A. Sint Petersburg
B. Novgorod
C. Kremlin & Red Square - Moscow
D. Novodevichy
E. Sergiev Posad

A. Sint Petersburg

Added to the list in 1990 - visited by Maarten in 2005

The city, famous as Venice of the North, has numerous channels and bridges and is the result of a big urban project. Its architecture combines neoclassical elements with baroque. The building of the city, which transformed a wild coastal area alongside the East Sea into a magnificent city packed with churches, palaces, convents and brick houses, lasted only 20 years.

Own impression

Leningrad (as I like to call it still, as it reminds me of Shostakovich's superb Seventh Symphony) striked me as a Western city, totally different from what I had seen in Moscow. I visited the impressive Catharine Palace (Tsarskoje Selo), relived the days of the revolution on the quay of the river Neva next to the Aurora and on the Palace Square between the winter Palace and Hermitage. I raced through the Hermitage, which was frustrating (because there is SO much more to see) and saw many famous  names at the Tichvin cemetery. After that, the overwhelming bombast of the Petrodvorets Palace and gardens was a bit too much ;-)


The Aurora, the ship that started the Octobrerevolution in 1917 by a gunshot.

The Catherine Palace.

Petro Dvorets and its magnificent fountains.

The Winter Palace on the Palace Square.


Added to the list in 1992 - visited by Maarten in 2005

The city of Novgorod lays on the ancient traderoute between Middle Asia and Northern Europe. In the 9th century it was the first capital of Russia and influenced Russian art throughout the Middle Ages. Numerous monuments are preserved, making the city an open air museum of Russian architecture.

Own impression

Strangely enough it are the walls of this ancient city that I liked the most. They have "medieval" written all over. The city itself is rather small. The nice St. Sophia cathedral houses one of Russia's oldest icons and a bronze gate with numerous small figures (Magdeburg gate). I also liked the wooden buildings in the city (including a marvelous little mill) and the Transfiguration church with it's very old fresco's.


St. Sophia cathedral in Novgorod's Kremlin.

Wooden windmill.

Ancient city walls.

Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior.

Kremlin and Red Square - Moscow

Added to the list in 1990 - visited by Maarten in 2005

The World Heritage in Moscow combines both the Kremlin and the Red Square, both connected to the most important historical and political events of Russia. The Kremlin was once the residence of the Great Prince and a religious centre. At the Red Square, the famous St. Basil's Basilica is one of the finest examples of Orthodox architecture.

Own impression

What can I say: this is a city you really need to visit! It has so many highlights that it is almost impossible to list them all here. To name a few: the Red Square with the St. Basil's Basilica, the Kremlin with its museum and churches, the Pushkin museum with works of well-known artists, the Novodevichy monastery and cemetary (see below- I never visited the cemetary, although my favourite composer Shostakovich is burried there), the large Stalinistic, castle-shaped buildings which tower above the city, the statue of Peter the Great in the Moskva river and the architecturally marvelous subway... I've been here three times, although only twice for more than one day.

View on St. Basil's basilica and Kremlin.

Cathedral of the Annunciation inside the Kremlin.

A beautiful ceiling in one of the Kremlin's churches.

View of the city from my hotel room.


Added to the list in 2004 - visited by Maarten in 2005

This convent is probably the best known cloister in Moscow and is situated southwest of the city centre. It was built in the 16th and 17th century and has always been closely linked to the Kremlin and the Tsars. The most important buildings here are the Cathedral of Our Lady of Smolensk and the octagonal Bell-tower. The convent was built in Baroque style. Several Russian "icons" are burried in its cemetary: Boris Yeltsin, Nikita Krushchev, Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev,... 

Own impression

What I remember the most is the very relaxed atmosphere here when walking through the gardens of the convent. Of course, the weather was nice, so strolling around was just great. Although I was used to seeing colourful buildings in Moscow, this red and white fairytale looked amazing to me. Nevertheless, the visit also brought my biggest disappointment. The evening of the same day I visited Novodevichy, I learned (from my travelguide) that Dmitri Shostakovich (my favourite composer) was burried in its cemetery, and not in St. Petersburg, as I thought before.
This simply means that I have to go back there!


Octagonal Bell tower with angel.

Garden inside the convent.

Cathedral of Our Lady of Smolensk.

Towers of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Smolensk.

Sergiev Posad

Added to the list in 1993 - visited by Maarten in 2005

Sergiev Posad is the name of the city where the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is situated. This is the most important Russian monastery, founded in the 14th century, and the summer residence of the Russian-Orthodox patriarchs of Moscow. The Trinity cathedral hosts the icon of the Trinity by Ruvlev and the relics of St. Sergius. The Assumption Cathedral contains the remains of tsar Boris Godunov.

Own impression

I visited Sergiev Posad during a group trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg. Our Belgian guide was a priest, who had a lot of knowledge on monasteries, religious symbols and especially Russian icons. We learned quite alot about the history of Russia and the importance of this monastery. Personally, I thought this place came right out of a fairytale, surrounded by white walls and with golden and dark blue domes pointing to the light blue sky... The churches here are marvelous, both at the outside and the inside.


Sergiev Posad seen from the outside.

Assumption Cathedral.

The Trinity Cathedral.

Belltower of Sergiev Posad.

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...