A pretty country, Russia has many unique features to her credit! The largest country in the world, Russia spans 11 time zones! It also boasts of the largest freshwater lake in the world! The landscape varies from mountainous terrain to awesome volcanoes, rivers, and forests. Amidst these natural settings, are the many monuments that dot her cities.
The capital of Russian Federation, Moscow is unique with its monuments showcasing both Western and Oriental designs. The most visited place undoubtedly is the Kremlin, which is an ensemble of Russia's highest bodies of power. The Kremlin and the Red Square make an attractive assortment of architecture, with many museums, palaces, cathedrals and churches adorning the place.
The Kremlin Arsenal is a museum today, displaying many canons that were seized after Napoleon's retreat. The State Kremlin Palace is a modern glass structure, with an enormous auditorium whose seating capacity is 6000! It stages performances by Kremlin Ballet Company.
The Senate Building looks magnificent, done in the neo-classical style. It is the official residence of the President. The Tsar Cannon weighing 40 tons and the Tsar Bell the largest bell on earth are an odd pair of attraction in Kremlin.
The quaint Cathedral Square is the heart of yesteryear's Tsarist rule! Within, is The Assumption Cathedral, which is the oldest, largest and most important of the churches in the Kremlin Area. The architecture, frescoes, and icons, including the Throne of Monomakh, designed elaborately, look splendid. The Church of the Deposition of the Robe was designed by talented Russian craftsmen. Today, it houses a fine collection of wooden figures. The place where the early Tsars were buried, is The Cathedral of the Archangel Michael, which was Ivan the Great's last contribution. The salient feature of the monument is the scallop-shell decoration and the Corinthian capitals which are decorated profusely.
The private chapel of the Tsars is The Cathedral of the Annunciation. It looks marvelous with a golden dome! Of particular interest is the porch, which is steeped in history! Story goes that, Ivan the Terrible, had defied church rules and married the fourth time, while the church sanctioned three marriages. The church expressed its dismay by barring Ivan inside the cathedral. Ivan then built the porch, from where he was able to conduct his prayers.
Power of the heavens and the earth meet at the two buildings that are a continuous structure at Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles and the Patriarch's Palace. Built in 1650, by Patriarch Nikon, they serve as museums today, housing 17th century furniture, domestic and ceremonial objects.
The Armory within Kremlin was founded about 500 years ago! It exhibits precious utensils of the Tsars, a fine collection of 12-20th century jewelry, an interesting collection of Western European silver utensils, fabrics designed in golden and silver embroidery and parts of the Tsar's carriages. Women would love to visit the Diamond Fund nearby, which has an exquisite collection of jewelry, precious stones, gold and platinum nuggets, diamonds and the imperial family jewelry. The most attractive exhibit is the world's biggest gold nugget-The Grand Triangle weighing 36 kg!
Within the Red Square, is the 16th century St. Basil's Cathedral, a stone church of The Trinity. The architecture is breathtaking, with 8 columnar churches towering up from a common pediment and the 9th church, springing up higher than the rest!
At the heart of Red Square, is the Lenin Mausoleum. The Museum of Applied and Folk Art, displays authentic pieces of Russian art, ceramics from Gzhel, period furniture, chinaware, glass and fabrics.
A must-see is the Moscow Metro, which welcomed its first passengers in 1930. What distinguishes this from the rest in the world, is the architecture. With natural stone sculptures, it is designed by famous Russian artists and sculptors. It's rightly called Underground Palace.
The residence of Russian Tsars is Kolomenskoye, situated on the banks of Moskva River, amidst scenic settings. It houses Russian paintings, tower-clocks, ceramics, decorative metal-works and wood carvings.
St. Petersburg (Leningrad) is a very beautiful city. Cruise along the River Volga from Moscow to St. Petersburg. En route, you'll enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the countryside. The Summer and Winter Palaces, The Peter-Paul Fortress and St. Issacs Cathedral all look splendid. It's clubs stage live-music shows. Pubs and casinos in the area offer excitement during the night. Don't miss Hermitage-one of the largest museums in the world. On display are works of Leonardo da Vinci, Van Dyke, Picasso, Cezanne et al.
The oldest Russian stone building palace in Velikiy Novgorod is worth exploring. Murmansk-world's largest town near the Arctic Circle is where Russia's nuclear-powered ice-breakers lie. A medieval castle built on a rock in Vyborg looks stunning.
A number of cathedrals lie scattered in the awesome town in Vladimir oblast, Suzdal. Sochi is another magnificent retreat with the Caucasus Mountains at the backdrop. Lined on its streets are exotic subtropical trees and shrubs. Mineral springs, alpine vistas and enchanting waterfalls make Sochi an ideal retreat.
Another way to explore Russia, is through the 8-day trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway, traversing forests of birch and pine and vast steppes.2077
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