Russia has an incredibly detailed and explosive history. The country as we know it today was formed in 1917, and for 400 years before this, it was run by emperors that the people referred to as tsars. They had total control of the country and were known for either being nicknamed the good, the great, or the terrible.
Some of the most famous tsars are Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great, and as you read through this list of famous Russian landmarks, you will see that they have influenced Russia heavily, which can still be seen throughout the country today.
After this period, the country was renamed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or the Soviet Union for short, and was a fully capitalist state until 1990.
Today, Russia is known for their Vodka and having one of the most beautiful metro systems globally. It is a country full of mysterious people and world famous Russia landmarks that will ensure an exciting and memorable trip.
As the largest country in the world stretching over two continents, there is an abundance of famous landmarks of Russia you should visit if planning a trip here.
With over 24 million tourists flocking to this nation every year, you’ll be in great company as you make your way through these Russia landmark recommendations.
Whether you enjoy exploring the wilderness or prefer city life, this famous landmarks in Russia list covers some of the most popular attractions to not miss and can serve as inspiration for your trip to this wonderfully cryptic land.
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Using the map of Russia, you can explore all the landmarks.
Situated in the centre of Moscow’s fortified complex is the iconic Kremlin. This famous Asian landmark is home to the Russian Federation’s government and is where Russian leaders meet and undertake official business. The current Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, spends most of his days here completing his presidential duties.
As part of a UNESCO site, the Kremlin is worth visiting during a trip to Moscow. The gardens in the front of the Kremlin are beautifully decorated with colourful flowers and shrubbery and are free to enter. It is highly recommended to take a serene walk through the gardens for an hour away from the rush of the city.
In Moscow, the Bolshoi Theatre is a stunning example of Neoclassical architecture featured on the Russian 100-ruble banknote and famed for its performances from the elite Bolshoi Ballet group.
The theatre was first built in 1821, with a new version completed in 1825. Initially, the theatre only hosted Russian opera and ballet, but soon after welcomed artists from all around the world.
The theatre is beautiful and worthy of a visit, whether you have tickets to a performance or not. Visiting in the early evening will allow you to see the theatre when it is lit up and gives you an incredible photo opportunity.
Perhaps one of the most bizarre landmarks in Russia is the Mausoleum that showcases the ex-Soviet leader Lenin’s body. Located on the Red Square, the tomb is inside a pyramid-like structure and gives you an up-close-and-personal meeting with the leader.
As you move through the dark mausoleum, Lenin’s body is illuminated in the centre. Photography is not allowed, though the image of Lenin is striking and will be an experience you will never forget. Though this is not for everyone, this is an unusual tourist attraction unlike any other. Fans of dark tourism will love this landmark.
First opened in 1928, the park was renamed after famous novelist Maxim Gorky in 1932. Though the park was once known for gangs and drunk soldiers, the park has been renewed today. It is beautiful and filled with locals and tourists alike who visit the gardens to relax in their free time.
When in the park, it’s really fun to rent a bike and cycle through the gardens and along the Moska River. There are also several food stalls where you can sample delicious cuisines from around the world, including Greek Gyros and Vietnamese street food.
The Red Square is the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site that serves as the emblem of the Russian capital. The red square itself is host to many landmarks on this list, but it is amazing to wander through the square and take in the bright colours and eccentric buildings surrounding it.
Red Square is free to enter and throughout the day will be bustling with locals and tourists alike flocking to the centre of the city. The square also becomes a place where Russians celebrate and protest together.
It is best to enter the square through the stunning mid-16th century style Voskresensky gate because it is the grandest of entrances.
If you are a fan of a luxury lifestyle, then this is the perfect landmark in Russia for you to visit. Previously known as Gorky Street, this is the most expensive shopping street in Moscow, and celebrities often shop here.
The Red Square sits at one end of the street, which is lined with designer brands and gourmet eateries, providing you with a moment of luxe during your trip.
This is an entertaining street to people-watch and take time to relax after a busy day of sightseeing. Whilst this street is stunning all year round, Christmastime is especially magical when twinkling lights decorate the street.
Whilst you should take your time on your trip to view as many of Russia’s underground metro station as possible, Mayakovskaya is one of the most beautiful. It is said that the reason these metro stations are so intricate is that they were previously used as secret task tunnels by Soviet leaders.
Primarily used to travel around the city, Russia’s metro stations also act as free art galleries as you move from place to place. With grand murals decorating the walls and ceilings and large marble columns along the tracks, these metro stations are a breath of fresh air and feel cleaner than some of their other European counterparts.
Despite not being known for its amusement parks, Russia’s new tourist attraction Dream Island is Europe’s largest indoor amusement park. With nine themed areas blending traditional Russian fairytales with Western cartoons, this theme park offers fun for the whole family.
There are currently plans to add many exciting rollercoasters to the park, so thrill-seekers should definitely visit when these are built. Approximately half an hour from the city centre on public transport, the park is easy to get to and is an exciting day trip for anyone who is a big fan of theme parks in general.
Saint Basil's Cathedral is a famous European landmark and a distinctive cathedral with colourful roofs that can be found in Red Square. The inside of this building is just as breathtaking in real life as it looks in photos, and the walls are entirely covered in artwork and tapestries dating back to the 16th century.
Constructed on the orders from Ivan the Terrible, the cathedral commemorated the capture of cities Kazan and Astrakhan and was the tallest building in Russia for over 30 years. The building is now a museum and is open for visitors daily between 9 am-7 pm in the summer and 11 am-5 pm in the wintertime.
This museum is the second-largest art museum in the world and houses several important cultural items from Russian history, as well as impressive art from world-famous artists. The museum was founded in 1764 when Catherine the Great gathered an extensive collection of German paintings.
The museum building also houses the Winter Palace, a former residence of Russian emperors. Visitors can see these buildings in all their former glory during a visit to the complex. This is a great way to spend a whole day as there are so many exhibitions to see. It is highly recommended for fans of art and culture.
The palace's façade is stunning, covered in gold statues that stretch down to the front of the gardens. The interior is also regal, and you should go inside the palace to see how extravagantly the ancient rulers of Russia lived.
There are ten museums in the Peterhof, and each of them offers a fascinating glimpse into Russian history and the tsars that used to rule.
This is an incredible and striking Rococo palace named after the wife of Peter the Great. The outside is decorated in beautiful light blue paint with golden domes and accents on each window – these are illuminated in a glow emitted from inside the windows.
The best way to view this fascinating building is with a guided tour inside; this is the best way to understand how extravagant this palace is. The amber room is particularly beautiful, and before it was lost and rebuilt after the wars, it was considered an 8th world wonder due to its opulence.
This citadel was ordered to be built by Peter the Great in 1703, and it has since been used as a prison for political criminals and, since 1924, a museum that displays important St Petersburg artefacts.
The fortress itself spans over a large area and is home to several landmarks that were all iconic in the history of St Petersburg and still hold significance today.
Whether you choose to visit a museum here or not, you should enter the citadel area to catch a glimpse of the history paramount to the city throughout the last 300 years.
This church is similar in its style to that of St Basil's Cathedral, with colourful domes in an array of unusual but typically Russian patterns. It is one of the most famous monuments in Russia and was named after the assassinated Alexander II, at the request of the Romanov family.
In true Russian style, the interior is elegant, with gold accents and magnificent art covering the walls and ceilings. Whilst the Savior used to be an orthodox church, it is now a museum where visitors can find out more about the assassinated tsar and the history of the Romanov family.
The Mariinsky Theatre is the most iconic opera and ballet theatre in St Petersburg. It was first opened in 1860 and was known as the Kirov Theatre throughout the Soviet Russian era before being renamed.
The sage coloured building still hosts some of the most prominent Russian performers from the St Petersburg ballet and opera companies today.
Even if you are not keen on visiting the theatre to watch a performance, it is worth making time on your trip to catch a glimpse of this building to see a gorgeous example of Russia’s famous Neoclassical architecture. The theatre is magnificent in the evenings as it is lit up from the outside and looks breathtaking.
The Aurora is a unique museum experience set inside a previously used battleship in the Russo-Japanese War that took place in 1904-1905. It is especially famous for being responsible for firing the first shot that led to the attack on the Winter Palace.
Now a popular tourist attraction, this museum is docked next to the Nakhimov monument, where it previously trained young military crew and features maritime artefacts that are of massive historical and cultural significance to Russia.
This is a really fascinating museum if you or your family are interested in ships or maritime history, especially relating to the Russo-Japanese War.
The importance of this church is seen throughout the whole of Russia; it stands where the last tsar of Russia, Emperor Nicholas II, was executed in 1918 by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War.
This is an awe-inspiring church that is unlike no other in Russia, mainly because it is far less extravagant than St Basil's Cathedral but still has the elegance associated with Russian architecture.
Fans of Russian history and the Romanov family should definitely add this to their itinerary when visiting Russia, as it is not only a beautiful church but an educational landmark.
Kivach Falls is one of the most famous natural landmarks in Russia. This cascading waterfall is over 10m high and is located on the Suna River, surrounded by the Kivach Natural Reserve, which was founded in 1931.
Visiting the falls is a great way to get out of the city and reconnect with nature, away from the towering buildings commonly found in Russian cities.
It is said that the Russian Poet Gavrila Derzhavin was inspired to write some of his most famous work when he visited this waterfall. You should visit to find some inspiration of your own.
Whilst Irkutsk is not many tourists first choice when visiting Russia, it boasts beautiful buildings, such as the Epiphany Cathedral. Whilst the church was initially entirely made of wood, a fire in 1716 meant that it was rebuilt in stone.
The city and cathedral are not too far from the Mongolian border, and the influences can be seen in the architecture. This is a unique place to visit if you are passing through Siberia and find yourself in Irkutsk.
The church is next to a riverbank, so it is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon after spending time in the larger cities.
Another modern monument in Russia that allows you to go off-the-beaten-track is the Golden Bridge in Vladivostok. Loosely based on the original Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Russian version reaches across the Golden Horn River and is so large that it can be seen across the rest of the city.
This is a remarkable architectural feat, and if you are visiting Vladivostok, it is worth taking a trip to the bridge for a fabulous photo opportunity. Take a photo from slightly further away so that you can get a sense of how large this bridge really is.
Kaliningrad is a strange landmark that is so unique it is a must-visit during a trip across Russia. It is an isolated area between Poland and Lithuania that used to belong to Germany, under the name Koenigsberg.
The area has several museums, one of the most popular being Russia's only museum dedicated to Amber. As well as this, there are so many historical buildings like King's Gate and the famous Gothic cathedral with lots of German influence.
This is a highly recommended day trip from either Russia itself or one of the neighbouring countries and is a great way to get to see a more European-style Russia.
Mount Akhun is a beautiful stand-alone mountain and a famous landmark in Russia that you should consider adding to your itinerary when you visit. It takes around 2-3 hours to hike to the mountain's peak, so it is a great way to spend an afternoon if you are in Sochi.
On the ascent up the mountain, there are several hidden caves that are fun to spot within the fauna that covers Mount Akhun. Once you reach the top of the mountain, you are met with a Romanesque stone tower with, arguably, the best views in Russia of the surrounding areas.
Stalin's Dacha in Sochi is just one of the official residences that the previous Soviet leader used to frequent during his tours around the nation. This particular one was famous for being where he spent his summertime residing and is the most accessible to tourists out of them all.
It is fascinating to see a place frozen in soviet time, and taking a private tour to this Dacha is the perfect way to explore where one of the world's most infamous dictators lived and made important decisions. This is an important landmark in Russia for anyone interested in the Communist history of the country.
Named after famous scholar Kul Sharif, this Mosque is the biggest in Russia. The building was originally destroyed in 1552 by Ivan the Terrible, but it was rebuilt in 2005 with the captivating blue and white facade that stands today.
The Mosque is located in the Kazan Kremlin, a world UNESCO heritage site home to an impressive number of ancient artefacts and books. It is still used today by worshippers, though it is possible (and recommended!) to take a tour to experience the beauty of the inside of the building and to view the stunning domes.
Reminiscent of Italy's Leaning Tower of Piza is the Suyumbike Tower in Kazan. This famous monument in Russia was constructed by Ivan the Terrible in order to pursue Princess Suyumbike - though this tale has a tragic end as the Princess did not want to marry the tsar and instead jumped from the tower.
This is another landmark that is part of the Kazan UNESCO Heritage site, and it is worth seeing them all while you are inside the complex. Kazan is one of Russia's most culturally rich cities, despite many people not even knowing about its existence.
Russky Island is one of the largest islands off the coast of Russia and is a natural landmark not to be missed during a trip here. Regular buses can transport you to the island from nearby towns.
The bridge is connected to the mainland by the Russky Bridge, which is the second-longest cable bridge in the world and an exciting piece of Russian architecture.
There is so much to do on the island, from spending an afternoon at the aquarium to wandering along one of the best beaches in Russia. It is perfect for a day trip if you are near the Vladivostok area.
Taganay National Park is another stunning wildlife reserve in Russia that provides the perfect escape from busy cities. Hiking here is a magical experience. Surrounded by tranquillity and greenery, it is great to reconnect with nature and spend some time in the fresh air.
In the winter, the park is beautiful as the higher points become snow-tipped and make for an enjoyable experience. Taganay is well signposted, so it is difficult to get lost, but make sure that you get here early, as lines to enter the national park can get busy as early as 7 am!
The Golden Mountains of Altai is the collective name for the UNESCO heritage site that spans Russia and Mongolia. The site consists of nature reserves, mountains, and the Ukok Plateau. Most of the area is undisturbed, with many endangered mammals being preserved here.
These mountains are sacred to local Buddhists, and several of the other sites used to be home to burials of ancient indigenous communities. When here, it is important to be respectful and appreciate the cultural significance of the area.
Booking an excursion to this area of Siberia is a great way to learn more about the interesting communities that still live in Siberia today.
Lake Baikal is a stunning freshwater lake in the Southern Siberian area. The view of this lake stretches for miles across the landscape, and the blue waters are breathtaking.
The most common way to access this lake is by taking the trans-Siberian railway, which provides beautiful views in itself, followed by a ferry or bus over to Listvyanka. This is usually a four-day journey, but the views during the train ride are worth it.
This famous natural landmark is for anyone who wants to visit more rural Russia and escape the bustling capital.
Kizhi Island is a UNESCO heritage site situated on Lake Onega, close to the Finnish border. The island has two wooden churches and an interesting museum that showcases the tiny island’s history.
To get to Kizhi Island, there is a small ferry that you can take. The ride itself is picturesque, with lush greenery surrounding the lake. There is something to do on this island, whether you love fast-paced adventure or a slower way of life.
This is a highly recommended landmark to visit if you want to see more of Russia off-the-beaten-track. It is also great to stop here on your way through to Scandinavia.
Russia is an exciting country with a diverse range of famous landmarks that will leave you eager to return for more.
From mountain ranges and national parks that allow you to experience the wilderness to Neoclassical buildings with a fascinating history spanning decades, there is something for everyone.
Whether you want to stay in the main cities or venture further into the depths of Siberia, this list has shown you some of the best places to visit on a trip to Russia.
I hope you consider adding some of these popular landmarks in Russia to your itinerary and think about adventuring further out of the main cities to explore the likes of Siberia and Kazan.
If you have never considered a trip to Russia before, I'm sure that this list has inspired you to book a future trip to this interesting country.
This article was edited by Loredana Elena.
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