Timothy Tye's Travel Encyclopedia
Russia (Россия) Travel Tips

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Kremlin Embankment, Moscow, RussiaKremlin Embankment, Moscow, Russia
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moscow,_Kremlin_Embankment.jpg
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Russia (Russian: Россия), or the Russian Federation is a country in northern Eurasia. Covering an area of 17,075,400 square kilometers (6,592,800 sq miles), Russia is the biggest country in the world. With a population of 142 million people, it is also the 9th most populous nation.

Russia occupies the whole of northern Asia and 40% of Europe, spanning time zones and incorporating an enormously diverse spectrum of climates and landforms. It has the world's largest reserves of mineral and energy resources, the largest forest reserves and one quarter of the world's fresh water.

Russia was the largest and most powerful constituent of the Soviet Union. The establishment of the Russian Federation followed the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The country spans 8,000 km at its widest, from the boundary with Poland to the Kuril Islands off Hokkaido, Japan. It shares a border with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland (via the Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. This makes Russia a monumental undertaking for anybody wishing to explore it from end to end. Except for the most hardy travelers, most people concentrate on the main cities of Russia, which I will describe in this guide.

Moscow City skyscrapers, Moscow, RussiaMoscow City skyscrapers, Moscow, Russia
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moscow-City_28-03-2010_2.jpg
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Cities of Russia

  1. Moscow - capital
  2. Barnaul
  3. Belgorod
  4. Chelyabinsk
  5. Gelendzhik
  6. Irkutsk
  7. Ivanovo
  8. Izhevsk
  9. Kaluga
  10. Kazan
  11. Khabarovsk
  12. Khanty-Mansiysk
  13. Khimki
  14. Kislovodsk
  15. Kostroma
  16. Krasnodar
  17. Krasnoyarsk
  18. Kursk
  19. Lipetsk
  20. Magnitogorsk
  21. Murmansk
  22. Nizhny Novgorod
  23. Novorossiysk
  24. Novosibirsk
  25. Omsk
  26. Orenburg
  27. Pereslavl-Zalessky
  28. Perm
  29. Petrozavodsk
  30. Pskov
  31. Pyatigorsk
  32. Rostov-on-Don
  33. Ryazan
  34. Saint Petersburg
  35. Samara
  36. Saratov
  37. Sochi
  38. Stavropol
  39. Surgut
  40. Suzdal
  41. Taganrog
  42. Tolyatti
  43. Tomsk
  44. Tuapse
  45. Tula
  46. Tver
  47. Tyumen
  48. Ufa
  49. Ulan-Ude
  50. Ulyanovsk
  51. Veliky-Novgorod
  52. Vladimir
  53. Vladivostok
  54. Volgograd
  55. Voronezh
  56. Vyborg
  57. Yakutsk
  58. Yaroslavl
  59. Yekaterinburg
  60. Yessentuki
  61. Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

Fast Facts about Russia

  • Official Name: Russian Federation
  • Capital: Moscow (8,400,000)
  • Population of Russia: 145,934,000
  • Languages: Russian (official), others
  • Currency: Ruble
  • Religions: Russian Orthodox, others
  • Size: 17,075,400 sq km (6,592,812 sq miles)
  • Continents: Europe and Asia

Kamensk Cathedral, RussiaKamensk Cathedral, Russia
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kamensk_Cathedral.jpg
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Major Destinations in Russia

  1. Caucasus Mountains
    The tallest mountain range in Europe with spa resorts.
  2. Kaliningrad
    The small enclave of Russia on the Baltic Sea.
  3. Kamchatka
    Volcanic landscape on the extreme eastern end of Russia.
  4. Kizhi
    Village on an island in Lake Onega with the most beautiful collection of traditional wooden churches.
  5. Lake Baikal
    The world's deepest and biggest lake.
  6. Qolsharif Mosque
    One of the great mosques of Russia.
  7. Sochi
    Black Sea resort, host of the coming 2014 Winter Olympics.
  8. Tomsk
    Most beautiful city in Siberia.

Cathedral of the Assumption, MoscowCathedral of the Assumption, Moscow
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dormition_%28Kremlin%29.JPG
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Planning your visit to Russia

Nationals who are not the citizens of the Commonwealth of Indepedent States need a visa before arriving in Russia. Let me warn you in advance that this may be a costly, time-consuming, not to mention often infuriating affair. Preparations should be made at least two months before your departure.

Arriving in Russia

Moscow and St Petersburg are the two main international gateways to Russia, with direct flights from all over the world. Delta, American Airlines and United Airlines are some of the airlines from the United States flying to Russia. The Russian flag carrier Aeroflot flies to New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles from Moscow.

Dombay Mountains in the Caucasus, RussiaDombay Mountains in the Caucasus, Russia
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Caucasus,_Russia_%28Dombay%29.jpg
authorshipPeter Shmelev
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Budget travelers can take NIKI (http://flyniki.co.uk/home.php?lang=eng) from Vienna; Air Berlin from Berlin, Düsseldorf, Munich and Stuttgart; Germanwings (germanwings.com) from Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg and Stuttgart.

Alternatively, you can also take the train to Moscow or St Petersburg from many cities in Europe, and finally, the Trans-Siberian Railway connects Moscow with Beijing and Harbin, as well as with Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia.

Preparing Money for your trip to Russia

The currency used in Russia is the Russian Ruble (RUB).

Planning your travel within Russia

The best way to explore Russia is by train. The roads are pretty bad and driving in Russia can be considered a dangerous sport. There are train services connecting the major cities, and from there, to many of the smaller towns. The trains are surprisingly punctual, and the staff surprisingly courteous - the same cannot be said across Russia.

Baltic Pearl Centre, Saint PetersburgBaltic Pearl Centre, Saint Petersburg
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Quality_images_of_Saint_Petersburg#mediaviewer/File:Baltic_Pearl_Centre_SPB_01.jpg
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