Being the largest country in the world means there’s plenty to see and do in Russia. Whether you choose to visit the country’s capital, Moscow, to see the awe-inspiring Kremlin in the flesh or visit St. Petersburg to wander around the various fascinating museums.
If you love to look at unique architecture, read on to find out which buildings to keep an eye out for during a holiday in Russia.
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour has a rich history dating back to the 19th century, when Tsar Alexander ordered it to be built in honour of those who died in the 1812 Patriotic War. However, it was targeted during the Russian Revolution and wasn’t rebuilt until 1995.
You’ll discover this mammoth church in the centre of Moscow, its distinctive features causing it to stand out amongst the skyline. It showcases Russian Revival architecture that includes a white marble façade, four white columns and five golden domes, all with a Russian Orthodox cross placed on top.
Bronze sculptures are embedded in the exterior walls above each door, depicting stories of Russian patron saints and celestial guardians. Inside, you’ll discover a rainbow of colours and a selection of materials from stone to granite, all used to tell the story of various religious figures.
St Basil’s Cathedral
Standing at the southern end of the Red Square in Moscow is Saint Basil’s Cathedral, a complex made up of splashes of colour, unique shapes and eye-catching patterns. Due to its distinctive construction, it has been used as a symbol of Russia by many for years.
This tented-roof church was constructed out of fire bricks nearly 460 years ago. It features nine small chapels around a central nave, all topped with colourful, pointed domes. The bright, sweet-like colours were added a year after it was built, to represent heaven.
When inside, to go from chapel to chapel you’ll travel through a labyrinth of walkways, with floral murals painted on both sides of the walls. The same colours flow through to the main section, forming pictures that tell visitors the stories of both the Virgin Mary and Christ.
The Winter Palace is one of St. Petersburg’s most famous buildings; it dominates the iconic Palace Square and has played an important role throughout history. The exterior design we see today was completed between 1754 and 1762 by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli.
This immense complex forms a square-like shape around a central courtyard, with Elizabethan Baroque architecture celebrated on each façade. Ivory columns decorated with statues and sculptures are placed at regular intervals, providing a contrast to the green walls.
The interiors carry on the impressive attributes, including a grand, red staircase; gothic-style library and highly-decorated White Hall. This section features large, golden chandeliers and intricate gold details around murals on the walls. You may recognise the Raphael Loggias (corridors) as their design was taken from the gallery in the Vatican Palace.
St Isaac’s Cathedral
What was originally the city’s main church is now considered to be one of the most impressive landmarks in Russia. Built between 1818 and 1858, St Isaac’s Cathedral’s golden dome is still seen in St. Petersburg’s skyline. This giant dome is plated with real gold and decorated with angel sculptures.
Although it may be considerably smaller than the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, it still showcases beautiful, neoclassical facades and awe-inspiring interiors. The exterior walls incorporate grey and pink stone, as well as giant, red granite columns and more spectacular sculptures of angels.
The interior features detailed paintings and mosaics and a stained glass window of Christ’s resurrection in the centre of the main altar. Despite being built by a French designer, who was no architect, this cathedral incorporates many architectural wonders.