How to take AMAZING pics in Moscow & St. Petersburg

Dpa/Global Look Press
The main thing a tourist can bring back from a trip to Russia are memories - and photos. Here are a few tips on how to take perfect shots of the most famous sites.

Moscow

Christ the Savior Cathedral

To capture the whole of the cathedral, the picture needs to be taken from the Patriarshy Bridge. Another excellent view of Russia's main cathedral opens from Bersenevskaya Embankment near the bridge on the opposite bank of the Moskva River, where you can alternatively get a great selfie opportunity on the terrace of Strelka bar.  

Saint Basil's Cathedral

The Cathedral of the Intercession (also known as St. Basil's Cathedral) differs from most other Russian Orthodox churches in that it does not have primary and secondary sides - it is equally beautiful from every angle. Yet, it is best captured from the Red Square, so that the parallel marking lines on the pavement (used for various parade proceedings throughout the year) meet at the foot of the monument to Minin and Pozharsky, located next to the cathedral.

Zaryadye Park

Zaryadye Park, which opened in September 2017, offers wonderful photo opportunities. The best shots are made from the Floating Bridge overlooking the Kremlin. If you are lucky to be visiting Moscow during a festive season, be sure to take pictures there at night, with festive illuminations adding to already stunning views. Obviously, during the tourist season, the bridge (as well as other tourist attractions) is typically packed with people, so be prepared to try multiple times before you manage to get a good shot, without somebody's hands, legs of head photobombing the frame!

VDNKh

The main entrance to the VDNKh exhibition and cultural center looks great in pictures if it’s photographed from a distance, for example, from the square, with the photographer standing directly under the monorail track. The same applies for photographing the Central Pavilion: it’s best captured from the gate. Of course, up close, you will be struck by the building's dimensions, but when photographed from there, the columns at both ends and the trees nearby will "sink" towards the center because of the perspective.

Moskva-City

Beautiful pictures of the Moskva-City business district and its skyscrapers can be taken from the Taras Shevchenko Embankment, in particular, from a viewing platform located at the foot of Tower 2000. A picture taken from there will have the elegant Evolution tower at the forefront, with the City of Capitals, the Empire and the Naberezhnaya towers also clearly visible.

St. Petersburg

Palace Square

Stunning photos capturing the whole expanse of St. Petersburg's central square can be taken from the General Staff building and exit to Nevsky Prospekt. This way you will capture the Alexander Column, the Winter Palace and most of the square. Although, in the middle of the day, at the height of the tourist season, it will most probably be filled with people.

Peter and Paul Fortress

The Peter and Paul Fortress is best of all photographed from the opposite bank of the Neva River. The best spot is from the Palace Embankment. A closer picture can be taken from the Trinity Bridge. No less breathtaking would be a picture taken from the side, from the Spit of Vasilievsky Island

Drawbridges

To get a photo just like on the postcards - the drawn spans of a bridge, with the spire of the Peter and Paul Fortress between them - you will need to go down to the Admiralty Embankment and walk to the pier. Another good location for a great photo is from the other side of the Palace Bridge - from the Palace Embankment. In that case, you will get the turret of the Kunstkamera building between the drawn spans. The ultimate spot, to catch St. Petersburg’s drawbridges, however, is on a boat tour along the Neva River! 

The Spit of Vasilievsky Island

The architectural complex of the Spit of Vasilievsky Island is best photographed from afar. For example, from the Palace Embankment (near the Hermitage) or the spit of Hare Island (near the Peter and Paul Fortress). A good "postcard" view opens from the Trinity Bridge. In turn, the Spit of Vasilievsky Island itself offers spectacular panoramic views of the city - the Hermitage buildings and the Peter and Paul Fortress, as well as the neoclassical Exchange Square.

Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ (the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood)

That iconic postcard view of the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood opens from Nevsky Prospekt or the Italian Bridge. It is this angle that is considered the main tourist attraction and is most often found on St. Petersburg souvenirs. However, views of the cathedral that capture it in all its glory can also be found from the Maly Konyushenny Bridge, which forms part of the Triple (Trekhkolenny) Bridge. Furthermore, this view will practically be free of power lines (which sadly cannot be said for pictures taken from Nevsky Prospekt). 

Saint Isaac's Cathedral

A full-size picture of the cathedral (together with the monument to Nicholas I) can be taken from St. Isaac's Square from the side of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly building and the Blue Bridge, the widest in the city. Whereas, a view of the square itself and a panorama of the historical part of the city can be beautifully captured from the colonnade of St. Isaac's Cathedral. 

Monument to Peter the Great (the Bronze Horseman)

This monument usually looks good in photos irrespective of from which side the picture is taken. Yet, it is best photographed against the background of the Admiralty building, from the side of the memorable inscription on the boulder. To take this picture, it is better to stand parallel to the sign that reads: Senate Square, 1. Alternatively, a photo of the Bronze Horseman with St. Isaac's Cathedral in the background can be taken from the Admiralty Embankment.

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