Russia is the world’s largest country and the only one to span two continents, Europe and Asia. Although once known for its scientific expertise, 21st century Russia is suffering from the effects of decades of isolation, corruption and war. According to the 2014 Heritage Index of Economic Freedom, Russia ranks 41 out of 43 countries in the European region in economic freedom, this ranking hasn’t improved measurably in 20 years.
Despite Russia’s shaky economy and uncertain political climate, the country remains rich in history, and its architecture is unrivaled anywhere in the world. Despite losing many of its treasured buildings to conflict and decay, the country still contains more than 40,000 officially recorded historic sites.
A commonly known landmark is the Kremlin, located in the capital city of Moscow in Red Square. Situated in stark juxtaposition to the Lenin Mausoleum, it represents one of the most sprawling and beautiful examples of 15th century religious architecture anywhere on Earth. The Intercession Cathedral, once called the Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed, was erected between 1555 and 1561, and its fanciful colored domes and minarets are some of the most recognizable features of the Kremlin’s architectural delights. The Kremlin cathedrals house many of the country’s greatest treasures, including priceless frescoes and icons by Andrei Rublev and Feofan Grek. For this reason alone, the Kremlin stands as one of Russia’s most famous accomplishments.