A couple of years ago Russia organized contest to select the seven wonders of Russia. Everyone could take part in this poll, by offering and voting for Russia's most beautiful destinations. Here are the winners of this contest:
1. The Baikal Lake in Irkutsk Oblast. This is truly a natural wonder that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world (1,637 meters), world's oldest lake (25 million years) the largest fresh water supply (holding as much as 20% of world's supply). Over 1,000 species of plants and 1,500 species of animals live in this area, and 85% of them can be found only here.
2. Valley of Geysers in Kamchatka Krai. This is the only geyser field in Eurasia and the second largest in the world. It is about 6 km long and contains over ninety geysers and hot springs. This valley has also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This breathtaking place is certainly worth visiting, but the problem is that it's very difficult to reach, being only accessible by helicopters.
3. The Motherland Calls monument and Mamayev Kurgan in Volgograd Oblast. This place is very significant for Russian people: one of the severest battles of the World War II was held here, and Soviet soldiers held this strategic point heroically and combated German forces. Now, this is a hill overlooking the city of Volgograd with the Motherland Calls monument on top. When the monument was erected in 1967, it was the tallest sculpture in the world.
4. The Peterhof Palace in Saint Petersburg. Peterhof is a series of palaces and parks built by the orders of Peter the Great. It is often referred to as "the Russian Versalles" or "the capital of fountains" containing 180 fountains. This cultural masterpiece is also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5. Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow. This is certainly the most beautiful cathedral in Russia located in the heart of Moscow, on the Red Square. It was built during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, and the legend says that the king blinded the architect so he couldn't recreate this masterpiece elsewhere.
6. Poles of the Komi Republic. This is a set of seven gigantic oddly shaped rock formations of about 40 meters high. This site is not famous on international level, but it is popular among Russian tourists.
7. Mount Elbrus. This is an inactive volcano, the highest point in Russia and some authorities believe that the highest point in all of Europe. Every year, it attracts crowds of skiers, snowboarders, nature lovers and tourists from all over the world.
8. Lomonosov Moscow State University - the biggest and largest Russian university located on the Sparrow Hills.
9. Sparrow Hills - a park on the bank of the Moskva River. It's one of the highest points in Moscow that gives a spectacular panorama of the city.
10. The Kremlin - a historic fortified complex located in the center of Moscow, the official residence of the President of Russia.