Destination Review By Cox & Kings: Russia
Cox & Kings reviews the Russian Federation and tells you about destinations to visit, what to eat, where to stay and things to do!
Article Credit: Alefiya Rashiq
Population: 146.5 million (approx. in Jan 2016)
People: Russian (81.0%), Tatar (3.7%), Ukrainian (1.4%), Bashkir (1.1%), Chuvash (1.0%), Chechen (0.8%), Others (11.0%)
Religious Groups: Orthodox Christians (75%), Other Christians (12%), Muslims (10%), Buddhists (1%), Others (2%)
Languages: Russian (official), Tatar, Ukranian, Others
Government: Federal Republic
Time Zone: UTC +3 (Moscow Time) to UTC +12 (Magadan Time)
Currency: Russian Ruble
Voltage: 220-240V, 50Hz, Plug type C/F
Telephone Country Code: +7
Internet Country Code: .ru
Geography And Location
The world’s largest country, Russia, is sprawled across most of eastern Europe and northern Asia. Its landscape exhibits captivating diversity, which ranges from the frozen Siberian Tundra and the mighty Ural Mountains, to dense Fir forests, mysterious lakes and sub-tropical beaches. Russia’s coastlines extend to the Arctic and the Pacific oceans, and includes the Caspian, Baltic and Black sea.
The Weather In Russia
Russia’s climate varies considerably and one may get to experience extreme temperature, ranging from the deep Arctic chill in the far North to the piercing desert heat in the inland areas of the south. Although it is difficult to generalize the climate, it can be described as highly continental with warm summers and very cold winters. Spring and autumn are very brief. Most tourists visit Russia in the summer months of June-August, while September to May see a drop in hotel prices.
The History Of Russia
Ancient Russia was a collection of cities that gradually coalesced into an empire. By the late 9th century, the Vikings invaded the country and created the nation of Rus. But by the 13th Century, the Kievan led Rus was destroyed by the Mongol empire. Over the years, a series of invasions by Napoleon and his counterparts followed, and it was only in 1922, that the country was declared as a federation in the form of USSR. By 1991, the fall of the Soviet communist party gave rise to the independent Russia that we know now. Economically, Russia has witnessed a lot of ups and downs, but is only growing for the better.
Russians have hearty meals with good portions of bread, potatoes and meat. The Russian Salad, formally known as the Salat Olivier is replicated world over, and is a preparation of fresh vegetables with a dash of mayonnaise. Borsch, a beet and cabbage soup is the traditional belly warmer sipped on colder days. Other must-haves include the Smoked Salmon, Shashlik or kebabs on skewers and Blini – Russia’s version of French crêpes with sweet/savoury fillings. In Moscow, a lavish meal in a restaurant can take you on a culinary high, while at the same time, classic Russian fare from street stalls and eateries tastes just as good.
People Of Russia
The Eastern Slavic tribes (originated from the region that is now Poland) are the ancestors of modern Russians, and have shaped most of their cultural traits, social structures and religious beliefs. The Russians have made a long journey from the Soviet times of total control to the current republican scene, hence, they are very adaptable to change. Their heritage exhibits a lineage of the different kinds of arts, especially literature, with world notable writers like Pushkin, Tolstoy and Chekov to boast of. A well-educated lot that reads avidly and enjoys theatre, philosophy and ballet, the Russians have had a considerable influence on the contemporary world culture.
Getting To & Around Russia
When in Russia, moving around is never a problem. The country’s extensive transport system boasts of vast networks of roadways, railways and airways. Within the densely crowded Moscow, the metro is the best way to travel, while roads are generally traffic-filled. To and fro between Moscow and St. Petersburg can be easily done aboard the Sapsan, a high speed bullet train. Russia is also connected to most European countries via rail.
Where To Go And What To Do
The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is home to a collection of 3 million priceless artworks instated within the historic buildings of the State Hermitage Museum. Founded by Catherine the Great in 1764, the museum exhibits some of the finest art from Western Europe. When you are done touring this world-acclaimed museum, do drop by to admire the elegance of the Winter Palace, a former residence of the Tsars.
A Historical Tour Through The Kremlin, Moscow
You cannot holiday in Russia and not go to the Kremlin. A self-contained city, it forms the heart of the country’s political life with palaces, churches and domes linking the modern nation to its glorious past. At night, the streets glitter which gives a stunning view. The tower-studded, 250-acre grounds are home to many museums, including an armoury filled with royal treasures of the yore. The famed marketplace, Red Square and the onion-dome shaped St. Basil’s Cathedral lie adjacent to it.
Enjoy The Bolshoi Ballet & The Russian Circus
The cosmopolitan and luxurious Moscow is also a centre stage for a variety of performing arts. You can see every shade of grace at The Bolshoi Theatre, one of the oldest establishments specializing in ballet, masquerades and other forms of entertainment. The Russian Circus has been acclaimed since the Soviet days and is a delight to watch even today. The fine display of acrobatics, somersaults, dancers and animal acts will leave you screaming louder than imaginable!
Undertake The Trans-Siberian Railway Journey via Lake Baikal
This week long voyage from Moscow to Vladivostok is perhaps one of the most iconic rail journeys in the world. It takes you through some of Russia’s most remote places, and travellers generally use the train as an overnight accommodation from one destination to the next. To complete this trip of wonder and wilderness, plan a halt at Lake Baikal in Siberia, one of the clearest lakes on Earth.
A poet once said, “Russia cannot be understood with the mind alone. In Russia, one can only believe”.
A plethora of treasures; from artistic riches to ancient fortresses, from the tranquil countryside to the glittering nightlife, this place has everything to make you fall head over heels in love with it!
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