7 reasons to travel on the Trans-Siberian Railway

The journey begins in Moscow at the square where three train stations are located: here, as on a theater stage, travelers from the most remote corners of Russia meet each other. Here, a large country comes before you in all the diversity of individuals, languages, and cultures. But this is only a teaser. The film itself will begin in a few moments in the train compartment, which will take you along the longest railway in the world to the eastern tip of Eurasia.
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Follow the path of Siberian discoverers

Observing Russia from the train window, you get a better understanding than ever of the pull of its inhabitants towards the infinite. No one knows that, at a certain moment in history, it compelled the Russians to go explore the virgin lands of Siberia, fearlessly confront the Siberian snow and cold, and tame this wild space. The Russians managed to adapt to the polar night and temperatures, which often dropped to -40°C. Siberia won them over: they went on to stay there forever. They built roads, cities, schools, and theaters in Siberia’s impenetrable forests. They established two university centers: Tomsk and Novosibirsk.
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Meet indigenous peoples

Russian peasants learned to live as friendly neighbors with the indigenous population and to respect their customs and traditions. Today, you must come to Russia to get to know the age-old culture of the Altai nomads, and to meet the Buddhists of Buryatia and the reindeer herders in the north. Russia has always avoided uniformization. Like Byzantium had once been, it’s as if Russia knows the secret to combining contradictions and allowing representatives of the most diverse ethnic groups and religions to live in peace. Russia has the dignity of being a federation, as French Arctic explorer Jean Malaurie once said.
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Discover more about Russian history

In order to permanently connect Siberia to historical Russia, Tsar Alexander III ordered that a continuous railway be built from Moscow to Vladivostok. His son, Nicholas II, ceremoniously opened the Great Siberian Way on October 5, 1916. Now, the Trans-Siberian Railway has connected the Russian capital with the Pacific Ocean for over a century.
The Trans-Siberian Railway is the history of Russia, stretched over 9 thousand kilometers, but it is also the history of all humanity, which has always sought to experience the impossible and go beyond its own boundaries.


Give yourself the luxury of doing nothing

The Trans-Siberian was not created to overcome gigantic distances in record times. In Russia, when you’re in a hurry, you fly by airplane, and when you want to take a break, you choose the Trans-Siberian Railway. When you are particularly short of time, the Trans-Siberian gives it to you in a large quantity. It’s as if the Trans-Siberian pauses time so that you can fully enjoy it: you can read, drink tea, look out the window, and abandon yourself in thought. Under the steady rattle of the train’s wheels, without noticing it, you plunge into a state of deep meditation. At a certain moment, it’s as if you forget about your destination, lose yourself in space, and then find yourself. The Trans-Siberian Railway opens a space in time in which there are no deadlines and delays, and where you can get a taste of eternity.
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Feel the charm of an old-fashioned train

The trains that run along the Trans-Siberian route are designed for living in and not just for spending time waiting until you arrive at your destination. There are no comfortable seats here, but there are soft day beds with starched bedsheets. In the train compartments, there are embroidered curtains hanging and bouquets of flowers on the little tables. The dining car does not serve processed food, but rather seasonal vegetables, which are loaded onto the train at every stop before your very eyes. Human contact is preferred on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Here, you can chat with the passenger car attendant, who brings warm coffee to your compartment each morning; you can exchange a few words with other people in your wagon, and start long discussions with your companions in your train compartment. There’s simply no other way: Wi-Fi Internet only works at the stops along the Trans-Siberian Railway.


Gaze at nature

Traveling along the Trans-Siberian Railway is also the best way to perceive all our planet’s natural diversity and to see nature in its present, untamed state. They say that the sky is bigger in Russia. Here, calm rivers originate in the mountains of Asia, cross vast plains, and flow into the Arctic Ocean. Fields stretch out as far as the eye can see, and the dense forests still inspire writers and poets to compose fairy tales and legends.
The Trans-Siberian curves along the shore of Lake Baikal, where you will see nature in all its pristine beauty. Here, you forget that Earth has existed for several billion years. It seems as if you are present at the creation of the world.
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Delight in the architecture

The Trans-Siberian will allow you to see how the Russians learned to insert cities and villages into the magnificent Siberian landscapes. Visit Tobolsk to admire the snow-white Kremlin on the hilltop that towers over the old city, the former capital of Siberia. Go for a walk along the winding streets of Tomsk to see the wooden lace that adorns the facades of historical homes. Spend a few days in Irkutsk to see how rapidly the Angara River flows and inhale the smell of roses in the garden of the Decembrists. And when you finally reach the end of the Trans-Siberian Railway in Vladivostok, go to the embankment and embrace the ocean. You will see that where Russia should end, is where it really begins.

Inna Dulkina
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Related trips
Transsib Moscow - Vladivostok
Transsib Moscow - Vladivostok
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