Daily service to
Moscow can be found fom all major European capitals,
as well as Hong Kong and other Asian cities.
St. Petersburg can be reached via daily flights from many European
Among the airlines
with regular flights are Aeroflot, Air China, Air France, Air India,
Alaska Airlines, Alitalia, ANA, Balkan, British Airways, CSA, Delta,
Finnair, JAL, KLM, Korean Air, Lufthansa, LOT Polish, Malev, PIA,
Sabena, SAS, Swissair, THY and Transaero. There are also charter
service available from most major cities in Europe and North America
can be reached by air from Moscow or by less frequent flights from
Frankfurt, (Germany) Niigata, or Osaka (Japan), Shenyang and
Shanghai (China), Pyongyang (North Korea), and Manila, Seoul, or
Major gateways to
European Russia are
Warsaw, Prague and Budapest.
Other trains run
from Amsterdam, Athens, Berlin, Brussels, Bucharest, Frankfort,
Paris, Riga, Talinn, Helsinki, Venice, Vilnius, and Warsaw to
Moscow, or from Berlin and Brussels to St. Petersburg.
To Siberia, be
sure to experience the Trans-Siberian Railway which runs in either
direction between European and Asian Russia.
Bus service can be
found from Talinn
Helsinki Finland, and from Kirkenes Norway way above the Arctic
Circle to Murmansk.
those who travel for the pleasure of the journey, those who believe
that getting there is as much fun as being there, Russia's
Trans-Siberian Railway has long been an almost mythic experience. It
is the longest continuous rail line on earth, each run clattering
along in an epic journey of almost six thousand miles (or about ten
thousand kilometers) over one third of the globe. For most of its
history, the Trans-Siberian journey has been an experience of almost
continuous movement, seven days or more of unabated train travel
through the vast expanse of Russia. A great part of the pleasure of
such a trip is simply sitting back and watching the land go by.
However, most travelers on the Trans-Siberian find that interaction
with other passengers, both Russians and tourists, is what makes the
trip an unforgettable experience. Today, with far fewer travel
restrictions, it is possible to use the rail journey as the core of
a more varied tour. Travelers can enjoy stopovers in many of the
Russian cities and towns along the route, from the historic Volga
port of Yaroslavl to Irkutsk and the scenic Lake Baikal region.
and Western Extensions
Travel along the
Trans-Siberian Railway is usually undertaken from west to east,
though it is quite possible to go in the opposite direction.
Moreover, a number of choices of route are available, as are
extensions of the journey on either end.
The usual route
taken by travellers is the Trans-Siberian line, which runs from
Moscow to Vladivostok, passing through Yaroslavl on the Volga,
Exaterinburg in the Urals, Irkutsk near Lake Baikal's southern
extremity, and then Khabarovsk. From Vladivostok it is possible to
continue by ferry to
Niigata on the west coast of
A second primary
route is the Trans-Manchurian line, which coincides with the
Trans-Siberian as far as Tarskaya, a few hundred miles east of
Baikal. From Tarskaya the Trans-Manchurian heads southeast into
China and makes its way down to Beijing.
The third primary
route is the Trans-Mongolian line, which coincides with the
Trans-Siberian as far as the Buddhist enclave of Ulan Ude on
Baikal's eastern shore. From Ulan-Ude the Trans- Mongolian heads
south to Ulaan-Baatar before making its way southeast to Beijing.
In 1984, a fourth
route running further to the north was finally completed, after more
than five decades of sporadic work. Known as the Baikal Amur
Mainline, this recent extension departs from the Trans-Siberian line
several hundred miles west of Lake Baikal and passes the lake at its
northernmost extremity. It reaches the Pacific to the northeast of
Khabarovsk, at Imperatorskaya Gavan. While this route provides
access to Baikal's stunning northern coast, it also passes through
some pretty forbidding terrain.
To the west,
connections are available through
to Berlin (and from there to Paris), to Budapest, and to St.
Petersburg (and from there to Helsinki).
of the Railway
Russia's longstanding desire for a Pacific port was
realized with the foundation of
1860. By 1880, Vladivostok had grown into a major port city, and the
lack of adequate transportation links between European Russia and
its Far Eastern provinces soon became an obvious problem. In 1891,
Czar Alexander III drew up plans for the Trans-Siberian Railway and
initiated its construction. Upon his death three years later, the
work was continued by his son Nicholas. Despite the enormity of the
project, a continuous route was completed in 1905, having been
rushed to completion by the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War the
year before. The present route of the line, including both the
difficult stretch around Baikal and a northerly replacement for the
dangerously situated Manchurian line, was opened in 1916.