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Cities list

Alapayevsk

Alapayevsk

Though storytellers have labeled this Ural mountain settlement an industrial fairy-tale land, the town is known more broadly and infamously as the place where the Romanov dynasty ended.

Almaty

Almaty

A taxi dashes madly through the streets, skidding on the wet road and barely dodging passing cars and motorcycles. Through all this, the local driver doesn't once lose his cool in his mission to get the client from the airport to the hotel as quickly as possible.

Arkhangelsk

Arkhangelsk

With a name that means Archangel in English, the Arctic city of Arkhangelsk is sometimes dubbed Russias Los Angeles. But in fact the two cities are poles apart.

Astrakhan

Astrakhan

While the Russian word for "tomato" may be masculine, Astrakhan natives tag an "a" on the end, switching the gender. A bizarre sound to Russian ears, perhaps, but Astrakhan's tomatoes grow to be so enormous, so red and so succulent in the sweltering summer temperatures that the locals cannot resist that little bit of affection.

Baku

Baku

Do not waste your time trying to imagine what Baku is like. It is a city that has to be experienced to be understood.The celebrated Soviet poetRobert Rozhdestvensky once wrote, "If you haven't seen Baku, then what have you seen?"

Barnaul

Barnaul

If you ask the classic question "chem dyshat mestnye? - "what makes the locals tick?" or literally "what do they breathe?" - a native of Barnaul might give you a literal answer: silver.

Batumi

Batumi

Since Abkhazia's secession from Georgia, the Black Sea town of Batumi, a stone's throw from the Turkish border, can claim the title of the country's westernmost city, both in terms of geography and atmosphere. Up until 2004, there was no hint that Batumi would get this honor. Its raison d'etre in the Soviet period was as an industrial port and refinery town for oil from Baku.

Bishkek

Bishkek

One of the first things that might strike you in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, is the large number of cafes, boutiques and SUVs, seemingly contradicting the fact that more than one-third of the country's population lives below the poverty line.

Bukhara

Bukhara

It was June 17, 1842, when two British army officers, Captain Charles Conolly and Lieutenant Colonel Stoddart, were dragged from the Emir's citadel in Bukhara through the baying mob.

Cheboksary

Cheboksary

The 46-meter-tall Mother Protectress, the symbol of the Chuvashia republic, spreads her arms over the capital, Cheboksary. Blessed are my children, living in a world of love, a plaque on the monument proclaims. But the picturesque view hides something sinister.

Chisinau

Chisinau

"The damned city of Kishinev" is how Alexander Pushkin described this small town in the territory formerly known as Bessarabia. The poet's outburst is understandable, because he was forced to spend three years in exile in a place, which was, in his opinion, comparable with Sodom.

Chita

Chita

If you bend down and look closely at the paving tiles on Chita's main square, you will notice that they have Mandarin lettering inscribed on them.

Desnogorsk

Desnogorsk

At a time when many of the country's single-factory towns are crumbling, one settlement located 350 kilometers southwest of Moscow tells a different story.

Gagarin

Gagarin

On the 50th anniversary of the first manned spaceflight two years ago, many Russian TV channels focused their attention on this small town 180 kilometers west of Moscow that bears the famous cosmonaut's name.

Grozny

Grozny

Not long ago, Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, was called "the most devastated city on Earth." The city was ravaged by two wars in the 1990s to early 2000s. The Associated Press image of a Russian soldier lighting a cigarette from a pile of burning trash in the middle of a heavily damaged street became an internationally recognized icon for the shattered city.

Irkutsk

Irkutsk

The first thing a visitor recently saw when entering the museum of exiled Prince Sergei Volkonsky in Irkutsk was a drowsy, gray-haired attendant sitting behind a table with a calendar adorned with the Yukos logo, a forest-green triangle with a yellow tip. The parallel was coincidental, but telling.

Ivanovo

Ivanovo

The Niagara Restaurant is smack in the center of town, overlooking the river, right next to the falls. Just that the river is not the Niagara but the Uvod, and the falls are not 58 meters but just 1 meter high. And the restaurant, naturally, serves Georgian food.

Kaliningrad

Kaliningrad

Although St. Petersburg is traditionally known as Russia's "window to Europe," today's Kaliningrad better deserves the moniker. The area's proximity to Western Europe means that residents are often more familiar with neighboring countries than with the rest of Russia.

Kaluga

Kaluga

Many Russian cities pay lip service to the mantra of attracting foreign investment. Few have lived the dream in the way Kaluga has.

Kazan

Kazan

If you left the ancient metropolis of Kazan a decade ago, you would hardly recognize it today. The citys signature white-and-blue kremlin still stands on the bank of the Kazanka River, but an infrastructure overhaul has added whole new neighborhoods to the city.

Kemerovo

Kemerovo

Pride and resignation are twin sentiments in this Siberian city, and their coexistence here makes for a curious set of contrasts.

Kiev

Kiev

KIEV ― When the four founders of Kiev chose the location for this city more than 1,100 years ago, they surely picked the right place. As the morning sunlight glitters in the Dnieper River and climbs up the rolling green hills, it's easy to sense a feeling of home.

Kirov

Kirov

Kirov recently attracted international attention for holding court proceedings in a timber embezzlement case against opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The 800-year-old city historically has been associated with thievery, but this is not its only claim to fame.

Kolomna

Kolomna

A traveler to Kolomna shouldn't rush to put a checkmark next to this city's name on his list of places visited, since this ancient town has so much charm he'll want to return.

Kostroma

Kostroma

There is a rock in Kostroma with the inscription, "Walk forward, and you'll walk into a fairy tale." For the traveler heading into the city, the inscription lives up to its promise.

Krasnoyarsk

Krasnoyarsk

One of the oldest cities in Siberia, Krasnoyarsk boasts sights like picturesque churches and fountains with dazzling night lighting. But none of them can compare to its main attraction majestic Siberian nature.

Kyzyl

Kyzyl

Its not surprising that a town located at the exact geographic center of Asia has special psychic energies. Kyzyl, the capital of the Tuva republic, is 3,700 kilometers to the east of Moscow. But as far as its style of business is concerned, it might as well be on another planet.

Lipetsk

Lipetsk

It's not often that something positive is born out of the destruction of war, but Lipetsk is one such example. In the beginning of the 18th century, after Peter the Great started the Great Northern War with Sweden, his main supplier of iron, he needed to find domestic sources to compensate.

Lviv

Lviv

"Where else do people have it so good?" croons a local song from the 1930s. The answer, of course, is "only in Lviv."

Magnitogorsk

Magnitogorsk

Writer Maxim Gorky wrote at the beginning of the last century that every Russian has two souls, one that originates in Asia, with its superstitions and laziness, and the other in the West, with its love of arts and passion for education.

Minsk

Minsk

If not for the occasional foreign-language billboard or a foreign car passing by, this city could easily be mistaken for the set of an old Soviet movie.

Murmansk

Murmansk

Whenever you feel the urge to complain about the injustice of the climate where you live, you can always comfort yourself with the fact that it's probably colder in Murmansk, where snow can linger into May and reappear in September.

Murom

Murom

Locals complain that outsiders are often surprised to find out that Murom actually exists, having heard of the small town in the Vladimir region only from fairy tales.

Myshkin

Myshkin

While Rome might have been saved by geese, this tiny town in the central Yaroslavl region owes its fame and prosperity to a small mouse. The place name Myshkin is derived from "myshka" the Russian word for the small rodent.

Nalchik

Nalchik

Everyone knows that a horseshoe brings good luck. So maybe it's no coincidence that Nalchik, the capital of the Kabardino-Balkaria republic, means "little horseshoe" in the local Kabardian and Balkar languages.

Narva

Narva

Sarah Palin was right. Well, almost. You can see Russia from your front porch. But not in Wasilla, Alaska. Narva, Estonia's third-largest and easternmost city, offers a much better view.

New Moscow

New Moscow

On July 1 last year, with the stroke of a pen, Moscow grew by 2.4 times and went from the 11th biggest city in the world to the 6th in terms of space.

Nizhnevartovsk

Nizhnevartovsk

If St. Petersburg was built on a swamp to open a window onto Europe, Nizhnevartovsk arose from the bogs of western Siberia as a tribute to crude oil and human greed.

Nizhny Novgorod

Nizhny Novgorod

Nizhny Novgorod, at different times in its history, has been called "the pocket of Russia," "Russia's Detroit" and "Russia's third capital." But today it ranks fifth by population and is inhabited by "leftover people."

Novosibirsk

Novosibirsk

Strangers are apt to approach you and strike up a conversation, a grandfatherly voice wishes you well on the metro intercom "Vsego Vam Dobrogo," and the ruddiness of people's cheeks is due primarily to the cold.

Obninsk

Obninsk

Many experiments of the Soviet period came with great risks to people and the environment, and the creation of Obninsk is no exception.

Odessa

Odessa

"The air conditioner is broken, but you're very welcome to come in," an attractive restaurant hostess says with a charming smile. "Here in Odessa, you cannot feel let down."

Oryol

Oryol

A city of bridges, Oryol is spread out on the banks of the Oka River and its tributary, the Orlik, which flow through the city center and are dotted with fishermen.

Pereslavl-Zalessky

Pereslavl-Zalessky

It strikes one as odd that a city located hundreds of kilometers from the nearest sea is the birthplace of the Russian navy.

Perm

Perm

Perm was immortalized in Chekhovs Three Sisters as the genteel but provincial backwater the Prozorovas were so desperate to escape. A little boring, perhaps, but no hotbed of iniquity. Today Perm is open, the missile factories build rockets for Russias civilian space program, and the oil and mining industries are still going strong.

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

At a corner of this huge country, at the very edge of the world, the Kamchatka Peninsula juts 1,500 kilometers into the Pacific.

Petrozavodsk

Petrozavodsk

In trying to reach and conquer the Baltic Sea, Tsar Peter the Great declared war on the Swedish Empire in 1700. Three years into a conflict that would last more than two decades, Peter sanctioned the building of a new town on the shores of Lake Onega to be used as an iron foundry for much-needed weaponry for his northern fleets.

Plyos

Plyos

This small town on the Volga River has long been famous for its serene atmosphere, picturesque hilltop views of a 3-kilometer-long quay and the house-museum of Isaac Levitan, a prominent landscape painter of the 19th century.

Pskov

Pskov

Perched on Russia's western fringes, yet one of the country's most ancient cities, Pskov may lack industry but it combines a unique concentration of crumbling Orthodox churches with echoes of its proximity to Europe.

Riga

Riga

At the turn of the 20th century, this bustling seaport laid claim to being the Paris of the east thanks to a thriving cafe culture and an abundance of art-nouveau style buildings.

Rostov

Rostov

Modern-day Rostov is a small and quiet touristy town in the central Yaroslavl region, with several main streets dominated by two-story buildings. It is situated about 200 kilometers from Moscow, on the bank of Lake Nero, whose serene beauty adds to Rostov's small-town charm.

Rostov-on-Don

Rostov-on-Don

If you walk around the city center in Rostov-on-Don, one of the most likely things to catch your eye would be groups of Cossacks dressed in traditional dark-blue uniforms and red-striped pants.

Ryazan

Ryazan

There's a belief in Ryazan that Koreans owe some of their digital excellence to a local plant called Plazma. But few remember the South Korean firms name when talking about Plazmas joint venture with the Koreans a memory from the mid-1990s.

Samara

Samara

Most Russians know Samara as the country's aeronautics manufacturing capital. Far fewer would think of it as the birthplace of the nation's beer industry yet the local brand, whose history is a metaphor for the town, has become synonymous with beer itself.

Saratov

Saratov

Nineteenth-century writer Alexander Griboedov immortalized Saratov with a single line in his comedy, "The Woes of Wit." One of the main characters, Famusov, pronounced this curse on his daughter - and Saratov - when he decided to send her packing there: "To the village, to your auntie, to the backwater, to Saratov!"

Sergiyev Posad

Sergiyev Posad

The ancient town of Sergiyev Posad just outside Moscow is one of the pearls of the Golden Ring of historic towns surrounding the capital. Located about 70 kilometers from Moscow, the town is dominated by the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, founded by St. Sergius of Radonezh, one of the most venerated Russian saints.

Sevastopol

Sevastopol

A train cutting into a scenic city harbor with moored ships may be your first impression of Sevastopol, a Black Sea port in Ukraine. Even if you are at the end a long journey that covered all sorts of landscapes, this new view through the train's window will overwhelm you.

Simferopol

Simferopol

It's no irony that Simferopol's name comes from the Greek Simferopolis, meaning "city of usefulness." Each year about 7 million tourists pass through its railway station, and the city has earned a reputation as a stopover for vacationers waiting for their connection to the ports of Sevastopol or Yalta.

Smolensk

Smolensk

Smolensk's role in history as a battleground for invading armies may come as no surprise to the first-time visitor.

Sochi

Sochi

When Zeus chained Prometheus to a rock and sent an eagle to pick at his liver as punishment for giving mankind fire, the Titan's torment was abated by the spirit of the Agura River, which brought him food and salved his wounds after the eagle's daily visits. But Prometheus probably wouldn't recognize his prison today.

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg has in recent years taken a number of measures aimed at attracting tourists, partly in an effort to boost the city's coffers.

Stary Oskol

Stary Oskol

Any Stary Oskol resident can give you explicit instructions on how to get to the Oskol Electrometallurgical Plant. The plant, owned by Metalloinvest, is the largest employer in the city and is at the center of its economy, which relies on the regions deposits of iron ore.

Suzdal

Suzdal

Dating back more than 1,000 years, Suzdal is one of Russia's oldest settlements and a place almost completely untouched by the pace of change that has transformed the architecture of the country's major cities into one of aesthetic extremes.

Syktyvkar

Syktyvkar

If you've lived in Russia and have scribbled anything on paper, chances are you've left your mark on a Syktyvkar product. Perhaps you are in a job that doesn't require you to write on paper. But you have, at some point, probably calculated a restaurant tip on a napkin. Then you, too, have appreciated Syktyvkar's bounty.

Tallinn

Tallinn

"I don't know a word of it. I don't see the point of learning it. It's a horrible language, so ugly-sounding. I don't see how the Estonians can take themselves seriously speaking it."

Tambov

Tambov

Not many foreigners know of Tambov, but if you mention the city to a Russian, you're bound to get the answer "Tambovsky volk tebe tovarishch," loosely translated as "Tambov's wolf is your friend."

Tarusa

Tarusa

This relatively small town in Kaluga region, some 140 kilometers southwest of Moscow, has inspired major Russian poets, writers and artists who were fascinated with its peacefulness and surrounding beautiful nature.

Tbilisi

Tbilisi

Visitors can sense this citys vibrancy as soon as they log on to the local public wireless network. Tbilisi, I love you pops up on the screen as the network name a reminder that modern marketing techniques are there to promote the ancient reputation of warmth and hospitality the Georgian capital has earned over the centuries.

Tiraspol

Tiraspol

The stuffy minibus carrying passengers from the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, cranks to a halt at the border with the self-proclaimed Transdnestr republic. A throng of Russians, Moldovans and Ukrainians jostle for position in the passport control queue inside a small hut just beyond the demilitarized buffer zone.

Tolyatti

Tolyatti

When it comes to reputation, the Russian city of Tolyatti in the Samara region puts its money where its mouth is. Best known for housing one of the world's largest car factories, AvtoVAZ, city residents are loyal to the automaker's best known brand Lada with almost 60 percent of all personal vehicles on Tolyatti's roads coming from the AvtoVAZ plant.

Tomsk

Tomsk

The 19th-century writer Anton Chekhov praised Tomsk's food, criticized its women, and ultimately recommended that the city wasn't worth visiting. Today's Tomsk would beg to differ. A lot has changed since then.

Tula

Tula

At first glance Tula looks like another grim post-Soviet capital, with timeworn pastel buildings, a colossal statue of Lenin in the central square and surly people mingling on the streets. But as is often the case in Russia, things are not what they seem.

Tver

Tver

Scattered across the world are three monuments to Afanasy Nikitin, one of the first-recorded Europeans to go to India and a native of Tver.

Tyumen

Tyumen

If "the strength of Russia rests in Siberia," as one popular refrigerator magnet contends with words emblazoned across the sky above a powerful oil derrick, then Siberia's capital is surely Tyumen.

Ufa

Ufa

Ufa is best seen from the window of a landing airplane in the early fall. The concrete center is surrounded by multicolored cottage roofs sprinkled on rolling hills, covered in yellow, green, orange and red trees, cut by rivers and lakes as still as glass.

Ukhta

Ukhta

If you drive a car in Moscow, chances are the gasoline in your tank came from this city located smack in the middle of the northern Komi republic.

Ulan-Ude

Ulan-Ude

The first secret that an Ulan-Ude resident whispered in my ear was something like: "Don't you feel the peace and the freedom of this place? The farther you are away from Moscow, the freer you are."

Ulyanovsk

Ulyanovsk

Ask any Russian what Ulyanovsk's claim to fame is, and the most likely reply will be: "Lenin was born there." But only an Ulyanovsk native will tell you that the Soviet founder is just one of many prominent people associated with the city.

Veliky Novgorod

Veliky Novgorod

Veliky Novgorod is a rather small city of just 200,000 inhabitants and is both the cradle and the symbol of Russian democracy, which was established here more than 900 years ago.

Veliky Ustyug

Veliky Ustyug

The Russian north has always held a fairy-tale appeal for its wooden architecture, historical monuments and expanses of forest, marshland and lakes. Nestled in the northeastern corner of the Vologda region, the town of Veliky Ustyug is no exception.

Vilnius

Vilnius

Standing at the top of Gediminas Hill and looking out over the city of Vilnius, it is easy to see why this Baltic capital is considered one of the greenest cities in Europe. With an estimated three-fifths of the city untouched by development, Vilnius is a veritable kaleidoscope of vegetation.

Vladimir

Vladimir

Drivers heading to this citys biggest tourist attraction should be careful when approaching Cathedral Square: The parking space in front of the magnificent Assumption Cathedral is for busses only.

Vladivostok

Vladivostok

Just months after Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev jokingly promised to show "Kuzka's mother" to the Americans in Moscow, he made his first official visit to the United States and ended up taking a trip that proved crucial for Vladivostok.

Volgograd

Volgograd

Volgograd is a proud city, and justifiably so. Famed for its dogged resistance against Hitler's invading forces under its former name, Stalingrad, it bore the brunt of the German onslaught between August 1942 and February 1943 and was awarded the title "Hero City" accordingly.

Vologda

Vologda

Last weekends posh celebrations to mark Moscows 864th birthday left no doubt where Russias capital is located. But 460 kilometers away, another city also recently celebrated 864 years and its residents remembered that instead of St. Basils Cathedral and Red Square, the trademarks of Russias capital could have been a tub of butter and a wooden house with a carved fence.

Voronezh

Voronezh

When President Dmitry Medvedev appeared on television last November to speak about Russia's answer to the U.S. missile defense system, he proudly announced that a new early warning radar, called the Voronezh DM, would be located in Kaliningrad.

Vyazma

Vyazma

October is a really unlucky month for this town. Located 230 kilometers west of Moscow in the Smolensk region, the city of Vyazma that is now home to 57,000 people, has served as a resilient doormat for foreign invaders for nearly 800 years.

Yakutsk

Yakutsk

Flying into Yakutsk, the capital of the Sakha republic and the coldest city in the world, feels like flying to the end of the Earth.

Yalta

Yalta

In the heyday of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev liked to float in a rubber swim ring, escorted by three divers, in the Black Sea waters off the "Russian Riviera," lined with tsarist palaces, politburo dachas and crumbling avant-garde Soviet sanitariums.

Yaroslavl

Yaroslavl

Whether they realize it or not, anyone who has spent a few hours in Russia has glimpsed some of the sites of Yaroslavl. The luridly turquoise 1,000 ruble bank note features both ancient and modern vistas of the city, with the 17th-century, 15 onion-domed St. John the Baptist Church on one side and new buildings on the other.

Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg

Many foreign travelers to Yekaterinburg expect to learn more about the last days of Russia's last monarch, Nicholas II, his German-born wife Alexandra and their children, executed here by the Bolsheviks in 1918. What they often don't expect is to see a bustling modern city with a skyline punctured by high-rise towers.

Yelabuga

Yelabuga

Watching over the point where the Kama and Toima rivers meet in European Russia, the city of Yelabuga is a confluence of many types.

Yerevan

Yerevan

A first glance of Yerevan from the imposing central train station may appear uninspiring bleak empty buildings flank the large square in the gray light of dawn, merchants setting up their stalls stare warily at passersby, and the grandiose monument of a rider on a horse pays tribute to the country's Soviet past.

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

When Anton Chekhov decided to visit this remote island in Russia's Far East in 1890, his close friend, journalist Alexei Suvorin, argued, "There is nothing interesting on Sakhalin!"