Russia is a country with a rich history, and there are plenty of famous landmarks in Russia to visit – both architectural and natural.
Moscow, of course, is home to the Kremlin, Red Square, Lenin’s Mausoleum and St Basil’s Cathedral. All four of these Moscow landmarks are within a few hundred yards of each other and, in fact, if you stand in the centre of Red Square (Krasnaya Ploschad), you can see all four at the same time! The Kremlin contains four historic cathedrals and the same number of palaces. It is also the official residence and offices of the Russian President. Because of this, the term ‘The Kremlin’ is often used as shorthand for the Russian (and before it the Soviet) government, in much the same way that ‘The White House’ is used as a political term in the United States. (Russia also has a White House, by the way – the Belyi Dom, which is also a government building, famous for being besieged by Boris Yeltsin in the early 1990s).
Also visible from Red Square is St Basil’s Cathedral. Perhaps the most famous Russian landmark of them all, this iconic church was built between 1555 and 1561 by Ivan IV, and used to mark the centre of Moscow. The church is now government owned, and operates primarily as a museum. Just across the square is Lenin’s Tomb, which can also be visited by tourists, although beware of the often grumpy guards, who won’t tolerate and slow visitors.
Other famous Moscow sights include Gorky Park (made famous by the book and film), the Ostankino TV tower (which at 540 metres in height was the highest free standing tower in Europe for more than 40 years) and the Seven Sisters, a series of Moscow skyscrapers built between 1947 and 1953 in a dramatic combination of Gothic and Russian Baroque architecture.
There are also many St Petersburg landmarks worth visiting. As Tsarist Russia’s capital city for many years, it is filled with historical palaces. The most well known landmark in St Petersburg is the St Petersburg Winter Palace. Built between 1754 and 1665, the palace is today home to the Russian Hermitage Museum, with a stunning collection of artworks. Just across from the Winter Palace is the Alexander Column, a 47 metre high monument erected in 1834 to commemorate the defeat of Napoleon.
The most famous Russia landmarks are in its major cities, such as Moscow and St Petersburg, but don’t forget that Russia is a big country, and there is plenty to see outside of these traditional tourist cities as well. For example, Lake Baikal in Siberia is an outstanding area of natural beauty. It’s the world’s deepest and largest freshwater lake. The nearby city of Irkutsk, is also a rich source of beautiful architecture, especially of wooden Siberian buildings. Nearer to Moscow are the Golden Ring cities, which contain many historical Russian orthodox churches and monasteries, as well as some splendid examples of kremlins (although everyone automatically thinks of the Kremlin in Moscow, the word actually means ‘fortress’ and there are many examples scattered throughout Russia.
That concludes our tour of landmarks of Russia. Please feel free to visit the articles linked to in the article above, and in the links below, to find out more about Russian landmarks worth visiting.