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St. Petersburg, Moscow and beyond

When most travelers think of Russia, what immediately comes to mind are its two main cities: Moscow and St. Petersburg.  These cities represent the heart of former Imperial Russia and these two great cities often become the focus for most tourists. And while Moscow, with its traditional Russian churches and the beautiful Kremlin, and Saint Petersburg, the most European of all Russian cities, are certainly notable highlights, there is much more to Russia, a country that spans eleven time zones and two continents, coming to within less than 50 miles from North America.  Whether taking a Russian River Cruise or traveling across the vast landscape, this country has many things for first time visitors to see.

Russia covers the major part of Eastern Europe and Northern Asia, bordering the Arctic Ocean, between Europe and the North Pacific Ocean. Within this vast expanse lies the largest freshwater lake in the world (the Baikal) and Europe's tallest peak (Mount Elbrus). Featuring broad plain terrain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains along southern border regions, Russia is the largest country on earth in terms of area, with enormous tracts of land that have only been opened to travelers in the last few years. Its climate ranges from humid continental in much of European Russia; subarctic in Siberia to tundra climate in the polar north.

Throwing off the restrictions imposed by communist uniformity, Russia has become a nation of diversity and tremendous vitality.  In addition, the cultural traditions of this great country have been rediscovered with newfound strength and enthusiasm. Ancient architectural monuments and cathedrals left neglected and ruined in Soviet times are being rebuilt and restored and the great tradition of Russian literature and the arts are quickly regaining their former glory. Because of this, Russia is now attracting more and more international visitors who are drawn to the hospitable people, magnificent culture, ethnic and natural diversity, lively cities and quaint remote country towns and villages.

You can visit Russia any time of the year and you can find many interesting places to see and things to do all year long.  Russia is rich in beautiful cities, villages, resorts, lakes, rivers and mountains so you have a wide range of places to visit. Because of this, the number of visitors to Russia has been increasing each year. Russia has much to offer to the scores of international visitors who are attracted by the unique features of the Russian culture which cannot be duplicated in any other country. 

Russian souvenirs reflect the national character of the people and you will enjoy looking them long after you have returned home. Lively carved and painted figurines and matryoshka (nesting dolls); Gzhel and Lomonosov porcelin and lacquered boxes appeal to most travelers. These examples of Russian culture will not only decorate your home, they will bring back memories of your first trip to Russia and may even inspire you to visit again.

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