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TOP 10 cities in Russia

On the vast territory of Russia, there are many cities that are very interesting for tourists. Most of them are located in the European part of the country, as here the formation of Russian culture and the original architectural style took place.

In this review on the online guide Geomerid you can read about the cities of Russia that are most interesting for tourism. Plan routes to inside and outside cities based on your preferences:

1. Saint Petersburg
2. Moscow
3. Sochi
4. Kazan
5. Veliky Novgorod
6. Pskov
7. Yekaterinburg
8. Nizhny Novgorod
9. Yaroslavl
10. Suzdal

1.    Saint-Petersburg

Saint Petersburg was founded in 1703 by Peter I, as a city on the coast of Baltic Sea having marine communication with Europe. Peter I himself called it the «window to Europe». The city has been built as the capital of quickly growing Russian Empire, which has been one of the most important political powers since the 16th century.

This predetermined the appearance of the city, having made it one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Here everything was subjected to only one purpose, to show the wealth of the empire, therefore, palaces, cathedrals and even regular houses were built in particular empire style.

2.    Moscow

Moscow is the capital of Russia and the largest metropolis in Europe with a population of 12 million. Despite the large size of the city and numerous renovations, the historical center of the city around the Moscow Kremlin, which is included in the UNESCO list of historical Heritage, has been preserved here. The city was founded by Prince Yuri Dolgoruky in 1147.

In the first day you`d better go to the center of the city, and visit the Red Square and the Kremlin with all its environs – Alexander Garden, Manezhnaya Square, and Chinatown where there remained some buildings of the old Moscow. It would be rather interesting to walk on the two bridges over Moscow-river, which are on both sides of the Kremlin. 

3.    Sochi

Black Sea Coast of Krasnodar Area stretches for hundreds of kilometers. From Anapa to Adler, there are a great number of resort settlements, however, Sochi is still the main seaside resort of Russia.

To be more exact, we mean not only the city of Sochi itself, but so-called «Greater Sochi», which covers the territory of 140 kilometers from the settlement Magri to the border of Abkhazia on the Psou River. This area includes four districts: Lazarevsky, Central, Khostinsky, and Adler. At one time these were separate settlements (Lazarevskoye, Loo, Dagomys, Khosta, and Adler), but with the growth of population and development of infrastructure they merged in a single resort zone.

4.    Kazan

Kazan is located in the center of Russia, on the Volga River. It is the symbol of the closeness of Russian Orthodox Church and the Muslim religion. There were preserved interesting historical sites, a strong citadel – the Kazan Kremlin, as well as agreeable pedestrian streets where it will be pleasant to have a stroll or sit at one of the street cafes.

Kazan Kremlin is the main sight of the city. It is situated on the high bank of the river Ka-zanka, near its confluence with the Volga River. It was just in this place that the main citadel of Volga Bulgaria was located, which was besieged by John the Terrible. You can have the most beautiful view of Kazan Kremlin from the bridge spanning the river Kazanka. From there you can see all the main sights of the Kremlin: Suyumbike Tower, Annunciation Cathedral and Qolsharif Mosque.

5.    Veliky Novgorod

Veliky Novgorod was founded in 859, so you can consider it the oldest Russian city. The other date, 862 is at least as significant. This year the Varangian prince Ruyrik and his men came to the lands of Russia, married the daughter of Novgorod`s elder statesman and took the lead of Novgorod lands. This year is assumed to be the foundation date of the first Russian dynasty and Russian statehood. This important event also took place in Veliky Novgorod.

There have survived a lot of ancient monuments of architecture, both within the Kremlin and beyond its walls, including the Cathedral of Sophia – the oldest stone temple on the territory of today Russia, which was built during 1045-1050.

6.    Pskov

Pskov is one of the most ancient cities in Russia. As Novgorod the Great, Pskov was a feudal republic governed by the People`s Veche. Veche was a democratic institution, the precursor of Parliament, where the issues of home and foreign policy were discussed.

Both historically and culturally Pskov is very attractive. In the center of the city there are many historic sites, which is quite reasonable considering the age of the city and its value for Russia. Moreover, there are several sites around Pskov, which are at least as interesting for visiting: Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery and Izborsk Fortress (on the way to Riga), and Pushkinskiye Gory (on the way to Moscow).

7.    Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg is the main city of the Ural Region. It is very interesting for visiting. It has both historical and nature sights. The former are mainly related to the family of the last Russian emperor and the latter – with the beauties of the Ural Mountains.

You should start your acquaintance with Yekaterinburg from its historical center including the City Pond, the Plotinka (dam) and Lenin Avenue with its buildings, which were constructed in the style of constructivism at the beginning of the 20 century. The City Pond is a big water reservoir, which was created after the construction of the dam on the river Iset in the 18 century.

8.    Nizhny Novgorod

Nizhny Novgorod city is one of then mosti interesting direction for excursion tourism. It is located on a place of confluence of Oka and Moscow rivers. Nizhny Novgorod is one of the largest  industrial cities, but it also has the characteristic features of an old provincial city with very beautiful sights.

There is one more reason to go there – to see the city of Gorky that was so much heard of in the west during the «cold war». The city was closed for foreigners. It was just there that the dissidents were sent who criticized the Communist party.

9.    Yaroslavl

Yaroslavl, one of the most beautiful cities of the Golden Ring, is located on the high bank of the Volga river at its confluence with the Kotorosl` river. The city has many interesting tourist attractions, and its historical center was completely reconstructed. Although Yaroslavl is a large regional center, all main tourist attractions of the city are compactly located within a walking distance from one another, which makes it very convenient and interesting to visit them.

Yaroslavl was founded by Yaroslav the Wise in 1010. You may start your tour of Yaroslavl from the Bogoyavlenskaya (Epiphany) Square. On the square the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery (Transfiguration of the Savior) is located, which is the main tourist attraction of the city.

10.    Suzdal

Suzdal may be considered one of the most interesting destinations of the Golden Ring. Here feels the atmosphere of harmony and quietness that this ancient city lives in. It is just the atmosphere as it is imaged by most residents of the city. And by the abundance of historical sites concentrated on a small territory (five monasteries and over 30 churches), Suzdal has probably no peers.

The main sights of the city are Suzdal Kremlin, Nativity Cathedral, the Monastery of Our Saviour and St. Euphemius, Intercession Monastery, Museum of Wood Architecture, and the Square with Trading Rows. You may see no other sights, though during your promenades in the city you are sure to drop in at the other monasteries and churches as all of them are located in the immediate vicinity of each other.