Moscow & St. Petersburg


General information

The Moskva River
The Moskva River.
Moscow is the capital of the Russian Federation and the largest city in Russia with over 10.5 million citizens. Moscow is also the largest metropolitan area in Europe and 7th largest urban area in the world. Moscow is situated on the banks of the Moskva River and stretches out for more than 1,000 square kilometers making oval which is nearly 40 km in height and 52 km in length.

Moscow is the political, cultural and business centre of Russia. Russian President, government and Parliament (which is called Duma) sit in Moscow. Moscow is a major economic centre and is home to one of the largest numbers of billionaires in the world. It is an impressive city in many ways. It is never sleeping vibrant city with a great number of historic and cultural sights, scientific and educational institutions, sport and recreation facilities, originally designed trade and office centers prestigious boutiques, exclusive nightclubs, numerous cafes and first-class restaurants with cuisine from all over the world. The Russian capital is world-renowned for its diverse architecture. Without doubt, the most famous spot is the Red Square, where the Kremlin is located.

The square is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. Of course, the city has many more squares, streets, museums and other sites that are worth visiting.

Pokrovsky Sobor (St Basil’s Cathedral)
Pokrovsky Sobor (St Basil’s Cathedral).
Moscow has been a site of great spiritual importance for most of its history. Historically, it was the capital of the former Soviet Union, Russian Empire, Tzardom of Russia and the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Over time, the city has earned a variety of nicknames, most referring to its pre-eminent status in the nation: the Whitestone (refers to the white walls of Kremlin), The First Throne (refers to the Tzar dynasty), The Golden Domes (refers to the great number of the churches with the golden domes). For a long time it claimed the title of “Third Rome”, regarding itself as a spiritual successor to the imperial Christian capitals of Rome and Constantinople. As 16th century chronicles says, “The Church of Rome fell for its heresy; the gates of the second Rome, Constantinople, were hewn down by the axes of the infidel Turks; but the Church of Moscow, the Church of the New Rome, shines brighter than the sun in the whole universe... Two Romes are fallen, but the Third Rome stands; a fourth there cannot be”.

The city is still the center of Russian Orthodox Christianity. The Patriarch of Moscow, whose residence is the Danilov Monastery, serves as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Moscow Kremlin in the winter
The Moscow Kremlin in the winter.


The continental climate of Moscow can be quite clearly described as two seasons, summer and winter. Moscow's summer weather is surprisingly mild and appealing, while in the bitterly cold winter months, be prepared to bring plenty of warm clothes and hats. Autumn is quite cloudy and windy, with picturesque fall of the multicolored leaves on October and drizzling rain in November. The snowy winter weather in Moscow results in beautiful scenery, which can be quite simply breathtaking and offers many spectacular photo opportunities. Average temperature in winter is about -12C, average temperature in summer +22 C.

Moscow time is GMT+4.


Moscow is the main entry gateway of Russia. It possesses a complex transport system, that includes 3 international airports, 9 railroad terminals, and the world's second busiest (after Tokyo) metro system.

The common way of getting in to Moscow is air flight to Sheremetyevo or Domodedovo, sometimes to Vnukovo airports. They are the main points of arrival to Russia, serving about 75% of all tourists arriving in the country. Train express will take from any of these airports to the center of the city in about 30–40 minutes.

Most beautiful subway interior 1952 year
Most beautiful subway interior 1952 year.
Moscow's road system is centered roughly around the Kremlin at the heart of the city. From there, roads generally radiate outwards to intersect with a sequence of circular roads (“rings”). The first ring, Bulvarnoye Koltso (Boulevard Ring), is technically not a ring as it does not form a complete circle. It was built at the former location of the sixteenth century city wall. The second ring is the Sadovoye Koltso (Garden Ring). The third one is the Third Transport Ring which is a high-speed freeway as well as a 100 km long forth ring called MKAD (Moscow Automobile Ring Road ), which forms the approximate boundary of the city.

Moscow operates a strong system of a public transportation, including metro, trams, trolley-buses, buses and shuttle mini-buses. The traffic is rather hard, especially in the morning and in the evening. As the traffic situation leaves much to be desired, the easiest way to get from A to B is to use one of the 180 stations of Moscow metro. The first metro line was put into operation in 1935 and today Moscow metro is one of the most extensive underground railways in the world , with its 12 lines spreading for nearly 300 km. The Moscow Metro is not only a convenient public transport but also a phenomenal artistic decoration, awarded with Grand Prix at international exhibitions in Brussels and Paris. Stations were built as underground palaces, with sculptural compositions, marble columns, fanciful ornamental design, mosaic pictures and ceramics under the vaults.


General information

St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg.
Saint-Petersburg, the most European city in Russia, will celebrate its 310 anniversary in 2013. Founded in 1703 by Russian Emperor Peter the Great as a fortress, it soon became the capital of the Russian Empire. Since 1918 the capital of the state has been returned back to Moscow, but Saint-Petersburg has maintained the unofficial status of the second capital. Now it is the second largest Russian city with 4.7 mln inhabitants, the only city in the world with population over a million of people located so far in the North, a major sea and river port of Russia and a “window to Europe” as Peter the Great desired. Saint-Petersburg combines its fascinating Russian heritage with a distinctly European outlook. Russian Tzars invited the best architects, sculptors, painters, engineers from France, Italy, Netherlands, and Germany to make the new capital unique and most beautiful in whole Europe. Saint-Petersburg has the reputation of the cultural capital of Russia for its outstanding intellectual, architectural, historical and cultural heritage.

This is a city of the great Russian writers Alexander Pushkin, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Joseph Brodsky, composers Sergey Rachmaninoff, Sergey Prokofiev and Dmitry Shostakovich, home of world famous Mariinsky Theatre ballet troupe. The historical center of the city and related group of monuments were included in UNESCO World Heritage List. Saint-Petersburg is also called the City of White Nights due to the nature phenomenon of bright nights in the beginning of summer, when the sun practically never sets down and the twilight merges with the dawn, allowing people to enjoy the romantic walks across the picturesque city. Various festivals and celebrations happened during these sleepless White Nights.

Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood
Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood.
Saint-Petersburg has 86 canals and rivers with over 580 bridges crossing them, which gives a reason to call the city “A Northern Venice”. Like Venice, the city is divided up among numerous islands. There were about 150 islands at the beginning of the 19th century, their number has reduced to 42 today. The biggest river is the Neva which is 32 km long within the city limits. One should remember that 23 bridges are separated during the night. The longest one is the Alexander Nevsky Bridge (905,7 metres); the widest one is the Blue Bridge across the Moika River (97,3 metres). The Trinity Bridge, one of the most beautiful bridges crossing the Neva, was built in 1903 as a project of the French engineer Gustave Eiffel, an author of famous Eifel Tower in Paris.

The city changed its name three times. It was renamed into Petrograd in 1914 when the anti-German sentiments increased after the beginning of the First World War. In 1924 the name of the city was changed to Leningrad to commemorate the leader of the Bolshevik revolution Vladimir Lenin. After the Soviet Union has collapsed in 1991, the city of Leningrad got its initial name — Saint-Petersburg.


Saint-Petersburg lies in the temperate continental climatic zone with distinct moderating influence of the Baltic sea. Weather conditions are quite variable all year round, most days of the year are cloudy and gloomy. Weather is characterized with warm, humid and short summers (average daily temperature in July 22°C) and long, cold winters (the record low temperature is -35.9 C). The River Neva within the city limits usually freezes up in November-December, break-up occurs in April. The frost-free period in the city lasts on average for about 135 days. The city has a climate slightly warmer than its suburbs. The local time is the same as in Moscow (GMT +4).


St. Petersburg at night
St. Petersburg at night.
Saint-Petersburg is an important node linking Russia with Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Saint-Petersburg operates a complex transport system, including international airport Pulkovo, five railway terminals with international connections with Germany, Finland, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Baltic countries, and strong public transportation network that includes metro, trams, trolley-buses, buses and shuttle mini-buses. The trip from Saint-Petersburg to Helsinki lasts for about 5 hours. The railway connection between Moscow and Saint-Petersburg was opened in 1851. Now it takes from four and a half to nine hours to get from one capital to another. In 2009 a high speed train Sapsan was launched on the Moscow - Saint-Petersburg route, setting the record as a fastest train in Russia traveling at 290 km/h.

Ferry lines connect Saint-Petersburg with Sweden, Finland, Norway, Estonia. Bus terminal connects Saint-Petersburg with Helsinki, Tallinn and Riga.

Saint Petersburg metro is a very reliable way of transportation within the city as heavy traffic jams are common feature, especially in the downtown area. Metro was opened in 1955, now it has five lines with 63 stations, connecting all railway terminals, and carrying 3.4 million passengers daily. The stations are decorated in marble and bronze, however they are not as beautiful as Moscow ones.
© WRC2013 Organizing Team