Spotlight on Russia

Russia is the world`s largest state and a country with tradition and culture stretching back to the early first millennium. Some of the most famous architectural, historical and cultural monuments in Russia are included in the UNESCO list of Universal Heritage Objects, including the Moscow Kremlin and Red Square, the historic centre of St. Petersburg and the palace and park complexes of its suburbs. Other sites include the whitestone monuments of Vladimir-Suzdal and cities of the "Russian Golden Ring," Troitse-Sergieva Lavra in Sergiev Posad and the Ascension Church in Kolomenskoye. Russian territory is vast, with many zones of much interest.

Moscow is the capital of Russia and its political, scientific, historical, architectural and business centre, from which power and might of the Russian state developed. Moscow is the barometer and nucleus of the changes sweeping through Russia. Nowhere are Russia's contrasts more apparent than here - ancient monasteries and ultra-modern monoliths stand side by side, and New Russian millionaires and poverty-stricken pensioners walk the same streets. Moscow's history lies in layers. In the Kremlin, for instance, both Ivan the Terrible and Stalin orchestrated their terrors; Napoleon watched Moscow burn; Lenin fashioned the dictatorship of the proletariat; Kruschev directed the cold war and Gorbachev unleashed perestroika.

St. Petersburg – Founded by Peter I in 1703, this beautiful city became the designated capital of Imperial Russia from 1712 to 1914. St. Petersburg was a gateway to the West and a distinctly European metropolis with Baroque and neo-classical mansions. The second-largest city in Russia and the country’s principal seaport, St. Petersburg boasts some of the world’s finest art museums, opulent palaces and one of the world’s most talented ballet companies. Many monuments and palaces in and around St. Petersburg are being carefully restored; they represent an important facet of the country’s rich historical and cultural heritage. Some of the world’s most magnificent art treasures are housed in the famous Hermitage; several other museums boast fine collections by Russian and international artists. Strolling down Nevsky Prospect, you will realize the pride of St. Petersburg’s stoic citizens as the former glamour and opulence of its stately buildings begin to emerge once again.

Novgorod, capital of Novgorod region, NW European Russia, on the Volkhov River near the point where it leaves Lake Ilmen. Novgorod's industries produce chemicals, fertilizer, and wood and food products. It has a major tourism industry. The magnificent architectural monuments of Novgorod earned it the name the “museum city” until World War II, when it was held by the Germans (1941–44) and suffered great damage. Chief among the losses was the 12th-century kremlin, on the left river bank, containing the Cathedral of St. Sophia (founded 1045). On the right bank, the former commercial center, were numerous medieval churches and a museum of old Russian art. Many of the damaged buildings have been restored, but their frescoes are lost.

Kiev is one of the most beautiful capital cities in Europe. There are dozens of architecturally beautifully old world churches to see. In the very center of town you will find Saint Sophia Cathedral modeled after the great Sophia Cathedral in Constantinople. Another must see is the Perchera Lavara, a complex of churches that occupies an entire hill with underground catacombs of mummified priests. The city also boasts an excellent dining scene, and there are exciting themed bars and cafes that visitors will definitely enjoy visiting. There are also splendid tree lined avenues to enjoy a romantic evening stroll and take in the sculptures throughout the city.

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Agents who have been to Russia...