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There's no denying that Russia is one of the most intriguing and mysterious countries in the world. Even after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the lure of Russia remains, especially given its unique culture, stunningly beautiful buildings and spot as the largest country on Earth. There are many places travelers need to hit during Russia tours, but its famed Golden Ring is among the best. The name applies to several cities located to the northeast of Moscow which are home to some of the most important historical, religious and architectural sites in the country. There are seemingly countless highlights during a drive through the Golden Ring, but here are some of the best:
For history buffs, Kostroma will certainly stand out above the rest of the Golden Circle. Home to about 268,700 people, the city dates back more than 900 years and many of the buildings that line its streets have a significant place in Russian history. One of its most famous buildings is the Resurrection Church, which features the iconic onion domes of Russian architecture and has been an a staple of visits to Kostroma for centuries.
?Although it's much smaller than Kostroma with a population of about 34,500, Uglich has plenty to offer when it comes to its architecture. Most notably, the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, which was built in the early 1600s is regarded as one of the best works of the Russian Medieval period. Uglich also has some historical intrigue, especially because it was home to Dmitri, son of Ivan the Terrible. It's also where Dmitri was famously murdered in 1591.
With only about 10,000 residents, Suzdal feels much more like a small village or town than many of the other stops along the Golden Ring. Not only that, but it also exudes a rich sense of history that makes it feel like visitors have taken a step back in time. As such, many of the buildings have been well preserved over the last several centuries. There are many historic monuments spread throughout the city including The Saint Alexander Convent, which was built in 1240. Visitors should also make a point to visit the town's Market Square for an authentic taste of Russian culture.
Look down in wonder at Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral from your glass-walled pod on the London Eye, then gaze out over the Louvre and the Champs-Elysees from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
The scent of rich pine forests lingers in the breeze as the 13th-century ruins of Turaida Castle are revealed before your eyes in the lush Gauja River valley in a medieval sanctuary untouched by the march of time.
The aroma of dark roasted Viennese coffee hangs thick in the air as you tread the cobblestone laneways and bask in the elegant architecture, atmospheric cafes and refined restaurants in one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe.
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