Russia is rapidly becoming one of the most popular destinations in the world. Since the end of the USSR, Russian traditions that were buried for decades have come back and are busy making up for lost time. Though Russia, the most enormous country in the world by physical size, offers numerous other options, most Western visitors to Russia start at Moscow and St. Petersburg. Here are four spellbinding places to visit in Russia.
Abramtsevo is an estate north of Moscow. It was a colony for artists and writers over 100 years ago. Originally owned by Sergei Aksakov, novelists and designers like Nikolai Gogol stayed there as guests. They wanted to rid Russian art of Western influences to create a more authentically Russian ethos. In 1870 it was taken over by Savva Mamontov, and under his direction, Russian art thrived there. Abramtsevo contains a picturesque church, winding paths through forestland, and a unique house straight out of a fairy tale. The main building may have been the origin for Chekhov's concept for The Cherry Orchard.
Gorky Park, Moscow is a beautiful place to visit in cold weather. The footpaths ice over turning much of the setting into a skating rink. Skating along with your mate is one of the most romantic ways to experience Moscow. If you go during warm weather, you can enjoy the dozens of rides, cafes, and vendors where you can shop for mementos. First opened in 1928, Gorky Park had been the gardens of a local palace. Whether you go in cold weather or when it's warm, you will find countless things to delight you and your sweetheart. Located next to the Moskva River, it is a romantic setting you shouldn't miss when visiting Moscow.
The Hermitage Winter Palace is maybe the most stunning place in St. Petersburg. With its countless architectural flourishes, this magnificent building has over 1, 000 rooms. Previously the residence of Russia's royalty, it also was the location where in 1917 Bolsheviks commenced their coup d'etat. While that single event of the Revolution was not as brutal as it was later portrayed, it did precede civil war and the Bolshevik dominance in 1921. Since then, the Winter Palace is home to the Hermitage Museum, the largest art gallery in Russia. Works by da Vinci, Andrey Cherny, and Michalangelo are some of the works in this enormous art collection.
The Grand Hotel Europe is a luxurious delight, with delicious food in seven restaurants, and a long and enchanting history. Among the Grand Hotel Europe's countless historic visitors was Johann Strauss From this place of luxury, visitors can easily get to St. Petersburg's most famous sites. As a background for love, Grand Hotel Europe cannot be surpassed. It is like going back to an earlier era, with opulence and elegance complemented by 21st century amenities.
While Russia is blessed with many romantic sites, these four are excellent choices for first-time visitors. The amazing architecture of Eastern Europe combines with a 20th century primarily filled with happenings that are unfamiliar to Westerners make Russia a unique, but unforgettable location for romance.