in the murder of Rasputin, the infamous "Mad Monk of Russia." Prince Felix Yusupov, once the richest man in the country, poisoned and shot Rasputin in the palace basement, which you can visit as part of a guided tour. The sumptuous palace interiors feature a blend of different styles, integrating period furniture and lavish tapestries with golden chandeliers and elaborate wall paintings. After you explore the basement crime scene, go up to the second floor, which features an elegant ballroom and an ornate private theater.
2:30pm-3:00pm : Palace Square
Saint Petersburg's historical heart, monumental Palace Square provided the setting for some of the 20th century's most dramatic events. In 1905, imperial troops shot at unarmed strikers demonstrating in this very space, sparking the Revolution of 1905. In 1917, Bolshevik militants stormed the royal residence, the square's most prominent building, signaling the start of the October Revolution. Today, the grand square serves a more peaceful purpose, attracting visitors with its ensemble of landmark buildings. Commence your tour of the city at the square's central column, the tallest of its kind in the world. Erected in honor of Russia's victory over Napoleon's France, the top of the towering column features a statue of an angel holding a cross.
3:30pm-4:00pm : The Pushkin Apartment Museum
Learn the story of the life and death of one of Russia's most beloved writers and step into his private world at The Pushkin Apartment Museum. The all-encompassing museum complex celebrates not only the great poet himself, but also the golden age of Russian culture. The main museum display is spread through multiple rooms of a historic Saint Petersburg stone mansion where Pushkin last resided. See the paintings, engravings, and other authentic artifacts honoring the poet and his contemporaries. The highlight of the exhibit is the carefully restored apartment where Pushkin lived and died after being fatally wounded in a duel. Many items inside of it were Pushkin’s personal possessions. The museum also runs exhibits at several other locations throughout the city and its vicinity, and you can find information on those online.
4:30pm-6:00pm : Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Easily recognized by its richly decorated facade and onion domes, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood marks the spot of Emperor Alexander II's assassination. Designed in the traditional Russian style and completed in 1907, the elaborately decorated church famously contains over 7,500 sq m (80,800 sq ft) of mosaics, more than any other religious structure in the world. Intricately detailed mosaics completely cover the interior walls and ceilings, depicting various biblical scenes and figures. The church claims a prominent spot on a 5 km (3.1 mi) canal, cutting through this part of the city since the 1730s. To see the interior, remember that foreign visitors must pick up their tickets and photography permits at the administrative office just inside the church.
1:30pm-2:00pm : Kremlin Walls and Towers
Enclosing the world-famous complex of buildings at the heart of Moscow, Kremlin Walls and Towers remains arguably the most symbolic architectural structure in Russian history. Originally a simple wooden fence with a few guard towers, the red brick wall visible today dates back to the 15th century. Constructed by Italian master builders Antonio Fryazin and Pietro Solari, the wall and its 20 towers provide protection for the enclosed cathedrals, palaces, and gardens, collectively designated as a World Heritage Site. Point your camera at the four remaining gate towers, still boasting their communist-era ruby stars. For a different view of the city's skyline, visit the southern section of the wall, facing the Moscow River.
2:30pm-4:00pm : Saint Basil's Cathedral
The symbol of Moscow for over four centuries, centrally located Saint Basil's Cathedral seems like an image plucked out of a book of fairy tales. Constructed in the 1550s on the orders of Ivan the Terrible, the cathedral features vividly colored onion-shaped domes and an asymmetrical design unusual in traditional Russian architecture. Four of the eight side churches surrounding the main cathedral structure sit on raised platforms, designed to make them appear suspended in air. The massive structure contains a maze of vaulted corridors and vertical cylinders, the largest of which is 46 m (150 ft) tall. Walk inside to see the elaborate Baroque iconostasis, decorated with gilded cornices and corbel arches.
4:30pm-6:00pm : Red Square
Located at the heart of Moscow, Red Square offers easy access to most of the city's major attractions. Surrounded by landmark buildings representative of Moscow's rich architectural heritage, the vast square is the first destination for most visitors to the city. Its name comes not from the color of the cobbles or its link to communist history, but from one interpretation of the Russian word "krasniy," meaning "beautiful." Most of the city's major streets originate from this square, but the majority of tourists come to this World Heritage Site to take pictures and visit the surrounding buildings, including a mausoleum housing the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin.
10:00am-10:30am : Lenin's Mausoleum
An important piece of Russian history, Vladimir Lenin's embalmed body lies on display at Lenin's Mausoleum. This tomb has publically exhibited the communist leader's body since shortly after his death in 1924. Architect Aleksey Shchusev built the original wooden mausoleum on Red Square near the Kremlin wall for the "Father of the Revolution." Lenin's body was kept in a number of different sarcophaguses over the years, and the site has undergone numerous renovations. Though the body is not as well preserved as it once was, but the museum remains an important site in Moscow from the Soviet Era.
11:00am-3:00pm : Moscow Kremlin
A fortified complex at the heart of the city, Moscow Kremlin serves as the official residence of the country's president, and is designated as a World Heritage Site. Overlooking the city's central square, this "fortress inside a city," as its name roughly translates, includes five palaces and four cathedrals. The giant complex sits on the north bank of the Moscow River, enclosed by a protective brick wall just over 2 km (1.2 mi) long. Although the best views of the exterior are from the other side of the river, be sure to visit the citadel's museums to see collections of Russian state regalia, arms, and armor. Check the website for special events and guided tours.
3:30pm-6:00pm : State Tretyakov Gallery
To see one of the world's biggest collections of Russian art, head to State Tretyakov Gallery. Established in 1856, the museum began as a private collection of artworks acquired by merchant Pavel Tretyakov and housed inside a building designed by artist Viktor Vasnetsov. Today, this national repository of art contains over 170,000 pieces, including notable works by Repin, Kandinsky, and Malevich. The museum's vast collection also includes a series of 12th-century icons painted on wood by unknown artists. Pick up a floor plan at the entrance, and be sure to visit the halls housing sculptures by Shubin, Prokofiev, and Martos.
10:00am-11:30am : Kolomenskoye Historical and Architectural Museum and Reserve
Situated just a short drive southeast of Moscow's city center, Kolomenskoye Historical and Architectural Museum and Reserve combines history and nature. Formerly a rural estate developed as a summer retreat for the wealthy grand princes of Muscovy, this open-air museum contains both authentic and reconstructed historical buildings. The complex notably includes a 16th-century church built to commemorate the birth of Ivan the Terrible. Constructed of white stone, the church significantly departed from Byzantine building tradition by incorporating an octagonal body and a tiny dome. Other notable structures within the complex include a log cabin built for Peter the Great and a reconstruction of a wooden palace famed for its fairytale roofs.
12:30pm-3:30pm : Meshherskoye
Located in the west part of the city near the Moscow Ring Road, Meshherskoye is a popular year-round recreational getaway featuring a lake, a sandy beach, and a large well-maintained park. Favorite summer activities include hiking, jogging, cycling, roller-skating, and swimming, while in the winter hiking and bicycle trails turn into ski tracks. Amenities include children's playground and beach volleyball court, as well as ice cream and corn stalls. Expect crowds on weekends.