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Tourism provides one of the possibilities to know more about other countries.
Now people travel much more than they ever used to. Many people travel in
their own country and millions of them travel abroad.
Russia, the largest country in the world, has always attracted visitors from
neighbouring and distant countries. Russia is proud of its architecture,
painting, and music. A lot of tourists come to our country to see its beauty
and to admire its cultural achievements. As a rule they want to visit Moscow,
St. Petersburg and the towns of the "Golden Ring".
Russia is located in the eastern part of Europe and in the northern part of
Asia. It boarders on thirteen countries. Russia is washed by twelve seas and
three oceans. Russia is connected with the Atlantic Ocean through the Baltic
Sea in the west and the Black Sea in the south. The Arctic Ocean and its seas
including the White, Barents, Kara, Laptev, East-Siberian Seas wash Russia in
the north. The Pacific Ocean and its seas the Bering, Okhotsk, and Japanese
Seas are in the east of Russia.
The Russian Plain, the Ural Mountains, the West Siberian Plain, the Central
Siberian Plateau, and the Far East are the main areas of Russia The Russian
Plain occupies the European part of Russia. The Ural Mountains separate Europe
from Asia. The West Siberian Plain links with the Central Siberian Plateau.
The Far East of Russia comprises the Kamchatka and Chukchi peninsulas and the
Kuril and Sakhalin islands.
Russia's greatest rivers are the Don and Volga in its European part, and the
Ob and Yenisey in West Siberia. The Ob is the longest river in Russia, but the
Volga is the most important one. Many Russian towns are located along the
Russia is densely populated, but its population is unequally distributed.
People prefer to live in the European part of the country. Siberia is thinly
inhabited. There are more than sixty nationalities and ethnic groups in
Russia. Russia is an urban country - the majority of the Russian citizens live
in cities. As Russia occupies vast territories there are various climatic
zones in the country. Continental climate, with cold winters and warm summers
prevails on the territory of Russia.
Russia is rich in mineral deposits such as coal, oil, and natural gas, as well
as of iron ore, copper, zinc, lead, nickel, aluminium, and tin. Natural
resources determine the development of the Russian economy. Russia's heavy
industries produce much of the nation's steel and most of its heavy machinery.
The Russian Federation was founded in 1991. The Constitution was adopted in
1993. Russia is a Presidential Republic. It is headed by the President. The
President is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, he makes treaties,
enforces laws, appoints the Prime Minister, cabinet members, and key judges.
The Russian government consists of three branches: the legislative, the
executive and the judicial. The power is distributed in such a way that each
branch checks and balances the others. The legislative power is vested in the
Federal Assembly. It consists of the Federation Council (upper house) and the
State Duma (lower house). The members of the State Duma are elected by popular
vote for a four-year period. The Federation Council is not elected. It is
formed of the heads of the regions. Each Chamber is headed by the Chairman.
Legislature is initiated in the State Duma. But to become a law a bill must be
approved by the Lower and Upper Houses and signed by the President. The
executive power belongs to the Government. The judicial branch is represented
by the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, and regional courts.
The national flag of the Russian Federation is three coloured: white, blue and
red. The symbol of the country is a two-headed eagle. Russia's hymn was
created by Alexandrov and Mikhalkov.
According to the Chronicle the history of Early Russia began in the year 862.
That year Rurik became the first Russian prince having merged Novgorod and
Kiev. Rurik's successor Prince Oleg did his best to strengthen and expand the
nascent state. In 988 Prince Vladimir, the Red Sun, baptised Russia. After the
adoption of Christianity churches and monasteries sprang up in the country.
The beautiful cathedrals and churches of Early Russia still stand in their
glory. From the 10-th to the 12-th centuries Russia was a progressive
Christian state. With the development of feudalism the Russian state
disintegrated into separate principalities. The princes quarrelled among
themselves and waged feudal wars. The hordes of armed nomads conquered the
Russian land. The yoke lasted till 1380. Russia's strength was diminishing.
Lands on the Black sea coast and along the Volga river were lost. The campaign
to liberate Russia was headed by Moscow. For the first time Moscow was
mentioned by the chroniclers in 1147. At that time Russian lands began to
unite round Moscow, which led to the establishment of a strong centralised
During its long history Moscow was exposed to several invasions. In 1237 it
fell under the power of the Golden Horde. Moscow began to rise in the 14-th
century. Under Ivan III the Great, in the mid-fifteenth century, Moscow became
the principal city of the state of Muscovy. During the Time of Troubles Moscow
was occupied by the Polish invaders but they were defeated by the popular levy
headed by Minin and Pozharsky. The army of Napoleon entered Moscow on
September 15, 1812. The emperor was disappointed that no Russian bowed
forward, offering him the city keys. Napoleon settled in the Kremlin. The city
was set ablaze. Fires spread to the edge of the Kremlin. Napoleon tried to
open peace talks. But Alexander I, who was in St. Petersburg, did not wish to
discuss peace. Napoleon left Moscow. His warriors were routed by the Russian
troops. In 1941 the German armies were defeated not far from Moscow.
Nowadays Moscow is the capital of Russia. It is the largest city of the
country. Moscow lies in the valley of the Moskva river. Moscow is a political,
administrative, economic, industrial, educational and cultural centre of the
Russian Federation. A lot of educational institutions are located here.
There are many places of interest in Moscow. There are a lot of historical
monuments, museums, art galleries and theatres in the city. The Historical
Museum, the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, the State Tretyakov Gallery are
known all over the world. The Bolshoy, Mali and Art theatres are famous too.
The Kremlin - the oldest historical and architectural centre - is the heart of
Moscow. At first the Kremlin was a wooden fort. Under Dmitry Donskoy the
Kremlin was built of white stone. Redbrick walls and towers replaced the walls
of white stone at the end of the 15th century. The most ancient tower is the
Secret one. It was built in 1485. The Saviour Tower with its Kremlin chimes is
the symbol of Russia. The chiming clock was established in 1625. Ivan III
invited Italian architects to construct the Kremlin cathedrals. In 1547 Ivan
the Terrible was the first Russian tsar to be crowned in the five-domed
Assumption Cathedral. From 1721 the coronations of all Russian Emperors were
held there. The Archangel Cathedral was the burial place of the Russian
Princes and Tsars. Grand Prince Ivan Kalita was the first to be buried here.
Altogether there are 53 royal tombs there. The Annunciation Cathedral is the
main Russian Cathedral. It is famous for the icons created by Andrew Rublev
and his apprentices. Not far from the Assumption Cathedral we can see the
Faceted Palace. It is the oldest secular building in Moscow. All coronation
feasts were held here. Ivan the Great Bell Tower, the construction of the 16th
century, rises in the centre of the Kremlin. On the stone pedestal at the foot
of the Bell Tower stands the Tsar-Bell, the largest bell in the world. The
bell was cast for the Assumption Belfry. It was damaged during the great fire
of Moscow in 1737. In 1836 it was put on the pedestal. Not far from it is the
Tsar-Cannon. Senate Square is located between the Senate and the Arsenal. The
Grand Kremlin Palace is situated not far from Senate Square. The Russian
Emperors usually stayed in the palace when they came to Moscow. It was
designed by the architect K. A. Ton in 1840. The Armoury Chamber is the famous
museum where military trophies, Tsar's regalia and church ceremonial items are
displayed. The Kremlin workshop was made a museum of military glory after the
battle of Poltava in 1709 by Peter Гs order.
All the ceremonies are held in Red Square. At its one end we can see St.
Basil's Cathedral the Blessed. It was built in the mid-16 century for Tsar
Ivan IV to commemorate the victory over the Golden Horde. Lobnoye Mesto, a
lifted railed platform of white stone, is situated to the left of St. Basil's
Cathedral. Built in the 16-th century it was the place from which all Tsar's
edicts were announced. Lenin's Mausoleum, designed by A. Shchusev in 1924, is
located in Red Square. Until recently it was a monument of great significance.
The Historical Museum locks the other end of Red Square. Next to it one can
see the reconstructed Iverskay Chapel and the Resurrection gates. Alexander
Gardens, laid out at the beginning of the 19-th century, are located beneath
the Kremlin walls. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is near the entrance to the
Gardens. It is the major memorial to the warriors of the Great Patriotic War.
St. Petersburg is the second Russia's largest city. St. Petersburg, one of the
most beautiful cities of Europe, has played an important role in Russian
history. It was founded by Peter I in 1703. St. Petersburg is situated on the
Neva river. The city once spread across nearly 100 islands. Canals and natural
channels make St. Petersburg a city of waterways and bridges. For two
centuries St. Petersburg was the capital of the Russian Empire. After the
revolutions of 1917, which took place in St. Petersburg it was renamed into
Leningrad. During World War II the city was besieged and fiercely defended.
Today the city is an important industrial centre and the nation's largest
seaport. In 1991 St. Petersburg got its original name back.
Central St. Petersburg is divided by the Neva River into four parts: the
Admiralty Side, Vasilyevsky Island, the Petrograd Side, and the Vyborg Side.
The Admiralty Side is rich in museums, monuments, historical buildings and
squares. From the Admiralty, the heart of Peter's city, an avenue known as
Nevsky Prospect runs eastward. There are a lot of palaces, churches, stores,
cafes, and theatres there.
St. Petersburg is proud of its rich architecture that includes the cathedral
of the Peter-Paul Fortress, the Summer Palace, the Winter Palace, the Smolny
Convent, the Kazan and St. Isaac's cathedrals, the Smolny Institute, the new
Admiralty, and the Senate. There are many important educational and scientific
research centres in St. Petersburg. Among these are: the University of Saint
Petersburg, the Academy of Fine Arts, the Institute of Mines, and the Military
St. Petersburg is a city of culture. There are a lot of theatres and concert
halls there. The Mariinsky Theatre has long enjoyed an international
reputation. Famous museums include the State Russian Museum, which specialises
in Russian painting, and the Hermitage with a rich collection of western
European painting. In 1764 the Hermitage was established by Catherine II. It
was opened to the public in 1852. In St. Petersburg there are many stadiums
and other outdoor recreation facilities provided by the Kirov Park, the Zoo,
the botanical gardens, and numerous other parks and gardens.
The "Golden Ring" is a very popular tourist route. It includes towns and
villages in the north-eastern part of the former State of Muscovy. It is rich
in historical and architectural monuments. Among the most notable towns of the
"Golden Ring" route are Pereslavl-Zalessky, the birthplace of the Russian
Prince Alexander Nevsky; Rostov Veliky, the finest and largest town of Prince
Andrew Bogolyubsky's principality; Borisoglebsky, the Fortress-Monastery,
founded for the protection of the travellers; Uglich, the tragic stage of
Tsarevich Dmitry death; Kostroma, known for its elaborate churches and
cathedrals; Yaroslavl, Vladimir, Suzdal, and others. All these towns played a
very important role in the making of the state of Russia.
The history of Vladimir dates back to the year 1108 when it was founded by
Vladimir Monomakh. Prince Andrew Bogolyubsky moved his capital from Kiev to
Vladimir in 1157. In 1160 he invited craftsmen to build the Assumption
Cathedral. By the 15-th century the city declined. Now Vladimir is famous for
its architecture of early Russia.
Suzdal was the capital city of Yury Dolgoruky's Rostov-Suzdal Principality.
After the fall of Kiev Suzdal became a religious, political and economic
centre of medieval Russia. Many of its monasteries and convents are associated
with the banished princes and nobility. Numerous churches and monasteries were
built in Suzdal during the reign of Andrew Bogolyubsky. In the 13-th and 14-th
centuries Suzdal-Vladimir principality disintegrated.
I am sure that everything that our foreign guests will see in Russia they will
never be able to forget.
- How long are the Urals?
- The Urals stretch for about 2,100 km from north to south.
- What is the highest peak of the Ural Mountains?
- The highest peak, Mount Narodnaya, reaches 1,895 m, and other maintain tops
range from 900 to 1,500 m.
- Is Moscow your native city?
- Yes, it is. I was born in Moscow.
- Have you recently visited any museums or theatres?
- Recently I have been to the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts to enjoy the
Impressionists' works of art and the Picasso. As for the theatre, the
performance that impressed me greatly was "Tsar Fyodor Ioanovich" at the Mali
Theatre. This classical play was wonderfully performed.
- What monuments would you recommend your foreign guests to see?
- ~ First of all they should visit Red Square. There they will see the
monuments connected with the history of Russia. In Red Square they will see a
monument to Minin and Pozharsky. It was erected in 1818 to commemorate their
victory over the Polish invaders in 1612. In front of the Historical museum
they will see a monument to Marshal Zhukov. Under his leadership the Soviet
Union won World War II. The monument was erected in May 1995 to mark the 50th
anniversary of the victory over Fascist Germany. Then walking up Tverskaya
Street their attention can be attracted by the monument to Yury Dolgoruky, the
founder of Moscow. In Pushkin Square they will see the monument to Alexander
Pushkin, the great Russian poet. In Mayakovskaya Square there is a monument to
Vladimir Mayakovsky, the Russian poet of the 20-th century. If our guests want
to see the dismantled monuments to the political leaders of the previous epoch
I shall take them to the square attached to the Central House of Painters.
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