Russia is home to a treasure trove of historical and cultural monuments recognised all around the globe. Whether you’re planning to visit the world’s largest country or are just curious, some of these monuments and their history may surprise you. From the domes of Saint Basil’s to the powdery blues of the Winter Palace, here are the most famous monuments in Russia.
7 of the Most Famous Monuments in Russia
1. Saint Basil’s Cathedral
Few things are more iconic of Russia’s landmarks than the bright red Saint Basil’s Cathedral with its candy-coloured onion domes. Completed in 1561 in celebration of Russia’s victory over the Khanate of Kazan, it is steeped in centuries of lore and mystery that almost surpass its beauty. Even more famously, it was recognised by the Soviets as a significant and irreplaceable monument – something completely unheard of for a religious structure.
2. Winter Palace
Once the official residence of Russia’s tsars, the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg is easily the most recognisable symbol of Russian history in the country. Not only that, but the palace also houses the second largest museum in the world, the Hermitage Museum. Complete with 400 rooms full of priceless artefacts and nearly 40 permanent exhibitions of some of the world’s most prized art, it’s second only to the Louvre. Oh and the stunning stucco facades? Those are made up of a whopping 100 kilograms of pure gold.
3. Moscow Metro
When you think of an underground metro, beauty and opulence may not be the first thing to come to mind. But that’s what makes the Moscow Metro so special. As the first metro system in Russia, the Moscow metro glorifies the Soviet Union and even today people still refer to it as the Palace of the People.
Ranking right alongside Buckingham Palace and the White House in terms of the world’s most iconic and influential buildings, the Kremlin is one of Russia’s most famous monuments. Located off Moscow’s famous Red Square, this enormous fortified complex holds five palaces and four cathedrals which overlook the Moskva River. Not only that, but it is the largest active fortress in Europe.
5. Peterhof Palace
This stunning palace turned museum just outside Saint Petersburg was built by Peter the Great in response to the Palace of Versailles in 1723. The sprawling UNESCO site is famous for its sunshine yellow exterior and elaborate fountains of every shape and size; which is fitting considering its main use was a summer party pad for the Russian ruler.
6. Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is light-years from your ordinary lake. Located way out in eastern Siberia, it is the world’s most ancient freshwater lake at a whopping 20 million years old. Not only that, but it is also one of the clearest and purest bodies of water on the planet. It’s also home to some of the world’s most fascinating marine life. Namely the Nerpa Seal, the world’s only freshwater seal in addition to the Baikal oilfish.
7. Kizhi Island
Lastly, in the republic of Karelia you’ll find the pristine and picturesque Lake Onega, home to Kizhi Island. While the natural landscape on the islands and their surroundings are breathtaking, the real highlight is the churches. You’ll find two 18th century wooden churches renowned for their traditional style that looks like something from a Russian fairytale.