Big City Tales

Russia’s Rustic & Rambling Cities | December 23, 2011

My first introduction to the mystery and wonder of Russian cities was as a teenager  when I happened upon Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel, in my high school’s library.

As a wealthy socialite, Anna frequently traveled between Moscow and St. Petersburg and Tolstoy’s descriptive prose painted vivid and inviting images of these cities in my mind. I was hooked from the first page and my fascination with all things Russian continued into university.

In addition to taking as many Russian history/literature optional courses as I could, I also watched movies such as War and Peace, The Brothers Karamazov, Doctor Zhivago, Reds, Anastasia and Burnt by the Sun. As well, my reading expanded to include works of the other great Russian masters such as Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Turgenev, Pushkin and Pasternak. The more I delved into the world of the Tsars and communist revolutionary figures, the more my desire was fueled to one day visit the ‘motherland’ and explore its two main glorious cities.

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Harkening back to my initial introduction to Russian society and customs, the idea of a  Trans-Siberian railway adventure like Anna Karenina would have taken holds great appeal, but I am also open to a river cruise along the Neva, Svir and Volga rivers.

Whatever the mode of transportation I choose to take between Moscow and St. Petersburg, I am so looking forward to roaming these rustic and rambling Russian cities and soaking up every last bit of their collective histories!

Sights to see in Moscow:

  • Red Square/St. Basil’s Cathedral
  • The Kremlin
  • Lenin’s Tomb
  • Bolshoi Theater
  • Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
  • Pushkin Museum of Visual Art
  • Tverskya Ulitsa (theatre district)
  • Kuznetsky Most (former meeting place of Moscow’s elite)
  • Izmailovsky Park (where Peter the Great played as a child)
  • Cosmonaut Museum

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Sights to see in St. Petersburg:

  • The Hermitage
  • Neva River
  • The Winter Palace, The Summer Palace & other palatial places
  • The Bronze Horseman, The Alexander Column & other grand statues
  • St. Isaac’s Cathedral & other houses of worship
  • The Palace Bridge, The Bank Bridge & other river-spanning feats of engineering
  • Alexander Garden, Catherine Garden & other parks heralding the great tsars of the past

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