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The largest country in the world offers endless opportunities for holidays. Tourism is concentrated in Moscow and St Petersburg, and is also developing in Yekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Kazan and Sochi, not to mention the east, from Lake Baikal to the volcanoes of Kamchatka.

It is hard to encapsulate such a huge country in just a few words. Russia, with its 17 million km² and 11 time zones, offers a range of landscapes and architecture commensurate with the huge sweep of its territory. Moscow and St Petersburg are indubitably the two main spearheads of Russian tourism. These two major cities have nothing in common. The former, a business capital and seat of power, extends outwards from its iconic monuments, the Kremlin and Red Square, with its symbolic multi-coloured cathedral of St Basil the Blessed. The latter, a city of intellectuals and an open-air museum overlooking the Baltic, continues to worship Peter the Great and his delusions of grandeur, embodied by the famous Winter Palace and Hermitage Museum, on the banks of River Neva. A cruise between the two cities is now a top holiday choice in Russia. Little by little, other regions are opening their doors to visitors. Such is the case of Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave on the Baltic, a treasure trove of amber. There is also the Yekaterinburg with its profusion of museums, theatres and libraries; Sochi, a seaside resort on the Black Sea; and Kazan on the banks of the Volga River. Those of an adventurous bent will take the Trans-Siberian Railway to the banks of Lake Baikal or even forge on further east as far as Siberia and the Pacific.

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