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Russian Culture To Do in Moscow To Do in Saint-Petersburg Top Travelers Advices Traveling in Russia

3 reasons why to do dog-trekking in Russia (in Moscow and in Saint-Petersburg)

What is dog-trekking?

Dog-trekking in Moscow
Dog-trekking in Moscow

 

Dog-trekking becomes more popular every year amongst nature and animal lovers especially, who want to combine their passions for fresh air, natural landscapes and interaction with animals together. So, basically dog-trekking is an activity when a dog is strapped to one’s back with a rope and together with a dog you go for a walk in the nature – to the forest or alongside the river bank. The dogs are taking people for a walk actually as they are the ones guiding trough the nature. Hereunder you may find 3 good reasons why to do dog-trekking in Russia this summer or every other summer possible:

Trekking in the Nature in Moscow
Trekking in the Nature in Moscow

 

  • To enjoy natural landscapes

For more than anything else, dog-trekking is famous for the opportunity it gives to enjoy the nature. Dog-trekking is usually done in the most beautiful and picturesque places of an area. In Moscow, for instance, where we do our Tsar Visit dog-trekking + kayaking tour, people walk alongside the Moscow River and they can see the unique rope bridge and enjoy cool summer winds from the river. Also, people go through the forest with different fresh water streams and flower fields.

Dog-trekking in Saint-Petersburg
Dog-trekking in Saint-Petersburg

 

  • To meet husky dogs of 4 northern breeds

Dog-trekking is an activity that is focused on dogs – main protagonists. In Russia the dogs’ breed is naturally husky – Siberian huskies, Alaskan huskies, Laikas and Malamuts. These dogs have an absolute love for humans and they are happy to play and hug with you. Tsar Visit dog-trekking tour usually begins with meeting all the dogs and playing with them. After this unforgettable moment with all the huskies, you will be able to choose one dog with who you would like to go trekking in the forest!

 

Kayaking on Moscow River after dog-trekking
Kayaking on Moscow River after dog-trekking

 

  • To do sports while trekking with husky dogs

What you should know about dog-trekking is that it is more than just a walk – it is a sports activity. Although it requires no special preparation and no special abilities, you still have to be prepared for doing sports. 5-km route that we propose on Tsar Visit in Moscow and in St. Petersburg contains various parts that require some speed and balance. Moreover, huskies are a strong and extremely active breed, so you must be very focused during the trip. Also, in Moscow you may add kayaking to your tour and your route will be 6-km of dog-trekking and 6-km back on kayaks with professional instructors. In Saint Petersburg after the dog-trekking tour you will be able to do some rowboat riding on a wonderful lake!

Rowboat riding on the lake in St. Petersburg
Rowboat riding on the lake in St. Petersburg

 

To sum up, dog-trekking is a very new, but already extremely popular activity in Russia. Both in Moscow and in St. Petersburg it is famous for being a great opportunity to spend time on fresh air observing beautiful natural landscapes, reuniting with animals, studying about husky breed and doing sports at the same time!

Dog-Trekking in Russia
Dog-Trekking in Russia

 

We definitely recommend you to go for it and if you do, you will cherish those memories forever!

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Did you know? Russian Culture To Do in Moscow To Do in Saint-Petersburg

5 reasons to visit and try famous Russian Sauna in 2020

It is probable that at least once in your lifetime you have heard about Russian Sauna, or so called “banya” and its traditions. It was created long time ago and converted into a real cultural phenomenon with its own rules. Let us give 5 good reasons to try genuine Russian Banya in 2020:

1. Try an activity that has 2500 y.o. How was the banya created?

The origins of the banya date back to the 5th century BC. We trace its birth in Ukraine, where the banya was made of pieces of wood used as a structure to hold a felt cloth. At the middle of this space was a kettle filled with water where heated rocks were plunged.  Slowly, this sauna culture became a part of the Slavic life. It was celebrating religious events and family traditional holidays such as birthdays and weddings.

Banya was accessible for the richest and the poorest. The richest had their own banya area allowing them to have more comfort and privacy. The poorest who did not own a banya, heated their ovens and wet the walls of their houses to create a slight sensation of humidity.

The access to the banya became widely democratized thereafter. Common and public spaces were created to bring the entire population together in one place. Luxury banyas were opened for the richest, such as Sanduny Baths in Moscow, for example. These spaces offered to their customers exceptional furniture and more comfort as well as better customer services.

Sanduny Baths - Moscow
Spectacular Sanduny Baths – Moscow

2. Learn how to do the Russian Sauna and teach your friends!

As Russian Sauna is a real tradition, it has to be done the good way. Today the banya is composed of a wooden space with a wood-burning stove. It is important to prepare the banya in advance so that it can be very hot. When the temperature reaches between 80-100 C degrees, you can begin the activity.

Put on your bathing suit and sit on one of the benches along the wall of the banya. Watch out! The higher you sit, the hotter you’ll get! So, if you’re not sure you can stand the heat, start by sitting on the lower bench. Once on your bench, you can sprinkle water with essential oils on the hot stones placed above the stove to warm and humidify the room.

Shake your towel over your head if you want the heat to circulate in the banya.

A session lasts between 5 and 15 minutes, depending on your resistance to heat. As the banya is much hotter, the sessions are shorter than those in a classic sauna.

The goal at the end of the session is to cause a thermal shock to your body. You can jump in the cold pool, or spill the bucket with cold water on your head or, if you are in winter, roll in the snow or jump into a frozen lake.

Cold jump after banya
Jump into a frozen lake after Banya session in winter

3. The benefits of Russian Sauna

The advantages of the banya are worldwide known and confirmed by specialists:

  • From inside: it cleans the body by eliminating toxins
  • From outside: it removes dead skin and cleans pores
  • Russian Sauna is the best cure to insomnia and daily anxiety
  • Banya helps human lungs to recharge and work better

The extreme change in temperature also allows the body to gain strength and develops the immune system. There’s no doubt that after a banya session you’ll sleep like a baby!

Russian Banya with friends in winter
Russian Banya with friends in winter

4. The reason why Russian Banya should be done in groups of friends or with family

Visiting Russian Sauna is highly recommended to do with closest friends or family. Banya is, all in all, a limited space where you are almost naked.

Between each session, it is common to get together to drink tea and eat some fruits or to drink cold beer with snacks while playing cards or just chatting.

According to lots of stories, in business, many contracts are discussed and signed in banya and the agreement is usually concluded by drinking one shot of vodka! In Russia businessmen and political figures are usually going to the Russian Sauna together, in order to discuss important matters in complete privacy.

If you travel to Russia, it’s a legendary activity to organize with your family or friends! Don’t hesitate to check our traditional banya tour !

5. Russian Sauna = connection with Nature. Why is Russian banya so priceless?

If Russians regularly practice banya, it is also because it allows them to reconnect with nature and put everyday worries aside. In St. Petersburg, we can organize for you a traditional banya in the forest, after a dog-trekking hike!

Banya is practiced naked and people are surrounded by the simplest elements of nature: wood, heat, water, snow, stones… Banya is considered to be a way to enjoy the wonders that nature offers to recharge one’s batteries.

Russians also have a tradition of whipping themselves with bouquets made of birch or oak branches. This bouquet is called “Venik”. It is plunged in a bucket of cold water and then used to whip itself. This process has many benefits:

  • Reactivates blood circulation: because of the heat, the vessels are “asleep”. Whipping them with the Venik – reactivates.
  • Accelerates sweating: the contact of the Venik on the skin activates perspiration.
  • Removes dead skin: the contact of the leaves and branches will allow the dead skin to peel off.
  • Venik process is not painful. Vice versa, it feels amazing – especially after!
Banya Tour - Russia
Doing Russian Sauna with Venik

You want to try banya when travelling to Russia? Book your tour with us on www.tsarvisit.com !

 

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To Do in Saint-Petersburg Top

Top 4: Unusual Things To Do in Saint Petersburg

Are you bored to see tourists everywhere you wanna go? Do you feel like you want to explore areas others haven’t? You can unearth places like that even in Peter! (yeah, that’s another way to call Saint-Petersburg, way more popular in real life than “The Venice of North”) Thanks to this top 4, you’ll bring back home unique pictures and memories, and everybody’s gonna tell you: wow, where have been? where have you seen that?… Now you’re wondering what exactly, I’m gonna tell you.

In Moscow? Check this unusual top 3!

  • Saint Petersburg Secret Roofs

Many people have already seen outstanding videos and pictures on St-Petersburg from its roof. But few had the opportunity to actually go there, and pretend to be one of the Hermitage’s cats. Several locals started “mini-businesses” and let you access the roofs through their stairs. For the view, the feeling of breaking the rules, the adrenaline and for the likes on Instagram, take the stairs and explore another side of this surprising city! But careful when roofs are wet or icy, you wouldn’t let your annoying step-sister fall…

Picture: View from Saint-Petersburg's roofs © Dreamstime
View from Saint-Petersburg’s roofs
  • St-Anne’s Church-Theater (Annenkirche)

Building shared by a lutheran congregation and a liberal theater company, St-Anne’s Church Theater is the doorstep of Peter’s underground. Hidden in a small street, the building had a long history, built as a church it became a theater and a nightclub that burnt in 2002. Restored on popular initiatives it remains a strange and amazing building half-burnt but slowly rising again. There you’ll meet interesting people and will be able to explore the whole building (including the mysterious and very scary undergrounds) by yourself. This place is actually great for photo shoots (especially if you like to pretend that you’re so “out of the tracks”) or if you want to appear as a muzhik by protecting your so… but don’t bring your kids, they’ll have nightmares.

Picture: Gloomy Interior of St. Anne's Lutheran Church (Annenkirche), Saint-Petersburg
Gloomy Interior of St. Anne’s Lutheran Church (Annenkirche), Saint-Petersburg

If you like this kind of original, non-touristic places, try our tour “like a local” of St Petersburg.

  • Loft Project ETAGI

This surprising building in the heart of St Petersburg is a center of cultural life for many artists, hipsters and all curious people. There, you’ll find progressive exhibitions, workshops and original events. For example, you may meet real huskies and play with them while sitting on a swing on the 4th floor of the building. While your new-made Petersburgian friends may enjoy a meal in the food-court in the basement, you might head up to the rooftop and enjoy the rays of sun while sipping mulled-wine or a milkshake. Across the different floors, you’ll probably pop into one of the shops selling all sorts of things from clothes to graffiti equipment, nail bars and green cafes. You’ll even find a container alley and a sock vending machine (yes, yes, a machine that sells socks, some with pikachus, some with unicorns, and many others).

Picture: Main entrance to Loft Proyekt Etazhi © Eva Delaunay
Picture: Main entrance to Loft Proyekt Etazhi
  • «Pushkinskaya-10» Art Center

This is the only non-governmental, self-regulated and independent art center of St Petersburg, and probably even of Russia. In this creative place, you may try yourself at painting by taking drawing classes, or simply discover contemporary art from local and international artists. If you fell like you want to keep concrete memories from this unique place, you may buy paintings or books, and even music! An since St Petersburg underground is a vibrant and fashionable topic, people there will be pleased to inform you about its history.

«Pushkinskaya-10» Art-Center © Eva Delaunay
«Pushkinskaya-10» Art-Center

If you’re really fond of art and prefer to see real Russian art across all ages, then the State Russian museum was made for you.

 

Want to know more about Russia? Read more on our Travel Blog!

Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!

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Top 5: Street food in Russia

Time is always precious, especially if you are on a trip visiting another country. You may not have time to look for a restaurant and wait for your meal to be ready. Street food is often the best solution to get the energy to go exploring the country. Russia, despite the arrival of fast food giants, has its own types of street food that you might enjoy as well. Here are some of the best ( and I personally tested them for you!).

  • Shawarma

The question of who created Shawerma is still a source of tension but we are not here to discuss it today. Shawerma arrived in Russia through the Caucasus and extended its influence over all Russia, from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific ocean. It’s the most popular food among the young generation of Russians and students (maybe because it stays open until late in the night).

It is usually composed of chicken, sheep or beef meat, marinated and sliced in thin slices. It is rolled up in a Lavash bread with different vegetables likes tomatoes or cucumbers and sauce.

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  • Pirozhki

One of the most famous traditional Russian meal. The best are of course the home-made ones by a real “Babushka”, but you can still find good ones in the streets of every Russian city. A pirojok, which is the singular form of Pirozhki, is a type of pastry stuffed with different fillings. It goes from stewed fruits, like apples or berries, to marinated beef with onions or mashed potatoes and mushrooms.

WARNING !!! never forget to ask what is inside the Pirozhok or you might eat one expecting a sweet fruit taste and end up with some boiled cabbage (happened to me once).

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  • Pelmeni

As for Shawarma, Pelmeni are not a traditional Russian food, it comes from Siberia and is now one of the most favorite food of Russians. In Siberia, they used to be frozen outdoors and then carried by explorers but nowadays no need for Siberian winter, a simple refrigerator is enough.

Pelmeni are a type of dumpling filled with various meat (pork, beef, chicken,…) or with mushrooms. They often come with Smetana, a milk product close to sour cream that Russians appreciate a lot.

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  • Blini

Blini is a Russian traditional Pancake. It is so much popular that there even is a whole fast food brand dedicated to this dish, Teremok. In those restaurants, you can find different types of blinis with different topping both sweet and salty. It often comes with soup like Borscht or shchi. It is a good alternative if you don’t want to go to the same fast food as usual ( no need to name it, you know what I mean).

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  • Boiled corn

This might sound strange to some people but Boiled corn is really a thing in Russia. You can find small shops selling those in every park and even in train stations. It is quite cheap and nourishing, especially in cold weather.

Plus scientists say it’s healthy to eat corn so why not try 😉

dreamstime_l_101703260

 

Discover more of Russia on TSAR VISIT!

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Top 5: Aquaparks in Moscow

Are you staying in Moscow over the Summer and still would want to get a feeling of being on vacation during weekends? Want to spend time with your family and forget about the heat? Here are our top 5 Aquaparks:

  • Kva Kva Park

Not the closest Aquapark, since it is located 1km away from the MKAD, the ring road encircling Moscow, on the Yaroslavsky Shosse. The always hospitable and cozy, always clean and safe, always sunny and joyful Kva-Kva park is one of the best destinations for the whole family: 7 large slides, a large wave pool, hot steam rooms, a fabulous blue lagoon with mysterious caves and a large aqua zone for children. Even in winter, Kva Kva is the place where you can get a feeling of Summer.

 

dreamstime_xl_20004477website (only in Russian) : kva-kva.ru

 

AddressKommunisticheskaya St., 1Mytishchi 141011

For more information about this park click here!

 

  • Moreon (Yasenevo)

Are you looking for space and variety? Then Moreon is the place as it is the largest Aquapark in the capital with an area of 25,000 square meters! Unrestrained fun, joy, and happiness: a wave pool, 6 slides, a spa zone, a Thermal zone with lots of steam rooms. Moreon is rightfully considered one of the best water parks in Moscow and the Moscow region. I recommend to visit the Moscow Aquapark Moreon!

 

img5752_1419594840source : aquapark.more-on.ru (only in Russian)

 

Address: Golubinskaya St, 16

For more information about this park click here!

 

  • Karibia

This is one of the largest water parks in Moscow and the Moscow region and ideal for you, if you go there with your children. 20 000 square meters of summer and joy: 4 slides, a large wave pool, saunas, 2 hammams, a children’s aquazone, bubbling Jacuzzi. The unique design of the Moscow aquapark Karibia impresses even the most sophisticated guests and it has the right to be called one of the best water parks in Moscow. It is located close to the Perovo metro station, which makes it easily accessible by public transportation, so for those who have no car, Karibia is the place to go to.

 

gallery_big_2source : karibiya.ru/akvazona (only in Russian)

 

Address: Zeleny prospekt, 10b

For more information about this park click here!

 

  • Fantasy

Are you looking for already tested places? Then Fantasy is the place because it is one of the first Aquaparks in Moscow. It was opened in 2003 and has since then been a center for family recreation with its 5 water slides, a large wave pool, an aqua zone for children. Fantasy definitely deserves to be in the top 5 of Moscow’s Aquaparks.

 

akva_18source: fpark.ru/o-parke

 

Address: Lyublinskaya St., 100

For more information about this park click here!

 

  • Alye Parusa

Alye Parusa is slightly more expensive than its competitors. Not everyone can get here, but the stunning architecture of the Alye Parusa water park creates an unforgettable atmosphere of tranquility. This premium class place has a Swimming pool, a lagoon with mysterious caves, a wave pool, a bubbling Jacuzzi, water slides and, of course, saunas. A shallow pool is provided for children, in which the youngest visitors can safely swim. Alye Parusa is definitely worth a visit!

 

aquaparkalyeparusa-532701eb7a37f_620_416Source: chips-journal.ru

 

Address: Aviatsionnaya Ulitsa, 79

Unfortunately I only found a Russian website for this one, guess it’s time to learn Russian)

 

Want to book a guided tour? Check out Tsar Visit!

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Top 6: Bars and Restaurants in St. Petersburg

Capital of Imperial Russia and cultural capital of the Russian Federation, SPB is always worth a visit. With its stunning architecture, and cheap prices (compared to Moscow), SPB is the perfect place to go to over the weekend. Here are our top 6 places to go to:

  • “Krysha 18” 

Are you a fan of bars with nice views? Then Krysha 18 is ideal for you! From the windows you get a stunning view of the Petrograd Embankment and the famous cruiser “Avrora”. During Summer, guests can enjoy the nice and sunny weather on an open-air terrace with a view over the old city of St Petersburg. The staff creates their own, new menu for each season with different dishes and special cocktails, which makes this spot special.

img5Credit: www.kryshamira.ru

Address: Kutuzovsky Ave, 12

  • Restaurant-Karaoke Bar “DoZari”

Do you like to sing after a couple of drinks? Do you want to enjoy the Neva and SPB’s famous bridges? “DoZari” is located at the shores of the Neva, and it gives you the possibility to enjoy some good music, cocktails and a view on the city’s famous bridges. A mix of Russian and Pan-European cuisines, the place is ideal for Lunch, Dinner and Drinks with friends on weekends, to have a blast.  

One of the particularities of the restaurant is that every guest can rent a cell, with keys, in the restaurant’s shelves (for spirits) to store their own alcohol.

6Credit: www.dozaribar.ru

Address: Prospekt Dobrolyubova, 14

  • Chika Bar

Have you ever wondered why almost all the restaurants in Russia offer dishes from different cuisines? It makes things much easier for guests. Everyone has their cravings. Chika Bar offers Japanese, Italian and European cuisines. It is a go-to place for Lunch, Dinner, to watch a Football match, and in the late evening it turns into a club, hosting some of the best DJ’s of the city. So, you can come and enjoy music and have some drinks with your friends! It also has a separated Karaoke room, for those who like to sing.

original_52b0292240c0888d378b6ce9_5afbeacc75016Credit: www.zoon.ru

Address: Ulitsa Podvoyskogo, 38

 

  • The Office Nargilia Lounge

Want to chill with your friends? If you just want to relax and spend time with your friends, then “the Office” is the ideal place located in the center of SPB, on Rubinstein Street, which is well-known for its high concentration in restaurants and bars. Decent food (Italian, Japanese and others cuisines) and some unusual cocktails. On week-ends DJ’s play music, so that guests can relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

57465d8a5195df7a238b456b_5ac2652a2cdbcCredit: www.zoon.ru

Address: Novolesnaya 8, 12

 

  • Scandal Bar

Do you like mixing things up? Starting with pre-drinks and then go out with your friends? Then Scandal bar is the ideal place, with its 4 floors, each floor having a different purpose, located in the Nevsky Prospekt area. You won’t need to move from one bar to another! The first floor (karaoke), is ideal for amateur-singers, who will get to sing their favorite songs. On the second floor, you have a lounge, where you can relax with your friends, and play PlayStation. It is ideal for pre-drinks! For guests who need a dancefloor, they can go to the third floor and enjoy themselves and watch Go Go dancers put on a show! A fourth floor is to be introduced soon!

original_57e1fab88735c8d8218b456c_59ad36466a57aCredit: www.scandalbar.ru

Address: Ulitsa Lomonosova, 2

 

  • Street food café and Bar “Vaffel and Wine”

If you are looking for some unusual food in the city, then this is the place! Norwegian wafers remain unchanged from one order to the other, with a soft base. But the fillings are chosen by the guests. At your choice – pumpkin, ham, chicken, fish, cheese. If you have a sweet tooth, wafers with apples, berries, marshmallows or nuts are available.  

6D3A1856-EditCredit: www.vaffelspb.com

Address: Gorokhovaya Street, 41

Want to book a tour? Check out our website Tsar Visit!

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Traveling in Russia

Tsarskoye Selo

Founded in 1710 and located near St Petersburg, this city used to be the residence of the emperors and empresses of the Russian empire. Tsarskoe Selo means in Russian “Village of the Tsar”, it was renamed during the Soviet period into Pushkin, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of the famous Russian poet.

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Tsarskoe Selo - Eglise de Tchesmé.jpg
Tsarskoe Selo – Tchesmé Church

The land of the future “Village of the Tsar” was first given by Peter the Great to his second wife Marta Skavronskaya, also known as Catherine I. She started the construction of a palace that would be later known as Catherine Palace. Her daughter, Empress Elizabeth I, rebuild the palace into a much bigger and more comfortable one in the flamboyant rococo style. Her successor Catherine II started the construction of the Alexander Palace for her grandson (his name was Alexander as you probably guessed). It then became the summer residence of the Tsars, and in 1905 Nicolas II moved to the Alexander Palace with his family to get away from the growing discontent in the capital (St Petersburg at the time).

After the revolution, both palaces and their parks were turned into museums. It is now one of the most visited places in Russia and a must see if you are in St Petersburg. You can book a guided tour of this city here!

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Tsarskoe Selo - Ensemble
Tsarskoe Selo – Catherine palace

The palaces host some of the finest pieces of art and architecture of Russia. In Catherine’s palace, you can stroll in the impressive great hall or light gallery. This vast reception hall covers all the width of the palace, Its windows, placed on both sides of the room, magnificently enlight it during the day (hence the name). But the real jewel of this palace is the amber room. Totally covered with amber, gold, and mirrors (you love it or you hate it!) it used to be considered as the 8th marvel of the world but it was unfortunately destroyed or lost during World War II. A replica, made using original drawings and old black and white photos, can be seen today. It took 24 years and a lot of skilled amber craftsmen to recreate it.

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Tsarskoe Selo - Salle de balle.jpg
Tsarskoe Selo – Catherine Palace – dance hall

Alexander’s Palace is not as famous as its neighbor, but still very interesting. It is the last residence of the last emperor and his family before the Bolshevik sent them to Ekaterinburg where they would be executed. The interior is very different from all the other palaces you will see (or have already seen!) in Russia. The then-modern art-nouveau style, chosen by the Tsarina Alexandra Fedorovna, was not seen as so “imperial”. In this palace you can learn about the daily life of the last emperor and his family.

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Tsarskoe Selo.jpg
Tsarskoe Selo – Garden

Both palaces possess a great garden where you can walk in the steps of the Russian emperors. If after this you don’t want to go to Russia and visit this amazing place, I don’t know what to do. But if you are willing to, then you can book a guided tour here!

Check out for other guided tour on our website TSAR VISIT!

 

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Top 10: Orthodox Russia

Despite the USSR’s attempt to eliminate religion, Russia can’t barely be pictured without cupolas, monasteries, icons and everything that looks more or less orthodox. Fortunately, these archiectural and artistic masterpieces offer tourists, expats and Russians some wonders of the world that everyone must visit! So being religious or not, follow this top and dive into one of the most important dimension of the Russian culture and history!

  • Sergiyev Posad (Moscow)

Sergiyev Posad is a small town, 2 hours away by train from Moscow. So why putting it first? Because Sergiyev Posad is considered to be the Russian Vatican. Built around a Lavra (aka a very important monastery), Sergiyev Posad must be visited for its spirituality and the magnificence of its cathedrals. Seriously, it’s beautiful, everything is located in the same place and very Russian.

Dreamstime © - Serguiev Possad - Panorama (7)

  • Suzdal (Moscow)

Another very important religious center, Suzdal is a bit futher from Moscow than Sergiyev Posad, but is as important and stunning. If you’re visiting only one of the Golden Ring’s cities, go for Suzdal. This city has been kept away from industrialisation and succeeded in  preserving the treasures given by the Russian Princes through centuries. So if you take a picture in the right angle, you’ll be able to pretend that you spent some days in the Russian countryside… as the true adventurer that you are.

Dreamstime © - Souzdal - Eglise de la Nativité (2)

  • Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood (Saint-Petersburg)

While technically not being consecrated, and so not a church, Christ the Savior on the Spilled Blood is an orthodox mausoleum. Indeed, the church has been built to mourn Alexander II’s assassination on March 1881. This is a must-do in St-Petersburg, so you should visit it. First, because everyone knows this building. Second, the inside, all covered-up by golden mosaics, is absolutely stunning. Third, because you’ll appear as super knowledgeable among your coworkers when you’ll explain them that this is not St Basil’s cathedral.

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Saint Sauveur-sur-le-Sang-Versé (4).jpg

  • Peter and Paul Cathedral (Saint-Petersburg)

Very small and definitely not as impressive on the inside as others, the Peter and Paul cathedral hosts the grave of almost all the Romanovs. In a way, the cathedral is far more impressive on the outside, but it has the perks of being really important to those who celebrate the Russian Tsars. Especially because the cathedral hosts the remains of Nicholas II and his family, butchered in 1918 by the Soviets.

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Forteresse Pierre et Paul (10).jpg

  • Kolomenskoye Domain (Moscow)

While all orthodox churches and monasteries look similar, you’ll find in the Kolomenskoye domain a simple one. I mean a church WITHOUT cupolas. So why visiting it you’d say? Why visiting something that you could find in your country? Because the Church of the Ascension is classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site. And between us these guys rarely mess things up. Indeed the Church of the Ascension is the first church made of stones in an octagonal shape in Russia! Not so common isn’t?

Dreamstime © - Kolomenskoe - Église de l'Ascension (5).jpg

  • Saint Isaac’s Cathedral (Saint-Petersburg)

St Isaac’s is interesting for two things. First it has been built and decorated taking St Peter’s of the Vatican as a model. I don’t know if you ever been in St Peter, but it’s just wow! Second because St Isaac’s Cathedral has also been thought as a museum of Russian stones. As a result you have a stunning big church made of gold, icons and colored-marbles from all Russias. You definitely have to go inside, you’ll be able able to make great pics.  

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Cathédrale Saint Isaac (13)

  • Christ the Savior (Moscow)

This one has to be seen for its history. Christ the Savior was an old white church in the very heart of Moscow. However, it has been destroyed in 1931 by order of Stalin, and replaced by a public swimming pool. While Muscovites got used to it and loved spending afternoons in this pool, the Russian government decided to destroy it and rebuild the Cathedral of the Christ the Savior, but this time as the largest of Russia.

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Cathédrale du Christ Saint-Sauveur (2).jpg

  • New Jerusalem Monastery (Moscow)

Politico-religious dream of the patriarch Nikon, the New Jerusalem Monastery intended to make Moscow the center of the orthodox world. To achieve this, the patriarch Nikon ordered in the middle of the 17th century the building of a monastery based on the Christ church of Jerusalem. But if the Istra river became the Jordan and the building are based on the same architecture, the inner decoration is fairly different. Today, the New Jerusalem Monastery hosts religious arts and must be visited!

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  • Alexander Nevsky Lavra (Saint-Petersburg)

Despite being central in the romanced history of St-Petersburg, the Alexander Nevsky Lavra is a beautiful and peaceful monastery in the heart of the Northern Capital. Maybe because of its pastel-colored buildings, its parks or simply because of its mission, the Lavra has a serene atmosphere. Enter the Lavra and dive in another world, away from the noise and the crowd.

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  • The Kremlin (Moscow)

Moscow’s Kremlin remains first and foremost known for its political dimension. But if you enter the domain, you’ll realise that it is a grouping of church behind defencing walls. Within the Kremlin, the church are older than the usual ones and still ornamented of traditional Russian arts. Plus, each church has its role and mission. Because, why building a single church when you have the space and the resources to build 3 of them?

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Did you know?

Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood

Did you know? Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood isn’t an usual church (despite its name) but rather a memorial!  Do you struggle identifying Church on the Savior on Blood and Saint Basil’s Cathedral? Well, no worries, in fact the architecture of the first mentioned was inspired by the lattest, which explains why they resemble each other so much. You’ll get more comfortable with it by reading about both of them.

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The Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood cathedral has been built in 1907 following the orders of Tsar Alexander III. However, it has been erected as a memorial and mourning place following the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, the Liberator, on March 1st 1881.

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In fact, and even if weekly requiem and sermons are given to remember Alexander II, Christ the Savior on the Spilled blood became a cathedral only in 1923. It has been closed about nine years later on the orders of the Soviet leadership to become a garbage dump. Nowadays Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood is an annex of St Isaac’s museum due to its stunning mosaics. That’s why if many believes that this world-known building is one of the most important church of St-Petersburg, it rather is, due to its history and architectural style, a memorial symbolising the Russian dilemma between liberalism and conservatism. And of course, it demonstrates (if needed) the Russian savoir-faire when it comes to architecture and religious art.

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