Regions in Russia
- Central Russia (Moscow, Ivanovo Oblast, Kaluga Oblast, Kostroma Oblast, Moscow Oblast, Ryazan Oblast, Smolensk Oblast, Tver Oblast, Tula Oblast, Vladimir Oblast, Yaroslavl Oblast).
The richest side of the country, dominated by spectacular architecture and historic buildings. It is the country’s gateway to Europe and is home to the capital Moscow.
- Chernozemye (Belgorod Oblast, Bryansk Oblast, Kursk Oblast, Lipetsk Oblast, Oryol Oblast, Tambov Oblast, Voronezh Oblast).South of central Russia and famous for its deep, rich black earth (Chernozem is the Russian term for “black earth”), it was an important battlefield during World War II.
- Northwest Russia (St. Petersburg, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Karelia, Komi Republic, Leningrad Oblast, Murmansk Oblast, Nenets, Novgorod Oblast, Pskov Oblast, Vologda Oblast). Here is the former imperial capital of St. Petersburg, also known as the “Capital of the North”. It combines the beautiful landscape of the Great Lakes Ladoga and Onega and the medieval fortresses of Pskov Oblast with the lake region of Karelia and is a gateway to Scandinavia.
- Kaliningrad Oblast (often considered part of north-west Russia). Kaliningrad Oblast is the only exclave of Russia that borders Poland and Lithuania and will be the venue for some of the 2018 World Cup matches.
- Southern Russia (Adygea, Chechnya, Crimea, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Kalmykia, Karachay-Cherkessia, Krasnodar Krai, North Ossetia, Rostov Oblast, Stavropol Krai). The warmest region in the whole country, with beautiful resorts like the subtropical city of Sochi, and also brings a way to the mountainous North Caucasus.
- Volga Region (Astrakhan Oblast, Chuvashia, Kirov Oblast, Mari El, Mordovia, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Penza Oblast, Samara Oblast, Saratov Oblast, Tatarstan, Udmurtia, Ulyanovsk Oblast, Volgograd Oblast). The most industrialised region of the country, known for large-scale production of military equipment in cities like Izhevsk, with a rich culture and history.
- Ural Region (Bashkortostan, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Khanty-Mansia, Kurgan Oblast, Orenburg Oblast, Perm Krai, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Tyumen Oblast, Yamaly). One of the richest regions known for producing a large part of the resources Russia needs today and which owes its name to the huge Ural Mountains, which also form the border between Europe and Asia.
- Siberia (Altai Region, Altai Republic, Buryatia, Irkutsk Oblast, Kemerovo Oblast, Khakassia, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Novosibirsk Oblast, Omsk Oblast, Tomsk, Tuva, Zabaykalsky Krai). The largest area of the country, diverse in landscape and annual temperatures, with beautiful lakes, the longest rivers in the world, but largely marshy in the centre and north. It is a gateway to much of Asia.
- Russian Far East (Amur Oblast, Chukotka, Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Kamchatka Region, Khabarovsk Region, Magadan Oblast, Primorsky Region, Sakhalin Oblast, Yakutia). One of the coldest regions in Russia, also home to the coldest city in the world, Yakutsk. Famous worldwide for its national parks, beautiful landscapes and mountains, and the volcanoes of Kamchatka. It is also a gateway to North Korea and China.
Cities in Russia
Here is a representative selection of nine Russian cities with their anglicised and Cyrillic Russian names:
- Moscow (Москва) – The capital of Russia is one of the largest cities in the world and offers a variety of attractions for the adventurous visitor.
- Irkutsk (Иркутск) – the most popular Siberian city in the world, located less than an hour from Lake Baikal on the Trans-Siberian Railway.Kazan (Казань) – the capital of Tatar culture is an attractive city in the heart of the Volga region with an impressive Kremlin.
- Nizhny Novgorod (Нижний Новгород) – often neglected despite being one of Russia’s largest cities, Nizhny Novgorod is worth a visit for its Kremlin, Sakharov Museum and nearby Makarev Monastery.
- St Petersburg (Санкт-Петербург) – formerly known as Leningrad, the cultural and political capital of Russia, is home to one of the world’s finest museums, the Hermitage, while the city centre is a living open-air museum in its own right, making it one of the world’s leading tourist destinations.
- Sochi (Сочи) – Russia’s most popular resort on the Black Sea was largely unknown to foreigners until it hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics.
- Vladivostok (Владивосток) – often called (somewhat ironically) “the San Francisco of Russia”, full of hilly streets and battleships. The most important Russian city in the Pacific is the terminus of the Trans-Siberian Highway and Railway
- Volgograd (Волгоград) – formerly known as Stalingrad, this city may have been the site of the decisive battle of World War II and is now home to a huge war memorial.
- Ekaterinburg (Екатеринбург) – the centre of the Ural region and one of Russia’s most important cultural centres is a good stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway and a point of arrival for visitors to the Urals, Russia’s second largest financial centre.
Other destinations in Russia
- The border between Europe and Asia – it is clearly defined in Ekaterinburg and a very popular stop for photo shoots between the continents!
- Dombai – although it is neither as internationally known nor as well preserved today, it is the most beautiful mountain resort in the North Caucasus.
- Golden Ring – a popular loop of beautiful historic cities that form a ring around Moscow.
- Kamchatka – the region of active volcanoes, geysers, mineral springs and bears walking the streets.
- Kizhi – one of the most valuable sites in all of Russia. Kizhi Island in Lake Onega is famous for its spectacular complex of traditional wooden churches.
- The primeval forests of Komi – deeply isolated and difficult to visit, but it is by far the largest wilderness area in Europe and contains Russia’s largest Jugyd Va National Park.
- Lake Baikal – the “Pearl of Siberia” – is the deepest and largest lake in the world by volume and a remarkable destination for all those who love nature.
- Mamaev Kurgan – a massive memorial and museum on and around the battlefield where the most important battle of the 20th century took place: Stalingrad.
- The Solovetsky Islands – located north of the White Sea, they are home to the magnificent Solovetsky Monastery, which has served as both a military fortress and a gulag throughout its turbulent history.
- Caucasian dolmens – ancient structures of unknown utility, located in many places in the Caucasus, can be found even near Greater Sochi. For example, guides from Lazarevskoe (a region of Greater Sochi) can show you large stone dolmens in the local forests. (Locals sometimes show small dolmens for a fee, but they are usually fake and made of concrete).