The most 'Russian' of destinations in Russia

8 of the most Russian places in Russia

8 of the most Russian places in Russia

These sites have been chosen for their historical significance, cultural and religious heritage and natural legacy. All these places have made the list for being symbols that exemplify the Russian soul and spirit. These are where travellers can see the wonders that conjure up the essence of the world’s largest country.

Veliky Novgorod

Where Russia’s early historical legacy and religious heritage is apparent.

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-MediaSource: Lori/Legion-Media

This serene provincial city was once the capital of an early Russian state and one of Europe’s largest cities. It was also one of the few Russian settlements that were never conquered by the Mongols, making it a symbol of Russian resistance to outside domination. Approximately 50 medieval and early modern churches survive in Veliky Novgorod.


Where one can contemplate Russia’s long history and learn about its ancient architectural traditions.

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-MediaSource: Lori/Legion-Media

One of Russia’s medieval capitals, Vladimir today is a highlight of the Golden Ring tourist route. The city features numerous 12th-century white monuments, which are testaments to the endurance of the Russian state, as they survived a brutal incursion by an invading Mongol-Tatar army in 1238.

Moscow’s Red Square and Kremlin

Where the beauty of Russia’s capital and largest city is encapsulated and the symbol of the state.

Photo credit: Shutterstock/Legion-MediaSource: Shutterstock/Legion-Media

There is no greater Russian symbol than this famous square and ancient fortress with its magnificent gates, lofty domes and famed clock tower. Until St. Petersburg was founded, the Kremlin was the country’s paramount religious centre and home of Russia’s Great Prince. The stunning ‘onion’ domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral, overlooking Red Square, is perhaps Russia’s most recognizable symbol. The square is considered the capital’s centre – and the country’s heart – as all the city’s major old roads originate here.

Kizhi Pogost

A place where the ingenuity and determination of the Russian people can be grasped

Photo credit: PhotoxpressSource: Photoxpress

What is more symbolic of Russia than isolation and ingenuity? This 17th century site speaks to both. Located in the middle of Lake Onega, this island contains three large structures: a bell tower and two large wooden churches, with one of them standing 37 metres high and featuring 22 domes. Not one nail was used in any of these constructions, which have shown remarkable longevity, despite the use of rather simple materials.

Lake Baikal

A magnificent tribute to the vastness of Russia's natural beauty and diversity.

Photo credit: Shutterstock/Legion-MediaSource: Shutterstock/Legion-Media

The world’s largest freshwater lake is a symbol of the natural bounty and splendour of Siberia. The deepest lake in the world at 5,387 feet, it is also among the world’s clearest and oldest: some estimates suggest that it is more than 25 million years old. The lake’s biodiversity is unparalleled: thousands of plants and animals reside here that can be found nowhere else on Earth, including the rare freshwater Baikal seal, the omul and the endangered Baikal sturgeon.

'The Motherland Calls' statue

The symbol of Russia’s enormous sacrifice during World War II.

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-MediaSource: Lori/Legion-Media

One of Russia’s most famous statues is a testament to the country’s suffering and sacrifice during World War II. It was at this site, in today’s Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) that the Soviet Army defeated Nazi forces and turned the tide of the war. Atop a hill overlooking the city, this statue pays tribute to the more than one million casualties inflicted on the Red Army during the war’s bloodiest battle.

'Worker and Kholkoz Woman' statue

The symbol of the phenomenal scientific and economic achievements of the Soviet Union.

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-MediaSource: Lori/Legion-Media

Perhaps no other monument captures the symbolism of the great experiment that was the Soviet Union. This statue, found near the entrance to the VDNKh Park in northern Moscow, was designed for the 1937 World Fair in Paris. This sculpture is perhaps best known to Western audiences today as the logo of Mosfilm, Russia’s largest film studio.


A site that symbolises Russian military history and involvement in the Napoleonic Wars.

Photo credit: TASS/Alexandra MudratzSource: TASS/Alexandra Mudratz

Throughout history, Russia has had its back to the wall, and Borodino is one of its most famous examples. The bloodiest day of the Napoleonic Wars, the battle has taken on great importance in the Russian psyche since it featured in Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Although it was a slaughter, Tolstoy describes the battle as a moral victory for Russia as its soldiers came together to defeat what had, until then, been considered an invincible army.

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