Ekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg or (Ekaterinburg), located at the crossroads of two continents - Europe and Asia, is the capital of the Sverdlovsk region and the administrative center of the Ural district. It was founded under Peter the Great as the largest metallurgical plant in Russia of those times and named after Empress Yekaterina I, the wife of Peter the Great. For three centuries the city-plant has been steadily developing as a center of mining industry of the Urals and Siberia. Nowadays Yekaterinburg is not only one of the biggest industrial centers in Russia but a very beautiful city with monuments of great historical and cultural value. Dozens of museums, several theaters, numerous movie houses, 14 high school institutions as well as developed infrastructure make Yekaterinburg the unique city where the past and the present mix together. If you have the opportunity to visit Yekaterinburg, you should make sure you stop by Kamenniye Palatki and Shartash Lake. The rocks of Kamenniye Palatki are completely natural though they look like the remains of an old castle. The lake is incredibly beautiful and is favored as a leisure spot. The Verkh-Isetski Pont is very popular for yachting and swimming while the Europe-Asia border obelisk is nationally renowned for its unusualness. We also highly recommend that you take in some theatre or visit some of the museums. Whether you are visiting for business or pleasure, you can be sure Yekaterinburg will prove to be every bit enjoyable as it is pretty.

Kazan

One of Russia's largest cities and the capital city of Tatarstan, modern day Kazan is a very large industrial, commercial and cultural center in Russia. It is also the most important center of Tatar culture. Originally founded by the Volga Bulgars, the city went from strength to strength first as a border post, then as a trade center. It was a good place which shield refugees from Mongolia and was known for its trade in furniture. Later, it was forcibly taken by Russia and it was at this stage that a lot of the Tatar residents were killed, repressed or Christianized. Places of traditional worship were ruined and the original Tatar population was forced to settle outside the city.  Though the city suffered under Russian rule at this time, it was rebuilt and continually in use throughout the years. During the reign of Catherine the Great, there was a rebirth of religious tolerance and mosques were allowed to be built in the city once more. However, there was still a lot of discrimination against the Tatar people which persisted through the years as the city grew even more. After the Russian Revolution in 1905, Kazan was finally revived as a Tatar cultural center. And so slowly Tater theaters and newspapers began to appear and the culture began to be revived. This great cities cultural legacy was once again threatened during the first and second world wars, but it was soon revived again in the 1990's. The city has been undergoing a complete renovation since the beginning of the new millennium and a metro system is being built. Today Kazan has some amazingly beautiful sites such as the citadel which was declared a World Heritage Site in the year 2000. There is also the Annunciation Cathedral with its five beautiful domes and the Soyembika Tower which leans strangely. You will also find many walls and towers which have been reconstructed over the years and the haunting remains of the Saviour Monastery. These are just a few of the magnificent sites in Kazan. Many of the buildings are splendidly ornate and leave an indelible mark on your memory. Kazan is truly a city worth visiting.

Nizhny Novgorod

Nizhny Novgorod is the 4th largest city in Russia with a population of 1.36 million, and is the administrative center of the Nizhny Novgorod region and of the Volga Federal District, which covers 14 regions and republics of the Russian Federation. Nizhny Novgorod covers an area of 260 square miles along the riverbanks of the Volga and Oka Rivers. The Nizhny Novgorod area and its surrounding town are respectively known for its metal production, machine building, agriculture, and nuclear research. Nizhny Novgorod, is situated about 250 miles east from Moscow and is easily accessible by an overnight train by car or by air. There is a wide diversity of highways, railroads and waterways. It also has regular air connection with a dozen of other Russian cities and Lufthansa flies to the city three times a week. In summer months, passengers from Moscow and St. Petersburg can reach Nizhny Novgorod by passenger boats. The climate of Nizhny Novgorod is similar to the climate of Moscow, although it is a little bit colder in the winter, which lasts from late November till late March and is permanently covered in a layer of white snow. A great number of historical, architectural and cultural monuments has remained in the City, you need only to walk the streets of this city to get the feeling of renaissance. Although, there are visible changes, construction, renovation and restoration, Nizhny Novgorod is making a visible effort to rapidly catch up with the rest of the world and to write Russia's future.

Samara

Samara was officially founded in 1586 when on the bank of the Volga River the construction of the fortress to protect the Russian State from the incursion of martial nomadic tribes was started. But in fact, the settlement on the bend of the Volga River had been mentioned in the ancient chronicles since 14th century. During World War II Samara (situated not far from Moscow), then named Kuibyshev, was considered to be the second capital of USSR. Many famous people worked and lived in Samara including outstanding Russian writers Lev Tolstoy and Maxim Gorky, painters Ilya Repin, Vasily Surikov and Ivan Aivazovsky, revolutionists Michael Frunze and Vladimir Lenin. Even French writer Alexander Duma had paid a visit to Samara in 1858. Impressed by the travel he wrote the book "From Paris to Astrakhan" and gave his description of Samara in it.

Sochi

Officially founded in 1898 on the territory won by Russia in the Caucasian War, Sochi from the very beginning served as a resort area. A fashionable sea-side resort, Sochi is one of Russia's most popular tourist destinations. If you can imagine a place where the sea is bathed with golden light, every sunset a place where the sands and pebbles of the beach can be enjoyed with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, and where you can enjoy almost every luxury that matters, you will most likely be picturing Sochi. This is one of Russia's finest and grandest cities, a place where time stops ticking as you while away your days at one of the many fine spas, mineral baths or sanatoriums. Sochi is a place quite unlike any other. It arguably has the best weather in Russia as well as some of the best natural springs in the country. Its exquisite beauty and its development as a sea-side resort has led to it gaining the name the Russian Riviera. There is little wonder that this part of the Black Sea has been fought over since the beginning of documented history, but it was Russia who was the final victor. The little gem has also seen much activity over the years. It was extensively developed during the communist era in the hopes that it would eventually come to represent the pinnacle of Russian architecture. Whether or not that goal was reached you can decide for yourself as you walk down streets flanked with Mediterranean-styled buildings and visit luxuriant public parks. When you visit, you will find an abundance of Sochi hotels to choose from which makes finding accommodation quite easy. Most of them offer a stunning view of the snow-capped Greater Caucasus Mountains a truly breathtaking sight. Visitors usually start their vacation with a trip to either the mineral springs or the sea. The waters here are warm and great for swimming. For those who wish to diversify their holiday a little, they can try shopping or simply take a walk down one of the many tree-lined streets. The public parks are great for a picnic lunch or a late afternoon ice-cream. Notable attractions include the Dendrarium Park modeled after the public spaces in Paris and the Fine Arts Exhibition Hall with its impressive collection of Russian art. For a bit of massage therapy or beauty treatment, the many spas are a great place to be pampered. And if you visit during festival time you will be able to enjoy either the Kinotavr International Film Festival or the Velvet Season Fashion Show, both of which are held here annually. If you are planning to visit Russia, make sure that Sochi is on your list of places to go. This stunning city may not have the intense history that many other Russian cities share, but you will certainly not find yourself searching for things to do! Sochi is a vacationers dream.

Volgograd

Volgograd, founded in 1589, has changed its name several times through its history. In 1925 a politically dissonant name of the town, Tsaritsyn, was replaced by the more up-dated and Soviet one - Stalingrad. As a result of the dethronement of Stalin personality's cult, in 1961 Stalingrad was renamed Volgograd - "a town on the Volga River". But it was under the name of Stalingrad that the city went down in the world history as a hero-city. During World War II the city turned into the stage of pitched battles that in many aspects determined the victory over the Fascist invaders. By 1945 Stalingrad had been practically leveled and it was among the first Russian towns reconstructed in the first post-war years. Nowadays nothing reminds that this beautiful modern city once was a land of ruins. And only several museums and monuments commemorate the memory of those who sacrificed their lives for the peace. The city’s history is truly a sad one as all the millions of lives lost will never be recovered. However the city is also a reminder of what determination to stand up against oppressors and survive against all odds can achieve. It therefore has great significance not only for the people of Russia but also for the rest of the world. Though you may be saddened by the statues and memorials that abound in this otherwise lovely city, you can be sure that you will never forget your visit to Volgograd.

Kalinigrad

Kaliningrad is the new name of the old city Kenigsberg, founded in 1255 by the knights of the Teutonic order. The unique city, part of which is occupied by parks and public gardens, was renamed Kaliningrad in 1946. Here the architecture typical for old European capitals is harmonically combined with modern buildings. Kaliningrad is an economical and cultural center of the region. The tourists' interest to the city has been constantly growing. Kaliningrad is located near the Baltic Sea and known as the city of amber. The pride of Kaliningrad is the zoo, where the visitors can see various animals and birds, including the rare ones. Kaliningrad is also one of the scientific centers of Russia, as there are several famous Universities and Naval schools in the city. Moreover the city is famous as the place where Immanuel Kant, a world-famous philosopher, is buried. Today, even with the extensive damage suffered during World War II, Kaliningrad offers an amazing opportunity to see a Russian world still somewhat untainted by the world of fast food and easy living. Here you can get a feel for the communism that once existed as well as just relax and appreciate the attractive parks, gardens and monuments. There are also a number of museums and old buildings worth visiting. Besides seeing the sights, you can spend time at the few nightspots or restaurants that dot the city. There are also great hotels available as well as the nearby Svetlogorsk which is a costal spa resort. If you like to return to nature once in a while, the Kursche Spit is a stunning peninsula of sand which is rich in plants and animals. Kaliningrad is a challenging but unforgettable and rewarding destination for the more intrepid traveler.

Moscow

Moscow, the capital of Russia, is located on the river Moskva in the western region of Russia. The real flavor of Moscow is situated in all the small nooks and crannies on every street. Russian contrasts are more present here than in any other city in Russia. Ancient monasteries and ultra-modern monoliths stand side by side and the new Russian millionaires and the poor pensioners walk side by side in the same streets. Every visitor to Moscow is irresistibly drawn to the Red Square, the historical and spiritual heart of the city, so loaded with associations and drama that it seems to embody all of Russia's triumphs and tragedies. The Kremlin, broads and glitters in the heart of Moscow. It thrills and tantalizes whenever you see its towers against the skyline or its cathedrals and palaces arrayed above the Moska River. The Kremlin is surrounded by a beautiful residential district that is known as the Belvy Gorod or the White Town. The Belvy Gorod was the very heart of the city during the sixteenth century, and even today it has a strongly medieval feel.

Moscow is also well known as the site of the Saint Basil's Cathedral, with its elegant onion domes. The Patriarch of Moscow, whose residence is the Danilov Monastery, serves as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Moscow has a surprisingly number of no less than five airports, which are all situated about 30 to 40km from the city center.

Rostov-on-Don

Rostov-on-Don was founded in 1749 on the right bank of the Don River, in 65 kilometers from its inflow into the Azovskoye Sea. Due to its favorable geographical location on the crossroads of the land and water roads, the economics in Rostov developed rapidly; soon it was called the merchants` city. In the middle of the 19th century 15 thousand people lived there, and by the 20th century the population increased to about 110 thousand people. By the end of the thirties it was one of the largest cities of the Soviet Union in population and in the level of economic development. During the Great Patriotic War, Rostov was laid in ruins.  Theaters, schools, hospitals, clubs, and institutes were burned. Thousands of people were shot, exhausted or captivated. The people had to completely restore Rostov-on-Don and the city became even more attractive than before.

Saransk

Saransk is a city in central European Russia and the capital of the Republic of Mordovia. It was founded in 1641 as a fortress. The name "Saransk" refers to the city's situation on the Saranka River. These days it`s one of the most beautiful cities in Russia. Saransk is world-famous for its sport achievements. The home town for many Olympic and World champions. Very modern and European looking streets are attracting thousands of tourists from all over the country. It combines historical buildings, fascinating sport objects, crowded malls and cozy parks. The atmosphere on the streets is fantastic.

Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is a very young city compared to old European capitals and, probably, the only city in the world that has acquired so much historic significance in such a short time. It was founded in 1703 as an outlet to the sea, which was very important for Russia's future development from both strategic and economical points of view. Saint Petersburg was considered to be "a key for paradise" for the Russian Empire. Saint Petersburg today is one of the most important cultural, scientific and industrial cities in Russia, housing several hundred museums and exhibition halls. Great Russian and foreign artists, poets, writers and composers admired the beauty of Saint Petersburg and commemorated it in their works. There are few other cities that can offer so many stunning attractions and intriguing moods as St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg is in easy reach of the capitals of Europe and Scandinavia and it offers luxury accommodation, expert destination management companies and very good travel services.