You are planning a visit to Russia. What do you want to see? Is it really
worthwhile? You have never been there. First, you will ask your friends. If they
do not have any ideas, you will buy guidebooks or search the internet.
Then you will discover that many guidebooks are lousy, and that
you can relatively easily find information on a small number of top attractions
(Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Novgorod, the Golden Ring, Transsiberian Railway)
but almost nothing
beyond that. If you do not read Russian, then for many attractions you will
not find anything. And, besides, to find something you need to know what you are
searching for — what is interesting to see in Russia.
Our intention is to present at this website what is interesting to see.
Obviously, some selection is unavoidable, but we will try to present what we believe
is worthwhile. The major part of the information is taken from other sources or
found in the internet, and we do not really perform deep research. Instead,
we present a relatively short article for each attraction, and include some practical
information - how to get there, where to eat, where to sleep and so on. For
further reading we give links to other websites (most of which are unfortunately
only in Russian). The only important restriction is that the text and pictures at
each page are original (the authors are listed). The project coordinator is
Yaroslav Blanter, putevod##mccme.ru . If you have any comments or want to
add some material, please write to him or leave a notice in the
All comments are very welcome.
The English part of this site is still underdeveloped, but we are adding new pages.
If the information you need is not available, come back later — soon or later
it will appear at our website.
This website is available at
mirrored at http://ppt.h12.ru (free hosting with pop-ups).
They are identical and updated simultaneously. The original mirror,
Every page describes an individual attraction: a town,
sometimes with surroundings, an estate, or a monastery,
a natural attraction, like an island, a mountain ridge, or a canyon,
an industrial object, for instance, a railroad or a canal.
The information is subdivided into parts: General information; Attractions (if possible,
with pictures); practical information (transport, food, hotels); and also collection
of links (most of them in Russian).
To make the orientation easier, some attractions have ratings. We give
3 — worth a journey,
2 — worth a detour,
1 — interesting. The ratings are very
much subjective. We try not to overdo, and the ratings are more for convenience. If
an attraction does not have a rating, it does not mean it is of no interest.
This page contains a list of Russian attractions which
got the rating 3. From this page,
links point out to those pages of individual attractions which are ready,
and to the pages of subjects (republics, krays — territories, and regions) of
The pages of individual subjects contain (provisional) lists of all objects
of interest included into this guide (not necessarily with three stars).
Currently, only the objects with ratings are mentioned (unless the pages
are actually ready). This page shows the updates of
There is no unique way of transliterating of Cyrillic characters, used in Russian,
into Latin letters. This means that Russian names can look differently in
English, depending of the chosen transliteration system. As a rule, we
follow the transliteration shown below (Russian letter first, English letter
Àà — Aa;   Áá — Bb; Ââ — Vv;   Ãã — Gg;
Ää — Dd;
Åå — Ee; ¨¸ — Yo yo; Ææ — Zh zh; Çç — Zz;
Èè — Ii; Éé — Yy; Êê — Kk; Ëë — Ll;
Ìì — Mm;
Íí — Nn; Îî — Oo; Ïï — Pp; Ðð —
Ññ — Cc; Òò — Tt; Óó — Uu; Ôô — Ff;
Õõ — Kh kh;
Öö — Ts ts; ×÷ — Ch ch; Øø — Sh sh;
Ùù — Shch shch;
ú — ' ; Ûû — Yy; ü — ' ; Ýý — Ee;
Þþ — Yu yu;
ßÿ — Ya ya .
The endings -ûé and -èé in adjectives are traditionally
transliterated as -y (Nizhny Novgorod).
We may deviate from this system in case of
internationally known names. We use existing names, for
instance Moscow rather than
If you are used to travel in Western Europe or North America, some things in
Russia could surprise you. This could be a lifetime experience, and we are not going
to provide you with all the details in advance, but you might want to know some
things which may help you to enjoy the trip. A very brief list is below.
It is definitely not intended to scare the independent traveler and made him/her to
change his/her mind. On the contrary, as soon as you understand the rules of the game,
you will immensely enjoy your trip.
- Unless you are a national of one of the CIS countries, you need a visa
to visit Russia. You can not get visa on the border upon arrival. You need to
apply in a Russian consulate, and often well in advance. An application
package always includes an invitation certified in a police station in Russia,
either from an individual, or from a tour operator. Getting it from an operator is the
easiest. A list of these operators, as well as consulate info and further
information, can be found elsewhere, for example, at
Guide to Getting Good Information by Ruth E. Imershein.
- In any case, when you arrive to any new city in Russia, you are required by the
law to register with the police within three working days on arrival. If you are staying in
a hotel or a hostel, they usually will do the work for you. If not, or if you are staying
at a private place, the registration is really a hassle. Sometimes, the company from which
you have an invitation, can register you; check in advance! If you are staying at the
same place less than three days and can prove it (for instance, by showing the train
tickets), you do not need to register. (For citizens of Russia and Ukraine,
different regulations apply).
- Russia is as safe as any other European country. As far as you observe reasonable
precautions nothing should happen. If you are Black or Asian, you will be definitely
singled out of the crowd, but you chances to become a victim of a racial attack
are negligible. We currently advise against travel to North-Caucasus Republics of
Chechnya, Daghestan, and Ingushetia. In big cities, use public transport rather than taxis,
do not show that you are in hurry, and avoid unnecessary contacts with the police
(In case they stop you, be polite and self-assured).
- Russia is a developed country: Things like internet, ATMs, GPS receivers and such are
available. Contrary to common beliefs, bears are for two hundred years off the streets
of big cities. On the other hand, the tourist business is very much underdeveloped.
- The most common mode of transportation between big cities is train, followed
by bus (where the train does not exist or is too slow). Trains and buses run on a
schedule which does not follow simple patterns (say a train every second hour);
there are places served once per day or even less often. Except for suburban trains,
all train tickets require a seat reservation. If the train is fully booked, you may not board it.
Car travel becomes increasingly popular, gas is readily available, and more and more roads
of acceptable quality appear. However, car rentals are very uncommon if at all existent,
and if you are driving your own car, it must be guarded all the time, at best at
guarded parking places. Where public transportation does not exist, hiring a car with a driver
is common; always negotiate the price in advance and try to get the idea of the price
- Hotels generally exist almost everywhere. However, budget hotels of acceptable quality
are rare; hostels are even less common. Some hotels do not register foreigners and do
not let them stay. The quality of most hotels is really horrible. On top of that,
they are not really interested in hosting visitors. Situations when you arrive to the hotel
and nobody has heard of your advanced phone reservation are not uncommon. Apart from major
tourist centers, usually the best strategy is to look for the hotel as soon as you arrive
to the city you want to spend a night in. Camping is allowed anywhere anytime except for
restricted areas; in practice, you need to observe obvious precautions. Organized camping
places almost do not exist.
- Quality of restaurants may vary, but is generally ok. The problem is usually that
the concept of non-smoking areas is almost non-existent.
- You will hardly find any English (or, for this matter, any other foreign language)
speakers on the street outside Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. Nevertheless, people managed
to travel independently in Russia for extensive periods of time without speaking any Russian.
It is strongly recommended that you familiarize yourself with Russian alphabet, since
signposting is not the strongest side of Russian public transportation. If you have time
to learn some basics of Russian, it will be very much appreciated, and even with rudimentary
knowledge of Russian you can get much further than without it.