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Russia honeymoon

Destinations in Russia

Moscow

The city is said to date back eight and a half centuries, with the first references to it in chronicles from 1147. It was built by Suzdal's Prince Yuri Dolgorukiy on the sweeping curve of the Moskva River. From its humble beginning as a hunting village, it grew steadily into a fortress city, to become later the central point of the whole Russian state.

Russia's most intense human aspirations, be they artistic, religious or political, have found their most passionate expression in Moscow. The reflection of these aspirations can be seen in the beautiful architecture created over several centuries, particularly in Moscow's symbols — the Kremlin, the Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral.

Moscow — the capital of Russian Federation and one of the country's most popular destinations for foreign visitors.

Moscow is one of the largest cities in the world. Moscow has grown rapidly over the past decades, and, as a result, comprises high-rise suburbs surrounding a relatively compact historic centre with fascinating ancient architecture. Apart from being a major political player on the world stage Moscow is also an extremely popular city for business and tourism.

Population: 12 million.

Area: approximately 1,035 sq kms.

Climate: average temperature in winter — 10 - 15C, spring 0 +10C, summer +18 +24C, autumn +10C.

Administrative Division: 10 administrative districts, which are in their turn segmented into 128 city regions.

Where to stay: there are more than 200 hotels in Moscow. The hotels can be defined according to western standards rating (newly built) and local standards rating (old/renovated hotels). The type of a hotel does not affect the price very much.

Where to eat: most Moscow's best restaurants and bars are located in central Moscow. Arbat Street has the highest concentration and variety of restaurants. Russkoye bistro is a popular new chain offering fast food Russian style.

Shopping: there are numerous Western style supermarkets and department stores. The most interesting shopping districts are located within the Garden Ring. The main department stores are around Red Square the biggest and most famous of which is the State Department Store — GUM. For the best souvenirs and antique shops head for the pedestrianised Arbat Street.

Main sightseeing: Red Square, Kremlin, St Basil's Cathedral, Lenin Mausoleum, State Armoury, Tretyakov Gallery, Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Bolshoy Theatre, Kuskovo, and Kolomenskoye.

Entertainment: Moscow offers many forms of entertainment from museums, theatres, ballets and operas, to musicals and concerts, from world—famous exhibitions to a wide variety of night life.

Getting around: There are nine railway stations and five airports. Inside the city, the most reliable way of travelling is by metro which has stations close to all the major sights. Moscow is also served by buses, trams and trolley buses. Taxis can be found in any part of Moscow.

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Saint-Petersburg

St. Petersburgis the second largest city in Russia and one of the world's major cities, which has more to offer than just the Hermitage Museum and the Kirov Ballet. It is one of the biggest cultural centres in the world, a city with an exceptionally rich history, centuries old traditions and a promising future.

Almost all basic trends in the world and Russian architecture of the 18th-20th centuries are represented in St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg has played a vital role in both Russian and European history. Founded by Peter the Great in 1703 it was the capital of the Russian Empire for two centuries.

The city has changed its name three times: St. Petersburg (1703-1914), Petrograd (1914-1924), Leningrad (1924-1991) and St. Petersburg again from 1991. He crafted the world's most fascinating city on more than 45 islands, modelling it in a French style by employing the world's greatest architects.

The islands are connected by more than 342 bridges, of which 21 are raised at night. This gives the city its name "The Venice of the North". It is therefore little wonder that the city is called a "Museum in the Open Air". Among the majestic memorials, you can feel the breath of intellectual life, which was brought into St. Petersburg by Peter the Great. The most famous professors, such as Leibnitz from Germany, worked on a project for the creation of the Science Academy and other institutes.

Today St. Petersburg is ranked alongside Paris and Rome as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Population: more than 5 million.

Area: approximately 600 sq kms.

Climate: moderate, maritime. Average temperature in winter: 10LC to -8LC, spring: 0LC +10LC, summer: +18LC to +20LC, autumn: +10LC to 0LC.

Where to stay: There are few hotels located in central St Petersburg. Most of the hotels, however, can be found outside of the centre.

Where to eat: Restaurants and cafes are scattered around the city with the largest concentration along the Nevsky Prospekt.

Shopping: Most shops are located around the city's main streets such as Nevsky, Kamennoostrovskiy and Bolshoy Prospekt. Opening hours are from 10 am till 7 pm.

Places of Interest: inside the city - The Hermitage, St Isaac's Cathedral, Church on Spilled Blood, Nevsky Prospekt, Mariinsky Theatre, Alexander Nevsky Monastery, SS Peter and Paul Cathedral, Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan, Russian Museum, Stieglitz Museum.

Entertainment: St Petersburg is a city of cultural and night life entertainment. The intensive opera, ballet and classical music programmes are run during the White Nights Festival, whereas most of the theatres are closed for the period of July, August and September because their companies go on tours.

Getting around:
There are five railway stations, three aiports, two bus stations, a seaport and a river station. The public transport is very efficient and cheap, with a highly developed network of underground (metro) trains, buses, trolleybuses, trams reaching all the main sights in the centre.

Among the majestic and poignant memorials, one can feel a breathe of intellectual life, which was also brought into St Petersburg by Peter the Great. The most famous professors, such as Leibnitz from Germany, worked on a project for the creation of Science Academy and other institutes.

Now St Petersburg is ranked alongside Paris and Rome as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. City has changed its name three times: St Petersburg (1703-1714), Petrograd (1914-1924), Leningrad (1924-1991) and St Petersburg again from 1991.

During 200 years St Petersburg was the capital of Russia. It is one of the biggest cultural centres in the world, the city with very rich history, traditions and promising future. Almost all basic trends in world and Russian architecture of the 18th-20th centuries are represented in St Petersburg. That's why the city called "A Museum in the Open Air". Its architecture is fantastic. There are about 120 museums, 40 theatres, 50 universities, 400 research organizations.

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Golden Ring

ROSTOV THE GREAT, dates back to the IX century, and is the oldest town in Northeast Russia. The Assumption Cathedral is topped with a famous bell loft, under which a visitor has an opportunity to listen to the real bell music of ancient Russia. Rostov is well known for its unique collection of the Archbishop's, specifically: a fairy tale settlement made up of dozens of churches, chambers, and towers beautifully decorated with coloured frescoes and tiles.

JAROSLAVL, founded in 1010 by Yaroslav the Wise, is a real Russian fine arts reserve.The most ancient buildings of the town are located at the Monastery of the Savior , where the manuscript of the "The Tale of Igor's Feat" was found. The best monuments in the town are by far the beautiful churches, dating back to the XVII century are adorned with delicate stone carvings, tiles and frescoes. In Tolchkov, Jaroslavl architecture reaches unsurpassed heights; it contains a magnificent church that supports fifteen domes!

The History of KOSTROMA is quite different from Jaroslavl. This town is known for its downtown area, dating back to the XVIII - XIX centuries. This area was constructed in the style of Russian Classicism. The real treasure of Kostroma however, is the Ipatiev Monastery, this magnificent building is situated in the outskirts of town and once housed the first Tzar of Romanov dynasty, Michael Fyodorovych.

Contrary to Kostroma, SUZDAL is the ancient center of the dukes. It has retained its original design as well as a huge number of medieval monuments, many of which are on the UNESCO list. In the Suzdal Kremlin one should visit the Cathedral of the Nativity and Metropolitan's Chambers. This town is ultimately famous for its incredible landscape and panoramic views.

If the XII century sparks interest, an area that is famous for its XII century influence is the capital of a powerful principality, VLADIMIR. Not to be overlooked is the Cathedral of the Assumption (1160 - 1185) with frescoes by A.Rublev. The St. Dimitry Cathedral (1197) is a highlight with its magnificent white stone, high relieves and the only Golden Gates in the fortification walls of Russia.

The Church of the Intercession, built in 1165 and situated on the Nerl River, as well as ancient residence of Duke Andrew in Bogolyubovo and Vladimir are regulated by UNESCO. The unique monuments of church architecture of the XIV - XV centuries are concentrated here, in the centre of Russian Orthodoxy.

The city rose around the Trinity St. Sergey Laura (Troitse Sergiyeva Lavra) , a historical and architectural ensemble of world importance. The monastery was founded in the XIV century by the Saint Sergey Radonezh, the most revered saint in Russia , whose name is associated with the notion of "Holy Russia". His imperishable relics are kept in the ancient (XV century) Trinity Cathedral, in the Trinity St.Sergey Laura. For the first time St.Sergy consecrated the cloister to the Holy Trinity.

The cloister was founded during the Tartar Mongol yoke. It became a centre of unity for the Russian princes and the whole people. In praise of St.Sergey Andrew Rublev painted his famous Holy Trinity, which is kept in the Tretyakov Gallery. The murals of the Trinity Cathedral are painted by the great Andrew Rublov and Daniel Chorny. The world famous monk's choir sings in the Trinity St.Sergey Laura.

Novgorod the Great

Novgorod is one of the most ancient cities of Russia located in its North-West, near the site where the Volkhov river takes its waters from Lake Ilmen.

The history of Novgorod is closely linked with all major stages in the life of Russian state. At the times, when the statehood of Rus was just in its making, the Novgorodians invited a Scandinavian prince Rurik to keep law and order, thus giving birth to the prince Rurik dynasty that ruled over all Russian lands throughout more than 750 years.

In the early 10th century, war campaigns of the Novgorodians against Constantinopol to secure equal trade with Bizantine resulted in the integration of East Slavic tribes into the ancient Kievan 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.

Novgorod is the cradle of Russian republican and democratic traditions. In the course of over 600 years, up till 1478, all vital decisions on its life and foreign policy were taken by the "veche" — ancient parliament comprising the representatives of the town aristocratic. families. At crucial times of Novgorod history, all people took part in the veche.

Novgorod was one of Russia's major centers of literacy and book production. As far back as in the 30-s of the 11th century, by the will of the great Prince Yaroslav The Wise, Novgorod saw the first school to train three hundred children at a time.

Medieval Novgorod was one of the greatest art centers of Europe. Its architectural traditions, school of icon—painting, jeweler's and decorative applied art became famous all over the world.

The town's military power, its remoteness from dangerous southern borders, successful campaigns against clergical reforms and heresies enabled to preserve a unique complex of architectural monuments with frescoes of the 11th — 17th centuries, the oldest Russian manuscripts, chronicles, acts, icons. The only time in its history when Novgorod suffered military damages was in the course of the World War II: for over two years the city, being at the front line, was bombed and shelled by both combating armies. Turned into ruins, this city on the Volkhov River was brought to life again by the restorers who managed to revive old architecture.

Architectural sights of Novgorod. Many experts of Russian art justly believe Novgorod to be Russian Florence; no other old Russian cities have managed to preserve so many ancient architectural monuments adorned with wall murals.

The cathedral of St. Sophia, the Holy Wisdom of God — the oldest survived Russian stone monument. It was built in 1045. Powerful monolithic massive structure of the monument still dominates not only the Kremlin, but the whole historic downtown of Novgorod. In the interior of this palladium your attention will be drawn by the unique historically formed iconostases, ancient mural paintings, icons — national relics of Russia (including the famous icon of the 12th century — Virgin of the Sign, that was returned back to the cathedral in 1991, when divine services were resumed here), and other relics of Bizantine, Western Europe and Russian art.

The monuments of the twelfth century Novgorod architecture — the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Yaroslav's Court and the Church of the Nativity of Our Lady in St. Anthony's Monastery, that have brought to us old fresco painting, carved iconostases, the necropolis of the 17th — 18th centuries. In the old cloister — the St. George (Yuriev) Monastery, that was founded as early as in the 12th century by Prince Yaroslav the Wise, as a legend reads, one cannot help being amazed by the striking beauty of another masterpiece of ancient Russian architecture — the Cathedral of St. George, built by a certain master mason Peter in 1119.

The Kremlin of Novgorod — the oldest in Russia, this fortress was mentioned in chronicles as early as in 1044, while its today's walls and towers were constructed at the close of 15th century. In addition to the above—mentioned St. Sophia's Cathedral, the Kremlin also features such other striking monuments as the Faceted (Archbishop's) Palace — a rare specimen of Gothic architecture, built in 1433 in team with German masters, as well as the impressive and beautiful St. Sophia's Bellfry of 1439 with a set of bells dating back to the 16th — 18th cc.

In the central square of the Kremlin you will find the monument "The Millenium of Russia", designed by Mikhail Mikeshin and erected in 1862. It is a unique document in bronze immortalizing alongside with outstanding politicians of Russia all those who greatly contributed to the development of the country: its culture, science, art, literacy, literature. Leaving the Kremlin and St. Sophia Quarter of the city, you can get to the opposite bank of the Volkhov by a footbridge, and then to the territory of another architectural open-air museum the Yaroslav's Court and ancient Trade-yard displaying many survived monuments of the 12th — 16th centuries: churches of St. John-The Baptist, Paraskeva-Pyatnitsa, Murrh-Bearing Women and others — all reminding of busy trade life of Novgorod in old bygone days, as Yaroslav Court with its former wooden palace of Great Prince Yaroslav The Wise was widely known since the middle of the 8th century as a site of the international Trade-yard, oldest in northern Europe.

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Sakhalin and Kurile Islands

The Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands are located on the east of Russia; to the north and quite near Japan. The Major Kurile Archipelago stretches for 1,200 kilometers north west to the Kamchatka Peninsula. It includes 56 islands, of which Iturup, Kunashir and Paramushir are the largest.

The Sakhalin Island lies between the continent and the Kuriles. It is equal in size to the European countries of Austria, Switzerland or Ireland. The Sakhalin resembles a giant fish in its shape. The broadest part of the island is about 160 km. The narrowest place — Poyasok Isthmus — is only 47 kilometers long. Nature reserves, protected by the state comprise 11,8% of the region's area: 2 reserves (Poronaysky and Kurilsky), 1 special nature reserve of federal value (Maliye Kurily), 11 game preserves (protect and reproduce species), 2 complex special nature reserves, 47 natural monuments, 1 National Park "Moneron Island", situated on a rocky island close to the Sakhalin southwestern coast.

It is the first marine national park in Russia. It is located in the Tatar Strait, by the farthest southwestern point of the Sakhalin. The area of the island is about 30 square kilometers. The rare combination of various forms of underwater relief and influence of the warm Tsusimskoye Current explain why there are so many specimen of subtropical shellfish, sea urchin (Strongilacentrotus) and many fingered starfish in the underwater world of the Moneron Island.

The tourists will be enchanted by the solemn cliffs, coming down steeply to the, waterfalls, numerous bird colonies, inhabiting the sea area close to the island small rocky islets, remnants of the Japanese paths, crossing the whole island, legends about the island's history. Traveling along the island, the clients will find themselves in different climatic zones during several hours - shifting from the wilder ness of taiga to subtropical forests, from the mossy tundra to the jungles of giant plants. Considerable part of the territory is covered with mountains.

From December through April Russian National Tourist Office offers skiing tours and ice fishing. Sufficient snow layer on the Sakhalin appears in the middle of December, and that is the right time to start winter trips. Imagine sensing the breath of win ter, observing magnificent winter landscapes, enjoying breathtaking descent from the snow covered mountain tops! You can experience all this on our winter tours.

In May and June Russian National Tourist Office invites tourists to join us in our rafting tours. It is the time when nature on the Sakhalin awakes from its winter sleep,the snow melts intensively, rivers are abounding in water and their currents are rapid.

From June through October Russian National Tourist Office offers hiking, speleological tours, trips around the lighthouses of the island, to the Kurile Islands, as well as to the Moneron and Tyuleny Islands. Thus Russian National Tourist Office are looking forward to seeing your clients at any time of the year to take them to an exciting adventure tours throughout the Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands!

Source: www.visitrussia.org.uk

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