We want to show you, that our country much more bigger then Moscow and St-Petersbourg. We want to show you that here, in Russia, you can find huge mountains and wide rivers, hundred years trees and thousand years castle.
Nevertheless, to truly understand what Russia is all about, one must visit here at least a couple of times.
Best of all, one should pick a new region for each visit, gradually discovering all facets of the Russian civilization, of which our country has a lot.
There are over three thousand monuments of history and culture in the Vladimir Region.
Ten white stone architectural masterpieces are included by UNESCO into the World Heritage List.Of 115 historical cities of Russia Vladimir, Alexandrov, Gorokhovets, Murom, Kirzhach, Suzdal and Yuriev-Polsky are located in the Vladimir Region.
The Irkutsk Region is one of the key tourist destinations in Russia and a true gem of Siberia.
It's home to one of nature’s most majestic water reservoirs – Lake Baikal. Baikal, which the ancient Chinese used to call “the North Sea”, was formed in a rift valley 30 million years ago and is the oldest and the deepest freshwater reservoir in the world
Kamchatka is a region in the Russian Far East, which is unrivaled for its natural beauty and its attractiveness as a tourist destination
The untouched world of the Russian Far East continues to attract visitors, be it for ethnographic and scientific expeditions or sports and active recreation
Samara – Where the Lifeblood of Russia Flows.
The Samara region is a beautiful heart-shaped area in the Middle Volga region situated in the southeastern part of European Russia. The region enjoys a moderate continental climate with average monthly temperatures of +20 in July and -13 in January. Much of the region’s territory is taken up by dense pine forest inhabited by a vast variety of animal species. Two major rivers – Volga and Samara cross the picturesque landscape of the region
History Odyssey in the Vladimir Region
There are over three thousand monuments of history and culture in the Vladimir Region. Ten white stone architectural masterpieces are included by UNESCO into the World Heritage List. Of 115 historical cities of Russia Vladimir, Alexandrov, Gorokhovets, Murom, Kirzhach, Suzdal and Yuriev-Polsky are located in the Vladimir Region.
The Vladimir Region is located in the Central European part of Russia, some 180 kilometers to the east of Moscow. It’s a relatively small federal region, with a population of some 1,4 million people, 350’000 of whom live in its administrative center, the city of Vladimir. Russia’s key transportation artery, the Trans-Siberian Railway, crosses the Vladimir Region, connecting Moscow and the country’s Far East.
The Region enjoys a moderate continental climate, with average temperatures of -11 degrees Celsius in January and + 19 degrees in its warmest month, July. Almost half of the entire territory of the Vladimir Region is occupied by dense forest, rich in berries, mushrooms and herbs. It is also home to a vast array of wild animals, including elks, wild bears, deer, lynxes, wolves, rabbits, martens, weasels and badgers. One of Russia’s 42 nature reserves, the Meshera National Park, with its 1000 square kilometers of wildlife, is also located in the region.
The Vladimir Region is rich in natural resources, such as peat, carbonate rocks, sand, clay and dolomite. It is a major center of industry and manufacturing, as well as traditional folk arts, including famous Russian lacquered miniatures and Kovrov clay toys.
The region has a long and rich history, with first human settlements dating back as far as 25 000 years. The city of Vladimir was founded in the 10th century, and by the 12th century became the political and religious capital of the ancient Russian State. As a reminder of its ancient heyday Vladimir still boasts a variety of white-stone architecture, including the Golden Gate built in 1164, the Assumption Cathedral with frescoes by Russia’s greatest medieval painter Andrei Rublev, St. Demetrius Cathedral, which was the home church of Russian princes, as well as the Church of Intercession on the Nerl river, which remains a symbol of Russia’s Orthodox Christianity to this day.
Vladimir lost its status as the capital to Moscow in the 15th century, following the end of the Mongol Yoke over Russia. However, many of the region’s historic features remained untouched, and its towns are traditionally included in the so-called “Golden Ring of Russia” – a world-famous tourist route, which attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world.
All the towns in the Vladimir Region offer something unique to see and do. The town of Suzdal deservedly takes the top spot on every tourists’ itinerary. Founded in the early 11th century, Suzdal still preserves about 300 ancient architectural sites. Its five Orthodox cloisters, founded in the 13th - 14th centuries, came to symbolize Orthodox Christianity worldwide.
Alexandrov is the former residence of notorious Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible, which made it virtually the unofficial capital of the Russian state in the 16th century. In Alexandrov the home church of Ivan the Terrible has survived. You can also visit the royal dining - room and bedchamber, as well as the basement, where food supplies were kept and aristocrats who fell out of favor with the Tsar languished in jail.
Gorokhovets is another ancient merchant city, situated on the bank of the Klyazma River. It also boasts an array of historic architecture, including churches and stone merchant houses from the 17th century. Those fatigued by sightseeing, can choose to slide down the picturesque slopes of the "Puzhalova Mountain” skiing complex.
Murom is the oldest town in the region, as well as the birthplace of the epic Russian hero Ilya Muromets, who is regarded as the greatest medieval knight of the Kievan Rus. In one of Murom’s churches there are the relics of Saint Peter and Saint Fevronia,who are regarded as patron Saints of family and marriage. The 8th of July marks the Day of Family, Love and Fidelity in honor of the Saints. The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the President of Russia usually come to Murom on this holiday.
Gus-Khrustalniy is the center of Russian glassmaking. The town prides itself in the rich collection of modern and the 18th - 19th century glass and crystal exhibited in the Museum of the Crystal in St. George's Cathedral. The Museum is made remarkable by its amazing acoustic features, which is why it hosts the “Crystal Lyre” - an annual international festival of choral and chamber music.
Yuriev-Polsky is known as a town of glorious traditional crafts. One of the town’s mascots is the special breed of horses bred in the Vladimir region, the Vladimir draft-type horse.
Pokrov is the so-called town of coachmen, and is situated on the way from Moscow to Vladimir. Pokrov is also the sweetest town of the region, with its own brand of gingerbread, a major chocolate factory, a museum of chocolate and, reportedly, a chocolate fairy.
The town of Petushki takes its name from the local symbol – the rooster. The town is famous for its museum of the Rooster, the Rooster choir and being the protagonist in one of key pieces of the Soviet underground literature, Venedikt Yerofeev’s novel Moscow – Petushki.
Vyazniki is another local center of folk arts and crafts. The nearby village of Mstera is home to icon painters and jewelry makers, as well as the special Mstera technique of lacquer miniatures used for boxes, jewelry, and household items.
Because of its proximity to Moscow, the Vladimir region is attractive for business, as well as corporate, recreational, environmental, event tourism. Christmas is celebrated in the early January. Tourists are offered a variety of entertainment options, including sleigh rides, folk dances, snow battles and other games.
The Irkutskiy Region is one of the key tourist destinations in Russia and a true gem of Siberia
A Mystical Journey to Lake Baikal
The Irkutsk Region is one of the key tourist destinations in Russia and a true gem of Siberia. Located in the south east of this strikingly huge stretch of land, the Irkutsk Region, named after its biggest city, is home to one of nature’s most majestic water reservoirs – Lake Baikal. Baikal, which the ancient Chinese used to call “the North Sea”, was formed in a rift valley 30 million years ago and is the oldest and the deepest freshwater reservoir in the world. Holding 20 percent of Earth’s freshwater, it is rightly considered a natural resource in Russia, which one day could become as valuable as oil and gas.
Irkutsk is one of the largest and most visited Siberian cities and the administrative centre of the region. A traditional habitat of aristocratic and artistic exiles in the 19th century and an intersection of major trading routes, Irkutsk was once known as “the Paris of Siberia”. Many foreign tourists breathe a sigh of relief when they step off their Transsiberian train journey in Irkutsk, as this city quickly shakes off its formidable Siberian image – its unique architecture, cultural life and friendly people make it a rather charming place to stay in for a few days.
The Baikal Region had traditionally been a place of cultural convergence. Regarded as a holy site for the numerous local peoples for centuries, Baikal has become a prominent element in cultures as different as Russian and Japanese, featuring in their songs and folk tales. The remaining stone carvings and parts of ritual buildings from thousands of years ago evidence Baikal’s significance as an ancient praying site. The lake borders Russia’s Republic of Buryatiya, which is home to Buddhist, Orthodox and Shamanism believers. Every year, Buryat shamans meet at the biggest of Baikal’s islands, Olkhon Island, to share their knowledge and experience and to conduct rituals.
The crystal-clear breathtakingly beautiful Baikal regularly appears on various “Places to see before you die” lists for zealous tourists. Unfortunately, for many Baikal is still the place to come to only during summer. However, those brave enough to finally make a foray to this Pearl of Siberia during winter, are usually shocked by how much they’ve been missing. The giant body of water resting under a cap of ice surrounded by majestic snow-covered Baikal Mountains is as much of a sight in January as during the summer, and perhaps provides an even more intense spiritual experience.
And let’s not forget all the fun winter pastimes on offer - dog sledding, skiing, skating and ice driving are as obligatory in January as taking a dip in Baikal is in the summer. Not that you need any more reasons to come to the Irkutsk’s region, but why not time your visit to one of many business, culture and sports events going on during winter?
The International Winter Game Festival “Zimniada” takes place in February around Irkutsk and incorporates several cultural, business and sports events. This year’s festival was launched in the ski resort “the Sable Mountain” in the town of Baikalsk. The games were opened with a game of a tug of war, a skiing race and a weight lifting competition. In 2011, the Festival attracted over 1500 participants from 17 countries and over 40 000 people came to watch.
Baikal Tourist Fair, the Baikaltour, was first organised 15 years ago as a way to facilitate business relations with foreign tourist companies and promote the region as a lucrative tourist destination. Last year’s fair brought together over 60 companies from Russia, as well as China, Korea, Mongolia and Japan. The fair incorporated several business conferences, seminars and roundtables, attended by regional and international investors and representatives of the federal government. The entertainment part of the fair included a master class in ice sculpting, which, of course is equally invaluable for fostering those business links in a more informal setting.
Then there is a festival dedicated to the quintessential Siberian art form – the ice sculpture. The ice sculpting competition “Ice Seal” takes place on Baikal near the village of Listvyanka. The winners of the contest, which attracts artists from all over Siberia, are then chosen for the team, which represents entire Russia at the Ice Alaska World Ice Art Championship in Fairbanks, USA.
Snowmobile races “Snow Leopard” between Irkutsk, Listvyanka and the town of Baikalks also usually take place in the end of February. With a distance of over 150 kilometers, “Snow Leopard” is a race, which tests some fifteen of its participants to the extreme.
Moving on to March, this is when an ice marathon on the frozen surface of Baikal is organized. This year’s event aimed to promote eco-friendly causes, and was titled “Keep the water clean”. With a distance of 42 kilometers and a rather chilly air, the marathon gathered 80 daring athletes from 14 countries. The intense conditions didn’t, however, deter 69-year old Wilfried Fischer from Germany and 16-year old Russian girl Daria Manzii from participating in 2011. This year’s winner also set a record, finishing the ice race in 6 hours 30 minutes.
The Ice Marathon, being a uniquely exciting and extreme undertaking, was included in the 2007 Guinness Book of Records for being the world’s only marathon to be run entirely on the ice surface. Finally, also in March, is when the mountain skiing race for the Governor’s Cup is organized. Over 120 skiing lovers from twelve age groups come to the Sable Mountain ski resort to try their skills at Alpine skiing and slalom.
Of course, there are plenty of other opportunities for fun and active recreation on Baikal that are off the official program. We are talking about winter trekking across the lake, the Buryat national holiday Sagaaglan, the taiga hunting festival, the Maslenitsa pancake week, and the less conventional sports, like snow volleyball and ice football. For others, there are ice fishing contests and dog sledge expeditions across Baikal.
Into the Wild in Kamchatka
Kamchatka is a region in the Russian Far East, which is unrivaled for its natural beauty and its attractiveness as a tourist destination. As Kamchatka has never been a mass tourism hot spot, its unique nature was preserved in pristine condition. The untouched world of the Russian Far East continues to attract visitors, be it for ethnographic and scientific expeditions or sports and active recreation. It often happens that those who come to explore Kamchatka fall in love with its beauty and attractions, never failing to return again and again. We invite you to use one of the tourist agencies of Kamchatka and embark on a journey which will prove to be fascinating.
Kamchatka offers a wide range of tourism opportunities, guaranteed to satisfy even the most insatiable thirst for adventure, recreation and curiosity.
Kamchatka boasts a variety of outstanding wild nature spots. A number of conservation areas were created on the peninsula in order to protect nature’s resources and help develop eco-tourism. Six of Kamchatka’s volcanic sites are on UNESCO’s natural heritage list, including the Kronotsky nature reserve, South Kamchatka state federal reserve, as well as natural parks of Nalychevo, Yuzhno-Kamchatskiy, Bystrinsky and Klyuchevkoy.
Tours are also offered to the unique Valley of Geysers, to the caldera of the Uzon volcano, as well as other spectacular monuments of nature in Kamchatka. No matter which tour you choose, you would be surrounded by a landscape of unforgettable natural beauty, that seems as if created for no other reason than to be observed, admired and photographed.
Of particular interest is the history and life of Kamchatka’s indigenous peoples, including, among others, the Evens, the Koryaks and the Itelmens. Local travel agencies offer tours to authentic ethno-cultural centers of the indigenous peoples of Kamchatka, where tourists can witness their traditions and customs, arts and crafts, and sample a delicious national dish.
Health and Beauty Tourism
As an area of active volcanism, Kamchatka is home to about 150 clusters of thermal springs, 52 of which are open to tourists. The Paratunskaya recreation area, a favorite among tourists and local residents alike, is located just 40 kilometers from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The area offers medical and spa treatments based on healing properties of its thermal mineral springs, as well as convenient accommodation nearby. Paratunskaya features 30 recreation centers, including sanatoriums with spas and thermal water pools.
Hiking and Volcano Climbing Tours
Kamchatka has 200 volcanoes on its territory, with 30 of them still active, making it one of the most remarkable spots on the planet. The mountains in Kamchatka are ideal for ascending and mountaineering, and offer routes for all levels - from the beginner to the very experienced climber. Ascents are possible on various volcanoes, ranging from Avachinsky, Koryak and Kozelsky to the Kluchevskaya Sopka, which is the highest active volcano in Eurasia, with an altitude of 4750 meters.
The Kamchatka peninsula would be interesting to lovers of river rafting adventures, thanks to its dense river system and mountainous terrain coupled with flat valleys, which make up for one of the world’s most magnificent landscapes.
Culture, Education and Sightseeing
The attractions of Kamchatka, however, are not limited to adventure tourism. City tours are on offer for visits to local museums and historical monuments of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, a city with a dramatic and fascinating history, in which exploration and heroism are intertwined.
Kamchatka possesses an almost unlimited potential for scientific tourism. Its history, ethnography, culture and geology offer exciting opportunities for scientific exploration. Kamchatka’s volcanoes and natural systems provide for activities such as monitoring plants and animals in their natural habitat, including bird colonies, breeding grounds of marine mammals, bears and much more.
Equestrian trails are made attractive by the uniqueness of the surrounding landscape. In Kamchatka, riding routes run along scenic rivers and around lakes, through steep mountain passes and dense forest.
Some 10 foreign cruise ships come to ports of Kamchatka every year. Cruise tours around the peninsula are available as well, with stops on the Commander and Kurile Islands, during which excursions are organized. Watching sea birds and mammals is a particularly fascinating pastime during the cruise.
Coastal Cruises around Avachinskaya Bay
A sea cruise around the area of Avachinskaya Bay is highly popular with both tourists and Kamchatka locals. Avachinskaya is one of the most comfortable and beautiful harbors in existence, and challenges places like Rio de Janeiro and San Francisco for the title of the best port in the world. The usual route lies through the Island of Starichkov, which is frequented by sea bird colonies, and considered a natural monument. Sea fishing is also organized during the cruise.
Dog Sledding and Snowmobiling
Dog sledding is a traditional means of transport for the indigenous population of Kamchatka. Dog sledding tours around the peninsula are readily available, and one can even participate in the annual dog sledding race “Beringia”, named after the grassland steppe which stretched across Eurasia and where dog sledding is believed to have originated. Snowmobiling is another popular way to journey through Kamchatka during winter.
Recreational “catch and release” fishing in the most picturesque areas of Kamchatka is enjoyed by fishing enthusiasts of any level. Rainbow trout, char, halibut, greenling, perch and different kinds of Pacific salmon are all big game on the rivers of Kamchatka.
Hunting for the Kamchatka brown bear, which, at three meters tall, is one of the largest subspecies of brown bears in the world, can be done in spring and fall. Other popular game animals found in Kamchatka include snow sheep, moose, capercaillie, wolf and wolverine. It is not unusual to combine hunting and fishing tours during the same trip.
Snowboarding, Skiing and Trekking
Long snowy winters and spectacular high mountains make the Kamchatka Peninsula a natural destination for skiing. Off-trail, downhill skiing accessed by a helicopter, known as heli-skiing, has become especially in-demand in Kamchatka recently. The best time for ski tours is considered to be from March to late May. Kamchatka offers skiing on large volcanoes with average slopes of more than 2000 meters, and smaller peaks of about 1000 meters. The most popular volcanoes are Avachinsky, Kozelsky, Koryak, Aag, Arik and Vilyuchinsky.
Also available is skiing in more conventional ski resorts and cross-country skiing.