Must-see attractions in Western Siberia

  • Tobolsk Kremlin and the Sophia-Assumption Cathedral, built in 1689.

    Kremlin

    Western Siberia

    The centrepiece of the tower-studded, white-walled, 18th-century kremlin is the glorious 1686 St Sofia Cathedral. Less eye-catching from the outside, but…

  • Trinity Cathedral in Tyumen, Russia

    Trinity Monastery

    Western Siberia

    Riverside Trinity Monastery is undoubtedly Tyumen’s most appealing architectural complex. Its kremlin-style crenellated outer wall is pierced by a single…

  • Deputy’s Palace Museum

    Western Siberia

    Tobolsk's best museum, and indeed one of the best museums in Siberia, occupies a beautiful 18th-century former administration on the southwestern edge of…

  • Regional Museum

    Altai

    Housed in a wonderfully dilapidated 1912 merchant’s house with original art nouveau fittings, this fine museum is home to standing stone idols,…

  • Geyser Lake

    Altai

    One of the more unusual sights along the Chusky Trakt is this sublime turquoise blue sulfur lake and geyser. This is no Yellowstone-style geyser erupting…

  • A.V. Anokhin National Museum of Altai

    Altai

    This well-put-together museum offers a good introduction to Altai culture with a range of ethnographic exhibits, wildlife displays and local art and…

  • Riverside Promenade

    Western Siberia

    Tyumen's sleek riverside promenade runs northwest from the centre almost all the way to Trinity Monastery. The promenade offers great views of the…

  • Altai Arts, Literature & Culture Museum

    Altai

    The impressively eclectic – not to mention good-value – Altai Arts, Literature & Culture Museum occupies a restored, furnished 1850s mansion. There are…

  • Minsalim Folk Art

    Western Siberia

    Minsalim is a master bone-carver who turns mammoth tusks and antler fragments into detailed figurines related to myths and legends of the local brand of…

  • War History Museum

    Altai

    In an old brick house, the War History Museum is simple and all in Russian but the moving understatement of its Afghanistan and Chechnya memorials is…

  • Gubernsky Museum

    Western Siberia

    Built in 1887 for the 300th anniversary of the founding of Tobolsk, the Gubernsky Museum has displays on the history of Tobolsk, a hugely impressive and…

  • St Sofia Cathedral

    Western Siberia

    The glorious gold- and blue-domed 1686 centrepiece of Tobolsk's kremlin is one of the most inspiring religious buildings in Western Siberia.

  • Varota Sartikpayev Gorge

    Altai

    The tourist action in Chemal revolves around this canyon near the confluence of the Katun and Chemal Rivers. Despite power lines and summer crowds, views…

  • Altaysky Tsentr

    Altai

    From the centre of town walk about 500m south along central ul Pchyolkina, past small Park Pobedy, then turn right toward the river at the signpost to…

  • Park Gagarina

    Western Siberia

    If you only have a couple of hours to kill, take a stroll though this oasis of green just north of the train station. It contains a bust of a jolly…

  • Kuznetsk Fortress

    Western Siberia

    The restored stone ramparts of the Kuznetsk Fortress are massive and topped with cannons, but represent only 20% of their 1810 extent. Kids ride ponies…

  • Fine Arts Museum

    Western Siberia

    The Art Museum displays a lot of fussy decorative arts but the rectilinear 1862 building is a historical curiosity in itself. It was built as the Siberian…

  • European Bison Farm

    Altai

    A herd of two dozen European bison live in a semiwild status as they range across the meadows and forests of this 'farm'. European bison were hunted to…

  • Korbu Waterfall

    Altai

    From June to September, there are many daily lake trips (R800 per person) to Korbu Waterfall. You have a choice between fast, noisy hydrofoils (four hours…

  • Ioanno Bogoslavski Chapel

    Altai

    On the northern edge of the Varota Sartikpayev Gorge, a wobbly footbridge leads across a stunning canyon to a craggy island in the Katun River on which is…

  • Fine Arts Museum

    Western Siberia

    The Fine Arts Museum has several rotating and permanent exhibits ranging from ornate window frames saved from the city’s old wooden houses to tiny,…

  • Selskhoz Academy

    Western Siberia

    The blue Selskhoz Academy is a brick mansion that was originally a school museum. Its biggest claim to fame is being the hiding spot for Lenin during WWII…

  • FSB Headquarters

    Altai

    The city’s Federal Security Services (FSB) headquarters is worth a peek. The bearded dude in the courtyard is Felix Dzerzhinsky, Cheka (KGB and FSB…

  • Castle Prison Museum

    Western Siberia

    At the eerie 1855 Tyuremny Zamok you can get a sense of the grim life behind bars in both Tsarist and Soviet times. The Tsarist exiles were temporarily…

  • City Park

    Western Siberia

    Take a stroll in the City Park (Svetnoi Bulvar) with all the students, new mums and roller skaters. If you get peckish, grab a snack from one of the many…

  • Assumption Cathedral

    Western Siberia

    The massive Assumption Cathedral was rebuilt after the collapse of the USSR. The Lenin statue that stood nearby was removed in the 2000s – rumour has it a…

  • Archangel Mikhail Church

    Western Siberia

    The attractive Archangel Mikhail Church has a colourfully restored interior. The character of Tatiana Larina in Pushkin’s epic Eugene Onegin is said to…

  • Civil War Monument

    Western Siberia

    To the right of Selskhoz Academy (Сельсхоз Академия), this monument is dedicated to locals who died during battles against the Western-backed White Army…

  • Pryamskoy Vzvoz

    Western Siberia

    Wooden stairs lead beneath the kremlin’s Pryamskoy Vzvoz (gatehouse) to the wonderfully dilapidated old town full of weather-beaten churches and angled…

  • War Memorial

    Altai

    Near the train station in pl Pobedy, the War Memorial consists of a statue of a grieving mother with her lost son, an eternal flame and a very long list…

  • Znamensky Cathedral

    Western Siberia

    With its voluptuously curved baroque towers, the 1786 Znamensky Cathedral is the most memorable of a dozen ‘old’ churches that have recently come back to…

  • Regional Museum

    Altai

    Founded in 1823, the reasonably interesting Regional Museum is Siberia’s oldest. Top exhibits include intriguing models of various 18th-century industrial…

  • Former Soviet Builders Club

    Western Siberia

    Guarded by two statues of Soviet workers, wielding a hammer and a plasterer’s board, the one-time cement workers’ club is now used as a cultural centre.

  • Intercession Cathedral

    Western Siberia

    Less eye-catching from the outside than neighbouring St Sofia's Cathedral, but with splendid arched ceiling murals, is this 1746 church.

  • WWII Monument

    Western Siberia

    This unusual WWII monument features a Soviet woman piercing the heart of a winged reptilian creature. The embodiment of evil, we assume.

  • Transfiguration Cathedral

    Western Siberia

    Dating from 1792, this large and elegant cathedral sits below the fortress and is worth a peak for its impressive icons and frescos.

  • Pokrovsky Church

    Altai

    This bulbous-domed brick building is the most appealing of the city’s many churches and has a fine, gilded interior.

  • Svyato-Makarevsky Church

    Altai

    Completed in 2006, this attractive wooden church boasts a wonderfully photographic backdrop of rolling lush hills.

  • Drama Theatre

    Western Siberia

    The ornate Drama Theatre was built in the early 20th century and is one of Omsk's most attractive buildings.