Russia's Must-See Sights

See the Wonders of Russia

Catherine's Palace Grounds
CC BY lyng883

The vast geography of Russia means that only a traveler with plenty of time and money can see all of its most recommended sights. But every traveler who visits Russia can see some of its top attractions, which include kremlins, palaces, churches, and natural landscapes. If you haven’t planned your trip to Russia yet and you are looking to include unforgettable experiences, consider this list of must-see sights in Russia that will make your trip unforgettable:

Moscow Must-See Sights

When you visit Moscow, be sure to include these sights on your sightseeing tour. The Moscow Kremlin, with its palaces, cathedrals, and museums, tops the list as the heart of Russia and its government seat. You will see crown jewels and other royal accoutrements at the Armory Museum’s Diamond Fund and learn about old Russia as you explore the area within the walled fortifications. Stroll through Moscow’s oldest streets to catch a glimpse of the city in its earlier iterations and ascend the Sparrow Hills to view the sprawling capital from above.

The State Tretyakov Gallery is an important house of Russian art through the ages, with Russia’s most famous and beloved artists represented. View portraits of historic figures, paintings with political undertones, and scenes from Russian peasant life.

St. Petersburg Must-See Sights

St. Petersburg is a city of overwhelming loveliness.

Sights in Russia’s second capital include the Hermitage Museum, which rivals the Louvre in size and importance, St. Petersburg-area palaces such as those of Catherine the Great and Peter the Great, and monuments such as the Bronze Horseman that have made their way, via literature and art, into the Russian consciousness.

Take a boat tour of St. Petersburg to see the city from its many canals, a perspective which reveals the pastel-colored facades of noble residences that line the waterways.

Russia’s World Heritage Sites

Russia’s World Heritage Sites are scattered throughout the country, from the outdoor museum on Kizhi Island to the remote Kamchatka Volcanoes. These protected historic, cultural, and natural sites demonstrate Russia’s diversity. Some are found easily in Russia’s cities, while others require treks over land or journeys by air or water. It’s easy to be amazed when visiting UNESCO-protected sites in Russia whether they are of architectural significance or ecological rarity.

Russia’s Golden Ring

Several historic cities make up the Golden Ring, an area near Moscow. Many of the cities are potential day trips from the capital. Seemingly untouched by time, these cities preserve cultural practices, architecture, and legends of Russia’s past, when princes were prone to religious visions and icons were thought to protect settlements from disaster. Visit sites of medieval drama, such as where Dmitri, Ivan the Terrible’s son, was murdered or churches of unearthly perfection set against the backdrop of a countryside unchanged through the centuries.

Russia’s Kremlins

Russia’s kremlins, fortified outposts that are this country’s answer to castes and fortresses, display their builders’ affinity for Eastern aesthetics and Byzantine inspiration. Cathedrals, with their onion domes rising above thick walls, and palaces, showing the wealth of their inhabitants, are typical of these monuments to medieval Russia. Each kremlin is different, each has a story to tell. Some kremlins are incredibly well preserved, their walls standing strong, their structures unravaged by time. Others are only vestiges of their former might, their defense systems crumbling or nonexistent and their edifices in disrepair. Some kremlins are connected to important figures from the past and ghosts haunt their halls. Most demonstrate old Russia’s emphasis on religion, cathedrals preserved when all else has turned to dust.