Russia – the largest country in the world with a long history, from empire to modern state
Russia is one of the great countries, which in every period of its existence has left a big mark in history . A country of boundless opportunities, the most beautiful places on the planet, magnificent architecture, unsurpassed creators of art, who are still appreciated in the 21st century
Russia is the largest country in the world, years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, it still remains a mystery to many. Bears roam the streets, people drink vodka from dawn to dusk, temperatures are constantly below zero and it snows all year round. But how true is it?
Occupying more than one-ninth of the earth’s area, Russia stretches 10,000 km from west to east and 4,000 km from north to south. With seemingly endless natural resources and reserves, the country boasts the deepest lake in the world (Lake Baikal), the highest mountain in Europe (Mount Elbrus), the largest river in Europe (the Volga), as well as deep taiga, endless steppes, seas, volcanoes, and even deserts. Temperatures range from the unimaginable -55°C to an astonishing +40°C, and almost every type of climate is represented except the tropical.
Russia consists of 85 subjects, each representing a unique mix of cultures, ethnic groups, dialects, traditions and religions. Moscow will surprise you with its mix of modern and Soviet architecture, St. Petersburg will stun you with its elegance and beauty, and Novosibirsk will be an excellent stop on your journey through endless Siberia.
Russia (Russian Federation) stretches in the northern part of the Eurasian landmass, covering all of northern Asia and a large part of Eastern Europe. The country is divided into Asian and European parts by the Ural Mountains and the Kumo-Manych Depression.
Capital and large cities of the Russian Federation
Capital : Moscow
Major cities: St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, Chelyabinsk, Krasnoyarsk, Kazan, Omsk, Rostov-na-Donu, Ufa, Samara, Volgograd, Perm, Voronezh.
Most of Russia is located in the temperate climatic zone. The diversity of the climate depends on how far away or near the ocean, as well as on the characteristics of the relief. In the European part of the country there is the largest range of climatic zones, gradually from north to south zone of arctic deserts is replaced by tundra, then in turn the forest tundra, followed by taiga forests, mixed forests, forest-steppe, steppe and semi-deserts. The average temperature in different regions ranges in January from 6°C to -50°C, in July from 1°C to +25°C.
There are about 147 million people in Russia.
A surprising fact is that there are more than 200 nationalities living in Russia.
The official language is Russian. Other popular languages are Tatar, Ukrainian, Bashkir, Chuvash and Chechen.
Form of government
It is a presidential-parliamentary republic. The head of state is the president.
Most Russians are Orthodox Christians (67%)
Russia’s national currency is the Russian ruble.
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Every country has its traditional dishes and Russia is no exception. People here are considered quite hospitable, which means that the Russian national cuisine is famous for an abundance of dishes. Throughout history, the cuisine has experienced changes, many dishes have disappeared, and some on the contrary remained unchanged and survived to this day.
National Russian cuisine is famous for a large number of first courses, pickles, snacks, various drinks, pastries and sweets.
Traditional Russian cuisine is impossible to imagine without pancakes with different fillings, dumplings, porridges, soup, as well as all kinds of dishes from fish. The most important component of the national cuisine, is still beer (rye, barley, oatmeal), as well as kvass (apple, honey) and of course mors (lingonberry, cherry).
But it is worth remembering that the Russian people are not limited to the consumption of traditional cuisine. Also Russians like very much the Ukrainian, Belarusian, Caucasian, Japanese and Italian cuisine.
Exploring the sights of Russia is a sheer pleasure. So if you are planning to discover diverse cultures and traditions of different nations, stunning nature and unforgettable experiences, then this wonderful European power is what you need.
The Russian Federation is the largest state in the world, occupying 1/8 of the land and located in northeastern Eurasia. Russia is a country with centuries-old history, rich cultural heritage and generous nature. In Russia, you can find almost everything that meets the traveler individually in any country – sunny beaches of the subtropics and snowy mountain peaks, boundless steppes and deep forests, wild rivers and warm seas.
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Video: Russia through the Eyes of a Foreigner
Russia spans an area of 17 million square kilometers, larger than Australia or Antarctica. Russia is almost twice the size of Canada, the US and China.
Its neighbors are China and North Korea to the southeast; Azerbaijan, Georgia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan to the south; and Belarus, Latvia, Norway, Estonia and Finland to the west. The Russian enclave, the Kaliningrad Oblast, borders Lithuania and Poland.
The country is bounded to the east by the Sea of Okhotsk, the Sea of Japan, the Berengov Sea and the Berengov Strait; to the north by the Laptev Sea, the Barents Sea, the Chukchi Sea, the Kara Sea and the East Siberian Sea; to the south by the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea; and to the west by the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland.
Russia’s largest rivers are the Ob, Volga, Yenisei, Lena and Amur. The largest lakes are Lake Baikal, Lake Ladoga, Lake Onega and the Caspian Sea.
The European and Asian parts of the country are separated by the Ural Mountains, the highest of which is Mount Narodnaya (1895 meters). From the Ural Mountains to the Primorsky Krai lies Siberia, divided by the Yenisei and Lena rivers into three natural areas. In the south of the Asian part rise the Altai Mountains, the highest point of which is Mount Belukha (4056 meters). To the east of the Altai Mountains are the Sayan Mountains, the Baikal Mountains, and Transbaikalia. Further to the Pacific Ocean, starts the mountain system of the Far East, the highest point of which and the whole Asian part – the volcano Klyuchevskaya Sopka (4750 meters) is located on the Kamchatka Peninsula. In the south of Russia, the mountains of the North Caucasus rise, crowned by Elbrus (5,642 meters), the highest point not only in Russia, but also in Europe.
The country’s territory is divided into four natural belts and 11 natural zones. The far north is a zone of arctic deserts. To the south, in the Subarctic, there are tundra and forest tundra. The temperate belt is more than half occupied by taiga. The rest of it is a zone of mixed forests, forest-steppe, steppe, semi-deserts and deserts. On the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus is a subtropical zone, which accounts for only 0.05% of the country’s area.
Russia has more than 100 reserves, 40 nature reserves and 35 national parks.
Russia is located mostly in the temperate continental climate zone. The islands of the Arctic Ocean and the northern mainland are influenced by the Arctic and subarctic climates. Hot subtropical climate is characteristic of the Black Sea region and the south of the Far East. The continental climate increases from west to east. The European part of the country has a temperate climate with hot summers and winter temperatures down to -15 degrees. Beginning in Western Siberia, the climate becomes sharply continental, with frequent and abrupt changes in weather. In winter, the temperature may drop to -40°, and in the north and east of Siberia, to -50° and even to -60° (Oymyakon, Verkhoyansk).
Precipitation is greatest in the mountains of the Caucasus and Altai, and the most arid place in Russia is the Caspian lowlands.
Summer is the most favorable season for traveling in Russia. Temperatures are mostly positive at this time, averaging from 0° on the Arctic coast to +25° in the southern regions.
Winter lasts about five months in central Russia, with snow cover in November and frost lasts until the end of March.
Early spring is not the best season to travel across the country. In April, the city streets are slushy with occasional snowfall, and in the countryside there are violent rivers. In May it often rains, accompanied by strong winds and thunderstorms.
Sochi Moscow in Winter
Early autumn is the most beautiful season and a great time to explore Russia. September temperatures, as a rule, do not fall below +15°. Moreover, in the beginning of the month Russians and visitors enjoy the Indian summer – warming to +25 ° for a few days to two weeks. In October, the intermittent drizzling rain increases, temperatures fall, and at night there may be frosts.
Cities of Russia
Even on a few trips it is impossible to see all the sights of Russia, because even the most experienced traveler can feel dizzy. The UNESCO World Heritage List, of which 27 places are located in Russia, can help tourists to find their bearings:
- Kremlin and Red Square – the most famous and recognizable symbols of Russia. The Kremlin, the embodiment of Russian statehood, is not only the largest fortress in Europe, which is a historical monument, but also the workplace of the president of the Russian Federation, as well as the place where important events and celebrations are held;
- the historic center of St. Petersburg and related monuments;
- historical and cultural center “Solovetsky Islands – a male monastery with a tragic fate (Arkhangelsk region);
- Ferapontov Monastery, famous for its frescoes created in 1502 (Ferapontovo village, Vologda region); Trinity Sergius Lavra
- architectural ensemble of Kizhi Pogost – unique wooden churches and bell tower (Republic of Karelia, near the town of Medvezhjegorsk)
- monuments of Novgorod and its environs, including the Novgorod Detinets with rare square churches;
- white stone monuments of Suzdal and Vladimir;
- The sixteenth-century Church of the Ascension, located in the village of Kolomenskoye, Moscow Oblast, the first tented stone church in Russia, built in honor of the birth of Ivan IV (the Terrible);
- Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, the largest Orthodox monastery in Russia (Sergiev Posad, Moscow Oblast);
- the forests of the Komi Republic – the largest virgin forests in Europe; Lake Baikal
- the deepest lake on the planet, Lake Baikal, which is also the largest reservoir of fresh water;
- Volcanoes of Kamchatka (30 active and about 300 extinct);
- Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve, home to sable, Amur tigers, mink and other rare animals (Primorsky Krai);
- The Golden Mountains of Altai (Altai and Katun Nature Reserves, the Ukok Plateau);
- The Ubsunur Hollow is a habitat for 80 species of mammals, including the Red Book-listed snow leopard (irbis) and argali (argali) and 350 species of birds (Tyva Republic);
- Caucasus Nature Reserve;
- Kazan Kremlin – the northernmost point of Muslim civilization, a unique combination of Tatar and Russian architectural styles; Koryak Sopka volcano and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
- The Curonian Spit, a sand spit with a unique natural landscape, which has no analogues in the world (Kaliningrad region);
- Karyn-Kala fortress of the 8th century, the old city of Derbent and its unique double defensive wall (Republic of Dagestan);
- Wrangel Island, which has the largest number of polar bear lairs in the world and the largest bird and walrus rookeries in the Arctic (Chukotka Federal District);
- Novodevichy Monastery (Moscow);
- the historic center of Yaroslavl;
- Struve Geodetic Arc – 34 stone cubes, dug into the ground and serving to determine the parameters of our planet (Gogland Island, Leningrad region);
- Putorana plateau with numerous waterfalls and lakes (Krasnoyarsk region);
- Lena Pillars – steep bare rocks more than 100 meters high, more than 400 thousand years old (Sakha Republic);
- architectural and historical ensemble of Bulgar (Republic of Tatarstan).
Traditional places of tourist pilgrimage are Moscow and St. Petersburg with their world famous museums, churches, monasteries, palaces and parks. If you go to St. Petersburg, do not forget about its beautiful suburbs: Tsarskoe Selo, Peterhof, Pavlovsk and Lomonosov. Also from the northern capital is convenient to go on a trip to Karelia and the island of Valaam.
Visit Moscow, try to visit its outskirts: the cities of Chekhov, Klin and Serpukhov, the villages of Abramtsevo, Arkhangelsk and Ostafyevo.
One of the popular tourist routes is the “Golden Ring” of Russia, linking ancient Russian cities: Vladimir, Sergiev Posad, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Suzdal, Yuriev, Kostroma, Rostov and Yaroslavl.
Russian North – Arkhangelsk and Vologda regions, where samples of national wooden architecture are carefully preserved and ancient traditions are maintained. Here is a real preserve of ecotourism – Karelia.
Volga region is Nizhny Novgorod with its Kremlin and monuments; it is the Volga river, cruises along which give a great opportunity to see and love the beauty of central Russia.
Wooden Church of St. Nicholas in Suzdal Taganai National Park in the Urals Taganai National Park in Winter Taganai National Park
The Urals attracts tourists with its picturesque landscapes and historical sites. Famous monuments of the Ural region are associated with the last days of life of the royal Romanov family – the Monastery in Ganina Yama and the Ipatiev House, where Tsar Nicholas II and his family were shot. The Ural is an excellent place for eco-tourism with such natural attractions as the Chusovaya River, Kungur ice caves, Uveldy Lake, Turgoyak and Ilmensky reserves and mineral springs in Obukhovo.
Southern Russia is the Caucasus resorts, Rostov-on-Don and the capital of Russian merchant Astrakhan. Kuban and its capital Krasnodar are becoming increasingly popular among tourists. Novorossiysk is one of the largest port cities in the country. Here travelers tend to visit Lake Abrau and take pictures with monument to Leonid Brezhnev.
Transsib on the map of Russia. Red line on map shows Trans-Siberian railway (historical route), green line – Baikal-Amur railway, blue line – northern route, black line – interval of southern route in Siberia
Cities of Central Russia: Tula, Kaluga, Ryazan, Smolensk, Pskov, Kirov, Tver – old Russian settlements with interesting architecture and centuries-old history.
Siberia presents travelers with Altai, one of the most beautiful and cleanest places in Russia; with the steppes and forests of Khakassia; with the original cities of Tobolsk and Tomsk. Those who wish can make a unique journey to the site of the fall of the Tunguska meteorite.
The Far East is famous for its diamond Yakutia, Kamchatka’s Valley of Geysers, bear fishing, and unspoiled nature.
The Trans-Siberian Railway is a 9,000-kilometer long railroad that crosses Russia from west to east and connects Moscow and Vladivostok. Travelling on the Transsib a tourist translates hands on his watch 8 times, gets acquainted with a natural variety of Russia, visits large cities of the Volga region, Urals and Siberia.