Palace Square and the Triumphal Arch of the General Staff Building designed by Carlo Rossi in the Empire style, St Petersburg
The Peter the Great Statue, standing at 98m on the spit of Moskva River and Vodoovodny Canal, Moscow, to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Russian navy
Tsarskoye Selo, or Catherine Palace, Pushkin, originated in 1717 as a Summer Palace for Peter the Great's wife, Catherine I, but was rebuilt by their daughter Empress Elizabeth
Dusk falls over Moscow City
Delicate flakes of virgin snow drifting down on my black jacket, bestowing ethereal jewels of inestimable value!
Walking into the hallowed halls of the Mariinsky and Bolshoi to lose oneself in the supreme grace of the ballet dancers.
Selecting delectable herring from the inexhaustible range of pickled fish on the breakfast buffet.
Seeing the surprise on my dinner partner's face when she bites into the exotic taste of a marinated tomato.
Sipping champagne in a cozy hotel room as Stalin's 'Seven Sisters' stand sentinel over an icy Moscow cityscape.
Gazing at chandeliers that once illuminated Russian Tsars in Summer Palaces and today shine on commuters in the Metro, modern-day 'Palaces of the People'.
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St Petersburg
Victory Park, Moscow, while festive at Christmas, predominantly commemorates Russia's military history, particularly the victory over Nazi Germany
Mariinsky Ballet during a performance of The Nutcracker, St Petersburg
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow, at what would have been the site of Stalin's proposed Palace of Soviets, which - while never built - served as a blueprint for the Stalinist skyscrapers, the Seven Sisters
Driving along Nevsky Prospect towards the Admiralty took my breath away, akin to a Christian Le Squer inspired hors d'ouvre at Le Cinq. The sensory overload was almost overwhelming. The boulevard, of which Haussmann would have been proud, pulsed with energy and glittered in majesty!
A statue of Catherine the Great bid a stately welcome, the great shopping complex Gostiny Dvor dazzled in decorations, the Singer Building flashed by and the arms of the Kazan Cathedral reached out to embrace the fortunate onlooker...
I was hooked!
The Church of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood, St Petersburg, is built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated on March 1, 1881
The romantic Winter Canal, St Petersburg, was dug in 1719 and connects the Neva River with the Moika Canal
Atlantes of the Hermitge, carved by sculptor Alexander Terebenev and 150 assistants, St Petersburg
Alexander Nevsky Lavra or Monastery, St Petersburg, founded in 1710 and the final resting place of luminaries such as Tchaikovsky, Dostoevsky and Glinka
Luzhkov Bridge, Moscow, is a popular destination for wedding parties where newlyweds swear eternal love to each other by popping a lock onto the metal tree frames before tossing the key into the river
Novoslobodskaya Metro Station, Moscow, built in 1952 with 32 illuminated stained glass panels set in pylons of pinkish Ural marble and edged with brass molding
State Historical Museum, Moscow, designed by architect Vladimir Sherwood in the Russian Revivalism style and opened in 1894 to mark the coronation of Alexander III
Arbat Street, Moscow, mentioned as early as 1493, was originally where Moscow received trading caravans from the East
Hotel Ukraina, one of Stalin's famed Moscow 'Seven Sisters', was recognised as the largest hotel in Europe when it opnened in 1957 - today it is known as the Radisson Royal
Nikolskaya Street, Moscow, with Kazan Cathedral (left) and Moscow's historic department store GUM (right)
Annunciation Cathedral, inside the Kremlin, Moscow, rebuilt by Ivan the Great between 1484 to 1489, it contains celebrated icons of master painter Theophanes the Greek
Vorobyovy Gory, or Sparrow Hills, with another of Stalin's 'Seven Sisters', the Moscow State University from Neskuchny Sad (Garden)
Children are the Victims of Adult Vices, a group of 16 sculptures by artist Mihail Chemiakin - here, unaware children are confronted by (from the left) alcoholism, ignorance and irresponsible science
Muzeon Park of Arts, Moscow, is the largest open-air sculpture museum in Russia
Komsomolskaya Metro Station, Moscow, has an imposing Baroque ceiling painted in yellow and decorated with eight mosaic panels of small and precious stones representing the Russian fight for freedom and independence throughout history
Dutch artist Juriaen van Streeck's 'Vanitas: still life with feather fan' hangs in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow
Ivan the Terrible in shock after killing his son on November 16, 1581, by Repin, in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
The Appearance of Christ to the People by Ivanov, in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, depicting people (on the left) turning towards Christ, the slave's face (kneeling in the centre) lighting up in hope, and those (on the right) turning their backs on Jesus
Bolshoi Ballet Theatre, Moscow, founded in 1776, is recognised along with the Mariinsky in St Petersburg, as one of the foremost ballet companies in the world
Yuri Nikulin (1921-1997) is regarded as the most popular Russian cinema and circus actor and one of the best clowns of the 20th century - he is buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery, Moscow
Prince Vladimir the Great Statue, Moscow
Moskva River and Cathedral of Christ the Saviour from the Kremlin, Moscow
The Kremlin, Moscow, is a fortress that includes cathedrals, palaces, government buildings and parks surrounded by a wall and guard towers
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
The Novodevichy Convent, Moscow, was built in 1542 by Tsar Vasily III to serve both as a religious institution and a fortress
Church of the Intercession, or St Basil's Cathedral, Moscow