Monday, February 25, 2008
Russia...mysterious and fascinating, anvient and modern, literate and passionate. The largest country in the world, Russia has been wandered by anvient nomads and tribes of Huns, Turks and Slavs; suffered invasion and occupation by the Mongolian Tatars; was taken back by the Czars; and more recently experienced the Soviet era. A journey through Russia is a journey through her long history, laid out before you in all its glory.
There is much to see in Moscow, Russia's capital. Visitors always head for Red Square to see the varicolored onion domes of St. Basil's Catheral and the tomb of Vladimir Lenin, then tour the nearby Krelin and ride on the city's world famous Metro system. St. Petersburge, with its romantic canals and baroque palaces, has a very different sensibility. It was designed to emulate - or perhaps surpass - Europe's most refined cities. St. Petersburg's Hermitage is not to be missed; historically the Romanoc Winter Palace, it is now an amazing art museum that possesses the world's largest collection of paintings by European artists from da Vinci and Michelangelo to van Gogh and Picasso.
As appealing as Russia's cities are, the countryside is even more so. Spend time in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but don't miss Russia's Golden Ring cities. These ancient towns, with names like Uglich and Yaroslavl, are living museums of Russian architechture from the 12th through the 18th centuries. Imagine touring majestic cathedrals, where flickering candles illuminate gold-leaf icons and you hear ancient choral chants echo off vaulted ceilings. Visit a 14th-century monastery in Goritzy and walk through the Open Air Museum of Architecture at Kizhi.
You will fall in love with this magnificent land, rich in resources and even richer in Russia's unique culture.