At over 3600 kms (2294 miles), the Volga River is the longest river in Europe, flowing directly through central Russia from the Valdai Hills to the Caspian Sea, past the great cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as the quaint Golden Ring towns of Yaroslavl and Uglich in between.
Referred to as Volga-Matushka (Mother Volga) in Russian folklore, the river is known as the caretaker and provider for both ‘old’ and ‘new’ Russia, which include several of Russia’s largest and world renowned cities. A popular vacation choice for history and architecture buffs alike, here are four highlight cities visited while cruising along Russia’s Volga river:
- Moscow – The capital city of Russia is the most populous in Europe with nearly 12 million people, and the lively city boasts monuments that represent both the Russia of today and yesterday. With UNESCO sites such as the Red Square and the Moscow Kremlin, a fortress which is now the home of the Russian president, and the colourful Saint Basil’s Cathedral, you’ll need to spend at least a couple of days here. Another experience is the city’s underground metro system, one of the busiest in the world alongside Tokyo, Soeul and Beijing. The 188 stations are known for their varied architecture.
- The Golden Ring – Northeast of Moscow is a ring of cities that are so well preserved, they’re like open air museums. On a Volga river cruise, stops at Yaroslavl and Uglich will have you seeing Kremlins, monasteries, and churches from the 12th to 18th centuries. In Uglich, visit the 16th century Church of St. Dimitry on the Blood that was built to honour the slain son of Ivan the Terrible. In Yuroslavl, the historic city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded in 1010, it’s older than Moscow.
- Kizhi Island – The entire island located on Lake Onega is a museum decorated with wooden buildings. In the 1950s, many of the structures found on the small island today were transported there for preservation purposes. It became an open-air museum in the 1960s and has the oldest wooden church in Russia, the 14th century Church of the Resurrection of Lazarus. Kizhi Pogost, built in the 18th century, is an amazing site consisting of two large wooden churches and a bell tower. In 1990 named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- St. Petersburg – Unlike other Russian cities before it, structures in St. Petersburg were built with strict geometric lines. Commissioned by Peter the Great and built on a hundred islands, this “Venice of the North” is complete with romantic canals, baroque palaces, and lovely squares that are reminiscent of the rest of Europe. Among the many beautiful sites, a visit to the Hermitage is a must, as well as the Peter and Paul Fortress with its baroque cathedral.
For more information on cruising along the Volga river, or river cruising in general, give us a call toll-free at 1-800-565-2784 or check out our Facebook page.