Forget passports, tickets, and all that packing. You don't even have to take to the sky; from this page you may ride your mouse to a growing number of Russian cities with World Wide Web servers. Some of these sites are rather slow and others, unreliable; however, with a little patience, you can acquire a good impression of Russian cities and the differences between them and our own.
The second and fourth capitals of Russia, Moscow remains the more 'Russian' of the two major metropolitan centers of Russia. An excellent place to begin exploring is at the Moscow City Council's Moscow Guide, filled with photographs of the city's restaurants, hotels, museums, shopping centers and a tour of the Kremlin. If you are interested in city politics (and read Russian), the Moscow City Duma's server is the place to look. The New Moscow emphasizes the new, post-Soviet Moscow. Another rich website featuring Moscow is Moscow 850, celebrating the 850th anniversity of the great city. This site is available in English and Russian (Windows 1251 fonts). Next, scroll through Mikhail Soutchanski's site, Moscow in Pictures.
Take off to Peter the Great's 'Window on the West'. You can read The St. Petersburg Press, Prospects, the weekly culture guide of St. Petersburg, or The St. Petersburg Business Journal. If news doesn't interest you, enjoy the cultural life of the city, or just take an stroll through it.
The first mention of the khanate of Astrakhan dates bake to the XIII century. In 1554 Ivan the Terrible conquered it and in 1555 dedicated St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square to his victory. In capturing Astrakhan, Ivan used gun powder as an explosive for the first time in Russian history. Astrakhan today is a busy commercial center on the Volga River at the Caspian Sea with a snazzy web site.
This largest city in the southern part of the Urals with a population of around 900,000. Founded as a fortress in 1736, it was incorporated as a town in 1787. Today it is a major industrial center, well connected by rail to the rest of Russia. The major site now provides live audio and video from the radio and TV stations of Chelyabinsk. Other sites provide environmental information. Another excellent site is now provided by Intersvyaz. It contains a chronology of Chelyabinsk history as well as business, cultural, and environmental news. Both sites are in Russian and English and support all font codepages.
The queen city of the Urals, named for St. Catherine, the saint in whose name Peter I's wife, Catherine I, was baptized. During the Soviet period this city's name was changed to the evermore romantic 'Sverdlovsk', which remains the name of the region of which it serves as capital. Today it is a large industrial city with one foot in Europe, the other in Asia. Ural Relcom maintains an English-language site, as does Reliz.
Galendzhik is a small town on the Black Sea noted for its oceanographic research. Its WWW site features tours of the Okeanografika Reseach Institute, a large Russian research institute in marine geophysics, geology and ecology, and the World Data Center for Marine Geology & Geophysics, responsible for all types of data from the seafloor, including analyses of seafloor cores, marine magnetics, gravity, seismic reflection/refraction, and bathymetry.
Irkutsk stands on the banks of the Angara river just above the point where it empties into Lake Baikal. Pioneers, cossacks, missionaires, deportees, rich merchants -- all added to the unique blend of people who settled Irkutsk. It is connects Russia with Mongolia, China, and Japan via the Transiberian Railroad and the East-Siberian steamship line. Irkutsk Business Net also maintains an informative site. Here is a photo album of the region (in Russian). If you have trouble reaching the main site, try the US mirror.
Izhevsk is the capital city of Udmurtia, an autonomous republic within the Russian Federation, about 1000 kilometers due east of Moscow. Udmurtia is about the size of Wisconsin both in area and in population. There are about 750,000 Udmurts in Russia, and about 650,000 live in Udmurtia. The Udmurt language belongs to the Finno-Ugric family of languages, Finnish and Hungarian being the two main languages of this family.
Kaliningrad is the former Prussian city of Königsberg, the birthplace of Emanuel Kant. It is an enclave cut off from the rest of Russia by Lithuania and a free economic zone. Find out more about this Russian city with a Germanic history here.
The Republic of Karelia is located in the north-western part of Russia, sharing a border with Finland. The total territory of Karelia is 172.000 sq km with a population of 800,000. The capital is the city of Petrozavodsk (population 280,000). The Republic administers 18 regions and towns. Long known as a major timber region, Karelia also may contain a significant diamond field. Investigations are currently underway. (This server is down frequently.)
Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan. This site is operated by Kazan University, where Tolstoy studied and Lenin was expelled for political activity (he finished his law studies on his mother's estate). InTechBank also provides information on Kazan and its environs. This photo gallery of Kazan contains more than a hundred photos plus several videos of the ancient city. Now there is a general overview of the Republic of Tatarstan of which Kazan is the capitol.
In the 10th-12th centuries, some groups of enterprising folk from the lands then under the sovereign city of Lord Novgorod the Great, thrust deep into Karelia's forests to establish several colonies along the shores of Lake Onega. However these settlements with their tent-roof churches on the island of Kizhi first received mention in the chronicles for the 14th-15th centuries. Russia's oldest, still extant wooden Church of St. Lazarus of Murom, which stands on the tiny islet of Mooch, dates back to the 14th century. There is another photo gallery here.
This eastern Russian city is located on the Yenisey River along the Trans-Siberian Railway. It was founded in 1628 as the fort Krasny Yar 'beautiful clearing' and grew in the 1960's when the world's largest hydroelectic dam was built there on the Yenesey. Krasnoyarsk Today offers more information on the city and region in Russian.
The Magnitogorsk public web site contains information about Magnitogorsk, a Russian city of 438,000 people located at the foothills of the south Ural Mountains on the border between Europe and Asia. There is also this all-Russian site and a few postcards for your viewing pleasure.
This Far Eastern Siberian city is located just north of Vladivostok. Find out what it is like to live at far from 'the center' as you can possibly be in Russia. It gets a little chilly in winter, too. This site is an eye-thriller.
Of all the Pacific Rim's emerging regions, Nakhodka is perhaps the least well-known. Its potential, however, is great: Nakhodka is central to the process of economic integration in Russia. It is Russia's primary Pacific port,handling up to 25 million tons of cargo, 40% of Russia's foreign trade. In 1990 it was declared a Free Economic Zone (FEZ) to guide its development and ensure that Nakhodka's potential is fully realized.
Nizhni is the third largest city in Russia. It traditionally has been and now is again the home of the world-famous Nizhny-Novgorod Fair. The Inforis server provides a lot of information on Russian laws as well as the politics and economy of the region--mostly in Russian. (The English version contains much less information.) The SANDY site has a more cultural taste and includes access to the rare book room of the Nizhni-Novgorod library. Nizhny-Novgorod on the Net is a new server. Check it out.
This is the oldest city in Russia, first mentioned in the chronicles (letopis') in 859. Unlike Kiev, it was always a mercantile city, trading with the Hansa, the Gotland Company, and other German trading companies. During the Mongol-Tatar Period, Novgorod remained a free and independent city-state. However, once Moscow defeated the Tatars, it turned on Novgorod and incorporated it in 1478.
Founded in 1893, Novosibirsk is currently a city 1.6 million located in Western Siberia. It ranks second in the world after Chicago in terms of rate of growth. This pace is sure to continue as international access to Novosibirsk increases. Novosibirsk is most notable as the locale for Akademgorodok, Academic City, the largest scientific insititution in the world. Here is another site with information on Novosibirsk. This site tells you all about the city today; it is in Russian.
Odessa was founded by Catherine II (The Great) in 1794 on the shore of the Black Sea. It has been since then the southern 'Window on Europe' in the same sense Peter I's St. Petersburg is the northern window. Odessa is the major port on the Black Sea with a population of about 1.5 million. Its architecture is among the most beautiful in the NIS and its opera house is, in the opinion of yours truly, the most beautiful in in Eastern Europe.
Omsk's is a Western Siberian city with a rich history. Omsk was founded in 1716 as a fortress in the place where two rivers, Irtysh and Om' (Omka) meet. Omsk is famous in America for rhyming with 'Tomsk' but not with 'Minsk' or 'Pinsk'. Now Omsk has an unusually beautiful and informative site in Russian.
The city of Penza bears its name in honor of the river on whose shores it was built. The historyof the city goes back around 330 years. The first document referring to Penza is dataed 1663. A good site with lots of information about the city and the region of which it is the capital.
Pereslavl-Zalessky is one of the ancient cities of central Russia. The town was founded in 1152 by prince Yury Dolgoruky, also the traditional founder of Moscow. It is located halfway between Moscow and Yaroslavl on the bank of Lake Pleshcheevo. In 1693, young Peter the Great constructed his "toy fleet", which became a prototype of the first Russian navy, on this lake.
Here is another Ural city with an informative web site. Perm was incorporated in 1723 by the edict of Peter I. Today it is a bustling industrial city of more than a million people. Find out more about it here! English and Russian (KOI-8) flavors. (This is also a good source of information on Russian UFOs.)
This is a beautiful new website about the Far Eastern region of Primorye. It provides insights into the culture, history, economy, geography, economy, ecology and much more. All this is accompanied by beautiful photographs of the area (In Russian only).
Rostov-na-Donu was founded in 1749 when the Temernik frontier custom house was opened on the high western bank of the Don. It was in this region that the Cossack atamans Stepan Razin, Kondraty Bulavin and Yemelyan Pugachov started the famous uprisings which shook Russia in the 17th and 18th centuries. This city is also the hometown of Sergei Naoumov, who has prepared his own Rostov site.
The University of Indiana has just opened a Web site on this ancient city. It has started with a picture exhibition of medieval Ryazan and a description of the libraries at the University of Ryazan. You can find the official city web of Ryazan and the Virtual Ryazan servers are available only in Russian.
This city of 900,000 is situated on the bank of the lower Volga in forest-steppe regions of Russia. At its narrowest point the Volga is 3 km across. Saratov was founded in 1590 as fortress on Volga. Russian version.
The official homepage of this western Siberian city contains pictures and links with the University of Tomsk and one other institution in the town.
The longest railroad in the world wends its way from Moscow to Vladivostok, through northern China and Mongolia. It passes by Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world (a mile deep). Before you invest a summer in experiencing it yourself, enjoy this photographic voyage brought to us by Herbert Jebbink. Mikhail Soutchanski also has some pictures and informationi about Siberia. . No ticket -- just click it! Still want more? Here are a mass of other links.
Tver is one of the oldest Russian cities, founded in the 12th century. Archeological evidence places settlements at the confluence of the Volga and the Tmaka rivers as early as the 10th century. It is the capital of Tver oblast, just to the north of Moscow (just take Tverskaya ulitsa from downtown Moscow). The main site is that of the government of Tverskaya oblast. It is currently only available in Russian.
Andrei Bogoljubski, the son of Yuri Dolgoruki, generally considered the founder of Moscow, moved to Vladimir in 1167 and built a palace just outside the city. From 1167 until the death of Andrei's brother, Vsevolod Big Nest in 1212, Vladimir was the most powerful city in Russia. During the reigns of Princes Andrei and Vsevolod, Vladimir underwent a tremendously creative period of building, developing a unique architectural style. That style is distinguished by a decorative carving under the caps of the domes and a unique band of arches encircling the main body. The influence of this style is reflected in that of the Assumption Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin. Be sure to see the photograph of the original Assumption Cathedral at this site and my personal favorite, the Cathedral of St. Dmitri.
This is the very best Russian site on the WWW!!! The first chronicle record of Yaroslavl dates to the beginning of the XI th century. The foundation of the town is connected with the great Kievan Prince Yaroslav the Wise. Today this city on the banks of the Volga River is considered to be a pearl in the "Golden Ring" of ancient Russian cities situated to the north and east of Moscow. You will find an ever-growing wealth of historical documentation and chronologies here!
More Russian Cities
Here is another Russian cities site with the coolest of Java graphics. Worth the trip just to see the monastery by the lake but this site also has a wealth of links with cities all over Russia.