Russia is the world’s largest nation by area covering the majority of Eastern Europe. Russia has an extensive and fascinating history. The first state formation on its present territory appeared in the 14th century. It was called the Great Principality of Moscow and consisted of areas, which separated from the powerful medieval empire, called the Kyiv Rus, after its decline, caused by the Tatar invasion. Later, other areas were added to the country’s territory, either voluntarily, or by invasion. In the early 18th century emperor Peter the First changed the country’s name from the Moscow Kingdom to Russian Empire, after the name of former Kyiv Rus empire. 

The southwest of the country has become increasingly industrialized. Find beautiful countryside and resorts in the southern areas of the country. Also found in the regions of the south is the Chernozem belt which consists of highly fertile soil and is also known as the Black Earth Region.

Chernozem exists in only in a few places on earth, one of which is the Eurasian chernozem belt in central Russia. This particular type of earth is unique to these regions and influenced economic development in the Soviet Union. In the east, you will find more stunning architecture and gorgeous landscapes just waiting for exploration.

Things to do in Russia

The great Urals region has the Ural mountains which span 2,500 KM. In the central portion of the nation, you can find the modernized capital city of Moscow. There are several other cities aside from the capital that hold the interest of world-travelers.

Saint Petersburg is the political capital of the nation and plays host to many cultural activities such as operas and ballets. This city, founded in 1703, has a long history. Kazan lies in the southwest of Russia and within this famous city the Republic of Tatarstan, a semi-independent cultural region, is preserved.

The city of Irkutsk has one of the highest populations within the country and lies within the popular Siberia province of Russia. Sochi is a resort town that lies on the Black Sea; it is known for hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics. Volgograd boasts of a grand, and breathtaking statue commemorating the Battle of Stalingrad, WWII.

For those interested in nature-focused travel consider visiting, the Ural Mountain range, the Golden Ring (historical cities), Kizhi Island, Dombay mountain resort, Kamchatka (volcanic region), the Komi virgin forests, Lake Baikal, or the Solovetsky Islands.

Getting Around

The sheer size of the country can make transportation a challenge although the train network is extensive. For traversing the many rivers and lakes one can use boats. Aside from trains, bus transportation can be a good option for long distance travel. If none of these means of transportation suit you can participate in the traditional hitchhiking culture that exists throughout the country.

Taxis are relatively inexpensive and readily available in all towns and cities. For a small fee, just about any car driver will gladly become a taxi. But remember to negotiate the price, before getting in. Car hire is also available. However, road quality is consistently poor, pot holes are commonplace, and the further east you travel, unsealed roads are the rule rather than the exception. Cars drive on the right side of the road here. 

Russian is the language used by the residents, and it is a difficult language to learn. However, English is now taught in most of the schools. Most of the younger generations will be able to speak some English, although you may have a more difficult time communicating with older generations, who will most likely only speak Russian.

The currency in Russia is the Rouble; one USD is equivalent to 62.38 Russian Roubles. Currency exchange is available in banks and official bureaus de change. You will need to provide your passport to exchange money. Also, it is illegal to exchange money on the black market. Credit cards are acceptable in the cities, although it is always a good idea to carry some of the local currency. ATMs are widely available, except for rural areas.

Unfortunately, the hotels are expensive, and they often are not worth the price. Many of the hotels are old and not well maintained. Renting an apartment (short-term) for your stay is preferable to lodging in a hotel. Not only will it be more comfortable, but it will also be less expensive.

As for electricity, Russia uses types C and F sockets. You need to bring a travel adapter to fit the proper socket type. Check out the above-linked page to see the photos and other useful information. The standard voltage is 220 V.  Many of your devices may need a step-up transformer to match the electrical voltage.

August 15, 2016 12:00 am Published by 2 Comments

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