Russia holds a wealth of sightseeing opportunities across all nine of its time zones, incorporating the largest forestland and freshwater supply in the world. It's little wonder that Russians refer to their country as the Motherland - it is, undeniably, a bountiful place. Seeing Russia in all her glory would be a mighty, and time-consuming, feat.
In St Petersburg, the State Hermitage Museum captures ancient to modern Russian history in the six buildings which make up the Winter Palace - the former residence of the tsars. The Moscow Kremlin is a wonder to behold; alongside it is Red Square, Moscow's broad and bustling city square flanked by the famous Basil Cathedral. The Bolshoi Ballet Theatre, in neighbouring Theatre Square, is one of the most ornate theatres in the world and is home to the world's oldest and most successful ballet company.
There is, however, more to see by way of both history and natural splendour. Russia is jokingly referred to as the 'lungs of Europe' due to the expansive forestland, which is said to absorb about 15 percent of the world's carbon dioxide. As you progress east, the forest becomes more dense and overwhelming. The best way to take in the Russian countryside is by train, as the Trans-Siberian Railway winds southeast from Moscow on the same route that once transported prisoners of Stalin's purges to gulag labour camps. Those in search of natural beauty should also consider travelling down to Lake Baikal, the deepest and largest lake (by volume) in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Kremlin is a fortress surrounded by a thick red wall interspersed with 20 towers that was built between 1482 and 1495. The complex consists of a number of glittering, golden-domed churches and palaces, museums, residences, offices, assembly halls and monuments. It was home... see full details
Red Square is a dramatic cobbled square in the centre of Moscow. Originally the city's marketplace, the square also served as a public gathering place to celebrate festivals, listen to government announcements or witness executions, especially common during the reign of Ivan the Terrible.... see full details
St Basil's Cathedral
St Basil's Cathedral stands on the edge of Moscow's Red Square, and is the most famous landmark in Russia. Its striking design was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible to commemorate his victorious military campaign against the Tartar Mongols at Kazan in 1552. Legend has... see full details
Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre
Moscow's oldest and most famous theatre, the Bolshoi, dates from 1824 and is home to world-renowned opera and ballet companies. Completely rebuilt after a fire in 1856, the grand building is a masterpiece of Russian neoclassicism, including an eight-columned entrance porch topped by the... see full details
The Tretyakov Gallery houses some of the great masterpieces of traditional Russian art from before the Revolution and has the world's finest collection of Russian icons from the 11th to the 17th-centuries. The gallery's collection of paintings, graphics and sculptures covers Russian art from... see full details
The Winter Palace and the Hermitage Museum
The magnificent green, white and gold Winter Palace is superbly situated on the banks of the Neva River. At 656 foot-long (200m), the Russian Baroque building is the biggest and most lavishly decorated palace in the city. It was the official residence of... see full details
Almost three miles (5km) long, Nevsky Prospekt is one of the best-known streets in Russia and is the main thoroughfare of St Petersburg. The Nevsky Prospekt starts at the Admiralty building whose gilded spire is a famous city landmark, passes the Moscow Railway Station... see full details
St Isaac's Cathedral
The golden dome of St Isaac's Cathedral dominates the skyline of St Petersburg, with the colonnade around the cupola offering superb panoramic views over the city. It was commissioned by Tsar Alexander I to be a magnificent imperial cathedral, and the ensuing masterpiece was... see full details
Poklonnaya Hill means 'bow hill', and lies in the west part of Moscow. Historically, is was a spot for Western visitors to pay homage to the city before entering. Today it is a beacon to Russia's military strength, having withstood invasions by both Napoleon... see full details
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
After Napoleon retreated from Russia, Tsar Alexander I declared that a cathedral be built in remembrance of the soldiers who had died defending Mother Russia. The original cathedral took more than 40 years to build. Decades later the cathedral was demolished by Stalin (who... see full details
Borodino Panorama Museum
The battle of Borodino is regarded as the bloodiest of the Napoleonic battles, seeing over 70,000 casualties in a single day and leading Napoleon to brand the Russians as 'invincible'. The Borodino Panorama Museum was inaugurated in 1960 and serves as an exhibit of... see full details
Taken together, Moscow's Metro stations amount to the most beautiful public transport facility in the world. Visitors to Moscow should not miss taking a ride on this glorious underground rail system, and exploring the stations. Each one has its own, distinct aesthetic, variously adorned... see full details
Consisting of a circuit of historic cities northeast of Moscow, the Golden Ring is a popular tourist route for travellers in Russia. The cities are popular for their distinctive architecture (recognizable for the uniquely-Russian onion-shaped domes and colourful ornamentation), and their tradition of handmade craftsmanship,... see full details