- Silver ring of Russia: around northern Venice
- Silver necklace of Russia: all the diversity of the Russian north
Circular tourist routes are popular all over the world: they connect the main attractions of cities and regions by roads, and allow you to see the most interesting things in a short time. The Golden Ring of Russia route has been known since Soviet times: in the 1960s, journalist Yuri Bychkov invented it, was the first to travel along this route and wrote a series of articles. After him, tourists began to carry around the Golden Ring.
The routes "Silver Ring of Russia" and "Silver Necklace of Russia" appeared already in the 21st century. Many people confuse them, because at some points the routes coincide, but they are not the same thing.
Silver ring of Russia: around northern Venice
The Silver Ring is a tourist route around the northern capital (St. Petersburg), passing north and northwest of the Golden Ring. The silver ring unites the lands of the ancient Novgorod and Pskov lands. From major cities, this route includes:
- St. Petersburg
- Velikiy Novgorod
In addition to them, the Silver Ring connects such settlements as Vyshny Volochek, Ostrov, Gatchina, Izborsk, Valdai, Staraya Ladoga, Pudozh, Tikhvin and other cities and villages where ancient monuments and witnesses of the events of Russian history have been preserved. On this route, tourists will come across many ancient churches and monasteries, defenses from eternal enemies: Swedes and Livonians.
On the trajectory of the Silver Ring are 3 famous Russian Kremlin:
- Novgorod Kremlin (Detinets)
- Pskov Krom
- Vologda Kremlin (Bishops' court).
The Old Russian Kremlin is a fortress inside the city with stone walls, towers, loopholes. During the unfolding of military events, most of the population could hide behind the Kremlin walls. In peacetime, inside the Kremlin there were representatives of state and church authorities (or the rulers themselves), courts and prisons.
In the village of Staraya Ladoga there is the Staraya Ladoga fortress of the 12th century. In Tikhvin - the Tikhvin Assumption Monastery of the 16th century, built by order of Ivan the Terrible.
The Tikhvin Assumption Cathedral houses an ancient miraculous icon of the Tikhvin Mother of God, one of the most revered images in the Orthodox tradition. Exported during the Great Patriotic War, the icon of the Mother of God was kept for a long time in America, in the Orthodox Church. After the revival of the monastery in the late 90s of the XX century, the icon returned to the monastery. This is the very image that Vasily III came to bow to, to ask for the birth of an heir. After that, Ivan Vasilyevich, the future Tsar Ivan the Terrible, was born.
Izborsk is a village in the Pskov region, in the distant past, the ancient Slavic city of Krivichi, known from chronicles since the 9th century. Here you can see the Izborsk fortress of the XII century with the Nikolsky Cathedral of the XIV century, ancient crosses made of solid stone in the old cemetery near the walls of the fortress.
Silver necklace of Russia: all the diversity of the Russian north
The treasures of the Russian north are not limited to the sights of the 4 northwestern regions. The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Federal Agency for Tourism have set the task of developing a new route that can connect the northern pearls of Russian culture and show the national diversity of the cultures of northern peoples.
After the conference in 2015, 13 destinations for tourists with different interests were developed under the general name "Silver Necklace of Russia":
- "Silver Necklace of Russia"
- "The Great Road in the Russian North"
- "Petrovsky cities"
- "Journey to Ancient Russia"
- "In the footsteps of the Vikings"
- "Outposts of Russia"
- "In holy places"
- "Living water of the North-West of Russia"
- "Northern ports of Russia"
- "Wooden architecture"
- "Tree of Life" (ancient Velsian settlements)
- "Indigenous peoples of the Silver Necklace of Russia"
- "Ghost towns of the North".
Actually, the Silver Necklace of Russia itself looks like a journey from Kaliningrad to St. Petersburg, including a fragment of the Silver Ring: St. Petersburg - Pskov - Veliky Novgorod - Vologda. However, this route also includes cities such as Syktyvkar, Naryan-Mar, Arkhangelsk, Murmansk, Petrozavodsk.
A traveler on this route will see the originality and contrasts of the Russian North. Petrozavodsk will surprise you with stories about indigenous peoples - Karelians and Vels, the unique beauty of Lake Onega and the emerald Karelian forests. The stunning northern nature plays an independent role on this route, attracting a large number of tourists. The main task of the Silver Necklace is to show the corners of Russian nature without harming them.
Arkhangelsk is a land of severe Pomors on the Northern Dvina, which flows into the White Sea. There are many well-preserved buildings of the 18th - early 20th centuries in the city center. The Ethnographic Museum "Malye Korely" has collected samples of northern wooden architecture in the open air. Novodvinsk fortress, numerous northern temples will not leave visitors indifferent.
Naryan-Mar is a destination for those who admire the north and dream of visiting the Arctic Circle. The only city in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug on the legendary northern river Pechora, 2 hours drive from the Barents Sea. In the 15th century on Pechora, in places of trade with local tribes, the city of Pustozersk arose: the name of the historical, cultural and landscape reserve reminds of this.
The Nenets Museum of Local Lore will tell about the customs and culture of the local people - the Nenets. In Arkhangelsk, a community of Old Believers was formed and developed - the Old Orthodox Pomor Church, and the Holy Kazan Church is their spiritual center.
Murmansk is also located in the Arctic Circle - it is an ice-free seaport in the Barents Sea. Built in 1916 by Romanov-on-Murman, since 1917 Murmansk cannot boast of ancient monuments, but its sights, and especially views, are worthy of a traveler's attention.
Syktyvkar, the center of the autonomous republic of Komi, was founded in the 18th century by the decree of Catherine II. Lovers of architecture will like St. Stephen's Cathedral of the 19th century, built under the patronage of Nicholas I, and a temple of a completely different kind - the Church of Christ the Savior of Christian Baptists at the end of the 20th century. Tourists will also like the modern monument to the letter "Ӧ" from the Komi alphabet.
The developers of the other routes of the "necklace" tried to take into account the interests of different groups of travelers. There are water routes: "Living Water of the North-West of Russia" - 4 water routes along the large and small rivers of Russia:
- Moscow - Veliky Novgorod
- Saint Petersburg - Solovetsky Islands
- Arkhangelsk - Varzuga (Pomor settlements of the White Sea)
- Yaretsk - Pym-Va-Shor (hot springs).
For believers and those interested in Orthodox history, there are 2 routes "To the Holy Places" have been developed: St. Petersburg - Solovetsky Islands and St. Petersburg - Veliky Ustyug. A large number of temples, including wooden ones, await tourists on this route. The designers of the route took into account not only the peculiarities of the architecture of the objects, but also the religious shrines that are kept in the temples.
There is also an exotic route for those who like to visit such places as the Chernobyl zone: "Ghost towns of the North" (Korzunovo, Charonda, Khalmer-Yu, Amderma).
The Russian north is large and diverse. There are many places here for studying Russian wooden architecture, getting to know the northern ports, with the cultures of local peoples. Fans of outdoor activities can go by the Varangians, history connoisseurs - to travel to places associated with the events of Ancient Rus or with the activities of Peter I. Work on the routes of the Northern Necklace is not finished: the list of settlements can be changed and specified, but you can go along the Silver Necklace today ... For those who do not want to travel on their own, there are travel agencies that are ready to guide a tourist along one of the routes today.