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Moscow
Moscow, the capital of Russia is located on the river Moskva in the western region of Russia. The real flavor of Moscow is situated in all the small nooks and crannies on every street. Russian contrasts are more present here than in any other city in Russia. Ancient monasteries and ultra-modern monoliths stand side by side and the new Russian millionaires and the poor pensioners walk side by side in the same streets. Moscow's streets are lined with small monolithic department stores and beautiful churches that are being restored after the vandalism of the Soviet era and the hard-line atheism. Every visitor to Moscow is irresistibly drawn to the Red Square, the historical and spiritual heart of the city, so loaded with associations and drama that it seems to embody all of Russia's triumphs and tragedies. The Kremlin, broads and glitters in the heart of Moscow. It thrills and tantalizes whenever you see its towers against the skyline or its cathedrals and palaces arrayed above the Moska River. The Kremlin is surrounded by a beautiful residential district that is known as the Belvy Gorod or the White Town. The Belvy Gorod was the very heart of the city during the sixteenth century, and even today it has a strongly medieval feel.

Moscow is also well known as the site of the Saint Basil's Cathedral, with its elegant onion domes. The Patriarch of Moscow, whose residence is the Danilov Monastery, serves as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Moscow has a surprisingly number of no less than five airports, which are all situated about 30 to 40km from the city centre.

Red Square - Russia's Glorious Heritage
Not only is the Red Square a popular Moscow attraction, but is flanked by world known sites and tourist attractions. Contrary to popular belief, Red Square received its name through the Russian word for “red”, which centuries ago meant “beautiful”, and not due to a communist symbol or the red Kremlin walls. Red Square came into being during the reign of Ivan III at the end of the 15th century. Named after the Trinity Cathedral, the Red Square was formerly known as Trinity Square, and is believed to only have had the name change at the end of the 17th century. St Basil’s Cathedral is now located in the site where Trinity Cathedral once stood. St Basils Cathedral is situated along side the eastern wall of the Kremlin, with its spiralling bright coloured onion domes. Also located around the Red Sqaure, is the Kazan Cathedral, Russia’s National Museum, the GUM department store and the 1990 replica of the Resurrection Gate. The Red Square served as Moscow’s meeting place. Hear people used to crowd to meet friends, hear Government announcements and celebrated church festivals. During the reign of Peter the Great and Ivan the Terrible, the Red Square was used for public executions, and on the Red Square platform named Lobnoye Mesto, the Tsar would some times address the people.
When Peter the Great moved to St Petersburg in 1712, the Red Square became dormant as Moscow was no longer the Russian capital. The new communist regime, the Bolsheviks, moved the capital back to Moscow in 1918, and turned the Red Square into a parade ground and memorial cemetery. The Lenin Mausoleum was built in 1924, where the embalmed body of the communist founder was laid to rest. The new communist regime was focused on the goals on the Soviet, and saw no space for the historical Kazan Cathedral or the Iverskaya Chapel with the Resurrection Gates, and destroyed these buildings to make space for demonstrations and military parades. The GUM Department Store and Historical Museum were also in line for destruction, but the outbreak of World War II saved the buildings, as attention was diverted the war effort. The Red Square was home to many military parades but most significant was the parade on 7 November 1941. Nazi troops were advancing on the Moscow capital, and the Russian soldiers paraded on the square and marched off to lines to defend the capital. This action lifted the spirit of the Soviet people and renewed their confidence in the war. Hundreds of Soviet troops again filled the square in June 1945, but this time it was to celebrate their victory over the Nazi’s and German banners were thrown down in front of Lenin’s Mausoleum. The Red Square is surrounded by history and beauty, which provides education and endless attractions for the visitor. It is still used as a place of celebration, but instead of victorious parading soldiers, it is filled with excited, chanting concerts goers

Lenin's Mausoleum - Preserving the Past
Lenin’s Tomb or better known as Lenin’s Mausoleum is situated in Red Square in Moscow, and is where Vladimir Lenin’s body can now be found. Since his death in 1924, Vladimir’s body has been embalmed and kept for display. On January 21st 1924, the day Lenin died, over 10,000 telegrams from around the whole of Russia was received, asking the government to preserve his body for future generations to view. Two days later Professor Alexei Ivanovich Abrikosov, a well-known Russian pathologist and anatomist embalmed Lenin’s body to keep it from decomposed until the burial. That very same night Aleksey Shchusev, an architect, was given the assignment to design and build a tomb, in three days, to accommodate all the well-wishers that wanted to say their last goodbyes to Lenin. Five days later it was decided that the tomb should be placed at the Red Square, next to the Kremlin Wall. By January the 27th, Shchusev built a tomb of wood so that at four p.m. Lenin’s tomb could be placed there. In a month and a half, over 100,000 people went to visit. By August 1924, architect Konstantin Melnikov designed Lenin’s tomb, making it an upgraded and larger version of the first. In 1929 it was realized that Lenin’s body could be preserved for longer then had first been expected. It was then that it was decided that the wooden mausoleum would be replaced with one made of marble, porphyry, granite and labradorite. In October 1930, Aleksey Shchusev, I.A. Frantsuz and G.K. Yakovlev finished off the stone mausoleum and only in 1973 was sculptor Nikolai Tomsky taken on to design a new sarcophagus. The Head of the Moscow Garrison, in January 1924, ordered that the Guard of Honor be placed outside the mausoleum but after the Russian constitutional crisis of 1993, the Guard of Honor was dissolved. Between 1924 and 1972, more then 10 million people visited Lenin’s tomb. At one point many people questioned whether Lenin’s body was still real due to its waxed appearance. His body was suppose to be “rejuvenated” annually by Russian undertakers and although some parts of his body may have been partially fake merely for the sake of presentability on a whole the body is suppose to be authentic. The Embalmers regurlarly remove the body to moisturise Lenin’s features and inject preservatives and treat him to keep him in this preserved state. The tomb can be viewed between 10am and 1pm every day except Monday and Friday. No photos or video’s can be taken and one must expect a long line to see Lenin.

Facts about Moscow
Area: over 1,091 sq km
Location: European part of Russian Federation, between the Oka and the Volga Rivers, on the Moskva River.
Geographic coordinates: 55 45 N, 37 37 E
Population: approx 10,407,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1147, by Duke Yuri Dolgorukiy
Climate: The climate varies from intensely cold winters to swelteringly hot summers.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Area code: 495
Major attractions: Kremlin, Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral, Poklonnaya Mountain, Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

 

Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a very young city compared to old European capitals and, probably, the only city in the world that has acquired so much historic significance in such a short time. It was founded in 1703 as an outlet to the sea, which was very important for Russia's future development from both strategic and economical points of view. Saint Petersburg was considered to be "a key for paradise" for the Russian Empire, so the city's name is very symbolic: it was called in honor of Saint Peter, who, as we know from the Holy Bible, was a keeper of the keys from the paradise. Saint Petersburg today is one of the most important cultural, scientific and industrial cities in Russia, housing several hundred of museums and exhibition halls. Great Russian and foreign artists, poets, writers and composers admired the beauty of Saint Petersburg and commemorated it in their works. There are few other cities that can offer so many stunning attractions and intriguing moods as St. Petersburg ? the City of Tsars. St. Petersburg is in easy reach of the capitals of Europe and Scandinavia and it offers luxury accommodation, expert destination management companies and very good travel services.

Facts about St.Petersburg
Area: 606 sq km
Location: Located at the mouth of the Neva River and across the islands of its delta on the coast of the Finnish Gulf.
Geographic coordinates: 59 55 N, 30 25 E
Population: approx 4,600,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: May 1703, by Peter the Great
Climate: The climate is intermediate (from nautical to continental). The average temperature in July is +18 C, in February -8 C.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Area code: 812
Major attractions: Hermitage, Winter Palace, St Isaac Cathedral, Savior on the Blood, Alexander Nevsky Lavra.

 

Nizhny (Nizhni) Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod is the 4th largest city in Russia with a population of 1.36 million, and is the administrative center of the Nizhny Novgorod region and of the Volga Federal District, which covers 14 regions and republics of the Russian Federation. Nizhny Novgorod covers an area of 260 square miles along the riverbanks of the Volga and Oka Rivers. The Nizhny Novgorod area and its surrounding town are respectively known for its metal production, machine building, agriculture, and nuclear research. Nizhny Novgorod, is situated about 250 miles east from Moscow and is easily accessible by an overnight train by car or by air. There is a wide diversity of highways, railroads and waterways. It also has regular air connection with a dozen of other Russian cities and Lufthansa flies to the city three times a week. In summer months, passengers from Moscow and St. Petersburg can reach Nizhny Novgorod by passenger boats. The climate of Nizhny Novgorod is similar to the climate of Moscow, although it is a little bit colder here in the winter, which lasts from late November till late March and is permanently covered in a layer of white snow. A great number of historical, architectural and cultural monuments has remained in the City, you need only to walk the streets of this city to get the feeling of renaissance. Although, there are visible changes, construction, renovation and restoration, Nizhny Novgorod is making a visible effort to rapidly catch up with the rest of the world and to write Russia's future

Facts about Nizhni Novgorod
Area: 80,500 sq km (the territory of the Nizhny Novgorod region)
Location: Located 400 km to the east from Moscow and is the third largest city in Russia.
Geographic coordinates: 56 20 N, 44 10 E
Population: approx 1,361,500 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1221
Climate: The climate of the region is moderate and continental.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Area code: 8321
Major attractions: Kremlin, Pechersky Monastery, Smolenskaya and Rozhdestvenskaya Churches.

 

Samara
Samara was officially founded in 1586 when on the bank of the Volga River the construction of the fortress to protect the Russian State from the incursion of martial nomadic tribes was started. But in fact, the settlement on the bend of the Volga River had been mentioned in the ancient chronicles since 14th century. During World War II Samara (the city is situated not far from Moscow), then named Kuibyshev, was considered to be the second capital of USSR. Many famous people worked and lived in Samara including outstanding Russian writers Lev Tolstoy and Maxim Gorky, painters Ilya Repin, Vasily Surikov and Ivan Aivazovsky, revolutionists Michael Frunze and Vladimir Lenin. Even French writer Alexander Duma had paid a visit to Samara in 1858. Impressed by the travel he wrote the book "From Paris to Astrakhan" and gave his description of Samara in it.

Facts about Samara
Area: 260 sq km
Location: Samara is situated in the southeastern European part of Russia in the Midstream of the largest river in Europe - the Volga.
Geographic coordinates: 53 10 N, 50 15 E
Population: approx 1,133,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1586
Climate: Samara has a distinct continental climate. The annual air temperature is + 3,8 C. The average temperature in January is -13,9 C, in July +20,1 C.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 4 hours
Area code: 8462
Major attractions: Art museum, Museum of Aleksey Tolstoy, Drama Theater, Opera and Ballet house
.

 

Vladivostok
Vladivostok is an administrative center located not far from the Russo-Chinese border. Both a historical and commercial hub, Russia's Vladivostok is an interesting city. Regular flights to Russia's Vladivostok International Airport make getting here easy and the many hotels in Vladivostok provide excellent accommodation. Situated in the south of the Marvyov-Amursky peninsula, Vladivostok covers and area of 600 km?. Mount Kholodilnik is the highest elevation reaching 257m. Eagle's Nest Mount is considered the highest point downtown at a height of 199 m. Vladivostok is linked to Moscow by the Trans-Siberian railway which was completed in 1905. Flights to Vladivostok International airport connect the city to Japan, China, South Korea and Vietnam as well as other cities in Russia. Public transportation in Vladivostok is very efficient and includes: trams, buses, trolleybuses, trains and ferryboats. The best way to explore Vladivostok is on foot. Slowly amble along pathways leading you past commercial areas and historical buildings. Make a point of investigating the side roads, heading through courtyards where small business operate. The waterfront is lovely. Mermaid statue in Sporty Bay is a memorial to Hans Christian Anderson. Lovely little shops sell refreshment along the way. As you wind your way along Naberezhnaya you will come to the Amur Tiger statue and enjoy extensive views of the bay. Along Arsenyev Street you will be taken back in time as you observe the 19th century wooden houses. Climb up the stairs next to the cable car and you will eventually reach a stunning look-out where you can see the entire Golden Horn Bay. Several forts will built in the city during its history, so why not pay one or two of them a visit? Vladivostokskaya Krepost is located just behind the oceanarium. At 12 noon every day, you can here the cannon boom. Fort No. 7 is probably the most popular. Constructed in 1910, the fort is an impressive site to explore. Hop aboard one of the ferries to Russky Island. Guarded by some 7 forts, you will spend a lovely day here. The Oceanarium in Vladivostok has many displays and exhibits. There is also the amazing Dolphinarium nearby. In the Arsenyev Regional Museum you will discover an array of information and relics from local history. Vladivostok has something to offer everyone, from museums to night clubs, from magical walks to ferry rides. Tourists are sure to be impressed with the hotels in Vladivostok, contributing to a wonderful vacation. Be sure to include a stay in Vladivostok on your itinerary when visiting Russia.

Facts about Vladivostok
Area: over 600,00 sq km (231 sq miles).
Location: Vladivostok is the city in southeastern Russia, administrative center of Primorye Territory, located on Bukhta Zolotoy Rog (Golden Horn Bay). Vladivostok is the terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, Russia's major Pacific seaport, and the main base of its Pacific fleet.
Geographic coordinates: 43 09 N, 131 53 E
Population: approx 587,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1860
Climate: Vladivostok is in the monsoon area of the temperature zone. Seasonal changes of air streams occur under the influence of temperature changes between the mainland and the ocean. The mean annual temperature is +5°C. The average temperature in January is -14°C, the average temperature in August is +24°C.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 10 hours
Area code: 4232
Major attractions: Maxim Gorky Drama Theater, Vladivostok State Picture Gallery, Vladivostok Fortress.

 

Kaliningrad
Kaliningrad is the new name of the old city Kenigsberg, founded in 1255 by the knights of the Teutonic order. The unique city, part of which is occupied by parks and public gardens, was renamed Kaliningrad in 1946. Here the architecture typical for old European capitals is harmonically combined with modern buildings. Kaliningrad is an economical and cultural center of the region. The tourists' interest to the city has been constantly growing. Kaliningrad is located near the Baltic Sea and known as the city of amber. The pride of Kaliningrad is the zoo, where the visitors can see various animals and birds, including the rare ones. Kaliningrad is also one of the scientific centers of Russia, as there are several famous Universities and Naval schools in the city. Moreover the city is famous as the place where Immanuel Kant, a world-famous philosopher, is buried. Today, even with the extensive damage suffered during World War II, Kaliningrad offers an amazing opportunity to see a Russian world still somewhat untainted by the world of fast food and easy living. Here you can get a feel for the communism that once existed as well as just relax and appreciate the attractive parks, gardens and monuments. There are also a number of museums and old buildings worth visiting. Besides seeing the sights, you can spend time at the few nightspots or restaurants that dot the city. There are also great hotels available as well as the nearby Svetlogorsk which is a costal spa resort. If you like to return to nature once in a while, the Kursche Spit is a stunning peninsula of sand which is rich in plants and animals. Kaliningrad is a challenging but unforgettable and rewarding destination for the more intrepid traveler.

Facts about Kaliningrad
Area: 215,70 sq km
Location: It is located on the Baltic Sea coast and not physically attached to Russia. The city lies between Lithuania and Poland.
Geographic coordinates: 54 43 N, 20 30 E
Population: approx 426,000 (2005 est)
Foundation: 1255
Climate: Transitional (from gently continental to nautical).
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 2 hours
Area code: 0112
Major attractions: Konigsberg Cathedral, Victory Monument.

 

Ekaterinburg (Yekaterinburg)
Yekaterinburg or (Ekaterinburg), located at the crossroads of two continents - Europe and Asia, is the capital of the Sverdlovsk region and the administrative center of the Ural district. It was founded under Peter the Great as the largest metallurgical plant in Russia of those times and named after Empress Yekaterina I, the wife of Peter the Great, and Great Martyr Saint Catherine, the patroness of mining. For three centuries the city-plant has been steadily developing as a center of mining industry of the Urals and Siberia. Nowadays Yekaterinburg is not only one of the biggest industrial centers in Russia but a very beautiful city with a lot of monuments of great historical and cultural value. Dozen of museums, several theaters, numerous movie houses, 14 high school institutions as well as developed infrastructure make Yekaterinburg the unique city where the past and the present mix together. If you have the opportunity to visit Ekaterinburg, you should make sure you stop by Kamenniye Palatki and Shartash Lake. The rocks of Kamenniye Palatki are completely natural though they look like the remains of an old castle. The lake is incredibly beautiful and is favored as a leisure spot. The Verkh-Isetski Pont is very popular for yachting and swimming while the Europe-Asia border obelisk is nationally renowned for its unusualness. We also highly recommend that you take in some theatre or visit some of the museums. Weather you are visiting for business or pleasure, you can be sure the Yekaterinburg will proved to be every bit enjoyable as it is pretty.

Facts about Yekaterinburg
Area: more than 400,00 sq km
Location: The capital of Sverdlovskaya oblast, middle Urals, Russian Federation, Yekaterinburg is situated right on the border between Europe and Asia.
Geographic coordinates: 56 49 N, 60 35 E
Population: approx 1,304,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1723
Climate: Yekaterinburg is far away from Atlantics and close to Siberia, so the climate here is continental. In Yekaterinburg winters are cold and long, and summers are quite warm. The coldest month is January, when average temperature reaches -16 -17 C. The warmest month is July with the average temperature of 18 C
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 5 hours
Area code: 3432
Major attractions: Ipatiev House, Cathedral on the Blood, Opera House, Europe-Asia border obelisk

 

Sochi
Officially founded in 1898 on the territory won by Russia in the Caucasian War, Sochi from the very beginning served as a resort area. A fashionable sea-side resort, Sochi is one of Russia's most popular tourist destinations. If you can imagine a place where the sea is bathed with golden light every sunset a place where the sands and pebbles of the beach can be enjoyed with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and where you can enjoy almost every luxury that matters you will most likely be picturing Sochi. This is one of Russia's finest and grandest cities, a place where time stops ticking as you while away your days at one of the many fine spas, mineral baths or sanatoriums. Sochi is a place quite unlike any other. It arguably has the best weather in Russia as well as some of the best natural springs in the country. Its exquisite beauty and its development as a sea-side resort has lead to it gaining the name the Russian Riviera. There is little wonder that this part of the Black Sea has been fought over since the beginning of documented history but it was Russia who was the final victor. The little gem has also seen much activity over the years. It was extensively developed during the communist era in the hopes that it would eventually come to represent the pinnacle of Russian architecture. Whether or not that goal was reached you can decide for yourself as you walk down streets flanked with Mediterranean-styled buildings and visit luxuriant public parks. When you visit, you will find an abundance of Sochi hotels to choose from which makes finding accommodation quite easy. Most of them offer a stunning view of the snow-capped Greater Caucasus Mountains a truly breathtaking sight. Visitors usually start their vacation with a trip to either the mineral springs or the sea. The waters here are warm and great for swimming. For those who wish to diversify their holiday a little, they can try shopping or simply take a walk down one of the many tree-lined streets. The public parks are great for a picnic lunch or a late afternoon ice-cream. Notable attractions include the Dendrarium Park modeled after the public spaces in Paris and the Fine Arts Exhibition Hall with its impressive collection of Russian art. For a bit of massage therapy or beauty treatment, the many spas are a great place to be pampered. And if you visit during festival time you will be able to enjoy either the Kinotavr International Film Festival or the Velvet Season Fashion Show, both of which are held here annually. If you are planning to visit Russia, make sure that Sochi is on your list of places to go. This stunning city may not have the intense history that many other Russian cities share, but you will certainly not find yourself searching for things to do! Sochi is a vacationers dream.

Facts about Sochi
Area: 76,0 sq km
Location: Sochi is a big resort area stretching for 145 km along the Black Sea coast, in the shadow of the Caucasus Mountains.
Geographic coordinates: 43 50 N, 39 40 E
Population: approx 329,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1898
Climate: The average air temperature in summer is +26,5°C, the average water temperature is +24,5°C. During Sochi "winter" the average air temperature is +9°-10°C.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Area code: 8622
Major attractions: Dendrarium, Bolshoi Theater, Artistic museum of Sochi

 

Kazan
One of Russia's largest cities and the capital city of Tatarstan, modern day Kazan is a very large industrial, commerical and cultural center in Russia. It is also the most important center of Tatar culture. Originally founded by the Volga Bulgars, the city went from strength to strength first as a border post, then as a trade center. It was a good place which shield refugees from Mongolia and was known for it's trade in furniture. Later, it was forcibly taken by Russia and it was at this stage that a lot of the Tatar residents were killed, repressed or Christianized. Places of traditional worship were ruined and the original Tatar population was forced to settle outside the city.  Though the city suffered under Russian rule at this time, it was rebuilt and continually in use throughout the years. During the rein of Catherine the Great, there was a rebirth of religious tolerance and mosques were allowed to be built in the city once more. However, there was still a lot of discrimination against the Tatar people which persisted through the years as the city grew ever more. After the Russian Revolution in 1905, Kazan was finally revived as a Tatar cultural center. And so slowly Tater theaters and newspapers began to appear and the culture began to be revived. This great cities cultural legacy was once again threatened during the first and second world wars, but it was soon revived again in the 1990's. The city has been undergoing a complete renovation since the beginning of the new millennium and a metro system is being built. Today Kazan has some amazingly beautiful sites such as the citadel which was declared a World Heritage Site in the year 2000. There is also the Annunciation Cathedral with its' five beautiful domes and the Soyembika Tower which leans strangely. You will also find many walls and towers which have been reconstructed over the years and the haunting remains of the Saviour Monastery. These are just a few of the magnificent sites in Kazan. Many of the buildings are splendidly ornate and leave an indelible mark on your memory. Kazan is truly a city worth visiting.

Facts about Kazan
Area: 425 sq km
Location: Located in the center of the European part of Russia on the banks of the Volga and the Kama Rivers.
Geographic coordinates: 55 45 N, 49 10 E
Population: 1,110,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: Second half of the 13th century
Climate: Temperate with warm summers and pretty cold winters.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Area code: 8432
Major attractions: Kremlin, Kazan University, Peter and Paul Cathedral.

 

Rostov-on-Don
Rostov-on-Don was founded in 1749 on the right bank of the Don River, in 65 kilometers from its inflow into the Azovskoye Sea. Due to its favorable geographical location on the crossroads of the land and water roads, the economics in Rostov developed rapidly; soon it was called the merchants` city. In the middle of the XIX-th century 15 thousand people lived there, and by the XX century the population increased to about 110 thousand people. By the end of the 30-ies it was one of the largest cities of the Soviet Union in population and in the level of economic development. During the Great Patriotic War Rostov was laid in ruins, buildings of the theatres, schools, hospitals, clubs, institutes were burned. Thousands of people were shot, exhausted or captivated. The people had to completely restore Rostov-on-Don and the city became even more attractive than before.

Facts about Rostov-on-Don
Area: 354 sq km
Location: The city lies in the southern region of Russia, on the Don River.
Geographic coordinates: 47 16 N, 39 43 E
Population: 1024.5 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1749
Climate: The climate is temperately continental.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Area code: 863
Major attractions: The Birth of Blessed Virgin Cathedral, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

 

Volgograd
Volgograd, founded in 1589, has changed its name several times through its history. In 1925 a politically dissonant name of the town, Tsaritsyn, was replaced by the more up-dated and Soviet one - Stalingrad. As a result of the dethronement of Stalin personality's cult, in 1961 Stalingrad was renamed Volgograd - "a town on the Volga River". But it was under the name of Stalingrad that the city went down in the world history as a hero-city. During World War II the city turned into the stage of pitched battles that in many aspects determined the victory over the Fascist invaders. By 1945 Stalingrad had been practically leveled and it was among the first Russian towns reconstructed in the first post-war years. Nowadays nothing reminds that this beautiful modern city once was a land of ruins. And only several museums and monuments commemorate the memory of those who sacrificed their lives for the peace. The cities history is truly a sad one as all the millions of lives lost will never be recovered. However the city is also a reminder of what determination to stand up against oppressors and survive against all odds can achieve. It therefore has great significance not only for the people of Russia but also for the rest of the world. Though you may be saddened by the statues and memorials that abound in this otherwise lovely city, you can be sure that you will never forget your visit to Volgograd.

Facts about Volgograd
Area: 113,9 sq km (territory of Volgograd Oblast)
Location: Volgograd is located 670 miles southeast of Moscow in the flatland zone between two major Russian rivers - the Volga River and the Don River. The Volgograd Oblast (region) is the largest in the Volga River basin.
Geographic coordinates: 48 45 N, 44 30 E
Population: approx 999,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1589
Climate: The Volgograd region has a sharp continental climate with hot and dry summers and cold winters with light snowfalls. The average summer temperature is +27,7 C, the average winter temperature is - 16 C
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Area code: 8442
Major attractions: the Mamayev Hill Memorial, the tallest in the world free standing Mother Russia monument.

 

Khabarovsk
Khabarovsk was founded in 1868 as a military observation post, and named in honor of Russian explorer Erophey Khabarov. At the end of the 19th century the city, which is situated on the banks of the Amur River, was connected with Vladivostok by the railway. At the beginning of the 20th century it was turned into the base of Amur fleet, and became the place for the military plant. Gradually Khabarovsk turned into an industrial center of the region. The cultural life of Khabarovsk intensively developed since 1894, when in the city the Department of Russian Geographical society was formed. The society initiated foundation of libraries, theaters and museums in Khabarovsk. Nowadays the city is especially proud of its Arts museum, where many outstanding works of art are exhibited, including ancient Russian icons.
Well, the city is perhaps most famous for its Regional Lore Museum. The museum features rare exhibits like that of the Steller cow skeleton. Another popular attraction is the Art Museum which has a stunning collection of old Russian icons. After you?ve seen these two gems, there are numerous theatres, cinemas and stadiums where you can while away your time. Sports clubs and playgrounds also abound and make for a great way to unwind after a long day. Central Stadium, which was opened in 1957, is the largest in the Far East and is Khabarovsk's main claim to fame. The Amursky Boulevard has numerous shops and is a great place to spend an afternoon. You can also take a walking tour from Lenin Square to Utes where you will find numerous Russian cuisine restaurants and souvenir shops. Night clubs, pubs and restaurants keep the chill off the cold Russian nights.

Facts about Khabarovsk
Area: 787,600 sq km (the territory of the Khabarovsky krai)
Location: Located on the Central Amur Lowland, on the right bank of the Amur River.
Geographic coordinates: 48 32 N, 135 08 E
Population: 579,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1858
Climate: Climate in Khabarovsk is temperate monsoon. The average temperature in January is -22C, in July + 18C.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 10 hours
Area code: 4212
Major attractions: Regional Museum, Amur Cliff, Art Museum, Memorial Park Monument, Cathedral Square.

 

Omsk
Omsk, founded in 1716, is a large industrial, educational and cultural center with population over one million. In the 50-s years of the 20th century Omsk became an important oil-processing city. Omsk is a typical modern city with wide thoroughfares, numerous bridges and high sky-scrapers. In the old part of the city one can see examples of architecture of previous centuries including the Tobolskie Gate leading to the city fortress, the oldest constructions in Omsk. In the 19th century the convicts had to pass through this gate daily when they went to the timber cutting works. Among the convicts was famous Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky. The palace of a general-governor is another interesting sight of Omsk. This old building witnessed many historical events important for Russian history.

Facts about Omsk
Area: 140,000 sq km (territory of Omsk Region)
Location: The city lies in the southwest of Siberian Federal District, on the Irtysh River.
Geographic coordinates: 55 00 N, 73 22 E
Population: approx 1,143,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1716
Climate: The climate is dry and relatively temperate, but marked by violent snow-storms and sand-storms.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 6 hours
Area code: 3812
Major attractions: Nikolsky Cathedral, The Palace of the Governor-General, Former Military School.

 

Krasnodar
Krasnodar was founded at the end of the 18th century by order of Russian Empress Catherine the Great. Built by the Cossacks, the fortress was the center of the Chernomorsky Cossacks' army. The city is located on the banks of the Kuban River. By the end of the 19th century Krasnodar was turned into a trading, industrial and transport center of the Kuban region. The industries of Krasnodar include food processing, engineering and oil refining as the city is linked by pipeline with the Caspian oilfields. Nowadays Krasnodar is also the religious center of the Kuban region. It is famous for its beautiful Orthodox churches and cathedrals. In the museums of Krasnodar the visitors can see archeologists' finds and outstanding works of art, which allow learning more about the history of Krasnodar.

Facts about Krasnodar
Area: 76,000 sq km (the territory of the Krasnodarsky krai)
Location: Located in the very center of the Krasnodarsky krai, on the Kuban River.
Geographic coordinates: 45 02 N, 39 00 E
Population: approx 715,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1793
Climate: The climate in Krasnodar is temperate continental.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Area code: 8612
Major attractions: Pushkin Monument, Red Church, Monument to the Cossacks.

 

Arkhangelsk
Archangelsk is located on the shores of the Northern Dvina River. The city was founded in 1584 by order of Russian tsar Ivan IV. The city's convenient location and proximity to the White Sea made Archangelsk, a Russian first port city, an important trading center with Western Europe. Today Archangelsk is the largest lumber port in the world. The city is surrounded by abundant timber resources, which are aptly dubbed "green gold". Archangelsk is also a popular tourist destination. Historical and architectural landmarks, connected with life and work of famous Russians, poetic nature and beautiful landscapes, attract tourists from all over the world. Arkhangelsk is a home to two especially noteworthy tourist attractions: the Solovetskie islands, which are a unique archipelago in the White Sea, and the Malie Koroli, a wooden open-air museum famous for its unique architecture.

Facts about Arkhangelsk
Area: 590,00 sq. km (the territory of the Arkhangelsk region)
Location: Located at the mouth of the Severnaya Dvina River where it flows into the White Sea.
Geographic coordinates: 64 54 N, 40 54 E
Population: approx 352,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1584
Climate: The climate is subarctic, nautical, with a long winter season and short cool summer.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Area code: 8182
Major attractions: Regional Museum, Art Museum and Museum of Wooden Architecture.

 

Vladimir
Vladimir is one of the oldest and most famous cities of the central Russia region. It has a population of 360,000 people and covers a mere 11.145 hectares. According to data discovered by historians and archeologists Vladimir was founded in 995 and was the capital of Russia, and also the political, cultural and religious center. The presence of these characters can still be felt when walking the streets of this great historical Russian city. Vladimir is famous for its unique white stone cathedrals, towers and palaces. Unlike any other northern buildings, their exteriors are elaborately carved with the high relief stone sculptures. The modern part of Vladimir is a part of the Golden Ring of the ancient Russian cities and is a significant tourist center. Its three chief monuments, that are inscribed by the UNESCO on the World Heritage List are definitely a must see. The 5-domed Assumption Neoclassical Style Cathedral, was constructed in 1158 and was painted by the great Andrei Rublev and Daniil Chernyi in 1408. The Warrior-like Cathedral of St. Demetrius was built in the years 1194 ? 1197 and represents a truly international project of Russian and Byzantine masters. The Golden Gate, was originally a tower over the city's main gate and was built during the years 1158-1164. The geographical position of Vladimir also makes it an attractive place not only for tourism but also for business development. The city is located in the Central Region of Russia, about 180km east of Moscow and not far from other scientific-industrial centers, such as Nizhni-Novgorod, Ivanovo, Yaroslavl and Ryazan. Vladimir is splendidly linked with them by railways, highways and hundreds of big and small rivers with the overall length of 8.6 thousand km flow on territory.

Facts about Vladimir
Area: 60,0 sq km.
Location: Located in the central part of the Russian Federation, 180 km north-east of Moscow.
Geographic coordinates: 56 10 N, 40 25 E
Population: approx 337,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 990
Climate: Vladimir has a moderate continental climate, with an average temperature of +18C in July and an average temperature of -11C in January.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Area code: 4922
Major attractions: Golden Gate, Uspensky Cathedral, Dmitrievsky Cathedral.

 

Krasnoyarsk
Krasnoyarsk was founded in 1628 by order of Moscow nobleman Andrew Dubensky as a fortress on the junction of the Enisey and the Kacha Rivers. The fortress was named "krasny", that means "red" in Russian. The city was growing under protection of the fortress. When the Trans-Siberian railway was built, it gave the new impulse to the city development. Krasnoyarsk and its suburbs boast picturesque landscapes. The Enisey River, one of the largest on the territory of Eurasia, and the hills covered with forests make the city's guests fall in love with Russian nature. Among the sights of the city the grandeur bridges including railway bridges are the most remarkable. Krasnoyarsk is also famous as the native city of outstanding Russian artist Surikov, the admirers of whose talent try to visit the city at least once.

Facts about Krasnoyarsk
Area: 2,300 sq km (the territory of the Krasnoyarsky krai).
Location: Located in the East Siberian region of Russia, on the Yenisey River.
Geographic coordinates: 56 05 N, 92 46 E
Population: approx 917,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1628
Climate: Krasnoyarsk is situated in the continental climate zone, with long cold winters and short hot summers.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 7 hours
Area code: 3912
Major attractions: Stolby National Park, Regional Museum.

 

Novosibirsk
Novosibirsk is the largest industrial, scientific, cultural and administrative center of Siberia. The city was founded in 1893, and at first it functioned just as the settlement for the workers who built the bridge over the Ob River. Novosibirsk was supposed to be a local trade center, but since the October Revolution it became the city of not only industrial, but also cultural and scientific importance. Gradually it was turned into the forth largest city of Russia. The architectural look of Novosibirsk is represented by the grandeur building of the Central Railway Station, the Opera Theater, and the central square ensemble. There are more than 2 thousands of historical and architectural monuments on the territory of Novosibirsk.

Facts about Novosibirsk
Area: 477 sq km
Location: The city lies on the both banks of the Ob River, in the middle of Russia.
Geographic coordinates: 55 04 N, 82 55 E
Population: approx 1,406,600 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1893
Climate: The climate is sharply continental. The average temperature in winter is -19 C, in summer + 21 C.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 6 hours
Area code: 3832
Major attractions: Voznesensky Cathedral, Chapel of St Nikolai, Catholic Cathedral, Museum of Regional Studies.

 

Omsk
Omsk, founded in 1716, is a large industrial, educational and cultural center with population over one million. In the 50-s years of the 20th century Omsk became an important oil-processing city. Omsk is a typical modern city with wide thoroughfares, numerous bridges and high sky-scrapers. In the old part of the city one can see examples of architecture of previous centuries including the Tobolskie Gate leading to the city fortress, the oldest constructions in Omsk. In the 19th century the convicts had to pass through this gate daily when they went to the timber cutting works. Among the convicts was famous Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky. The palace of a general-governor is another interesting sight of Omsk. This old building witnessed many historical events important for Russian history.

Facts about Omsk
Area: 140,000 sq km (territory of Omsk Region)
Location: The city lies in the southwest of Siberian Federal District, on the Irtysh River.
Geographic coordinates: 55 00 N, 73 22 E
Population: approx 1,143,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1716
Climate: The climate is dry and relatively temperate, but marked by violent snow-storms and sand-storms.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 6 hours
Area code: 3812
Major attractions: Nikolsky Cathedral, The Palace of the Governor-General, Former Military School.

 

Saratov
Once the capital of the Lower-Volga region, Saratov is now a modern city located in the center of one of the biggest provinces in Russia. Saratov was founded in 1590 in the heart of the Volga River Valley. Manufacturing and metal processing as well as agriculture determined its rapid development and by the late 19th century it had been a regional center of industrial and cultural importance. The city boasts a large number of buildings built in provincial modern, pseudo-gothic and Moscow baroque style of the 19th - beginning of the 20th century. Among the landmarks of modern Saratov one of the longest bridges in Europe (4,5 km long) should be mentioned. Saratov offers all the attractions of the megapolis - theaters, Russia's oldest functioning circus, several art galleries and museums, many fine cafes and restaurants, casinos, nightclubs, supermarkets, etc - but at the moderate prices of a small city.

Facts about Saratov
Area: 380 sq km
Location: Saratov is located in the southeast of the East-European plain in the Lower Volga region.
Geographic coordinates: 51 30 N, 45 55 E
Population: approx 858,000 (2005 est)
Foundation: 1590
Climate: The climate of Saratov is temperate continental. The average annual temperature is + 6,6 C. The winters are cold and snowy; the summers are dry and hot.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Area code: 8452
Major attractions: St. Trininty cathedral, Spirit Coming Down (Dukhososhestvensky) cathedral, 2.8 km bridge connecting Saratov with Engels, Conservatory, Covered Market

 

Murmansk
Located almost due north of Saint Petersburg, behind the Northern Polar circle Murmansk is the largest city within the Arctic Circle. The city is often called "the Arctic gates", as the city is the starting point of the Northern Sea way and the base of the icebreaking (including atomic) fleet. Murmansk was founded in 1916 with British assistance during the World War I. It is the largest seaport, which is free of ice throughout the years and the most important base of fishing industry in Russia. Shipbuilding and repairing of vessels is the main part of Murmansk industry. The city is an important scientific and cultural center of the region. Every year Murmansk is getting more and more popular as the center of the international tourism. Excursions to the giant ships, the Northern Lights in November and December, beautiful northern nature and exotic animals as well as cruises across the northern seas guarantee an unforgettable trip.

Facts about Murmansk
Area: 144,900 sq km (the territory of the Murmansk region)
Location: Located on the shore of the Kola Bay of the Barents Sea.
Geographic coordinates: 68 59 N, 33 08 E
Population: approx 381,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1916
Climate: In winter the average temperature is -10 N and in summer about +15-25 C.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Area code: 8152
Major attractions: Gun Monument, St. Nicholas' Church.

 

Izhevsk
The history of Izhevsk starts as in 1760 an iron factory surrounded with the Izhevsky Zavod settlement was founded on the bank of the Izh River by order of Earl Pyotr Ivanovich Shuvalov. In 1774 the settlement was attacked with the troops of Emelyan Pugachev and was almost totally destroyed. In 1807 the Armory factory was founded here under the leadership of Andrey Fyodorovich Deryabin. Since the middle of the XIX century the factory became one of the biggest and developing in Russia. On February 21 1918 the Izhevsky Zavod settlement was converted into Izhevsk city, which soon became the capital of the region. Today Izhevsk stays the capital of the Udmurtia Republic, its industrial, educational and cultural center.

Facts about Izhevsk
Area: 317 sq km
Location: The capital of the Udmurtia Republic, Izhevsk is situated on the bank of the Izh River, in 40 km from its inflow into the Kama River.
Geographic coordinates: 56 50 N, 53 10 E
Population: approx 619,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1760
Climate: The climate in Izhevsk is temperately continental. Average temperature in winter is -14 C, in summer it can reach +16.5 C.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 5 hours
Area code: 3412
Major attractions: Arsenal, Aleksandro-Nevsky Cathedral

 

Perm
Situated at the base of the Ural Mountains, Perm is one of the largest cities in the Urals Region. The city is uniquely positioned on the border between Europe and Asia. Perm's location on the banks of the Kama River, the forth-largest river in Europe, makes it an important shipping port. Perm was founded in 1723 as a settlement for workers, but it developed rapidly and soon became the capital of the Perm Region. Today, Perm is a large administrative, industrial, scientific and cultural center, located at the intersection of important routes of transportation and communication. Perm is famous for its cultural traditions. The city boasts professional theaters, interesting museums and exhibition halls, and important historical and architectural monuments. The Perm ballet, wooden sculpture collection and miniature books are outstanding features of the city. As the cultural heart and the former capital of the Urals, Perm is always directly associated with the Ural Mountains. Perm has an extreme diversity of rivers and caves that is unmatched in Russia, perfect for long outdoor Ural Mountain tours. Most tourist often find themselves on an excursion through the deep shafts of a working salt mine in the ancient city of Solikamsk, taking a shot of vodka on an excursion in the Urals oldest vodka distillery, having a barbeque at the Europe-Asia border or strolling through the beautiful sites of mosques, synagogues and several catholic churches. Perm actually owes it existence to two factors: the large amounts of natural resources of minerals, oil and timber, that are present in and around this area and the perfect location. A ferry trip on the mighty Kama River, a stroll through the central bazaar, that releases the smell of original spicy kebabs and schwarmas being sold at all the typical small Russian kiosks, makes Perm a must see destination for every tourist.

Facts about Perm
Area: 799 sq km
Location: The city stands at the foot of the Ural Mountains, on the two banks of the Kama River, Volga's largest inflow.
Geographic coordinates: 58 01 N, 56 10 E
Population: 989,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1781
Climate: The climate is continental. The average summer temperature is +18-22 C, the average winter temperature -15-20 C.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 5 hours
Area code: 3422
Major attractions: Peter and Paul Cathedral, the Perm Art Gallery, Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery.

 

Chelyabinsk
Located on the eastern slope of the Ural Mountains, Chelyabinsk is the major industrial, scientific, and cultural center of the Ural Mountain area. This beautiful city is surrounded by a pine forest and lies along the pretty Miass River. Chelyabinsk is slightly hilly in the west, gradually descending to the east and sectioned by the Miass River and narrows with lakes and swamps, which sets the perfect hiking, skiing or ice skating spot for all types of visitors and tourists. Ice bespreads rivers from the beginning of November to the midst of April. Its thickness runs up to 80 centimeter to the end of winter and is enjoyed by all the locals for developing their ice skating skills. Chelyabinsk has become one of Russia's major industrial centers over the past view years, supplying well-known metal products and nearly one-fifth of the country's big bore pipes, over sixty percent of stainless steel and about 40 percent of road-building machines. Citizens of and tourists to Chelyabinsk have the opportunity to attend drama and concert theatres, an art gallery, a huge philharmonic hall, an beautiful organ hall, a circus, several museums and 19 cinemas. Stroll down Arbat Street, lined with trees, lamps of cast iron and lots of benches make the street cozy and comfortable. There are clothing shops, bookstores, a photo gallery, and jewelry shops. There's even an Irish Pub. All up and down Arbat Street in February, you can see ice sculptures of birds, angels, people, or anything else that came to the artistic one's mind who created the piece.

Facts about Chelyabinsk
Area: 486,00 sq km
Location: Located on the eastern side of the Ural Mountains, on the Miass River.
Geographic coordinates: 55 10 N, 61 25 E
Population: approx 1,905,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1736
Climate: The climate is mostly continental with a long cold winter season, comparatively short but warm summer, and brief transitional springs and autumns.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 5 hours
Area code: 3512
Major attractions: Opera and Ballet Theater, City Garden, Regional Museum.

 

Tver
Situated at the point where the Volga and Tvertsa rivers meet, Tver is the administrative center of Tver Oblast. The city originally started life as a minor settlement of Novgorodian traders but it soon became transformed into one of the richest and most populous Russian states. The surrounding woodlands and bogs were harvested and transformed into a beautiful city - a place that housed a number of princes in its heyday. Besides is booming industry, beauty and popularity, Tver also has the advantage of being virtually inaccessible to raiding Tartars. This saw a steady influx of refugees from the south whose homes had been devastated and whose lives had been shattered. The refugees brought with them skills which continued to help the city to grow until eventually it was on par with Moscow. For many years it battled for supremacy but its status as a beautiful and powerful city was not to be long lived. The city?s decline started in 1485 when Ivan the Great seized the city. Things went horribly wrong for the last of the ruling dynasty when they were executed by Ivan the Terrible. However there was hope. With the founding of St Petersburg, Tver started to gain impetus as people chose to stop off en route from Moscow via rail. Much of the Russian royalty and nobility visited Tver while traveling between the old capital and the new one. This gave the city a much needed revival. The most notable restoration was ordered by Catherine the Great who ordered that the crumbling medieval ruins of downtown be razed and reconstructed. The resulting Neoclassical structures were a vast improvement to the face of the city and some have become popular tourist attractions. Much later between 1931 and 1990, Tver was renamed Kalinin after Mikhail Kalinin, a notable Soviet leader. The name of Tver was eventually restored. As a whole, the city of Tver is more of a place to live than it is a place to visit. While it is pretty and comfortable, it lacks many of the tourist attractions that other Russian cities have. However it does still have a few places worth seeing, such as the White Trinity Church, the Travel Palace of the Empress and the Ascension Church. There are also numerous bridges and interesting buildings to see. If you are planning to travel between Moscow and St Petersburg, why not do yourself a favor and follow in the footsteps of Kings and Queens by stopping off at Tver. It is a beautiful city with an enjoyable atmosphere and will welcome you with open arms.

 

Irkutsk
Irkutsk was founded in 1661 on the place of the junction of the Angara and the Irkut Rivers. The Irkut River gave the name to the city. At first it was just a little wooden town, but it developed very fast, and 25 years later Irkutsk was given the status of the city. Today Irkutsk is one of the largest economical, industrial and cultural centers of Eastern Siberia. The citizens of the city believe that Irkutsk means for Siberia as much as Paris for France and London for England. The city really has much to offer: theaters, architectural and historical monuments amaze with their beauty. One of the most charming parts of Irkutsk is the city center with its green boulevards and the ensemble of the central square. Magnificent nature and closeness to the Baikal, the deepest lake in the world, also attract the tourists.

Facts about Irkutsk
Area: 767,00 sq km
Location: Located on the Irkutsk-Cheremhovskaya Plain where the Irkut River flows into the Angara, 66 km south-west from the Lake Baikal.
Geographic coordinates: 52 18 N, 104 15 E
Population: approx 592,400 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1686 (Irkutsk received a city status).
Climate: The climate is continental. The average temperature in January -15 C, in July +19 C
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 8 hours
Area code: 3952
Major attractions: Lake Baikal, Irkutsk Museum.

 

Yaroslavl
Yaroslavl is a unique city on the Volga River where the breathtaking beauty of the nature, the splendor of ancient architecture and the modern industry are so harmoniously combined together. The town was firstly mentioned in Russian chronicles at the beginning of the 11th century. As the ancient legend goes, on this very place Great Kiev Prince Yaroslav the Wise killed a bear and ordered to found a fortress there. Another legend says that the Prince with the retinue conquered a small pagan settlement and with a pole-axe cut up a heathen picture of bear. Anyway, these legends have given the emblem to the town - a bear with a pole-axe represented on a silver shield. The fortress featuring favorable location at the crossroads of the important commercial ways soon turned into a large center of commerce and handicrafts. At present it is the largest city of the region with the population of 650 thousands.

Facts about Yaroslavl
Area: more than 143 sq km
Location: Capital of Yaroslavl region, Eastern European part of Russian, on the upper Volga River.
Geographic coordinates: 57 34 N, 39 52 E
Population: approx 605,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1010
Climate: The climate in Yaroslavl is moderately continental with relatively cold winters and warm summers. The mean temperature for January, the coldest month, is -10.8 0C and the mean temperature for July, the hottest month, is 18.2 0C.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Area code: 0852
Major attractions: Spassky Monastery, Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral, the Kremlin.

 

Novgorod Veliky
Veliky Novgorod, one of the most ancient cities of Russia, was founded in the 9-10 centuries. Throughout many centuries, Novgorod was a political center of vast territories stretching up from Baltic lands to the Urals Mountains. For a long time Veliky Novgorod had been the largest center of culture in Russia, where chronicles, books, hagiographies, deductive literature were created. Many outstanding monuments of medieval architecture and painting including old churches, temples and cathedrals have been preserved in the city. The outdoor Vitoslavlitsy museum of wooden architecture presents some excellent examples of wooden structures from different parts and suburbs of Novgorod. The visit to Novgorod helps to get acquainted with everyday life of the Russian people, who lived on the territory of Novgorod principality in different times.

Facts about Novgorod Veliky
Area: 8,829 hectares
Location: The city lies on the Volkhov River just below its outflow from the Lake Ilmen.
Geographic coordinates: 58 30 N, 31 20 E
Population: approx 230,600 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 859
Climate: The climate is temperate continental.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Area code: 81622
Major attractions: St Sofia Cathedral, Kremlin, many churches and monasteries.

 

Rostov Veliky
Rostov Veliky is one of the oldest Russian cities, which was mentioned in the ancient chronicles of the IX-th century as the city, which had been existed on the shores of Nero Lake for a long time before. At the beginning of the XIII century Rostov became a part of the Rostov principality, sooner one of the most important political, economical and cultural centers of Russia. During the Tatar-Mongol Invasion the city was almost totally destroyed. At the end of the XV-th century the city with surroundings became a part of Moscow principality, but Rostov continued to be one of the largest religious centers of Russia and so it is today. The majority of architectural monuments were built in the XVI-XVII centuries and preserved till nowadays: the Kremlin, Uspensky Cathedral and a variety of old monuments and churches attract thousands of visitors from all over the world.

Facts about Rostov Veliky
Area: 354 sq km
Location: The city is located on the shores of Nero Lake in Yaroslavl Oblast
Geographic coordinates: 47 16 N, 39 43 E
Population: 35.6 (2005 est.)
Foundation: IX cent.
Climate: The climate is temperately continental.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Area code: 863
Major attractions: The Rostov Kremlin, the Usoensky Cathedral

 

Petrozavodsk
The history of Petrozavodsk, a contemporary of Saint Petersburg, dates back to 1703 when Peter the Great ordered the construction of an iron foundry and cannon factory on the shores of Lake Onega. During the 18th century, this facility was the first of its kind in Europe to utilize a new cutting-edge iron production technology. The factory's production included thin-walled cast-iron cannons, wedge gates, balls and shells, anchors, steam engines, and more. Here, skilled craftsmen created masterpieces of art castings that surpassed their contemporaries. At present, Petrozavodsk is the capital of Karelia and the industrial, cultural, and scientific center of the Northwestern Region. The city, with a population of about 280,000 residents, occupies 121.8 square kilometers. Petrozavodsk boasts a favorable geographic location near Russia's main cities and the border of the European Union. It is located 1,091 km from Moscow, 412 km from Saint Petersburg, and about 350 km from Finland.

Facts about Petrozavodsk
Area: 113 sq km
Location: Located on the lake terraces along the Petrozavodsk Bay. It is a port on the Lake Onega.
Geographic coordinates: 61 42 N, 34 22 E
Population: approx 266,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1703
Climate: The climate is temperate continental, nautical. The average temperature in January -7 C, in July +15 C.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Area code: 8142
Major attractions: Round Square, Monument to Peter I, Rotunda.

 

Ulan-Ude
Ulan-Ude, founded in 1666, is the capital of the Buryat Autonomus Republic, which in the 13th - 17th centuries was a part of the vast Mongolian Empire. The Buryats, indigenous population of this territory, were nomadic herders with cultures and languages similar to Mongolian. In 1783 the territory was annexed to the Russian Empire and by order of Empress Elizabeth Buddhism that had been prevailing in this region was officially recognized as a religion in Russia. Unfortunately the Soviet leaders were not so tolerant and by the end of the 1930-s the rich and unique Buryat culture was practically totally obliterated. Mongolian script was replaced by Latin and then Cyrillic, and beautiful Buddhist temples were razed to the ground. In the past decades numerous attempts to revive Buryat culture and religion have been made and hopefully soon we could admire the beauty of this ancient culture.

Facts about Ulan-Ude
Area: 217,800 sq km (territory of Buryatia)
Location: Ulan-Ude is situated at the junction of two rivers (Uda and Selenga) between two mountain ranges: Khamar-Daban and Ulan-Burgasy. Ulan-Ude is an important commercial and industrial center of Eastern Siberia, located on the 5,640th kilometer of the Trans-Siberian railway.
Geographic coordinates: 51 50 N, 107 50 E
Population: approx 353,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 1666
Climate: The climate is contrast, as it's hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. The average temperature in January (the coldest month) is -27 C, in August (the warmest month) +22 C.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 8 hours
Area code: 3012
Major attractions: Buddhist Datsan, Ethnographic Museum, the History and Nature Museums. The lake Baikal is 250 kilometers away from Ulan-Ude.

 

Smolensk
Smolensk is a port on the Dnieper River, an important rail junction, commercial, cultural and educational center. The name of the city most probably originates from the resin ("smola" in Russian) that was extracted from the thick pine woods surrounding the town. By the end of the 9th century Smolensk had turned into a large fortified settlement and became the capital of Krivichi tribe. In the 13th century Smolensk fell out of Kievan rule as it had been sacked by the Mongols. The westward expansion of the grand duchy of Moscow made Smolensk a target of a prolonged struggle between Moscow and Poland-Lithuania. More than once it passed from hand to hand. At last it was given over to Russia by the Treaty of Andrusov (1667). This city, due to its important strategic location on the road to Moscow, played a considerable part in Patriotic War against Napoleon and World War II.

Facts about Smolensk
Area: 166,35 sq km
Location: Smolensk is a city in Western Russia, an important port on the Dnieper River.
Geographic coordinates: 54 79 N, 32 05 E
Population: approx 350,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 863
Climate: The climate of Smolensk is moderate-continental with a warm summer and cold winter. The average annual temperature is 4,6 degrees above zero. The coldest month is January (-9,4 C), the warmest is July (+17,1 C).
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Area code: 0812
Major attractions: Kremlin and town walls, Uspensky Cathedral, several 12th-century churches, monuments to Kutuzov and to the composer M. I. Glinka.

 

Pskov
The ancient Russian city of Pskov has a rich cultural and natural heritage which can be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. Pskov is the regional center of the Pskov region and it plays a very large role in the governance of the region. Situated between Estonia, St Petersburg and Riga, Pskov is a wonderful place to stay. Not only can you view the many local attractions of this incredibly old Russian city, but you can also catch a train to the more famous cities of Moscow and St Petersburg to visit more well known attractions such as the Kremlin and Red Square. To say that Pskov is an old city is an understatement, it celebrated its 1 100 year anniversary in the year 2003. It is one of the oldest cities in Russia and though it's alive with business and development, one cannot but help notice its timelessness. Beautiful Russian buildings and Cathedrals stand out against the sky in their own charming manner. There are also ancient fortresses and monasteries which are worth visiting. An interesting amalgamation of Eastern and Western Culture compliments this rich heritage and charms and surprises the visitor. Today, Pskov has a very well developed business structure. The mineral and natural resources are harvested and sold and a large portion of the Russia's electrical appliances are manufactured here. The tourism industry is also fast growing and there are fabulous hotels, restaurants and nightspots to cater for this trend. Transport systems are well developed and you can catch a bus, train, aeroplane or even boat with relative ease in this well established and grand old city. Only some four hours from St Petersburg, it's a treat.

Facts about Pskov
Area: 8,829 hectares
Location: Located on the Velikaya River flowing into the Lake Pskov.
Geographic coordinates: 57 50 N, 28 20 E
Population: approx 200,000 (2005 est.)
Foundation: 903
Climate: The climate is temperate continental. The average January temperature is -5 N, the average July temperature is +18 C.
UTC/GMT Offset: UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Area code: 8112
Major attractions: Church of Mikhail and Gavriil Archangels, Mirozhsky Monastery, the Fortress of Pskov.

 

Ufa
Ufa is the capital of multinational sovereign Bashkortostan within the Russian Federation. The city lies approximately 60 miles West of the ancient Ural Mountain ridges. Major industrial cities such as Samara, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, Orenburg are located in the immediate vicinity of Ufa. The capital of Bashkortostan lies upon a peninsula of sorts, occupying an elevated plateau encompassed from the three sides by the Aghidel (the Belaya), the Ufa and the Dyoma rivers. As in the whole of the Urals, the climate here is continental, but somewhat milder than in Yekaterinburg and Perm. Winters are normally snowy and cold (average January temperature is 5° F) and summers are hot (up to 65° F in June). The city of today consists of a number of detached districts, stretching from SW to NE for more than 30 miles, occupying the area of approximately 180 sq. mi. The population of the city is over 1,100,000 people.


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