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The most famous places of interest in Russia.

Our country is vast and beautiful. Moscow, Saint Petersburg can boast of magnificent cathedrals, churches, old mansions. But I live in the Urals. The Urals land has left its trace in the history of Russia as the land of metalworkers and craftsman.

The Urals' crown carries a rich decoration of gems, "the colourful eyes of the earth". Almost all the elements from the Mendeleev's table can be found in the Urals Mountains.

Turinsk, Verkhoturie, Nevyansk, Irbit are known for their rich historical past. In the old days, Turinsk had a grim reputation of the place of exile for the Decembrists. There is an interesting museum there and several historic places, connected with their life and fate.

Irbit, on the contrary, was famous for its colourful fairs, which stood second to the Nizhny-Novgorod fairs. Great fur auctions were held at the junction of Europe and Asia.

Verkhoturie is known as the father of all Urals towns - today only an ancient citadel, the former seat of the voevoda, and several churches, the remarkable monuments of Russian architecture, have been left from those distant times.

I was on an excursion in Nevyansk last year. Nevyansk was the centre of the vast Demidov's empire. The Nevyansk Watch-tower, a sister of the Falling tower in Pisa, is still standing. Such places are worth visiting, indeed.

And why not to visit Ekaterinburg, my native city? Its foundation is associated with the names of Peter the First, Vasiliy Tatishev and general de Gennin. Tatishev, an artillery captain and a statesman, was sent to the Urals in 1720 to construct a fortress-town, to unite the Urals industrial enterprises round it and to built some new ones.

The monument to Tatishev and de Gennin does attract attention, but I think it looks a bit clumsy and out of place on the embankment. The Historical Square is the city's cradle - there it had been started with its old dam and the Mint and the Mechanical works. The lamps on the embankment are the exact copies of the street lamps that once lit the streets of Ekaterinburg. By the way, this is my favorite spot in Ekaterinburg.

? What about Moscow?

Moscow was founded 8 centuries ago by Prince Yuri Dolgoruky. Historians have accepted the year of 1147 as the start of Moscow's history. In the 16th century under Ivan the Terrible Moscow became the capital of the new united state.

Moscow is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The heart of Moscow, Red Square, still attracts lots of visitors. On the territory of the Kremlin you can see old cathedrals, the Bell Tower of Ivan the Great, the Palace of Congress, the Tzar-Cannon and the Tzar-Bell, the biggest cannon and bell in the world. St. Basil's cathedral was built in the mid-16th century in memory of the victory over Kazan. There is a legend that Ivan the Terrible blinded the architects Barma and Postnik, because he didn't want them to create another masterpiece.

Moscow is famous for its theatres. The best-known of them is the Bolshoy Opera House. Drama theatres and studious are also very popular. I wish I could go there after the exams to see some good performances. Besides, I'd like to visit the State Tretyakov Gallery after its restoration. Such are my plans.

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