ahmed_aly's blog

By ahmed_aly, 7 years ago, In English,

Hi everyone,

I'm attending the ACM ICPC world finals 2013 in Saint Petersburg, and we are planning to stay for more days after the contest, but we don't have any plans yet. Can you please suggest interesting things/places to do/visit in Russia? Not necessary in Saint Petersburg, we might go to Moscow for example.

Thanks in advance, Ahmed Aly

 
 
 
 
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7 years ago, # |
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You must see Peterhof.

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7 years ago, # |
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Russia is big, how much days you have? If near week, you can see, for example, "Golden ring" of Russia — old cities of Russia, our historical center. City of Kazan is interesting place — the city where Muslim's traditions and Christian are together, there is many musques near cathedrals. Of cource if you've never been in our country, Moscow can be interesting for you. Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral. If you have another time and want to travel, you can discover our nature — Baikal, Kamchatka. You can see in Russia whatever you want/

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    7 years ago, # ^ |
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    Plus that time Kazan is hosting 2013 Summer Universiade:)

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    7 years ago, # ^ |
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    Thanks! I think I'll stay just 3 or 4 days after the contest because I have to leave before Ramadan, so I don't want to waste a complete day in transportation, I want something to be few hours by train from Saint Petersburg.

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      7 years ago, # ^ |
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      I think that optimal for you to stay a few days in St.Petersburg to explore the city and towns near Peterburg(like Peterhof) and after that travel to Moscow by train called "Sapsan"(it's high-speed train, it travel time near 4 hours). Shedule you can watch here

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7 years ago, # |
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Veliky Novgorod is awesome place not so far from Petersburg(~3-4 hours)

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    7 years ago, # ^ |
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    It is mostly awesome for people deeply interested in Russian history and Russian culture — perhaps for me or for you. Not the best idea to endure travel here for newcomer to Russia I think. :)

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I suppose you have three great fields to explore — streets and places of St-Petersburg itself, museums and other cities and towns.

Let us see. It looks that you'll be here in summer, so if the weather is nice and you do not mind a little walking around you may have a nice time strolling around a bit. Surely city is large and you'd better limit these only to "historical center". I propose there are several good routes:

  • from Isaakiy Cathedral (which you could climb to look around), round (or through!) Petropavlovskaya Fortress (which mostly served as prison rather as fortress — there are a lot of expositions now), near Museum of Artillery (where you will take good pictures of yourself sitting on the top of tanks, guns and other military vehicles), past the main Mosque and via Troitsky Bridge to the Field of Mars (here is the statue of our most worshiped field-marshal Suvorov and Eternal Flame — and here is the Summer Garden — notable place too (map);

  • down the Nevskiy Prospekt from the Vosstania Square or even from Alexander Nevsky Square — to the Palace Square (Dvortsovaya) where Winter Palace and Main Headquarters are (map);

  • or just have a random walk over districts of Vasilievsky Island or Petrogradskaya Side (two largest isles on the right) — they are old enough to have a fun seeing them, but I recommend you to hire or buy skates o bicycle of course :)

  • you also can have a trip by boat "by the rivers and channels" — you will see advertisers on any bridge which you will cross walking by Nevskiy — however this may be both funny and somewhat boring (but much easier than walking).

About museums.

You will be surely brought to Hermitage — main St-Pete's museum, dedicated to foreign culture and residing in a Winter Palace (yes, our monarchs lived here since XVIII century). There are a lots of paintings of European artists, there are samples of kitchenware from all around the world and from ancient times, there is Hall of Chivalry (yes, swords, armors and stuffed horses with stuffed riders) and you may find even the Halls of Rome, Greece and Ancient Egypt (ok, they brought here one of priests mummy from there, I believe).

However I doubt you can see whole Hermitage at once. And if you have no inclination to paintings — it will not enjoy you greatly. There is also Russian Museum (you can guess, here are paintings of Russian artists) — avoid it if you have no special interest in this field of culture.

I mentioned Museum of Artillery and Petropavlovskaya Fortress. They are funny just for wandering around. For amusement here are also Museum of Zoology (especially cool for children's — here are skeleton of great blue whale, excavated mammoth and other funny beasts). There is also "Kunstkamera" — museum of antropology. You can see here skeletons of Siam Twins, teeth extracted by Peter the Great (founder of St-Pete's) during his medical studies and a lots of other funny but somewhat horrible things. :) Isaakiy Cathedral is a place itself — it have round balcony which is higher than any building in historical center so you can climb here if a weather is good to have good shots. Close to it there is my favorite Museum of Communications — exposing things about postal service, telegraph, radio, television etc. Here are several interactive things though surely it is most interesting for people who likes history of technology in this field.

About other cities. You've been advised to visit Peterhof. Here are fountains and some museums also. However these fountains are not quite outstanding by measures of XXI century — but it is quite good for walking around. Be sure to bring your wife with you — girls love this place! If you have time to travel some 150 kilometers by electric train — visit Vyborg — the city greatly influenced by Sweden/Finland (captured by us from them and sometimes by them from us) — it looks quite unlike St-Pete's (I have no good photo to explain — it is more resembling medieval Europe than our city).

However, it is not easy to visit many other cities in a short trip. I can recommend you better (If you like Russia after your visit and have some money) order the water trip for the next summer by Volgo-Balt from Saint-Petersburg to Samara, or even to Astrakhan. It is kind of lazy travelling in a vessel resembling three or four stars hotel, with excursions in lot of towns and places. You will see Valaam (islands which are heart of Russian Orthodox Church) and perhaps Konevetz Monastery, Kizhy (with largest wooden chapel in Europe I think) and then a lot of well-known Russian cities — Kazan (with its history of glorious Tartar tradition etc.), Samara (that's where Codeforces come from), Nizhniy Novgorod, perhaps Yaroslavl and Kostroma (big cities by Russian measures — with populations about million each). This may take about 10 days or two weeks however.

Anyway I hope you will have fun during your visit! And surely we will be glad knowing you have this fun :)

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    7 years ago, # ^ |
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    ---Samara (that's where Codeforces come from)---

    Codeforces from Saratov. On the Volga River to, but Samara and Saratov are different cities.

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7 years ago, # |
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Please consider visiting Grand Maket in St Petersburg. It won't take much time but you'll be amazed at the amount of work done there. If the translation's unclear, it's a giant model of various parts of Russia, representing the culture, industry and peoples throughout the country.

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    7 years ago, # ^ |
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    Won't take much time? It's really grand. It took for me four-five hours to explore almost all of it with audioguide.

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      7 years ago, # ^ |
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      You're right, I meant a visitor can choose himself the amount of time s/he's willing to spend there, not like the Hermitage Museum where you're kind of obligated to reserve several hours just to be able to walk around

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Be sure to look at the ruins of the fall of the meteorite.

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Thanks everyone! I'm very excited to visit Russia, looks like I'm gonna have lots of fun.

I'll make sure to take some photos and share them here.

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We definitely recommend you one of additional ICPC excursions that you can find on our web site: http://icpc2013.ru/participants/excursions.xml

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7 years ago, # |
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Russia is a beautiful country & all the places is good to visit.