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Sightseeing

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Moscow

The St. Basil's (Intercession) Cathedral

Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Thursdays 

Was constructed in 1560 on the order of Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the conquest of the Tartar city of Kazan on the Volga. It inherited the traditional features of ancient Russian wooden churches (onion-shaped domes and tent roofs) but was built in stone painted in rich colors and decorated with bright tiles. Today the Cathedral is a museum housing an exhibition related to the history of its construction. The exotic grandeur of the Cathedral makes it one of the best and most striking examples of old Russian architecture.

 


The Kremlin

Red Square, Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Thursdays 

A unique complex of architectural monuments surrounded by ancient red brick walls crowned with 19 towers, which are an important city landmark. The first wooden Kremlin was built by order of prince Yuri Dolgoruky in 1156. Later on during the reign of Prince Dmitry Donskoy white stone walls were erected. And in the 15th century when the seat of Orthodox religion was moved to Moscow, several Italian architects were invited to reconstruct the Kremlin, especially its cathedrals and chapels. Thus the architectural ensemble of Kremlin we can see today has appeared. The center of Kremlin is the Cathedral Square with the Cathedral of Assumption, where royal wedding and coronation ceremonies used to take place. The Cathedral of Annunciation and the Cathedral of Archangel Mikhail are located next to it. Some other outstanding examples of the Russian architecture are: Palace of Facets, the church of the Deposition of the Robe, the bell tower of Ivan the Great and the Spasskaya (Savior) Tower, Armory Chamber and the Diamond Fund, the Grand Kremlin Palace, the Patriarch's Palace, the Tzar Bell and Tzar Cannon, etc.


Arbat

The Arbat located between Arbatskie Vorota Square and Smolenskaya Square is one of the most famous streets in Moscow. The Arbat is also one of the symbols of old Moscow, which was celebrated in poems, novels, songs and movies. Nowadays the Arbat is the name of the pedestrian street, but actually the Arbat is the whole district of Moscow that marked its 500th birthday in 1993. 

The Arbat Street ranges among the oldest in the Russian capital. Its exotic name comes from an Arabian word "arbad" ("rabad") that means "suburb, estate". This word was probably brought to Moscow by Crimean Tatars or Arabian merchants in the 15th century. In the middle of the 17th century there were attempts to rename the street Smolenskaya, but this name did not find acceptance. 

Originally, the Arbat was the place where merchants and craftspeople lived, but by the end of the 18th century they were replaced by the noblemen. In the middle of the 19th century the Arbat turned into the prestigious and fashionable place. The richest and the most powerful Russian families preferred to have their mansions here. The Arbat was a peaceful and quiet district where the relatively small mansions in the Empire style and wooden houses surrounded by gardens were put up. The Arbat did not feature large shops. The area was popular among the doctors, lawyers, writers and poets. In different times, the Arbat was the place of stay for Alexander Pushkin, Sergey Rakhmaninov, Alexander Skryabin, Nikolay Gogol, Lev Tolstoy, Mikhail Saltikov-Shchedrin, Anton Chekhov, and Alexander Block. Life of famous director Evgeniy Vakhtangov and his theater was closely connected to the Arbat. 

By the end of the 19th century the Arbat started to approach its modern look. A lot of shops and many-storied tenement-houses were constructed. 

At the time of the Soviet power the look of the Old Arbat underwent irreversible changes. At the beginning of the 1960s the side streets of the Arbat were turned into the part of Kalinina Prospect that was lately renamed the New Arbat. It resulted in destruction of many architectural monuments of the 18th-19th centuries. The Muscovites neatly called the new street "the dentures". 

In 1974-1986 the Arbat became the pedestrian street with plenty of small shops, cafes and lively pedlary. It is the place where artists work, street singers perform, and Russian souvenirs are sold. The Old Arbat is a very popular place, especially among the tourists, since the Muscovites are pretty skeptical about such a transformation of the famous Moscow corner. 

The Arbat feature memorial museums dedicated to Alexander Pushkin, Marina Tsvetaeva, and Mikhail Lermontov. The street also features a number of old mansions decorated with moldings, balconies, and caryatids. In the Arbat, 2 there is the famous Prague Restaurant that exists since 1872. One of the most famous theaters in Moscow, Vakhtangov Theater, is also located in the Arbat. 


bolshoy fotoBolshoi Theater

The imposing home of the internationally-famed Bolshoi ballet was constructed in 1824 by Osip Bove, though the company itself was founded in 1773 as a dancing school for the Moscow Orphanage. For much of its history the Bolshoi was overshadowed by the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, but with Moscow's restoration as the capital in 1918 it gained preeminence. Graced by the presence of a series of remarkably gifted dancers, the Bolshoi became known as one of the world's great companies. Its performances continue to elicit international acclaim, and an evening at the Bolshoi remains one of Moscow's sublime pleasures. Reservations for groups for the Tsar's Box possible on request.


Tretyakov Gallery

Open 10a.m. to 8p.m. except Mondays

Founded in 1856 by the merchant Tretyakov. Initially the collection consisted of works by Moscow and St. Petersburg painters - Tretyakov's contemporaries. Now there are about 47.000 Russian works of art housed here. The museum boasts the largest collection of Russian masters from the 18-th and 19-th centuries: Nikitin, Rokotov, Borovikovsky, Kiprensky, Brullov, Ivanov and others as well as world-famous collection of ancient Russian icons.

The Museum restaurant Russky ZaI can seat about 100 people in two rooms - one is decorated in the Old Russian style with vaulted painted ceilings (40), the other one is Classical, with white walls and bronze chandeliers (20). Features traditional Russian cuisine.


pushkin fotoPushkin Museum of Fine Arts

Open 10a.m. to 7p.m. except Mondays

Was built in the Neo-classical style between 1898 and 1912. The museum houses one of the world's largest collections of West European art, as well as ancient Oriental, Greek and Roman art as well paintings of Boticelli, Ribeira, Murillio, Rembrandt, Rubens and Van Dyck. Of particular interest are the French Impressionism halls with paintings by Monet, Cezanne, Matisse, Van Gogh and Degas.Italian Room with huge bronze sculptures and a big impressive wooden door of a German church can be used for Cocktail Buffets for up to 250.


Novodevichv (New-Maiden) Convent

Open 10 a. m. to 5 p. m. except Tuesday.

Architecture dating from the 16-th and 17-th centuries, this complex was originally built as a fortified monastery surrounded with brick walls with 21 towers. Construction was completed in 1524 during the reign of Vasily III. Later a convent for noble women was located here. Interior decorations, frescos, icons and gobelins have been preserved and are in perfect condition. It is possible to attend the Russian orthodox service in the main church of the Convent - the 16-th century Cathedral of Our Lady of Smolensk. The old cemetery within the convent walls is the burial place of prominent political and public figures as well as famous artists, writers and scientists (Gogol, Chekhov, Prokofiev, Shaliapin etc.)


Poklonnaya Mountain

The Poklonnaya Mountain is the flat hill in the western part of Moscow, between rivers Setun and Filka. Once the Poklonnaya Mountain was far beyond the borders of Moscow, and from its top one could see the city panorama. Travelers and merchants often climbed the mountain to see Moscow and to bow to the city. "Bow" is "poklon" in Russian, hence the name of the mountain - Poklonnaya. 

The Poklonnaya Mountain was first mentioned in chronicles of the 16th century. At that time it was called the Poklonnaya Mountain on Smolenskaya Road. It was on Poklonnaya Mountain that Napoleon was vainly waiting for the keys to Moscow. During World War II the solders passed by the Poklonnaya Mountain leaving for the front to defend Russia. 

In 1942 it was suggested to put a memorial on the Poklonnaya Mountain, but during that time it was absolutely impossible because of the war. On February 23, 1958, the Poklonnaya Mountain was marked with a sign saying "Here the Monument to Victory of Soviet people in World War II 1941-1945 will be constructed". And it was at the very beginning of the Victory Park laying. 

It took many years to project and construct the memorial complex on the Poklonnaya Mountain in Moscow. Its solemn opening was dated for the 50th Victory celebration that took place on the 9th of May, 1995. 

The memorial complex occupies 135 hectares. It includes the Central Museum of Great Patriotic war, the Victory Monument, and three temples of three religions constructed in memory of those who died during the war. Saint George temple was constructed in 1995, the Memorial Mosque was put up in 1997, and the Memorial Synagogue was erected in 1998. 

The Central Museum of Great Patriotic War is located in the round Winners' Square. The central alley of the Victory Park connects it with Kutuzovsky Prospect. The museum founded in 1986 contains about 50,000 exhibits of military history. The 385 volumes of Memory Books containing the names of those who died during the Patriotic War are displayed in special showcases. Among other items, the museum contains the red Victory Flag that was raised over the Reichstag in Berlin on the 30th of April, 1945. Near the museum the permanent exhibition of defense technology is situated. 

In the center of Winners' Square there is a 141,8 meter high obelisk that symbolizes 1,418 days and nights of the Great Patriotic War. At the 100-meter mark the bronze figure of the Victory Goddess, Nike, is fastened. At the bottom of the obelisk the statue of Saint George is placed. Saint George is depicted stabbing the snake that symbolizes evil. Both sculptures were made by Z. Tsereteli. 

In 2003 on the territory of the Memorial the chapel was put up. It commemorates the memory of Spanish volunteers who died during World War II.


Park of Arts Museon

The Park of Arts Museon is situated in Krymskaya Embankment near the Central House of Artist. This is the only museum of sculpture in the open air in Russia. It occupies the territory of almost 20 hectares. 

The idea of a museum of sculpture appeared in 1991 when Moscow government decided to dismantle the monuments to Soviet leaders such as Stalin, Sverdlov, Dzerjinsky, Kalinin, and others. Many of the monuments were created by outstanding Soviet sculptors such as E. Vuchetich, V. Mukhina, S. Merkurov. Dismantled monuments from all over Moscow were brought to Krymskaya Embankment and placed in the Park of Arts Museon. 

The official date of the Museum of sculpture in the open air foundation is the 24th of January, 1992, when Moscow Mayor Y. Luzhkov signed the resolution of the museum creation. Nowadays the museum collection numbers about 700 unique sculptures made of stone, wood, bronze and other materials. The collection includes the sculptures of Soviet and modern sculptors, as well as works by young talented sculptors. 

There are open-air museums of sculpture all over the world. But the museum in Moscow distinguishes itself by displaying works of various artistic styles, made by Russian sculptors of several generations. 

The museum's exposition consists of three parts: the historical department, the modern department, and the child department. In the historical department one can see many exhibits dedicated to military subject. 

The territory of the park is the place where child festivals and various exhibitions take place regularly. The annual sculpture symposiums are traditional for the museum. During such symposiums the sculptors create their works in visitors' presence. 


Cathedral of Christ the Savior

On December 25, 1812 Russian Emperor Alexander I signed an order, according to which it was supposed to build a temple dedicated to Russia's victory over Napoleon in Moscow. The new temple was to symbolize the feat of Russian people and to become a gratitude to Providence for saving Russia. 

The author of the first project of the temple was Alexander Vitberg who suggested putting up the cathedral on the Vorobievy Hills (Sparrow Hills). According to his plan, the cathedral was to consist of the three parts symbolizing the Incarnation, the Transfiguration and the Resurrection. The lower part of the cathedral was supposed to be the burial place for those who died in the battles of the war of 1812. The temple was solemnly laid out, but Vitberg's project was never brought to life. The mountains started to sink under the construction weight, and Nicolas I who became Russian Tsar after Alexander I found Vitberg's project unrealizable. Instead of Vitberg, Konstantin Ton was appointed the architect of the cathedral. 

It was decided to put up the temple on the site of Alexeevsky convent. There was a legend that one of the nuns was so desperate about moving the convent that she cursed the future cathedral and foretold that it would not survive for more than 50 years. Anyway, the place for cathedral construction was perfect: the temple could be seen from any part of Moscow, and neighboring with the Kremlin symbolized the connection of the new Cathedral of Christ the Savior with Russian history and culture. 

It took about 40 years (1839-1883) to build and decorate the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. On May 26, 1883, the temple was solemnly consecrated in presence of Emperor Alexander III and his family. 

The outside part of the cathedral shaped as a cross was decorated with the double row of marble high relieves made by sculptors Clodt, Loginovsky, and Ramazanov. The twelve entrance doors were made of bronze and decorated with the images of saints made by the famous sculptor, Prince F. Tolstoy. The contemporaries admired the size of the cathedral that could house up to 10,000 persons. 

The rich interior decoration of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior included wall paintings and adornments made of semi-precious stones (porphyry and Italian marble). Famous Russian painters such as V. Vereshagin, V. Surikov, I. Kramskoi decorated the cathedral. The temple was surrounded by the gallery that became the first museum of the war of 1812. On the gallery walls there were the marble plaques on which all the battles of Russian army were mentioned, and the names of commanders, excelled officers and solders were written. 

The first Cathedral of Christ the Savior existed 48 years, so that some people recalled the curse of the nun. The magnificent cathedral did not match the principles of atheism and irritated the Soviet government. Iosif Stalin ordered to destroy the temple. The cathedral of Christ the Savior was blown up on December 5, 1931. 

On the site of the cathedral it was decided to construct a giant tower topped with the statue of Vladimir Lenin - the Soviet Palace. However, World War II interrupted the plans. In 1958-1960s the foundation pit dug for the palace was used for the open swimming pool "Moscow". 

The swimming pool existed for 30 years. At the end of the 1980s it was suggested to reconstruct the cathedral. In July, 1992 the President of Russia, Boris Eltsin issued an edict, according to which the Fund of Moscow revival was founded. In the list of objects to reconstruct the Cathedral of Christ the Savior occupied the first position. Unbelievably impetuous terms of construction works allowed consecrating the restored cathedral in 2000. 


Kolomenskoye Estate

Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Monday,Thursdays 

is located in the southern outskirts of Moscow. It was built as a summer residence for the Grand Dukes of Moscow and later became the favorite summer retreat of Russian Tsars. The original wooden palace has not survived. The oldest structure on the grounds of the estate is the Church of Ascension dating back to 1532. There are also several other monuments of Russian stone architecture of the 16th-17th centuries. In different years some samples of wooden architecture of the 17^-18th centuries were brought and placed here, including the log cabin of Peter the Great in which he lived somewhere near Archangelsk. On the grounds there are exhibitions of Russian icons, tiles, woodcarvings, metalwork and ceramics. Kolomenskoye estate is a perfect venue for staging Russian winter festival with troika-rides or any kind of folklore events all year round. Recently a magic Palace of Tzar Alexei \complete replica of the original one\ was open fro visitors.


metro fotoMetro

For the first time the idea of constructing the underground railroad in Moscow appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, when the city population exceeded one million. The project of metro construction presented in 1902 to Moscow Duma implied that some metro lines would pass overland, and the trains would run by the tunnels and platforms from the Central Railway Station that was supposed to be nearby the Red Square. The project was remarkable for fresh engineering ideas, but Moscow Duma rejected it, since the owners of tram company indignantly opposed the project. 

At the time of Soviet power the idea of metro construction reappeared. The first, experiment tunnel was built in 1931, and in 1932 the construction works started. It took 21 percent of Moscow budget to keep the works going. The plans were grandiose, but there was not enough hardware, so propaganda and people's enthusiasm were the only things that could help. Young people from all over the Soviet Union were invited to participate in metro construction. Miners of Donbass, concrete makers of Dneprostroy, and Moscow members of Komsomol took part in metro building. The history of metro construction is reflected in the movie "The volunteers". 

The first line of Moscow metro was opened on May 15, 1935, at 7 a.m. Some Muscovites were waiting for metro opening all night long, as they wanted to be the first ones to try the novelty. 

Some stations were designed by outstanding Soviet architects. Among them was A. Shchusev, the author of the Mausoleum in Moscow. The grand stations looked like palaces. They were decorated with stained-glass windows, paintings, majolica, and even sculptural groups. Stations were faced with marble, granite, and other various stones. 

Soon after the opening, the metro became the inseparable part of Moscow. During World War II, the stations of the metro served as air-raid shelters to hundreds of thousands of Muscovites. Some stations housed military and state institutes. For example, the Kirovskaya station housed the departments of the Red Army General Staff. Trains did not stop there, and the platform was separated from the railroad by high plywood partition. Even in the days of the war the construction works did not stop. 

After the end of the war new stations were less magnificent, since ferroconcrete items and cheaper materials were used. Unfortunately, striving for economy made some stations look ordinary. Only in the 1970-1980s the idea of decorating each station in unique way reappeared. 

Nowadays Moscow metro takes the first place in functioning capacity in the world. The general length of the metro is over 265 kilometers, and since early morning till late night 170 stations function. 

Moscow metro grows together with the city. By 2010 the city administration plans to put into operation over 80 kilometers of new lines that would connect the center of the city with its furthest outskirts. 


sergiev posad fotoSergiev Posad

Sergiev Posad is a colorful, truly Russian town, located 73 km away from Moscow. It is famous for its spectacular fortress monastery, the Trinity Monastery of Saint Sergius, an important center of Orthodox Christianity. Icon painters Andrey Rublev and Daniel Chorny worked here, decorating with frescoes the main church of the monastery, the Trinity Cathedral. 

Just outside the monastery walls is the small bazaar, where one can see and even buy the works of arts and crafts, such as Matryoshka dolls, lacquer boxes or wooden toys, known as trinity toys. Nowadays Sergiev Posad houses the Toy Museum, which was transferred here from Moscow in 1921. 

The suburbs of the Sergiev Posad are very picturesque. On your way from Sergiev Posad you will enjoy the typical Russian nature: birch forests, green hills, small villages and quiet rivers.


mausoleum fotoLenin's Mausoleum

  • Address: Moscow, Red Square
  • Working hours: 10:00-13:00 
  • Closed: Monday, Friday, Sunday 

The ambiguous heritage of the Soviet times the Mausoleum of V. I. Lenin solemnly rises in the Red Square at the background of the Kremlin's eastern walls and compositionally accomplishes the whole ensemble. And although in the last few years the suggestion of committing the body of the Leader of the Revolution to the ground is discussed with increasing frequency the monumental tombs still treasures a crystal sarcophagus with the embalmed body that attracts thousands of curious tourists and staunch communists. 

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin died on January 21, 1924. For people from all over the world could come and pay their last respect to the great man the mourning Plenary Session of the Central Committee decreed to construct a mausoleum in the Red Square and to put there the embalmed body of the deceased leader. The architectural contest was announced and won by talented architect Alexey Shchusev. 

The temporary wooden Mausoleum was constructed during a few days. It was built in the shape of a cube crowned with a three-story pyramid. In a few months it was replaced by larger wooden mausoleum shaped as a stepped pyramid. 

The present Mausoleum, also designed by Shchusev, was erected in 1930. A stone replica of the previous one it was a stepped pyramid of cubes faced with red granite, porphyry and black labrador. Above the bronze doors the simple inscription "Lenin" was made from red quartzite. Under the Soviets the Mausoleum also served as a platform, from which party officials made speeches on important Soviet holidays and greeted festive demonstrations and military parades. 

The soviet scientists were entrusted with the extremely difficult task of preserving the image of great Bolsheviks leader for the future generations. They worked out the unique embalming technology and made special equipment that created all the conditions and controlled the level of lighting, temperature and humidity for the preserving of the corpse. 

After Stalin's death in March 1953 his body was also embalmed and put in Mausoleum next to Lenin's, but soon afterwards on the order of Khrushchev Stalin's corpse was removed and buried by the Kremlin wall. 

In the last decades the proposals to bury the remains of Lenin are frequently discussed in the society. In October 1993 the Guard of Honor that stood in front of the Mausoleum's doors since the first days of its existence was disbanded. Since 1991 all the procedures, connected with preserving Lenin's mummy, have been financed not from the State budget, but from the Fund of Lenin's Mausoleum and private donations.


бородино фотоMuseum-panorama "Battle of Borodino"

Open 10:00 - 18:00 Weekend: Friday, and the last Thuesday of every month

In the early 20th century Russia was preparing to celebrate the jubilee victory over Napoleon. In was decided to create a panorama about one of the events of 1812. The government supported this idea and commissioned Franz Roubaud to work on it.

Panorama Borodino (as it was then called) was opened on August 29, 1912, in the center of Moscow.

The panorama of the Battle of Borodino is the museum's main exhibit. The painting is 115 meters long and 15 meters high. The artist chose to depict the decisive moment of the battle - 12.30 p.m. on the 7th of September - when the most vivid and typical events in the battle took place. It was against this flank that Napoleon struck his main blow.

The museum's exposition is equipped with modern technical appliances. The viewing of the panorama is accompanied by special sound-effects, reproducing the battle shooting of the beginning of the 19th century.

The current exhibitions are organized in the museum, displaying paintings, engravings, decorative and applied art, numismatic, etc. dating back to the first half of 19th century


кусково фотоKuskovo Еstate and Museum of Ceramics (18th century)

Open: November to March 10:00 - 16:00 April to October 10:00 - 18:00 Closed: Monday, Tuesday and last Wednesday of every month

The 'Eighteenth-century Estate" museum opened to the public in 1919 on the grounds of Count Sheremetev's estate, which had been nationalized in 1918 in accordance with the decree issued by the Council of People's Commissars. This decree was intended to guarantee the protection of the country's cultural inheritance and its valuable works of art.

Neither the layout of the estate, nor the structure of the Palace and park pavilions, not even their architectural d?cor, have changed since the time when the estate was built, making Kuskovo a truly unique historical monument.

In 1932 the Moscow Museum of Porcelain, which had been founded in 1920 from the collections of such famous Russian porcelain collectors as Alexei Morozov, Lev Zubalov, and Boris Shchukin, was transferred to Kuskovo. In recent years this remarkable collection has been considerably enlarged as a result of the transfer to Kuskovo of valuable exhibits from the State Museum Reserve, and leading museums in Moscow and St.-Petersburg (including the Armoury and Hermitage). The museum has more than thirty thousand exhibits of ceramic and glass ware.


Бункер 42 фотоBunker-42 (The Cold War Museum)

Projecting of the object began in 40s of last century by the order of Stalin. Then existed bunker (called "The Bunker of Stalin" nowadays) was not qualified as anti-nuclear so it was decided to build the proper one.

In 1956 the object with the general square of more than 7000 m2 was taken over by the state commission. Bunker-42 is the outpost in the capital center which used to be in charge about 30 years providing security in case of nuclear attack.

In 60s Bunker-42 was completely equipped with all requires in case of nuclear attack. The store of food, fuel, air regeneration and vent filter systems, a water supply system could provide the staff to be in ready alert during several months.

At the end of 80s graduated reduction in tensions of nuclear confrontation became and Bunker-42 had lost its key value of defense potential support of the country.

Now it is a fully independent object with own power supply and communication systems and it's ready to withstand all nuclear attacks. Within an excursion you will pass in the Bunker's secured tunnels, view the weapon models and communications equipment of Armed Forces of the USSR. You will watch a documental film about a period of the Cold War between the USSR and the USA.


звездный городок фотоStar City

Star City (Russian: Zvyozdny Gorodok) is a highly restricted military facility northeast of Moscow, served by the airfield at Chkalovskiy Airport, where cosmonauts have been trained at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (GCTC) since the 1960s.

In the Soviet era the town was a highly confidential, secure area, isolated from the rest of the world. Today, many Russian cosmonauts live in Star City with their families. The town has its own post office, shops, railway station and a museum of space travel.


Бункер Сталина фотоStalin's Bunker

The creation of this object takes period of the "thirties" of the last century. It was a part of the State programme and it had to provide a defensive capability of the country. The "thirties" is characterized in the Human history as an early beginning of The Second World War. Most of the events of that period have got political estimations, historical facts, which were a state secret are still unknown for the history.

 

 


 исторический музей фотоThe State Historical Museum

The unmissable red-brick palace with its silver roof, towering opposite St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square, houses the State Historical Museum which is one of the main sightseeing attractions of the Russian capital. Designed by V.Shervud, this Museum was built to commemorate national history, and traces the development of Russia and its people from ancient times to the present.

 

 


музей ВС флтоCentral Armed Forces Museum

Opening hours: Daily from 10.00 to 17.00, closed on Mondays and Tuesdays

Although it's a little out of the way in the north of the city, Moscow's Museum of the Armed Forces is perennially popular with war buffs for its vast collection of military memorabilia, with pride of place going, unsurprisingly, to exhaustive displays about the Soviet Union's part in the Second World War. It also has plenty to appeal to children, particularly the clutter of military hardware parked around the outside of the building, including tanks, MIGs and ballistic missiles.

The museum, which was established soon after the Revolution, and moved to its current location in the sixties, focuses on the 20th Century, and there is still some residual ideologizing from the days when the museum acted as little more than a propaganda machine for Soviet might. However, efforts have been made to give a revised version of the history, including a sympathetic display about the White Army that concentrates on the hardships rather than the triumphs of the Civil War. As can only be expected, the more recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Chechnya are treated with somewhat less objectivity.

Pride of place in the collection goes to the victory banner raised over the Berlin Reichstag in 1945, which is kept here alongside the swathes of captured Nazi standards that were trampled on Red Square during victory celebrations. Other displays of note include the remains of US pilot Gary Powers' U-2 spy plane, brought down over the Urals in 1960, and a section of tattooed skin taken from a prisoner in the Maidenjak concentration camp. There are also vast quantities of Soviet propaganda material, the personal effects of a number of famous revolutionaries, and extensive photographic archives covering all the conflicts of the 20th Century.

 

See Moscow ?

Saint Petersburg

The Hermitage

Open 10:30-18:00, closed Mondays.

One of the greatest museums in the world, consists of five interlinked buildings — the Winter Palace (previously the residence of the Imperial family), the Small Hermitage, the Old Hermitage, the New Hermitage and the Hermitage Theater— and contains over three million exhibits and one of the best art collections in the world. The gallery is most famous for its collection of West European art, here you can see paintings by Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Picasso, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rubens and Rembrandt. The splendor of the museum is all the more enhanced by the incredible beauty of the buildings, inside and outside: ornate and regal facades; huge frescoed halls; marble, wood, and mosaic floors; statues, figurines, antique furniture. The permanent exhibition consists of six different departments. By far the most popular is the Department of West European art. Displayed on the second floor of the whole complex and the third floor of the Winter Palace, it includes painting, sculpture, and applied art from the Middle Ages to modern times. In the Russian culture exhibition you can find items representing Russian life and culture from the 15th to the early 18th century including, icons, books, furniture, paintings. The first floor holds an exhibition called Art and Culture of Antiquity as well as the Department of Primitive Culture. The former features a large assortment of artifacts from Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, and the latter is an interesting display of items found during archaeological excavations throughout Russia and the former Soviet Union The collection known as Art and Culture of the East presents exhibits from China, Indonesia, Byzantium; there are exhibitions featuring the Near and Middle East, with a large display of Persian silver, Egyptian fabrics, and Turkish applied art; a relatively new exhibit of Indian art and weapons from the 17th to 20th centuries; ancient Mongolian relics; and a collection of Japanese decorative and applied art. There is also a Department of Numismatics featuring Russian and European coins, medals, seals and decorations. Finally, a recently opened exhibition called "Peter the Great's  Winter Palace" shows rooms belonging to Peter and Catherine I unearthed during renovation of the Hermitage Theater. Peter's palace includes the Small chambers. The palace complex also features an early version of the central heating system designed by Peter I himself. There's also a room of portraits of Peter's family, including his second son whose premature death caused him to change the law of succession, and a wax statue of Peter with his original dress and shoes.


The Russian Museum

Open 10:00-17:30, closed Tuesdays.

Located in the Mikhailovsky  Palace. It was built for Paul I's youngest son and made into a museum in 1898 by Alexander III. The collection shows Russian pictorial art from the time of medieval icons to the great achievements of the turn of the 20th century and the art of Soviet period. Also on display is the extensive collection of ceramics, ironwork, porcelain, woodcarving, and lace.

 


Peter and Paul Fortress

 

Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Wednesday

Open 10:00-18:00, closed Wednesdays and the last Tuesday of every month. Diagonally across the Neva River from the Hermitage, is the Peter-and-Paul Fortress, the first construction of St. Petersburg put up by Peter the Great in 1703 to provide protection from the Swedes. It lost its military significance before it was completed. Its guns never saw any action and were put to use as a flood -warning signal, and the fortress housed a political prison for two hundred years. One of its first prisoners was Alexis, Peter the Great's own son, accused of subversion and treason and subsequently tortured to death under Peter's supervision. Other famous prisoners interned here were Dostoevsky, Lenin's elder brother Alexander, Leon Trotsky. The Fortress Cathedral is the burial place of most of Russia's Tsars and Tsarinas from the 18th century onwards, including Peter the Great.

On the grounds there is an interesting and controversial monument to Peter the Great by the Russian artist Shemiakin. Unveiled in May 1991, the monument stirred controversy because it portrays Peter not as a majestic giant on horseback, as is the tradition, but as an old man with a remarkably tiny head.

 

 


St.lsaac's Cathedral

Open 11:00-17:30, closed Wednesdays .The Cathedral, which can accommodate 14,000 worshippers, is overly spectacular with its lavishly decorated dome, its ornate iconostasis and stained glass window of Jesus Christ. The Cathedral was commissioned by Alexander I in 1818 and took four decades to be completed. Its architect, August Montferrand incorporated dozens of kinds of semi-precious stone and marble into the enormous structure and decorated vast interior with frescoes, mosaics, bas-reliefs. The portico columns, cut from red granite, are seventeen meters high; the mosaics have twelve thousand shades of colors; the walls are five meters thick; the cupola is coated with one hundred kilos of gold; and the whole structure weighs three hundred thousand tons.  Inside there are paintings, sculptures, and mosaics by 19th century Russian and West European masters, including a huge fresco on the inside of the cupola by Kari Bryullov and a bust of Montferrand made of different colored marbles and other minerals. Also of note are the intricately sculpted bronze doors, the central white marble iconostasis with its columns of malachite and lapis, and the huge stained-glass Jesus in Catholic colors (Orthodoxy has Christ wearing blue). A series of documents, plans, engravings, and models shows the history of the cathedral's construction.


Alexander Nevsky Monastery

At the end of Nevsky Prospect, is the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. Founded in 1713 by Peter the Great this still-working monastery is one of the most important in Russia. The Cathedral of the Trinity is open until 2pm and it is possible to attend the choir services. Many of Russia's writers and musicians, including Dostoevsky and Tchaikovsky, are buried in the cemetery.

 

 


Museum of Ethnography 

Open 10:00-17:30, closed Mondays and the last Friday of the month. 

Museum of Ethnography covers customs and traditions of peoples of the former USSR. It was founded at the end of the 19th century as a branch of the Russian Museum. The exhibition shows through folk art, national dress, and various farming and craft paraphernalia. The main exhibition is spread out over two floors in rooms to the left and right of the main entrance hall. The fifteen former republics of the USSR are covered in the wing to the right, and to the left are several rooms featuring artifacts from the St. Petersburg region as well as rooms dedicated to non-Russian peoples from the Russian Federation. The Museum of Ethnography has a Special Treasury with the collection of gold folk jewelry and other precious items. The Marble Hall with its upper galleries can seat up to 400 pax for catered dinner with folkloric entertainment. Possible to organize buffet tasting of the ethnic cuisine of different nationalities of the former USSR. 


The Church of the Savior on the Blood

Open 11.00-17.30, closed Wednesdays.

Located in the center of  St.Petersburg, the Church of the Resurrection of Christ (the official name of the church) is a superb example of Russian architecture and monumental and decorative art of the end of the 19-th century. The church was built on the spot where Alexander II was fatally wounded in 1881, an event which gave it its second, more commonly used name - The Church of the Savior on the Blood. Both inside and outside the church is decorated according to the style of the age of the Muscovite Tsars of the 17th century. It is richly adorned with Russian mosaics, precious stones, enamel and coloured tiles. The church's  icon-cases and canopy are rare examples of the stonecutter's and jeweler's arts.


Yusupov Palace

The most sumptuous non-imperial palace in St. Petersburg was the home of the wealthiest family in Russia,who from the mid-18th century (when the first version of this palace was built) until the Revolution of 1917,moved in the most powerful circles. The palace on Moika was one of the 54 estates owned by the Yusupovs.The Yusupovs were great collectors of art, and their residence on the Moika was one on the most splendid palaces in Russia, After 1917, most of the collections were moved to the Hermitage and Russian museum, but the interiors are still impressive: the various sitting rooms, state rooms used for entertaining Russian aristocrats, the beautiful private theater that looks like a cozy version of the Mariinsky (180 seats, available for privateperformances - on request).

Recently the museum opened an exhibition associated with an event that occurred in the Palace in the winter of 1916 - the assassination of Rasputin.


Menshikov Palace

Open 10:30-16:30, closed Mondays. 

Menshikov Palace stands on the University Embankment of the Vasilyevsky Island. It was created in 1710-1714 by architects Fontana and Schadel for the closest friend of Peter the Great Prince Alexander Menshikov. This Palace was the first stone building in the city. Before Peterhof was build, Peter held official receptions and parties at the Menshikov Palace. His parties were called "assemblies" and were arranged with much pomp and splendor. Inside along with the Russian made decorations there are pieces brought by Menshikov from Western Europe. The interior of the Palace is noted for its austerity and elegance. The impressive low-vaulted vestibule is decorated with columns and in the niches of the vestibule walls stand early Greek and Roman statues. The grand oak staircase leads upward to other exquisite rooms, including the Walnut Study, apartments decorated with tiles and to the Great Hall.


Pavlovsk (Paul's Palace)

Open 10:00 -18:00, closed Fridays and the fist Monday of the month

Is located within 3 km from Pushkin. The land was originally used as Royal hunting grounds. The site was given by Catherine the Great to her son Paul I in 1777. The classical style palace was designed by Cameron and completed by Brenna and Rossi, after Paul's accession to the throne in 1796 it was used as an official imperial residence.

 


Petrodvorets (Peterhof)

Open 10:30 -17:00, closed Mondays and last Tuesday of the month

The spectacular Peterhof Palace is on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, 18 miles from St Petersburg. Set in magnificent gardens, Peterhof is reminiscent of Versailles and was only used by royalty for State occasions. The Grand Palace, built for Peter I, enlarged by Rastrelli for Empress Elizabeth and later remodeled for Catherine the Great, was almost completely destroyed by the Nazis in World War II but has been restored to its full splendor. The pendulous chandeliers, paintings are originals; as they were fortunately removed before the German occupation. The gardens are dotted with the fountains, charming pavilions and summer houses, including the Monplaisir, Peter's original villa with bright and airy galleries facing the sea, and the self-contained and moated Hermitage.


ekaterinskiy palace pushkinCatherine's Palace in Pushkin (the Tsar's Village)

Open 10:00 -17:00, closed Tuesdays and last Monday of the month

The summer palace at Tsarskoe Selo (renamed Pushkin in 1937 to commemorate the centenary of his death) was created for Catherine I, the wife of Peter I, expanded and redesigned for Empress Elizabeth and remodeled again for Catherine the Great. It lies 25 km south of St. Petersburg. The baroque Catherine Palace was left in ruins by the Germans at the end of World War II, and is today a masterpiece of restoration. The exterior features golden domes and blue and white facade moldings, while the interior positively gleams and glitters with mirrors, chandeliers and gilded wood-carvings. The parks of the estate with the enchanting Grotto Pavilion, the Hermitage and the Chinese Pagoda add to the splendor of the palace.