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Sights in St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg is another major city in Russia and has a rich cultural, religious, and literary history. It is home to grand palaces, museums, cathedrals, and other sights worth exploring.

  • Alexander Column—the 156-foot-tall centerpiece of Palace Square that serves as a memorial to Russia’s victory over Napoleon commissioned by Nicholas I in 1830 in memory of his brother, Tsar Alexander I, and weighs more than 650 tons with an angel crushing a snake atop the column; Pl. Dvortsovaya
  • Alexander Nevsky Lavra—a renowned monastery named in honor of St. Alexander Nevsky, a great military commander who became a national hero due to stopping the drive for Russian territory by Germans and Swedes, featuring:
    • The Gate Church with a walled pathway flanked by two cemeteries known as the Necropolis of Masters of Arts and an exhibition hall with temporary exhibits about urban sculpture
    • The Church of the Annunciation that is a red and white church that now is home to the Museum of City Sculpture containing models of architectural masterpieces in St. Petersburg, gravestones, and memorial sculptures as well as photos of the Imperial family
    • Monastery located at 1 pl. Alexandra Nevskoyo
  • Alexander Pushkin Apartment Museum—the final residence of celebrated Russian poet Alexander Pushkin who died here after a duel to defend his wife’s honor that now is a museum with a model upper-middle-class early 19th century apartment, personal belongings, his wife’s belongings, and his library; 12 nab. Moika
  • Chamber of Art—the home of the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography with Peter the Great’s eclectic collection of rare precious stones and preserved human organs and fetuses; 3 nab. Universitetskaya
  • Egyptian Sphinxes—two grand landmarks in St. Petersburg that are twin statues dating from the 15th century BC discovered during an excavation in Thebes in the 1820s; nab. Universitetskaya
  • Ethnography Museum—a museum that provides an overview of the ethnic groups of Russia with crafts, costumes, and other artifacts; 4/1 ul. Inzhenernaya
  • Labirintum—a science museum with 60 exhibits about physics, chemistry, and nature featuring interactive components such as making lightning, creating a tornado, getting inside a large bubble, or finding the way through a mirror labyrinth; 9A ul. Lva Tolstogo, 6th floor of Tolstoi Skver Design House
  • State Hermitage Museum—a renowned museum with a collection of over 3 million items only some of which are on display in its 360 rooms that was begun by Catherine the Great, expanded by Nicholas I, and opened to the public in 1852 with great pieces of art including post-Impressionist and Impressionist paintings; Dvortsovaya pl. 2
  • Grand Palace—a grand and imposing smaller palace that is only open to international visitors until May and then on a limited basis from June to September with original paintings, furniture, and chandeliers; ul. Razvodnaya
  • General Staff Building—a contemporary art gallery with restored interiors that displays the Hermitage’s collection of Impressionist, post-Impressionist, and modern art; Dvortsovaya pl. 6-8
  • Russian Museum—a museum focused on Russian art from ancient icons to 20th century paintings by artists such as Karl Bryullov, Alexander Ivanov, and Nicholas Ghe; Inzhenernaya ul. 4
  • Peter and Paul Fortress—a large defense fortress that is home to a cathedral where the Romanovs are buried, a former prison, and exhibitions and walls that provide panoramic views
  • Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood—St. Petersburg’s most elaborate church with a Russian Orthodox exterior and an interior decorated with mosaics; Konyushennaya pl.
  • Grand Cascade—a collection of over 140 fountains and canals partly designed by Peter the Great with a center statue of Samson opening a lion’s jaw to commemorate Peter’s victory over Sweden
  • Faberge Museum—a museum situated within the Shuvalovsky Palace that is home to the world’s largest collection of pieces designed by Peter Carl Faberge including nine imperial Easter eggs; nab. Reki Fontanki 21
  • New Hermitage—a museum built for Nicholas II in 1852 that is home to a large collection of ancient art, European paintings, sculptures, and decorative art as well as a gallery on the second floor with the Raphael Loggias, copies of the frescoes in the Vatican in Rome; Dvortsovaya pl. 2
  • Winter Palace—a mint-green and white palace that was an imperial home until 1917 with grand reception halls, chambers, and galleries with Eurasian and Asian antiquities, European and Eastern paintings, sculptures, and decorative works; Dvortsovaya pl. 2
  • Gatchina Grand Palace—a palace in the shape of a graceful curve around a central turret with an impressive façade overlooking a large parade ground and landscaped grounds that has an interior with ten state rooms including Paul I’s throne room featuring large tapestries, his wife Maria Fyodorovana’s throne room filled with paintings, and a balcony collection of sundials; Krasnoarmeysky pr. 1
  • Museum of Political History—a museum situated within the Style Moderne Kshesinsakaya Palace that provides a comprehensive overview of Russian politics with exhibits depicting the capture of Nicholas II with bayonet cuts, street scenes in Ukraine with deceased starving citizens in Ukraine, Lenin’s former office, and the Lenin memorial room; ul. Kuybysheva 4
  • Dostoevsky Museum—the final residence of celebrated Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky that includes the study where he wrote The Brothers Karamazov, the office of his wife who recopied, edited, and sold his books, an image of Raphael’s Sistine Virgin, a clock that shows the hour and time when Dostoevsky died, family photos, and rooms dedicated to his novels, travels, and legacy; Kuznechny per. 5/2
  • Central Naval Museum—one of the city’s best history museums with a large collection of models, paintings, and artifacts from 300 years of Russian naval history; pl. Truda
  • Grand Maket Rossiya—a miniature recreation of Russia featuring mountains, cities, rivers, and lakes; transportation such as trains, helicopters, and cars; Soviet-style apartment blocks; and traditional clothing; Tsvetochnaya ul. 16
  • Treasure Gallery—a branch of the Hermitage with two signature collections including the Golden Rooms collection with Scythian and Greek gold and silver from the Caucasus, Crimea, and Ukraine and the Diamond Rooms collection with jewelry from western Europe, China, India, and Iran; Winter Palace
  • Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts—a museum with medieval furniture, 18th century Russian tiled stoves, and modern works by students of the Applied Arts school; Solyanoy per. 15
  • Kirov Museum—a museum that illustrates the lifestyles of the Bolshevik upper class with the first ever Soviet-produced typewriter, a non-communist GE fridge, personal belongings of Sergei Kirov (namesake of the museum and a Leningrad party boss whose apartment was turned into the museum), a recreated schoolroom, and childhood belongings of Eugeny Porsin who lived in the home until being drafted and dying during World War II; Kamennoostrovsky pr. 26/28
  • Botanical Gardens—a series of 26 greenhouses located on a 22-hectare square; ul. Professora Popova 2
  • Mikhailovsky Castle—a branch of the Russian Museum with nicely restored state rooms and temporary exhibitions; Sadovaya ul. 2
  • Rumyantsev Mansion—this museum part of the State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg has an exhibition of 20th century history including a display dedicated to the 1921 New Economic Policy, the industrialization and development of the 1930s, and the Siege of Leningrad during World War II; Angliyskkaya nab 44
  • Nabokov Museum—a 19th century townhouse that was the childhood home of Vladimir Nabokov, author of Lolita, with artifacts such as family photos, first editions of his books, and some of his expansive butterfly collection; Bolshaya Morskaya ul. 47
  • Sheremetyev Palace—a branch of the State Museum of Theatre and Music with a collection of musical instruments from the 19th and 20th centuries, 18th century mahogany furniture, Italian renaissance paintings, and rare instruments; nab. Reki Fontanki 34
  • Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory—a branch of the Hermitage with Russian porcelain displays such as dinner services used by tsars, tea sets created in the 1920s, porcelain statuettes depicting people from Russia and abroad, and a porcelain shop; pr. Obukhovsky Oborony 151
  • Kazan Cathedral—a Neoclassical cathedral whose design is based upon St. Peter’s in Rome with 111-meter-long colonnaded arms that surround a garden studded with statues with an interior featuring an 80-meter-high dome and a copy of the important Russian icon, Our Lady of Kazan; Kazanskaya pl. 2
  • Marble Palace—a branch of the Russian Museum with temporary exhibitions of modern art and a permanent display from Cologne’s Ludwig Museum featuring paintings by Picasso, Warhol, Basquiat, and Liechtenstein that is noteworthy for the 36 kinds of marbles used in its construction; Millionnaya ul. 5
  • Museum of the Arctic and Antarctic—a museum dedicated to polar expeditions, wildlife, cultures, and history with displays of items such as scientific equipment, maps, taxidermy, photographs, clothing, artifacts from polar cultures, stuffed polar bears and penguins, and a 1930s wooden seaplane hanging from the ceiling; ul. Marata 24a
  • Isaac’s Cathedral—the world’s third-largest domed cathedral that was built in a span of 40 years with an interior decorated with malachite, lazulite, marble, and other stones and minerals; 4 pl. Isaakievskaya
  • Zoological Museum—a museum with a collection of over 30,000 species including a stuffed mammoth, tigers, foxes, bears, goats, birds, butterflies, and insects; 1 nab. Universitetskaya
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Sights in Moscow, Russia

Moscow is the capital off Russia and has a wealth of museums, churches, cathedrals, and galleries to explore.

  • Andrei Bely Apartment Museum–a house-museum with artifacts from the life of writer Andrei Bely who is best known for his novel Petersburg including a “Lines of Life” drawing on the wall of the first room marked by dates and names of people he knew during different times in his life; 55 ul. Arbat
  • Andronikov Monastery of the Saviour–a fortified monastery founded in 1360 by Metropolitan Alexei and named in honor of its first abbot, St. Andronik, that has Moscow’s oldest stone structure, Spassky Sobor (Cathedral of the Savior), built between 1420-1427 on the site of a prior wooden church; the former abbot’s residence with a permanent exhibition with Russian artwork from the 13th to 16th centuries; a refectory built during Ivan the Great’s reign between 1504 and 1506 with icons from the 19th and 20th centuries; and the former monks’ residence dedicated to St. Nikolai the Miracle Worker better known as St. Nicholas in the west; 10 pl. Andronevskaya
  • Annunciation Cathedral—a monument of Russian architecture that connects three centuries of art and religion and was the private chapel of the royal family with its foundations laid in the 14th century and a reconstruction in the 16th century during the reign of Ivan the Terrible after being partially destroyed by a fire with six gilded cupolas added and frescoes painted in 1508 by Russian artist Feodosy as well as agate jasper tiles; Kremlin
  • Armory Chamber—the oldest and grandest museum in the Kremlin that was founded in 1806 as the Imperial Court Museum and contains 4000 artifacts dating from the 12th century to 1917 and a rare collection of 17th century silver in nine halls:
    • Hall I has works by goldsmiths and silversmiths of the 12th through 19th centuries
    • Hall II has a collection of 18th to 20th century jewelry including Faberge eggs one of which is a silver egg engraved with a map of the Trans-Siberian Railway
    • Hall III contains Asian and western European arms and armor including western European suits of armor from the 15th to 17th centuries, pistols, and firearms
    • Hall IV has a large collection of Russian arms and armor from the 12th to early 17th centuries with a great collection of helmets including the helmet of Prince Ivan, the son of Ivan the Terrible
    • Hall V has foreign gold and silver objects that are primarily ambassadorial presents to tsars
    • Hall VI has robes of silk, velvet, and brocade embroidered with gold and encrusted with jewels and pearls and coronation dresses such as one that Catherine the Great wore in 1762
    • Hall VII has regalia and imperial thrones with the oldest one belonging to Ivan the Terrible decorated in carved ivory
    • Hall VIII has dress harnesses from the 16th to 18th centuries
    • Hall IX has a collection of court carriages such as one that carried Elizaveta Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great, from St. Petersburg to Moscow for her coronation
  • Assumption Cathedral—an imposing building that is one of the oldest parts of the Kremlin built from 1465-1479 by Italian architect Aristotle Fiorovanti and was Russia’s main church until the Russian Revolution in 1917; the cathedral is topped by five gilded domes and is very spacious inside with rare ancient paintings including an icon of the Virgin of Vladimir, the 12th century icon of St. George, and the 14th century Trinity icon
  • Cathedral of Christ the Savior—Moscow’s largest Orthodox cathedral built between 1839 and 1883 in memory of Russian troops who died fighting Napoleon’s forces in 1812 and was bombed and destroyed on December 5, 1931 before being left empty until the Moscow Pool, one of the world’s largest outdoor swimming pools, was built until being dismantled in 1994 so that the cathedral could be reborn in 1997; the interior features marble panels covered in pre-Revolution Russian script describing the Napoleonic invasion of Russia in 1812 and a main hall covered in frescoes such as one of God with Jesus in his hands; 15 ul. Volkhonka
  • Central House of Artists—a modern building that is the home of the Artists’ Union with members’ artwork displayed on three floors, a small movie theater that plays old international movies, a concert hall with pop and rock music performances almost every night, and periodic exhibitions; 10 Krymsky Val
  • Chaliapin House Museum—the former manor residence of Fyodor Chaliapin, a renowned opera singer, who lived in the home from 1910-1922, and lost his citizenship while on tour in France in 1922; his home was transformed first into an apartment building with communal apartments before it was finally remodeled into its original state with works of art given to him by friends and his costumes; 25-27 bul. Novinsky
  • Donskoy Monastery—a monastery built by the edict of Boris Godunov that was named in honor of a miracle-working icon of the Virgin of the Don and is surrounded by a defensive wall with 12 towers and has two cathedrals and burial sites for Russian luminaries from the 18th to 20th centuries; 1 pl. Donskaya
  • Diamond Fund—an impressive collection of diamonds, jewelry, and precious minerals including the Orlov Diamond, a gift from Count Orlov to Catherine the Great, his mistress, and the Shah Diamond given to Tsar Nicholas I, by the Shah of Persia as a condolence present after the 1829 assassination of Alexander Griboyedov, the Russian ambassador to Persia
  • Dostoevsky Apartment Museum—the childhood home of Fyodor Dostoevsky who lived there until he was 16 on the grounds of the hospital he was born at with family pictures and period furniture included within the museum; 2 ul. Dostoevskovo
  • Gorky House Museum—the former home of Maxim Gorky, a proletariat activist, that has a lavish interior and exterior with ecru brick, pink stone, and mauve-gray foundations; a mosaic of irises forming a border around the house; a decorative iron fence; and an interior with a stained-glass roof and a winding marble staircase; 6/2 ul. Malaya Nikitskaya
  • Gorky Literary Museum—a museum with letters, manuscripts, pictures of Gorky, portraits by Nesterov and Serov, and a wooden reproduction of his childhood home with a village yard and outbuildings; 25a ul. Povarskaya
  • Gulag History Museum—a stark museum with a simulated gauntlet featuring metal gates, barbed wire, and a guard tower and six rooms filled with paintings of camp scenes, personal belongings of prisoners, and historic documents and pictures; 1-y Samotechniy Pereulok 9, Building 1
  • Ivan the Great Bell Tower—the octagonal main tower of the tallest structure in the Kremlin that is 263 feet high and was originally built in 1329 and replaced in the early 16th century during the reign of Ivan the Great before being rebuilt once more during the reign of Boris Godunov who gave it its onion-shaped dome covered with gilded copper; the annex has temporary exhibitions featuring items from the Kremlin’s collection; Cathedral Square
  • Kazan Cathedral—this cathedral built between 1633 and 1636 to commemorate Russian liberation from Polish occupation was bombed in 1936 and finally rebuilt to its current incarnation with a salmon and cream-colored brick exterior and gold cupolas and inside are frescoes, floral patterns, and icons of Our Lady of Kazan; Red Square
  • Kolomenskoye—a park that was once the summer residence of Moscow’s grand dukes and tsars with museums, a church, Russian cottages, and other attractions with the museum dedicated to Russian timber architecture and folk crafts; the Church of the Ascension that dates back to 1530 and was restored in the late 19th century; and an open-air museum with examples of wooden architecture from other parts of Russia; 39 Andropova pr
  • Krutitsy Patriarchal Metochoin—the site of a former monastery built in the 13th century and rebuilt at the end of the 16th century as the suburban residence of the Moscow metropolitan before being converted into army barracks and a military prison; the grounds now include the five-dome brick Uspensky Sobor (Assumption Cathedral) with icons, frescoes, and an all-white altar and iconostasis, a gallery, and a gate tower with baroque design; 13 ul. Kruititskaya
  • Kuskovo Estate and Palace Museum—an estate that was used as a summer residence for Moscow’s aristocrats and was owned by the Sheremetyevs, a wealthy and distinguished family; the family had a park created by Russian landscape artists who had the French-style gardens decorated with a Dutch cottage, an Italian villa, a grotto, and a hermitage with mechanical dinner tables and a palace with a horseshoe staircase, Greek-temple portico, parquet floors, silk wall coverings, and inner rooms filled with paintings by French, Italian, and Flemish artists; Chinese porcelain; furniture; and artifacts from everyday life in the 18th and 19th centuries as well as a collection of 18th century Russian art and a ceramics museum with a collection by Russian, Soviet, and foreign artists; 2 ul. Yunosti
  • Moscow Museum of Modern Art—a museum founded in 1999 by sculptor Zurab Tsereteli that has a collection of artwork by artists such as Picasso and Dali and artists from the Russian avant-garde movement; 25 ul. Petrovka
  • Multimedia Art Museum—a museum with rotating collections of modern art, photography, video, and sculpture by Russian and European artists; 16 ul. Ostrozhenka
  • Museum of Russian Icons—a museum with one of the largest private collections of Eastern Christian art in the world that includes icons and Christian pieces dating back to the 1st century; 3 ul. Goncharnaya
  • Museum of the Contemporary History of Russia—a museum that places an emphasis on the changing political climate in Russia with a permanent exhibit on the first workers’ organizations and exhibits on the 1905 and 1917 revolutions with the horse-drawn machine-gun cart of the First Cavalry Army, texts of the decrees by the Soviet government on peace and land, dioramas and paintings that depict revolutionary battles, relics, and Russia’s best collection of political posters and medals; 21 ul. Tverskaya
  • New Maiden Convent—a convent founded in 1524 by Tsar Vasily III that was primarily home to noblewomen and was rebuilt and enhanced in the 17th century with 12 battle towers and a crenellated wall and inside are three churches—Gate Church of the Transfiguration with rare and ancient Russian paintings, woodwork and ceramics, fabrics, embroidery, and a large collection of illuminated and illustrated books; the Cathedral of the Virgin of Smolensk with 84 wooden columns and icons dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries; and the Church of the Assumption and Refectory where nuns ate their meals; 1 pr. Novodevichy
  • Patriarch’s Palace—the home of the Museum of 17th Century Applied Art which features books, tableware, clothing, and household linens; Kremlin
  • Polytechnical Museum—a science and technology museum with a collection of early 20th century Russian cars, miners’ lamps, Soviet televisions, and a full-scale model of the Soviet Union’s first atomic bomb as well as a movie museum that primarily plays Soviet animation films and a planetarium; ¾ pl. Novaya
  • Pushkin Apartment Museum—the former residence of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin who lived in the home for several months after his wedding that has a floor filled with trinkets, poems, and information on Pushkin’s relationship with the city of Moscow and a floor with a reconstruction of a typical early 19th century home; 53 ul. Arbat
  • Pushkin Memorial Museum—a yellow mansion built in the 19th century by architect Afanasy Grigoriev with several rooms of Pushkin’s sketches, letters, and personal belongings; 12/2 ul. Prechistenka
  • Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts—one of Russia’s top art museums with a collection of works by Gauguin, Cezanne, and Picasso and rooms filled with ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art; Italian works from the 15th century including Botticelli’s The Annunciation and Guardi’s Alexander the Great at the Body of the Persian King Darius; and paintings by Murillo, Rubens, and Van Dyck; 12 ul. Volkhonka
  • Schusev State Museum of Architecture—a former 18th century mansion that now displays works by some of Russia’s best and most controversial architects and international architects as well with temporary exhibits focusing on architecture in Moscow from ancient times to the present; 5/25 ul. Vozdvizhenka
  • Basil’s Cathedral—a cathedral commissioned by Ivan the Terrible to commemorate his conquest of the city of Kazan in 1552 with a central chapel 107 feet high surrounded by eight chapels connected by an elevated gallery; the chapels are topped by onion domes carved with unique patterns and dedicated to a saint on the day that the Russian army won battles against the Tatars and there is a museum inside that was opened in 1929 dedicated to the Russian conquest of Kazan with exhibits on the Russian conquest of medieval Kazan, 16th century Russian and Tatar weaponry, and the history of the cathedral’s construction; Red Square
  • State Historical Museum—a museum with twin towers and exhibits on architectural styles and archaeological and historical collections; 1 Red Square
  • The Museum of Private Collections—a museum with a collection of impressionist, post-impressionist, modern art, and Russian icons; 10 ul. Volkhonka
  • The New Tretyakov—a branch of the Tretyakov Gallery with a permanent exhibit on 20th century art featuring works by Chagall, Malevich, and Kandinsky; 10 ul. Krymsky Val
  • The State Museum of Oriental Art—a museum with a large permanent collection of artwork and clothing from the Central Asian republics, China, Japan, and Korea; 12a bul. Nikitsky
  • The Twelve Apostles’ Church—the former private church of Patriarch Nikon in the 16th century that has an exhibit of icons removed from Kremlin churches destroyed by Soviet forces; Kremlevskaya nab
  • Tolstoy House Estate Museum—the winter residence of Leo Tolstoy with the ground floor featuring his children’s bedrooms, the nursery where his young son died of scarlet fever, dining rooms, kitchen, and the bedroom of the Tolstoys and the upper level featuring their receiving room, an Asian-style den, and Tolstoy’s study; 21 ul. Lva Tolstogo
  • Tolstoy Memorial Museum—a mansion where a distant relative of Tolstoy lived that was converted into a museum in 1920 with exhibit halls featuring manuscripts and photographs of Tolstoy and his family and picture and paintings of Moscow at the time Tolstoy lived; 11/8 ul. Prechistenka
  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier—a red granite monument situated within Alexander Garden that contains the body of an unknown Soviet soldier and to the right of the tomb are six urns with soil from the six cities that tried to resist German forces in World War II; ul. Manezhnaya
  • Tretyakov Gallery—a renowned art museum with great Russian artwork, icons, sculptures, drawings, and landscape art with a collection begun by a Moscow industrialist Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov and donated to the city government in 1892 that has increased over the years due to state acquisitions; 10 per. Lavrushinsky
  • Triumphal Square—the intersection of the Garden Ring, Moscow’s grand boulevard, with a statue of revolutionary poet Vladimir Mayakovsky who committed suicide because of his disillusionment with the revolution he had advocated for in the center of the square and three theaters and concert halls in the square; junction between Tverskaya and the Garden Ring
  • Tropinin Museum—a museum containing miniatures and portraits by serf artist Vasily Tropinin and others with period rooms and permanent painting collection; Shetininskiy Lane, House 10, Building 1