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Historical Sites in Moscow

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Russia
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Red Square
Being the most recognizable symbol of Russia in the world, the glorious Red Square is the UNESCO listed World Heritage which accepts thousands of tourists each year. No wonder that this sight is a true must-visit of any Moscow trip and every adventurous globe-trotter has a picture in front of St. Basil's Cathedral. The Red Square is set in the very heart of Moscow, separating the Kitay Gorod commercial district from the Kremlin walls, and has a history as old as the post-Mongol fortress itself. The name "Krásnaya Plóshchaď" translates from Russian as "red", yet the word also means "beautiful". This ancient center of Russia's political power dates back to the end of the 13th century and has a long and rich history. Originally, it was the site of a central market square established in an area cleared by decree for the defense of Kremlin on the banks of Moskva and Neglinnaya rivers. It was also a place where various festive processions were held and thus the square was considered a sacred place.
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St. Basil s Cathedral
St. Basil’s Cathedral is Moscow’s most famous artistic work of architecture. Also called "Pokrovsky Cathedral" or "The Cathedral of Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat", it is the most recognizable Russian building. This Cathedral is to the Russians what the Eiffel Tower is to the French, an honorable symbol of their past, present, and future. The cathedral stands on the Red Square, facing the Ivory Gate Chapel. The St. Basil's Cathedral history started in 1555 by the order of Ivan IV ("Ivan the Terrible") in celebration of the defeat of Kazan, the last remaining grip of the Mongol Empire on European lands. Today there are more than 400 icons painted between the 14th and 19th centuries by the most famous schools of Novgorod and Moscow hanging on the walls. A narrow pathway leads you from one alter to another, passing through a wooden spiral staircase so well hidden in a wall, that it was only found during the 1970 restoration of the cathedral. Taking in the medieval aura and mystical spirituality of St. Basil’s imbues visitors with what can only be described as a quintessential Russian experience.
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Lenin
Lenin’s mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square offers up one of Moscow’s most macabre attractions and perhaps the most famous “modern mummy” in the world. Frozen in time, Vladimir Ilych Lenin’s embalmed body lays within a red granite and black labratorite step-pyramid. Here visitors may gaze on it in the dark, cool of the tomb. The sarcophagus is kept at a constant temperature of 16° C (61° F) and humidity of 80 - 90 percent. Weekly, a mild bleach is used to fight discoloring fungus and mold on Lenin’s skin, and every eighteen months the corpse undergoes a chemical bath of glycerol and potassium for thirty days while the mausoleum is closed. During this time, Lenin’s clothes are washed and carefully ironed. And every three years, Lenin receives a new suit. Lenin can be viewed for five minutes at a time in small groups under the watchful eye of guards in every corner of the room.
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Wooden Palace of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich
The wooden palace of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich with 270 rooms decorated with paintings and carvings was built in 1667 without using any fasten materials, nails or hooks. It consisted of 26 buildings connected with each other by passages and halls. The whole complex was divided into male and female parts. The male part included ceremonial chambers, chambers of the Tsar and of his sons, while the female part belonged to the Tsarina and to the Tsar’s daughters.
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Kostroma Sloboda
The State Architectural-Ethnographic and Landscape Museum-Reserve “Kostroma Sloboda”, located in the city of Kostroma, is one of the oldest open-air museums in Russia.
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The Wooden Palace
In the Chukhlomsky district of the Kostroma region, hidden between forests and abandoned villages, there is a beautiful wooden palace designed by the famous architect Ivan Ropet (1845-1908).
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Teremok
“Teremok” is a historical and architectural complex located in the former estate of the artist and patron of arts M.K. Tenisheva in the village of Flenovo, about 19 kilometers from Smolensk.
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Smolensk fortress wall
Smolensk fortress wall (also known as Smolensk kremlin) is a defensive structure built in 1595-1602. The length of the walls is 6.5 km (only less than half of walls and towers are preserved).
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Zasetsky House
Vologda monuments of wooden architecture are of special interest. Preserved wooden houses and estates of the 18th-19th centuries are represented in all the architectural styles of the time: One of the well known is Zasetsky House.
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Museum of Lace
Vologda, included in the list of Russian cities that have particularly valuable historical heritage, has a unique museum – Museum of Lace, the only one in the country.
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The mansion of Mikhail Aseev
The mansion of Mikhail Aseev, opened after restoration in the autumn of 2014, is one of the most outstanding sights of Tambov.
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Pskov-Caves Monastery
The Holy Dormition Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery is one of the largest and most famous monasteries in Russia with a long history.
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Northern yard of Narva Castle
The Northern yard is our attempt of recreating the 17th century. Here, we imagine genuine and vibrant early modern urban quarters with houses, people, and their everyday lives. This way, a guest of the Northern yard is instantly taken 300–400 years back in time.
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Narva Town Hall
German, Swedish and Italian architectural influences are mixed in the building style of the Town Hall that dates back to the 17th century (architect G. Teuffel). The architectural complex of the Town Hall Square included the Town Hall, Stock Exchange, and residences of the wealthy Swedish citizenry.
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Ivanova Gora
The Ivanova Gora (literally: Ivan’s Mount) is virtually a sacral place for Poltava locals: it is city’s historical core, where the whole complex of architectural and historical attractions, each having a status of Poltava’s highlight, is situated. This place is notable for being an excellent observation area that opens wonderful views of the city downtown and its most token structures. The Ivanova Gora is a high picturesque hill that towers above the Vorskla River. Historians believe that it is there that the citadel of the annalistic town Ltava, the predecessor of modern Poltava, stood in the 12th century. Later, the earthen fortress, which held back the Swedish troops’ assault for three months during the Northern War, was built on the hill. One of its fifteen wooden towers, the Podolskaya Tower, was recently restored and added to Ivanova Gora’s list of attractions. Another Ivanova Gora’s token monument and modern Poltava’s symbol, the monument to Galushka, is installed near the White Belvedere. It is a deep plate with twelve Galushkas (dumplings) and a large spoon, which stands on a pedestal shaped as a wooden tabletop. The monument was opened on the birthday of the most famous native of Poltava region, the eminent writer Nikolai Gogol, who immortalized this cult Ukrainian dish in his works. Every summer, an original Holiday of Poltava’s Galushka takes place near the monument.
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Museum-Mansion of Ivan Kotliarevsky
A lot of sights in Poltava are connected with the name of the classical Ukrainian writer and dramatist Ivan Kotliarevsky who lived the greater part of his life and created his most famous works here - among them the prominent poem 'Aeneid'. His Museum-Mansion at the town's historical center near the Assumption Cathedral is one of Poltava's most picturesque and most visited sights. The real mansion, where the prominent writer lived and worked didn't survive. In 1969, however - to Kotliarevsky's 200th anniversary - it was reconstructed upon watercolour sketches by another Ukrainian classical writer - Taras Shevchenko. The memorial complex, fenced with flower-twined paling, consists of a dwelling house - the typical Ukrainian hut from the 18h century - warehouse and well with a sweep. Fragments and details of Ivan Kotliarevsky's old house were embedded in the recreated mansion. Thanks to the recollections of writer's contemporaries, the Museum-Mansion's interior was renewed as accurate as possible. Kotliarevsky's personal belongings, awards, manuscripts and everyday knickknacks from the 18th - early 19th centuries are kept here.
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Tartu Cathedral
Tartu Cathedral, located on the beautiful Toomemägi Hill, is one of the largest churches in Estonia. It is also the only mediaeval church with two towers in Estonia. The construction of the church started in the 13th century and the church was fully completed in the beginning of the 16th century. The church towers were the last things to be finished. During the Livonian War, the church was destroyed and since then, it has not operated as a church. The ruins of the Tartu Cathedral are one of the most prominent examples of brick-Gothic buildings in Old Livonia. The University of Tartu Museum, which introduces the history of science and university education, operates there. In addition to the museum, there is also the Toompood store, and visitors can also go to the cathedral’s towers, which offer beautiful views.
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Kyiv Fortress
The Kyiv Fortress is one of the most important and interesting military monuments in the Ukrainian capital, well-known far beyond the country’s borders. It is the largest earthen fortress in Europe and the second-largest earthen fortress in the world. The museum exhibitions housed there and the fortification complex itself are among the most visited places of interest in Kyiv – every year it welcomes about one hundred thousand tourists. The Kyiv Fortress, also known as Nova Pechersk Fortress, was built on a site of Old Pechersk Fortress, walled around the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra. It was erected by the order of Emperor Peter the Great in the first half of the 18th century. It contained four main fortifications, as well as dozens of defensive areas such as towers, walls, underground passages, powder warehouses, arsenals, barracks, and even the castle prison. Then the Kyiv Fortress featured the so-called hand-made tsunamis for city defence from the riverside. It was composed of two dams and two large pits, which could be filled with water within hours to defeat the enemy fleet with a powerful wave.
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The Fortress of Lappeenranta
The Fortress of Lappeenranta is a unique place in South-Eastern Finland. Inhabited and full of life even today, it once formed part of a defence system that also included the fortress of Suomenlinna in Helsinki and the fortress of Hamina. Although different in size, all three of these fortresses are of a similar nature and share the same passion for development. While seeking to protect and preserve these areas through careful land use planning, they also aim to increase services and levels of activity around the year. The Fortress of Lappeenranta was constructed as a border fortress, forming part of the chain of fortresses between Finland and North-Western Russia. Over the centuries, the Fortress was alternately held by the Swedes and Russians. Today, the Fortress of Lappeenranta is a valuable component of Finnish, Russian and Swedish cultural heritage and forms part of the Castles and Fortifications chain of cultural destinations.
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Castle Radomysl
The historical and cultural complex “Castle Radomysl” is a private museum complex located in the town of Radomyshl in the Zhytomyr region, about 100 km from Kiev. It was created by the Ukrainian medical doctor Olga Bogomolets.
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Dendropark Oleksandriya
Stretching over the western outskirts of Bila Tserkva, not far from Kyiv, the Dendropark Oleksandriya is considered to be one of the most beautiful and charming landscape parks in the country. Created by the best European architects and gardeners, it is a vivid monument of landscape art of the 18th-19th centuries. Oleksandriya occupies a territory of 200 hectares and is, therefore, the largest landscape park in Ukraine and one of the largest ones in Eastern Europe. It is always full of guests, who are attracted by special atmosphere and an opportunity to escape the urban hustle and bustle in splendid natural surroundings. The landscape park was named after Aleksandra von Engelhardt, the own niece of the Prince Grigory Potyomkin and the lady-in-waiting of Catherine the Great, who received the mansion in Bila Tserkva as a present from her husband, crown hetman of Poland Ksawery Branicki. Being amazed by luxurious parks in European capitals, she decided to create an as beautiful and elegant landscape park in her residence. However, on the contrary to prim park complexes of the Old World with stiffly cut trees and ideally straight lanes, the countess wanted to make the landscape of her park as close to natural as possible. She didn’t strive to change local nature, rather to bring some order in it, highlighting its beauty and richness.
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Olavinlinna Castle
The building of Olavinlinna Castle began in 1475. The Danish-born founder of the castle, knight Erik Axelsson Tott, decided that a powerful fortification should be build to protect the strategically important Savo region
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Museum Shop of Olavinlinna Castle
The Museum Shop of the Olavinlinna Castle has a wide range of the National Board of Antiquities’ publications as well as other historical books, nostalgic posters and postcards.
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Paernu Museum
The Pärnu Museum is one of the most modern historical museums in the Baltics and offers an experience for the whole family. Permanent exhibition "The History of 11,000 Years - Experience from Ancient Times" brings you an exciting time line through the Stone Age, the medieval trade routes, the Baroque Fortress to the nostalgic Soviet period.
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Memorial to the Victims of Fascism
Rivne is famous for being the city with tough and tragic fate, which haunted it over the whole history of its existence. However, the darkest pages in city’s history were entered by the 20th century: during the World War II, Rivne’s territory was occupied by the German-fascist invaders and concentration camps, where people were massively annihilated, were created there.
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Freedom Square
The representative square of Tallinn – Freedom Square is a popular meeting place designed for pedestrians. The monument to the War of Independence is also located there. Over the years, the square has gone by many names: Heinaturg (Hay Market), Peetri plats (Peter’s Square), and Võiduväljak (Victory Square) among them. It was first named Freedom Square in 1939, remaining that way until 1948. The name was readopted in 1989. The defensive structures found at archaeological excavations have been preserved and stored in the parking lot under the square; the remains of the guard gates of the defence tower can be seen at the end of Harju Street through a glass screen.
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Kiek in de Koek
This massive, 38m-high cannon tower houses an extensive museum of the town's fortifications, weapons and medieval-era life.
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Kaunas Castle
If you like mysterious places with breathtaking stories, the sites that have witnessed many battles, travel around Lithuania and visit its impressive castles. Lithuanians valiantly defended them and that's why they were not destroyed to the present day and are delighting the residents of Lithuania and the eyes of its visitors.
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Kaunas Town Hall
Kaunas Town Hall, referred to as a “White Swan”, is one of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in the temporary capital city. It stands in the Town Hall Square – the main square of the city of Kaunas.
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Vallisaari
Vallisaari and Kuninkaansaari are enchanting destinations for outings, next to the Suomenlinna fortress, just 20 minutes by boat from the Market Square in Helsinki. These two islands have served as the home and workplace of hundreds of people and as the place of military service for thousands of soldiers. Fortifications, buildings, and a record-breaking range of species tell a tale of coexistence between humans and wild nature. Just take a trip to these mysterious islands on which time seems to stand still.
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Suomenlinna
World Heritage Site Suomenlinna is a cultural treasure. Its construction began in the mid-18th century, when Finland was still part of Sweden. The development of tourism began after the wars in the 20th century, and in the 21st century, the Suomenlinna sea fortress is one of the most popular attractions in Finland. Today, the fortress and its museums, restaurants and events are a memorable experience for visitors of all ages. Suomenlinna is not only a popular visitor attraction but also a home of 800 residents. The number of visitors to Suomenlinna has continued to grow, and with over 900,000 visitors every year, the sea fortress is one of Finland’s most popular tourist destinations. Suomenlinna attracts visitors from both Finland and abroad: it offers an ideal environment for exploring a historical world heritage site, or just spending a day relaxing. Many visitors come to the island during the summer, but the number of wintertime visitors is steadily growing.
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Ungru Castle Ruins
The ruins of the Ungru manor used to represent one of the most impressive Neo-Baroque buildings in Estonia, although it never was really finished. Its sophisticated footprint and the numerous baroque volute ornaments on its gables are characteristic for the castle. Interesting to know: The Ungru Manor was an almost exact copy of the Merseburg castle in Germany. After World War II the manor fell into the hands of Soviet troops, in 1968 the chief of the airport decided to use the ruins of the manor to fill in the holes in the runway. About one-third of the manor was torn down, fortunately, the rest was preserved until today. Compare the neat ruins of the manor to the contrasting Soviet airfield remains next to them.
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Petaejaevesi Old Church
Petäjävesi Old Church gained inclusion in Unesco's world heritage list as an prime example of northern wooden architecture in 1994. The church is representative of Scandinavian, Lutheran church architecture and the long tradition of log building.
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Kylamaki Village
Kylämäki Village in Kurala is made up of four farms with buildings still standing at their original sites. The village has been inhabited since the 7th century. Nowadays, Kurala is a village of living history where visitors can travel back in time to a typical Southwest Finnish farm of the 1950s, complete with authentic scents and rural atmosphere. During summer in the Iso-Kohmo kitchen, oven-baked treats prepared to Grandma’s recipes are warming on the wood-burning stove. The farmer’s wife tells of everyday activities from the old days, whilst also giving handy tips on things such as making juice.
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Koroistenniemi
Koroistenniemi is the original site of ancient Turku. The large white cross marks the cradle of early medieval culture. Before Turku settled in its present position, Koroistenniemi, located just off the Aura River, was a bustling centre of commerce, culture and religion. A wide variety of ruins remain as a testament to that age, including the stone foundation for a wooden church from the mid-1200s. Indeed, Finland's first extensive, modern archaeological excavations were done here in 1898-1902. The National Board of Antiquities has named Koroinen one of Finland's most important Built Heritage sites. The site is marked by a large white memorial cross, which can be seen when arriving by train from Helsinki.