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RUSSIA

When you think of Russia you might think of a man with a big fur hat, riding a bear in the middle of Siberia! Alright, maybe it’s not like that…except the culture. Here are ten reasons why you need to look up right now and book your plane ticket to Russia!

THE MAGNIFICENCE OF IT ALL

Russia is the biggest country in the world, and the splendor of the palaces and parks reflects that. Take Catherine’s Palace for instance. Located in the Pushkin District of St. Petersburg, it’s enormous inside with high ceilings and intricate gold detailing in every room. Catherine’s Palace is also where the opening scene to Anastasia, the Disney movie, takes place.

RUSSIAN ARCHITECTURE

It’s so colorful, and unlike any other architecture you will see. With roots from Kievan Rus’, an Eastern Slavic state, the famous architecture has deep roots in history. The Renaissance Russian architecture is most apparent in St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. Many times the known Russian bulbous architecture is referred to as onion domes.

PHOTO OPS!

There’s perfect weather with blue skies in the warmer months, but in those colder months watch out! St. Petersburg is known for record-breaking icicles, which can be dangerous if you aren’t careful, but make for beautiful photos at a distance. With a light dusting of snow, Russia is the definition of picturesque. With the Griboedov Canal right next to it, the Church of the Savior on Blood is breathtaking both outside and inside, day or night.

EASY TRANSPORTATION

St. Petersburg and Moscow go together like bread and butter. You just can’t visit one without seeing the other! You can go by plane between the two, or you could just hop on a train. Depending on what you’re willing to spend, you can get between the two destinations from 3½ to 10 hours. Traveling in an overnight train with bunk beds like Smena-Betankur you can just sleep on the way there!

RUSSIAN CUISINE

There’s the thin pancake called “blini” and a type of lemon pie called “lymonnk”. There’s also some other types of food like kholodet, also known as studen, which is a kind of meat jelly. They also have knishes though, which can never fail you. Russian cuisine isn’t well known, but it’s very unique in flavor and definitely worth trying.

MATRYOSHKA DOLLS AND GZHEL

The adorable Russian nesting dolls come in all shapes and sizes, and many are handcrafted. It’s mesmerizing seeing so many together covering the shelves. There’s also Gzhel, white and blue ceramics made in the village of Gzhel southeast of Moscow. Matryoshka Dolls and Gzhel are perfect for souvenirs or gifts.

NATURE WALKS

The parks are enormous and especially in the Pushkin district there are a number of places to enjoy the scenery. The wildlife are actually so used to people walking around that it’s not unlikely to find squirrels climbing up you and birds landing on your outstretched hand. You’ll find yourself wondering if you’re in Russia or if you turned in Snow White. You’ll also find beautiful gardens, fountains, and statues along the nature walk paths.

THE EXPERIENCE OF RED SQUARE

Right next door to the official residence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Red Square is the center of Moscow and where you want to be. Entering under the red archways, there’s such a sense of excitement that you’re about to see St. Basil’s Cathedral, and you’re in a country so pivotal in world history. There’s the GUM department store, which is so much more than a mall. Inside there’s antique cars, sometimes a fountain filled with watermelon and squash, and stores from high end designers to American retro style  stores with Russian flare. Walking around Red Square at night when it’s all lit up is magical. If you’re going to Russia, then don’t miss Red Square.

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