Visit Some of Russia's Revolutionay Landmarks

The St. Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Petersburg: This historic city was founded by Peter The Great (though not named after him, the hounour went to St. Peter).  I’ve chosen the fortress because it was the first structure built in the city.  The story goes that Peter was fighting against the Swedes and he drew a cross on the ground and said, “Here shall be born St.Petersburg.” It looks over a river and is like a vast version of Venice.

PERM-36: A slightly morbid choice, but this is the last of the political prison camps of the Soviet Age and it’s been preserved.  It didn’t close until 1087.  Back then, if you were found guilty of subversion or anti-state propaganda you’d be sent here.  You can see the tiny cells for solitary confinement.  They tried to break people’s spirit. Happily, they didn’t always succeed.

Solovki: It’s an island or an archipelago in the White Sea.  It’s extremely beautiful and a holy place for Russian orthodox Christians – but it’s also the blueprint for Stalin’s first Gulag.  There are wonderful walks through the country, but you would occasionally come across a church where torturers tormented their victims.  Solovki without knowing what has been done here is lovely but you do get the feeling that evil has been committed here.

Murmansk Graveyard: Murmansk is located in the north-west of the country in the Artic Circle.  It’s home to an Allied graveyard where the sailors who died in what was once known as the ‘Murmansk Run’ are buried.  Merchant ships would sail with supplies for the Russian front during the Second World War and be shot at by German Luftwaffe and U-boats.

St. Basil’s Catherdral Moscow: is one of Russia’s most famous buildings. It has a rich history – a brutal history in Stalin’s case.   There’s a museum inside the nearby Kremlin, and you are now free to follow your faith in St. Basil’s – it was banned for many years.  There’s even a fancy department store just over the way.

Mount Elbrus: is located in the Caucasus Mountains, and it’s the highest peak in Europe.  It is accessible by cable car and offers a wonderful view of the weather is good.

Yasniya Pollyanna: is Leo Tolstoy’s home, one the world’s great writers. It is kept exactly the same as it was when he died, you can walk through the grounds into the forest to see where he was buried. He was excommunicated by the church for his views, but people flocked to his grave, despited being told not to.

Stalin’s Mosaic, Volgograd: This is an odd landmark in that it’s a mosaic portrait of Stalin but there’s a story behind it. When he became a persona non grata, every memorial to him was closed or demolished.  This place, however, is the former Stalingrad where he remains a hero.  The city was razed to the ground during the war, but Stalin built it back up from scratch. Instead of tearing up his portrait, the people here plastered over it to protect it. It was recently uncovered.