Since Russia opened its doors to the West, tourists have finally had the opportunity to tour the heart of Russia – the Northwest region, specifically – and finally see all of the grand sights that its great cities have to offer, along with the harsh, untouched beauty of the landscape. With the Russian economy booming, a number of fantastic cruise opportunities have opened up along the Volga, the largest and most historically and economically important river in western Russia. For the best combination of sightseeing and high quality river cruising, Go Russia offers a cruise from Moscow, the capital of Russia, to St. Petersburg, Russia’s gateway to the West.
Starting in Moscow
Your cruise with Go Russia begins in Moscow. The sights to see here present themselves, as you would expect with any international city that is also the capital of a major world power. Government institutions that have stood for centuries offer a piece of Russia’s history.
You can begin with the Kremlin, a formerly medieval citadel of old Muscovy. The Moscow Kremlin is actually composed of five palaces, four cathedrals, and a massive wall with several towers spaced along it. Russia’s roots in medieval Europe are unmistakable when you visit this ancient stronghold. While much of the Kremlin is off-limits for sightseeing, you can still visit the museum there, and perhaps catch a glimpse of the President of the Russian Federation.
The Red Square is the next most obvious sight to see. A place of great historical significance, revolutions have been born in the Red Square. You can also visit St. Basil’s Cathedral and Lenin’s mausoleum, two impressive symbols of Russia’s architectural history, as well as its more storm-tossed and exciting past.
Along the Volga
Taking your cruise north out of the Moscow Canal and along the Volga River, you will past by Uglich, an ancient and historic town. A favorite during Ivan the Terrible’s reign, after his death his youngest son was banished here. That same son was soon found dead in the town’s courtyard, his throat slit; his death was ruled an accident, and the Time of Troubles – a dynastic and political struggle in Russia that would last for some time – began.
Further north, in Lake Onega, you will come upon Kizhi, an island of no small historical significance. There you can see Kizhi Pogost, a 17th century historical site featuring two large wooden churches – the Transfiguration Church and the Intercession Church – along with a bell-tower. A UNESCO World Heritage site and a Russian Cultural Heritage site, the pogost is famous for how long it has lasted, its construction using only wood, and of course, its moving beauty.
The Gateway to the West
Passing through Lake Ladoga, you will come upon your final stop: St. Petersburg. Built by and named after the Russian Tsar who worked so hard to bring Russia into the Western Enlightenment, the city was made the capital of Russia up until 1918, when that honor returned to Moscow.
The city is host to a number of museums; the city has weathered the changes that Russia has gone through quite well, retaining much of its arts scene throughout the decades and centuries. The city’s museums include the Heritage Museum, the Russian State Museum, the Museum of Musical Instruments, and even three museums of puppets, one of which sports well over 2000 dolls on display.