For all those who are football fans, there is nothing more exciting than living the passion and adrenaline of watching a match at a FIFA World Cup. Even for those who care about football too much, when it comes to the national team things become more serious when it comes to encouraging.
While Russia is preparing to host the 64 matches that will be played in total from June 14 to July 15, it is expected that around 1 million tourists enter the country with reasons for the World Cup. And of course, while football, in this case, is the engine of the trip to Russia, once in destination, it is advisable to use free time to travel and learn about the wealth of a nation that has marked the history of the world for centuries.
Below we give you a list of the 7 most emblematic places that every traveler should not miss on their first trip to Russia:
1) The Red Square
This famous square in the heart of Moscow is recognized from a distance by its characteristic set of buildings, which include the Cathedral of St. Basil with its colorful domes and the palace of government among others. In spite of its name, in reality, this square is not called red because of the color of its bricks, but it comes from the Russian word ” Krasnaya ” which is used to say that something is “red” and “pretty” at the same time.
Although this term was used first for a particular section of the square, nowadays it was extended to the whole place. Since it is a public space, access is free and can be visited at any time of the day and time of year.
2. Moscow Kremlin
Worldwide known as Kremlin, its size imposes since inside the fortified complex there are several towers, cathedrals and the central palace, former residence of the Tsars, and today place where the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, lives.
Partially destroyed by Napoleon in the nineteenth century, it was restored a few decades later, and today it is preserved as the heritage of the entire Russian nation. There are different museums that can be visited inside the Kremlin.
3. St. Basil’s Cathedral
Along with the Red Square, probably one of the most characteristic buildings of Russia. Just seeing it is enough to know that we are in the Asian giant, especially for its domes with unique shapes and colors. Originally sent to build by Tsar Ivan the Terrible between 1555 and 1561, it has survived numerous renovations and even an attempt at demolition.
Although it is a World Heritage Site, it does not represent the center of the Russian Orthodox Church, but its fame comes more from its proximity to the Kremlin building. The visit to this cathedral is must when you are in Moscow.
4. Lake Baikal
Although this lake is almost at the opposite end of the country, its particular beauty makes it worth a trip there. And if it can be done on the trans-Siberian train, much better! Lake Baikal is one of the largest freshwater reserves on the planet, and also has the record of being the deepest lake on earth with an approximate depth of 1,642 meters.
As a curious fact, some animals have been observed at the bottom of the lake that can only live thanks to the great water pressure at that depth.
5. City of Saint Petersburg
The other must stop in Russia is the “Venice of the North”. This is how it is known in St. Petersburg, a city founded at the beginning of the 18th century by Tsar Peter the Great, for its more than 400 bridges that cross the Neva River. It is the second most populous city in Russia and without a doubt a commercial, political, artistic and cultural center at the height of many other great cities of the world.
Famous for its baroque architecture, some key buildings to visit are Kunstkamera museum, next to the cathedral of St. Isaac and Our Lady of Kazan, and of course the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, similar in appearance to the St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow.
6. City of Kazan
Another Russian gem, a little less known, but definitely worth a visit. This city built on the banks of the Volga River is recognized as the “third capital” of the country. In fact, the city is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan and is established as an important cultural, economic and religious center of Russia.
Of the most famous constructions, and must-sees in Kazan are the numerous Orthodox churches along with the famous Qol Šärif mosque. Also, just get here to realize that the Kremlin is not exclusive to Moscow, Kazan also has his. This was built by Ivan the Terrible, and inside is the Cathedral of the Annunciation, which is the oldest building in the complex, and the only Russian church of the 16th century to have six pillars and five apses.
Sochi takes us directly to think about the Winter Olympics that it organized in 2014, an event that has decisively driven not only the economic and infrastructure growth of the city but also its international projection. The ski season and the bathing season are given over to receive the millions of tourists, about four per year, who choose Sochi as a holiday destination or as a stop on their tourist route.