Russia is the biggest country in the world. Its territory occupies the eastern part of Europe and the northern part of Asia, that is 11,46% of all Earth’s area. Russia is bathed by the waters of 12 seas and 3 oceans: the Arctic ocean in the north, the Atlantic – in the west and the Pacific – in the east. The vast territory of the country hosts more than 1000 rivers and about 2 million lakes, including the biggest lake – the Caspian Sea and the deepest lake with the cleanest water – Lake Baikal.
Russia borders 18 countries and the total length of the border is about 60000 km (37 000 miles).
The Russian Federation consists of 83 sub-sovereign entities. The biggest cities are Moscow – the capital, and St Petersburg – also called “the northern capital”. The other large cities are Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, Omsk, Kazan, etc.
The population of the country is about 150 million people. About 80% are ethnical Russians, the rest 20% include more than 150 nationalities, living on the territory of Russia. Speaking about religion, the most people are Orthodox Christians, but there are also Catholic Christians, Muslims, the Jewish people and Buddhists.
The climate in Russia varies from subtropical on the Black Sea cost to continental in the south of Siberia, from arctic in the Far North to oceanic on the Baltic Sea coast and monsoonal in the Far East. The weather in Russia is famous for its huge temperature swings from heatwaves to harsh cold.
Russia is really rich in natural resources. The country exports oil, gas, coal, natural minerals and wood. Due to territory vastness considerable part of the resources hasn’t been acquired yet. Russia’s mark of pride in this sphere is diamond mining.
History and culture of Russia go back to the ancient times of Kyivska Rus’ when the Russian Empire became well-known and continued its development and prosperity during 300 years. The country survived many wars such as the war with Napoleon, World War I and World War II. At the most difficult times Russian people united and managed to protect their Motherland from foreign invaders.
Thanks to that a great number of ancient churches, temples and cathedrals and other historic cultural monuments were preserved in many Russian cities, towns and villages, they guard the treasures of the valuable heritage of Russian culture, art and literature.
Many world famous writers, painters, composers, sportsmen, scientists, who were born in Russia, scored a great success and unquestionably contributed to the development of national cultural heritage which Russia is so proud of.
Russian people like celebrations and are really serious about their national holidays. The most favourite is New Year celebration that goes right before Orthodox Christmas (7th January). In the beginning of the year people enjoy about 10 days off work and school.
Among the other popular holidays are 23d February – Defender of the Motherland Day (similar to Father’s Day), 8th March – International Women’s Day (similar to Mother’s Day), 1st May – Labour Day, 9th May – Victory Day, 12th June – Independence Day, 4th November – National Unity Day.
There are also religious celebrations and festivals, such as Easter, but they are not days off. The main part of each celebration is a delicious meal full of traditional Russian dishes.
Russian cuisine has a very long history and is quite popular all over the world. It offers such things as caviar, red salmon, rye bread, studen’ (jellied stock with meat), stchi (cabbage soup), ukha (fish soup), bliny (pancakes) and others. All these dishes and even more you can try if you visit old Russian cities and town.