St. Petersburg and Moscow—Russia’s two great cities—offer art, history, ancient churches

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — St. Petersburg was once the capital of Russia and Moscow is now the center of government. Seeing Russia’s two most important cities is a visit I’ll never regret. Both offered delicious food, art-stuffed museums, stunning churches and fun events.

St. Petersburg is a beautiful city and has many historical churches and museums, some of which are free of charge.

The Peter and Paul Fortress is an amazing fort that sets off a cannon every day at noon. Inside are museums and religious sites, including the Peter and Paul Cathedral.

St. Petersburg’s top attraction for art is the State Hermitage Museum, which features works by many different artists in a building with room after room of great paintings.

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the best known cathedrals in St. Petersburg, and it is one of the most beautiful cathedrals I have ever seen.

The State Russian Museum features ceramics, including lots of different pots, vases and plates as well as beautiful artwork.

Nevsky Prospekt is a popular street located next to Kazan Cathedral, with shops carrying many of the brands Americans will recognize. It is a great place to go shopping after walking through all those museums.

About 430 miles south and to the east, Moscow is the largest city in Russia and a must-stop for anyone visiting the country. In addition to attractions and museums like in St. Petersburg, Moscow offers historic locations to see because it has been the seat of Russian government for much of the country’s history.

First and foremost is Red Square, which is bordered by the Kremlin, GUM Shopping Center, St. Basil’s Cathedral and the State Historical Museum. The giant public square is 1,080 feet long by 230 feet wide.

The Kremlin is the home of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is a huge former fortress and palace with several cathedrals inside. The most popular exhibit is the Armory Chamber.

GUM is a shopping mall with a clear glass roof and many stores selling different products such as Gucci, Bvlgari and Burberry.

St. Basil’s Cathedral is the most famous cathedral in Russia, with its colorful, onion-shaped domes on the top of the building’s towers. It was built by Ivan the Terrible, who blinded the architect so the design couldn’t be repeated.

The State Historical Museum in Red Square has the largest collection on the history of Russia and is the largest national history museum in Russia. There are more than 4.5 million items in the museum.

The Pushkin Museum is the biggest European art museum in Moscow, and it has many sculptures and statues. The museum features a great variety of artistic styles. The Modern Art Museum of Moscow is an interesting stop that includes one exhibit about sports and art and another about the history of Russia.