List of described attractions by federal subjects
Russia currently is divided in 83 federal subjects:
|Denisova Cave||Fossil finds, Ancient human finds, Caves|
|Chukotka Autonomous Okrug|
|Jewish Autonomous Oblast|
|Republic of Khakassia|
|Sakha (Yakutia) Republic|
|Macha crater field||Impact craters|
|Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug|
|Stone labyrinths of Bolshoi Zayatsky island||Megalith|
|Mari El Republic|
|Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow||Churches|
|Nenets Autonomous Okrug|
|Nizhny Novgorod Oblast|
|Republic of Adygea|
|Republic of Bashkortostan|
|Republic of Dagestan|
|Republic of Ingushetia|
|Republic of Kalmykia|
|Republic of Karelia|
|Republic of Mordovia|
|Republic of North Ossetia-Alania|
|Republic of Tatarstan|
Russia - map
Yartsew V.D., Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Stone settings - labyrinths nowadays are rare and valuable archaeological monuments, there have been preserved approximately 300 in the world. Some of the best preserved - 13-14 in total - are located on Bolshoi Zayatsky island.
The largest country in the world, Russia, is associated in the minds of many people with the onion domes of Orthodox churches and the massive walls of the Moscow Kremlin. But besides the unique architecture, Russia offers many more unusual and exciting attractions.
Vast tundra territories in the northern part of the country bear evidence of once plentiful, now extinct large mammals which were living together with the ancient peoples. Such monuments are Berelech mammoth cemetery (circa 10,000 - 110,000 BC) with human settlements nearby.
Russia has unique caves such as the beautiful Kungur Ice cave in Perm Krai, the 62 kilometre long Botovskaya cave in Irkutsk Oblast with a skeleton of a cave bear and the 900 metre deep Gorlo Barloga cave in Karachay-Cherkess Region.
Another outstanding monument is Popigai crater: an impact crater with a diameter of 100 kilometres. It is one of the largest in world and has been well preserved for the last 35 million years. The 16 kilometre Suavjärvi crater in Karelia is 2400 million years old. It is the known crater in the world.
There are interesting volcanoes on the Kuril islands and the Kamchatka Peninsula. Here one could find the conical giant, the 4750 metre high Klyuchevskaya Sopka and another enormous cone, the 35 - 28 metre high Kronotsky. Maly Semiachik volcano has a 500 metre wide, light green, acid lake. Among the numerous Kuril island volcanoes should be mentioned Atlasov Island, which has a beautiful cone (Vulkan Alaid) rising from the sea and Ebeko volcano with a green, acidic lake. Volcanic activities have created several geyser fields, such as the Valley of Geysers and Mutnovsky geyser valley on Kamchatka Peninsula.
In spite of the vast land area and numerous mountains, Russia has few outstanding waterfalls. The highest waterfall, approximately 600 metres high, is the Zeygalan in Northern Ossetia. Also very high is the 300 - 400 metres tall Kisenluk Waterfall in Eastern Sayan mountains. The 141 metres high Ilya Muromets waterfall on Iturup island (Kuril islands) falls directly into the ocean, while the best known could be the 11 metre high, picturesque Kivach Waterfall in the Republic of Karelia. Another unusual monument of nature is Uchar, the Big Chulchin waterfall in the Altaii mountains, where the stream falls from 160 metre high stone aggregations which sealed the Chulcha river valley some 200 years ago.
Unusual relief forms include the Krasnoyarsk Stolbi, column-formed granite cliffs in Krasnoyarsk Krai, that are up to 90 metres high and Manpupuner cliffs - columns in Komi Republic, which are up to 42 metres high.
In the Mzymta river valley of the Northern Caucasus, there are reported to be a high Caucasian Firs (Abies nordmanniana) up yo 78 metres high, making this the tallest native tree in Europe. There are interesting biotopes, such as the yew forest on Petrov island in Primorsky Krai. Among the endemic species could be mentioned the grasshooper Podisma tyatiensis which lives only on the summit of Tyatya volcano in Kunashir island, Kuriles.
Man made landmarks
The vast area of Russia is today home to some 160 ethnic groups with extremely diverse histories and cultural backgrounds, which often developed in comparative isolation. Due to this heritage Russia is rich with diverse, unique monuments of architecture and archaeology.
Russia has historical cities with unique skylines and characteristic Russian historical architecture: Kostroma, Rostov, Suzdal, Uglich, Yaroslavl, Gorokhovets.
The oldest stone buildings still in use are several churches (e.g. Arkhyz St.George Northern Church) in the Northern Caucasus from the early 10th century, which were built by the medieval Alanian kingdom.
St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
d.wine, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0.
A kind of Russian architectural trademark is the onion-shaped domes of Orthodox churches. Their architecture is influenced by Byzantine architecture, but has developed into a distinct and unique style. Some renowned and significant churches are Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod (1044-1052) and the Holy Trinity Cathedral (1422-1423) in the monastery complex of Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra.
Examples of other unique churches are Ascension Church (1535) in Kolomenskoye, Hodegetria church in Vyazma (1638) and one of the most ornate landmarks in the world, Saint Basil's Cathedral (1555-1561) in Moscow and the twenty-two domed Transfiguration Church in Kizhi (1714).
Old Russian cities had impressive fortifications traditionally called kremlins. Some of the oldest and/or most impressive ones are the following:
- Novgorod Kremlin (from 1333)
- Pskov Krom (from 1337)
- Moscov Kremlin (from 1367)
- Nizhegorodskii Kremlin (1508-1515)
- Kolomna Kremlin (1525-1531)
- Smolensk Kremlin (1595-1602)
- Kazan Kremlin (1590ies)
- Tula Kremlin (1514-1520)
- Tobolsk Kremlin (1699-1717) - the only kremlin in Siberia
Winter Palace in St Petersburg.
Dezidor, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-3.0
Palace architecture flourished in Russia in the 18th - 19th centuries. Several Baroque style grand imperial palaces were designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli: such as the enormous Winter Palace (1732-1837), Catherine Palace (1717-1756) and Peterhof Palace (1714-1755) in St. Petersburg and vicinities. Splendid Neo-Classical palaces were designed by Giacomo Quarenghi, as for example the Alexander Palace near St. Petersburg. An unusual and splendid palace is the Neo-Gothic Petrovsky Palace (1776-1780s) in Moscow.
Also unusual are several monuments of Russian Constructivism from 1920s - 1930s. These are the House of Melnikov (1927-1929), Gosplan garages (1936) and the unique Shukhov towers (1929) in Nizhny Novgorod.
In the middle of 20th century a special style of highrise buildings was developed. The most splendid example is the 240 metre high Moscov State University building (1953).
Russia is rich with numerous diverse, little known, but very interesting archaeological monuments.
One of the most impressive fortifications in the area of Russia is Narin-Kala fortress in Derbent. It is a 40 km long Sassanid fortress from the 6th century. A unique monument is Por-Bazhyn, an enormous quadrangular fortress on an island in Tere-Hol Lake in the Tyva Republic.
Numerous ancient cultures developed large settlements, but unfortunately most are lost today. Some remains of the ancient Volga Bulgaria capital, Bolghar and Bilär are still visible in Tatarstan. Many Russians see the ancient Arkaim settlement (17th century BC, Sintashta-Petrovka culture) as a monument with an aura of mystery.
Zhane River dolmen.
Unwrecker, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0
On the Russian steppes there are numerous ancient burial hills - kurgans, which can be found from the Amur region in the east to the countries west of Russia. These hills were created by numerous diverse cultures over many thousands of years, from the 4th millenium BC up to the 10th century AD. In spite of looting, lots of valuable (scientifically and monetarily) artefacts can still be found in these burials. Outstanding kurgans are Pazyryk kurgans in Altaii region (5th c. BC) where numerous priceless artefacts have been found and the once 27 metre high Great Salbyk kurgan, with a 496 metre circumference, in Khakassia.
Other very interesting monuments are the diverse megaliths and petroforms of Russia. Still not well known are the more than 3000 unique dolmens of north-west Caucasus, such as the Zhane River dolmens. There are several dolmens on Vera island (circa 4000 BC), Turgoiak Lake in the Southern Urals. Numerous interesting monuments are located along the White Sea and the Barents Sea, such as stone labyrinths of Bolshoi Zayatsky island.
Closely connected with kurgans are stone idols, which stood on the tops of the kurgans. Such sculpted stones, 1 to 4 metres high are found on numerous sites, such as the Baal-Bab valley idols and the Inya stone idols in Altaii.
Numerous cliffs bear lots of ancient petroglyphs, such as Boiarskaja pisanica in Khakassia, Kanozero petroglyphs (2000-3000 BC) in Kola peninsula, Kalbakh-Tash in Altaii, Pichiktig-Tag in Khakassia and the unique petroglyphs of Ignateva Cave in Chelyabinsk Oblast as well as the beautiful cave art of Kapova Cave in the Republic of Bashkortostan.