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Location - Eastern Europe/North Asia; Capital - Moscow; Population - 143 million; Currency - Russian Rouble MORE RUSSIA

Yekaterinburg is only a few kilometres inside Asia and also marks the beginning (or end) of Siberia - February 2011.


russianote150 Russian Roubles











russia270After the Romanov family - including Tsar Nicholas II - were murdered in Yekaterinburg in 1918, their bodies were taken 16km north east to Ganina Yama



russia272The site is home to several monasteries (by the way, it was -31°C when I took these photos) - Ganina Yama $600 Bonus


russia277The viewing platform that overlooks the mineshaft in which the bodies were dumped - Ganina Yama












russia271The Monastery of the Holy Martyrs has been built at Ganina Yama to honour the Romanovs













russia283Only 17km from Yekaterinburg is the Europe/Asia border, marked by this monument right next to a dual carriageway



russia286Behind the Europe/Asia monument is a small section of forest



russia287I didn't quite get why these empty wine bottles were 'stored' in a fence - Europe/Asia border














russia280 The view of Yekaterinburg train station from my hotel room















russia342This is another Europe/Asia monument, next to the Trans-Siberian railway 40km west of Yekaterinburg



russia343More wooden houses on the 40hr train ride from Yekaterinburg to St Petersburg


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russia347Again I arrived at a Russian city at a silly time, and was out on the streets of St Petersburg (Nevsky Prospekt) before dawn














russia346Nevsky Prospekt is the main shopping street, and home to several churches and the Kazan Cathedral - St Petersburg













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russia348Also on Nevsky Prospekt is a statue of former empress of Russia Catherine the Great - St Petersburg


russia352Walking down a tree-lined avenue in Admiralty Gardens - St Petersburg




russia353Walking through Admiralty Gardens brings you to Decembrists' Square and a statue of legendary Peter the Great - St Petersburg














russia350The Admiralty is, surprise suprise, next to the Admiralty Gardens - St Petersburg















russia355Cross the road from the Admiralty to visit the Winter Palace of the Tsars, which houses the State Hermitage Museum - St Petersburg



russia357The Winter Palace looks out on to Dvortsovaya Ploshchad - St Petersburg



russia359The extremely grand Winter Palace, former home to the Russian royal family, contains one of the world's finest art collections - St Petersburg














russia367In the centre of Dvortsovaya Ploshchad is the Alexander Column, named after Emperor Alexander I, ruler of Russia in the early 19th century - St Petersburg


















russia362I slipped my way over an icy Dvortsovaya Ploshchad to the Winter Palace entrance - St Petersburg



russia372The Jordan Staircase greets visitors to the State Hermitage Museum - St Petersburg



russia387 Wander through room after room of opulence in the Hermitage - St Petersburg














russia388The Hermitage exhibits paintings by Picasso, Gaugin, Matisse, Renoir, Monet, Rembrandt etc.
This is a van Gogh, part of the controversial 'trophy art' collection appropriated from Nazi Germany after WWII - St Petersburg













russia371From the Hermitage there's some good views of Dvortsovaya Ploshchad, Alexander Column and the semi-circular General Staff Building - St Petersburg



russia391The former Mikhailovsky Palace now houses the Russian Museum, which contains Russian art - St Petersburg



russia392Frozen into the Neva River - St Petersburg















russia393As far as I know Peter the Great's log cabin is inside this building.
The cabin was built in 1703 to enable Peter to keep an eye on the construction of the nearby Peter & Paul Fortress - St Petersburg













russia396Across the Neva River to the Peter & Paul Fortress - St Petersburg



russia400Within the grounds of the Peter & Paul Fortress is the SS Peter & Paul Cathedral - St Petersburg



russia408The cathedral is the resting place of the Romanov monarchs, including the murdered Tsar Nicholas II and his family (pictured - see previous Yekaterinburg and Ganina Yama photos for explanation) - St Petersburg













russia410The tombs of Catherine the Great and Peter the Great at the SS Peter & Paul Cathedral - St Petersburg














russia414The 'secret passage' at the Peter & Paul Fortress - St Petersburg



russia419The Peter & Paul Fortress was originally built in 1703 as a defence against the Swedish, but it's main use up to the 1917 Russian Revolution was as a political prison. Bolshevik revolutionary Leon Trotsky was confined to this prison cell in 1906 - St Petersburg



russia423And Lenin's brother Aleksandr Ulyanov was imprisoned here in 1887. He was hanged on 8 May 1887 - St Petersburg














russia424 Outside the Peter & Paul Fortress is the Decembrists' Monument, built on the spot where 5 leaders of the Decembrist revolt were executed in 1826 - St Petersburg

















russia425I think this ship hosts conferences and/or parties - St Petersburg



russia429On the eastern point of Vasilevsky Island are two Rostral Columns, used as navigational aids in the 1800s - St Petersburg



russia431It looks like an icebreaker has forged its way up the Neva River - St Petersburg














russia434Looking very similar to St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood is beautiful at night - St Petersburg














russia440On my way to visit Yusupov Palace - St Petersburg



russia439But damn it was closed for renovation. Yusupov Palace was the place where 'mad monk' Rasputin was poisoned in 1916 - St Petersburg



russia441The majestic golden-domed St Isaac's Cathedral - St Petersburg















russia444Climb the 262 steps of St Isaac's Cathedral and check out the city - St Petersburg














russia446The golden spire of SS Peter & Paul Cathedral is visible from the cathedral - St Petersburg



russia450You can also get a good look at the Winter Palace and Alexander Column - St Petersburg



russia453A distant Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood - St Petersburg















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