Russia is one of the most interesting and fascinating country in the world, what is more interesting is that it covers two continents, that’s right, two continents, and these are Europe and Asia. The country covers a geographical area of 10, 672,000 sq. miles (17,075,200 sq.km), making it the largest country in the world. It is also home to some of the most endangered wild cat species including the Amur Leopard and the Siberian Tiger. Russia is really a great place to visit when you plan to trek the Northern Hemisphere. Below we have compiled a few interesting facts about Russia and I bet you’ll fall in love with this country.
1. Russia is home to Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world and contains about 20% of the world’s freshwater.
2. Olkhon Island, the largest on Lake Baikal, is a hotbed for Shamanism. Shaman’s Rock is found on its western coast.
3. Russia’s greatest museum, The Hermitage, in St Petersburg, is home to about 70 cats, which guards its treasures against rodents. The tradition dates back to a 1745 decree of Empress Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great, founder of St Petersburg.
4. The highest point in Russia is Mt. Elbrus at 5, 633 metres above sea level. It is also the highest mountain in Europe.
5. Russia is the largest country in the world.
6. Subbotnik is the day when residents of Russian cities volunteer to sweep up and tidy the streets.
7. There is a bronze sculpture of a dog with a shiny nose at Ploshchad Revolutsii metro station, it is shiny because it is supposedly good luck to touch it.
8. Russians are the world’s fourth biggest drinkers, according to WHO statistics.
9. Padlock trees can be found in Moscow, couples place them here to prove their love.
10. Foreigners pay a higher entrance fee at many tourist sites. Don’t worry, most countries do that.
11. Postnik Yakovlev is best known as the man behind St Basil’s Cathedral. Legend has it that Ivan the Terrible blinded him afterwards, so he could never build anything to rival it.
12. Russia shares its borders with 14 countries: Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, China, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and North Korea.
13. It has more time zones than any other country, but since 2011 it has only used nine.
14. Western leaders are not welcome in at least one airport duty free shop.
15. According to a biography by Henry Troyat, Peter the Great loved his toy soldiers so much that he executed a rat (by hanging it) which had the temerity to chew the head off of one.
16. In the White Dining Room in the Hermitage Palace there is a clock on the mantelpiece. It was stopped at 2.10a.m. on the night of October 25, in 1917, when Kerensky’s provisional government, which had held power since the February Revolution, was arrested by the Bolsheviks, it is the moment Russia slipped into communism.
17. Russia has one of the world’s most terrifying walkways, the 439-metre SkyBridge.
18. Vasilevskiy Island in St Petersburg offers a bizarre selection of attractions, including a pair of 15th century sphinxes from Egypt on the riverside and a museum of biological oddities where you can see the skeleton and heart of Peter the Great’s gigantic personal servant.
19. It is home to Europe’s longest river, the Volga, at 3,690km (2, 293 miles). It has more than 200 tributaries, that if counted with the main river, would add up to 357, 000km (221, 800 miles).
20. It is home to the coldest inhabited place on the planet, Oymyakon. On February 6, 1933, a temperature of -67.7° Celsius was recorded at its weather station.
21. In 1908 the Russian Olympic team arrived in London 12 days late because it was still using the Julian calendar.
22. There is a chain of Russian cafes where everything is free and you pay depending on how long you stay there. They also opened a branch in London.
23. Lake Karachay, a dumping ground for nuclear waste, is so radioactive that standing for one hour beside it would almost certainly kill you.
24. A museum in St Petersburg has on display what it claims to be Rasputin’s severed penis in a glass jar.
25. The land border of Russia is 20, 241km long, the second longest of any country.
26. Russia has a high literacy rate, with 99.7% of the population able to read and write by age 15.
27. Russia is very close geographically to the United States. The countries are separated by the Bering Sea and are just 82km apart.
28. The Trans-Siberian Railroad was built between 1891 and 1916. It connects Moscow to far Eastern Russia. Its the longest railway line in the world with a length of 9, 289 kilometres.
Do you know other interesting facts about Russia that you feel we have left out? Please drop them in the comment box below.