Russia is a country located on two continents: Europe and Asia, with the Ural Mountains as a dividing line. In the west the country borders to Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus and Ukraine. In the south it shares borders with Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China and North Korea. In the east the boundary is the Atlantic Ocean and in the north the Arctic Ocean. The Russian exclave Kaliningrad is wedged between Poland and Lithuania. At 6,592,800 square miles, with more than one ninth of the land surface of the earth, Russia is by far the largest country in the world. The capital and largest city is Moscow.
Kaliningrad Oblast has a special status and is sometimes shown as a separate economic region. Most of Russia is Asian, yet the politics includes it to Europe, because the capital Moscow is situated in that continent. Russia is a federal semi-presidential republic, it now has an elected president, free elections and a multiparty system. The parliament consists of the two chambers, the lower house composed of representatives of parties and the upper house which consists of representatives of all 83 areas.
In Russia you still can see many typical Russian peasant houses, built in ancient times, according to traditional principles and use of wood. These Izba’s are a heritage, and therefore they are remaining in the countryside The window frames and eaves often have carvings, because of the skilled carpenter working ,with a hatchet is also referred to cutting rather than building a izba.
Russians are very musical. Quantities in classical music are for example, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, there are many music festivals in honor of these great composers. The ballet of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow is world famous. There are a lot of different types of dance and singing styles. In the folk plays the balalaika, a triangular stringed instrument, an important role.
The Russian cuisine is a farmer’s kitchen, sober, but nutritious. Famous is borsjtsj, a soup of beets, cabbage and meat. And Russians eat pirosjki, stuffed pasta pillows, for all occasions. In hotels, they often finished each hour of the day, they are also sold in street stalls, made of different dough types and with different fillings.
Russians drink much tea and kvas, a light drink from flour and fruit juice is prepared. Vodka is the national alcoholic drink the alcohol content is often very high. There are many types of vodka: plain or lemon-flavored, chilies, ginger, cloves and juniper.
A trip around the Golden Ring of ancient cities is a major tourist routes in Russia and the long rides on the famous Trans-Siberian Railway and cruising the great rivers like the Volga. Moscow contains a great variety of impressive Soviet era buildings along with modern skyscrapers. In the center of Moscow is the famous Red Square, with on one side the Kremlin. St. Petersburg is the former capital and has many classical architecture, many rivers, canals and bridges nicknamed it the Venice of the North.
The rules for passports and visas are regularly updated, so always ask in advance for timely information to embassy or consulate. In Russia you must have the possibility to identify at all times, so always take along passport and visa.