Introduction to Russia and its regions
In July 2018 Indy Guide, the biggest local tour operators marketplace connecting international travelers with 1000 guides, hosts and drivers in Asia and Middle East starts business in Russia, the largest country in the world.
Russian people created a very powerful state, the great empire. Russia consistently and persistently gathered and reached the dimensions that astonish the imagination of all people of the world. An endlessly complex task is faced by Russians - the task to design and organize their vast land. The immensity of the territory, the absence of borders and limits were expressed in the structure of the Russian soul - the landscape of the Russian soul corresponds to one of the Russian land: the same aspiration to infinity and breadth.
As Dostoevsky says, to be a real Russian is to become a brother to all people, in all mankind; Russian destiny is universality and not acquired by sword, but by the power of brotherhood and brotherly aspiration to the reunification of people. Visiting Russia you will always find warm welcome and friendliness.
Being the world’s largest country Russia offers an extensive list of places worth visiting from glacier-crowned mountains to subtropical beaches, fascinating architecture, historical, cultural and religious sites. Russia can offer something for everyone.
As the capital of Russia, Moscow is the most important city, but not just for the political reasons. The city is also famous for its artistic achievements, including ballet, music and art. Onion-shaped domes of the cathedrals, Kremlin and Red Square give an idea of uniqueness of Russian architecture and life style. Famous Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky admitted that relocation to Moscow was a relocation to another world for him and caused his rebirth from being cosmopolitan into someone who got close to everything Russian.
Russia’s second largest city is Saint Petersburg. Founded in 1703 by Peter the Great it became the capital of Russian empire. Known as the cultural capital of Russia, the city has one of the finest art collections in the world at the museum of Hermitage. Numerous cathedrals and palaces, magnificent monuments and embankments and city's main avenue Nevsky Prospekt make St. Petersburg one of the most beautiful cities of the world.
Between Moscow and the East is situated the city of Irkutsk, the most popular stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway and practically the capital of Eastern Siberian region. In Irkutsk travelers can find nicely decorated wooden houses surrounded by standard Soviet blocks of flats, several churches, geology and history museums. With Lake Baikal only 45 km away, the city is the best base to explore the lake’s western shoreline.
Ancient lake Baikal located in Siberia is the biggest, deepest and one of the most beautiful lakes on Earth. Baikal is amazing, and it's not for nothing that Siberians call it not a lake but a sea. Water is unusually transparent, so that you can see through it, as through air; its color is soft, turquoise, pleasant to the eye. The banks of Baikal are mountainous and covered with forests. It might seem Baikal should suppress a man with his greatness and size - everything is large, wide, free and mysterious - on the contrary it raises him. A feeling of elation and spirituality is experienced on Lake Baikal. Nowhere else will you have a feeling of such full and so desired fusion with nature and penetration into it.
The region is also rich with culture being the home to Russian Buddhists, Buryat ethnic minority, and also historically famous as a place for exiled Decembrists. The Republic of Buryatia is a federal division of the Russian Federation located in Siberia and covering 60% of the lake Baikal shoreline. Its capital is the city of Ulan-Ude.
Buryat people are the descendants of Mongolian tribes, that have been inhabiting the area for over a millennium. Many of local traditions came from Mongolians: vertical writing script, nomadic lifestyle, economy based on cattle breeding, hunting and fishing, and also spiritual culture. Buryats' religious systems were traditionally based on the deification of nature, belief in spirits and possibility of their magic influence, and were led by shamans. From the second half of the 17th century, cults in the shamanic form were absorbed by Buddhism, which became widespread in ethnic Buryatia. A synthesis of Buddhism and traditional beliefs is a major feature of Buryat culture.
Also the area was colonized in the 17th century by Russians in search of wealth, furs and gold. This had a significant influence on the way of life and led to the formation of the Buryat ethnos which consolidated separate tribal groups. The Soviet ideology had serious impact to the traditional culture, language and religion of the Buryat people. Cyrillic script was adopted as Buryat literary language but Buryat as a language is still in use.
Buryatia is a unique place, a real symbol of Eurasia representing the crossroad of European and Asian cultures, history, and mentality.
The pearl of the great Siberia, one of the best corners of it is undoubtedly Altai, this remarkable mountainous country, rich in original harsh beauty of its nature, representing sharp contrasts in its different parts. Altai mountains, amazing with untouchedness, grandiose and majestic, stretch to the boundless distance. Nowhere else in Siberia find you such a combination of beautiful mountain chains with snow and glaciers, alpine meadows, rocky ravines, rugged rivers with rapids and waterfalls, large and small lakes, gloomy spruce-fir forests in the east and bright larch groves in the west. And, amid the majestic nature, vast mountains and the dense dark forests, along the tender valleys and golden bottom of the Altai, the emerald river, the blazing blue ribbon Katun flows, stormy and restless.
The Altai National Reserve and the Katunskiy National Reserve together form the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Golden Mountains of Altai.
Altai is attracting almost all types of tourism, from road trips to rafting, mountain hiking and walks. Sightseers and health seekers love this wilderness area for its natural cosmic offerings. Ecotourism is booming in the Altai Mountains as new hotels and resorts spring up around the region.
The Khibiny Mountains represent a high mountain range rising to a height of 1,250 meters above sea level and lying 80 kilometers to the north of the White Sea and 120 to the south of the Murmansk coast. The mountains have the richest reserves of minerals, of which some are not found anywhere else in the world. They are under active development and mining.
At the foot of the mountains are the cities of Apatity and Kirovsk, and along the western slopes of Khibiny is the largest lake of the Kola Peninsula - Imandra. Khibiny mountains, proudly rising in the middle of the forest, lakes and marshes of the Kola Peninsula, are the center of Russian northern tourism, the school of science and life. Bare peaks - stony tundra - rise among hilly plains covered with swamps, lakes and forests; from the east and west their slopes are reflected in the waters of deep lakes stretching far from north to south.
Late in autumn, when all the peaks are covered with thick snow and yellow birches stand out against the green background of the fir trees, the dark and long polar nights switch on the fabulous Aurora Borealis illuminating the wild mountain landscape, forests and lakes with the purple lights. These trembling and shimmering rays and veils give unforgettable impressions of Russian north.Here in the formidable nature with wild gorges and cliffs hundreds of meters high, you will find the bright midnight sun shining for several months in succession with its long rays on the snowy fields of high uplands.
Khibiny are a famous ski resort where you can come in May and even in June. Mountain tops remain snow-covered for most of the year, and ice on rivers and lakes stays until May. Only in Khibiny one can enjoy snowmobile tours until the end of spring. In summer it is an ideal place for mountain tourism - waterfalls and snow-capped peaks, swift ice rivers and bright blue lakes, glaciers and gorges are awaiting the travelers .
Kamchatka is a large peninsular in the north of Russia lying in Far Eastern Russia between the Sea of Okhotsk on the west and the Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea on the east. Despite its remote and isolated location It continuesly attracts numerous travelers from all over the world due to spectacular volcanoes, steaming craters and cosmic landscapes.
The regional center, the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, is the starting point to explore Kamchatka where diverse sightseeing tours including the Valley of Geysers and Uzon Volcano and also accommodation options can be found. In city itself one can visit many museums, theatres and historical sights. Located inside the Kronotsky State Biosphere Reserve, the Valley of Geysers is one of the largest geyser fields in the world, and the only one in Eurasia. It has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as a part of the natural complex of volcanoes in Kamchatka.
The valley is a deep canyon of the Geyser river, which has a number of the geyser outputs, hot springs and waterfalls. Almost 200 geysers exist in this region, along with hot-water springs. Over 30 geysers have been named. The largest geyser erupts with approximately 60 water tons once or twice every year. An incredibly rich biodiversity and immense climate contrasts are the distinctive features of this territory. As a result of public voting the Valley of Geysers was acknowledged as one of the Seven Wonders of Russia in 2008. Since 1992 helicopter tours to the Valley have been organized following a strict system of rules of excursions in order to maintain the equilibrium of the ecosystem.
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