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Museum of the Defense and Siege of Leningrad

Located in St Petersburg, the State Memorial Museum of the Defense and Siege of Leningrad commemorates the blockade of the city, then known as Leningrad, which took place from 8 September 1941 to 27 January 1944. This 872-day siege of the city by joint German, Italian and Finnish forces has been recorded as one of the longest sieges in history. It was also one of the most destructive, resulting in huge numbers of casualties, with Russian losses recorded as one million Red Army soldiers being killed, captured or missing; almost 2.5 million soldiers wounded or ill; and civilian deaths being estimated at more than a million.


The Majestic Mariinsky Theater in St Petersburg

Dedicated to promoting opera and ballet in the Russian city of St Petersburg, the majestic Mariinsky Theater opened in 1860 and soon became the venue of choice for theater performances in the late 19th century. Named in honor of the wife of Tsar Alexander II, Empress Maria Alexandrovna, the theater is home to the Mariinsky Orchestra, the Mariinsky Opera and the Mariinsky Ballet, under the direction of Russian conductor and opera company director Valery Gergiev.


Ivan Bunin – Russia's First Nobel Laureate for Literature

Earning his place in history as the first Russian writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin (1870-1953) was acclaimed among his peers for his ability to remain true to the literary tradition of the time, while being innovative in artistic expression and clarity. At the turn of the century, liberal Russian magazine, Vestnik Evropy noted that Bunin had no rivals among Russian poets when it came to artistic precision, calling him a true 'artist' with poetic language. Although the Nobel Prize in Literature was presented to Ivan Bunin in 1933 for his book The Life of Arseniev, it is widely agreed that this autobiographical novel is a small sample of this Russian writer's literary genius.


Kemerovo – Commercial Hub of the Kuznetsk Basin

With a population of more than half a million people, the city of Kemerovo is the administrative center of Russia's Kemerovo Oblast in Western Siberia. Located at the confluence of the Tom and Iskitim Rivers northeast of Novosibirsk, Kemerovo is primarily an industrial city, and serves as the business and commercial center of the Kuznetsk Basin – one of the world's largest coal mining areas. Serviced by a branch of the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Kemerovo International Airport, the city is easy to access both for business and leisure.


Explore the Labyrinths of Bolshoi Zyatsky Island

As one of the six Solovetsky Islands located in Russia's White Sea, Bolshoi Zayatsky Island features a series of ancient stone labyrinths that are interesting to explore. Labyrinths are considered to be important archaeological monuments, with more than 300 examples found in various locations around the world. The fourteen stone labyrinths on Bolshoi Zayatsky are particularly well preserved and have been documented and speculated about, without any definite conclusions being reached - and so their purpose remains a mystery.


Orenburg – Center for Culture, Education and History

Located on the banks of the Ural River, close to the border of neighboring Kazakhstan, the Russian city of Orenburg is the administrative center of the Orenburg Oblast. The city was established in 1743 by Russian diplomat and administrator Ivan Ivanovich Neplyuyev, who had a prominent position in the service of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. A statue honoring the founder of the city is one of the attractions of Orenburg, along with a number of museums and the picturesque boulevard overlooking the Ural River.


Russia's Laptev Sea

Named in honor of Russian explorers Khariton Laptev and Dmitry Laptev, the Laptev Sea is located between the Taimyr Peninsula, Severnaya Zemlya, the northern coast of Siberia and the New Siberian Islands, with the Arctic Ocean to the north. Known for their Arctic exploration, these two cousins mapped the coastline of the Laptev Sea between 1735 and 1740 – a time when intrepid adventurers explored new territories without the aid of modern navigational tools.


Peredvizhniki – Bringing Art to the People

In an effort to break away from the restrictions imposed by Russia's Imperial Academy of Arts, in 1863 a group of fourteen art students decided to leave the Academy and form a society to independently promote art to ordinary people. Named Peredvizhniki, this society and group of artists were also referred to as The Itinerants or The Wanderers, and by 1870 the movement became the Society for Travelling Art Exhibitions, giving people far from the main cities of Russia the opportunity to view Russian art and learn to appreciate it. Between 1871 and 1923, Peredvizhniki staged up to 48 mobile exhibitions in the cities of Moscow and St Petersburg before taking the show on the road and visiting numerous other destinations including Kiev, Kazan, Kharkov, Riga, Oryol and Odessa.

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