In the middle of 2005 I travelled from Beijing to Moscow by train, a distance of 7,865 km. The line from Beijing to Ulan Ude in Siberia, passing through Mongolia, is known as the Trans-Mongolian Railway. The line from Ulan Ude to Moscow is part of the Trans-Siberian Railway. The other part of the Trans-Siberian Railway runs eastwards from Ulan Ude to Vladivostok, Russias important naval base on the Pacific coast.
I travelled with my wife, our younger son and a friend for 35 days, taking in the Mongolian capital of Ulaan Baatar, the great steppes and Gobi Desert, the beautiful Lake Baikal and the lakeside city of Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk on the banks of the magnificent Yenisey River, Yekatarinburg, where Russias last tsar Nicholas II and his family were massacred, Nizhny Novgorod, Russias wallet in the 19th century beside the mighty Volga River, Moscow with its colourful Kremlin and Red Square, St. Petersburg, Russias old capital established by Peter the Great, the quaint little Golden Ring town of Suzdal, and the fairy-tale Island of Kizhy with its wooden church of 22 domes.
The construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway was started in 1891, and the Railway was introduced to the world at the Paris Expo in 1900. The completion of the Railway not only opened up Siberia for settlement and development, travelling by train from one end of the 9,289 km long track to the other has become a great, romantic journey many a traveller aspire to undertake.