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Destination: Russia

WHY TO VISIT RUSSIA

Historically rich, politically controversial, Russia is an amazing destination and not leave you unmoved.

Moscow of course is a must: cultural capital, it is also attractive for its medieval roots, and its sites become mythical, Red Square and the Kremlin, but also the Mayakovsky museum or zoo.

The other city where you can not ignore is St. Petersburg, which includes its canals and palaces, as at the time of the tsars, and offers of places like the legendary Peter and Paul Fortress and the Nevsky Prospekt.

At the far east, Vladivostok has recently opened to foreigners, and is the center of a nature reserve where there are tigers and bears and leopards.

Quite to the south, visit Sochi, a resort on the edge of the Black Sea, enjoying of a subtropical climate of warm waters that attract tourists from Russia and abroad, as well as spas and the surrounding hills dotted with dachas.

Not very far from Moscow, Novgorod dated 9th century teems with wonders, despite the devastation of the Nazis: the icons of the Palace of Facets, the historical museum, many churches, including that of the Transfiguration of the Savior with beautiful Byzantine frescoes.

Another curiosity not to be missed, the Trans-Siberian you will also travel from one end to another in this wonderful country for a distance of nearly a thousand miles for 6 days, making you go through huge forests of birch and pines and endless steppes, then along Lake Baikal and go to Irkutsk, a city very attractive and multicultural.

The Volga Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, with its many museums and monuments of World War II, also trace a line of journey worthy of your attention to visit the center of the country.

Whatever your background, you'll be struck by the diversity of wealth in Russia, but also conquered by the famous Russian soul, responsible in turn of extreme joy and melancholy tenacity.

WHAT TO SEE IN RUSSIA

Main places to visit in Russia are:

  • Moscow
  • Saint Petersburg
  • Suzdal
  • Lake Baikal
  • Veliky Novgorod
  • Nizhny Novgorod
  • Irkutsk 
  • Kazan 
  • Vladivostok
  • Yekaterinburg
  • Yaroslav
  • Suzdal
  • Voronezh
  • Samara
  • Ekaterinburg
  • Sochi
  • Kizhi Island
  • Karelia
  • Volga River
  • Kaliningrad
  • Kamchatka Peninsula
  • Altai Mountains
  • Mount Elbrus and Caucasus Mountain
  • The Golden Ring
  • Trans-Siberian Railway

WHEN TO GO TO RUSSIA

Best period to visit Russia is from May to September.

The largest country in the world, Russia offers a climate with temperatures that get colder as you go from the South to the North and from the West to East as it turns into a more continental climate. 

Winters are very cold; more so in Moscow than St. Petersburg with less snowfall in the latest. In spring, melting snow creates almost permanent mud everywhere in the country. At St. Petersburg, nights in June are clear as in all regions situated in the North because the sun doesn’t really set. So, when planning to visit Russia, avoid the muddy spring and crowded July and August.

Autumn gives you the opportunity to admire a beautiful side of nature with its changing colours, and winter even though very cold has an undeniable charm: The snow is present but the cities are alive and vodka is flowing!

Following a list of typical festival and celebrations of Russia.

HOW TO REACH AND TRAVEL THROUGH RUSSIA

Moscow is connected to the principal cities of the world by daily flights, but getting there by train is also possible from Paris, Berlin or Helsinki and Prague. To travel in the country, of course the train is your best choice, in particular the famous Trans Siberian that will take you up to Siberia, even Mongolia or Peking! Flying is also an interesting choice even if sometimes the comfort level is low for certain destinations. Renting a car is also a possible solution, both reasonable prices and road quality. In the principal cities, the underground is both practical and cheap.

by plane, main airports are:

by train

by car

GENERAL INFORMATION ON RUSSIA

country entry requirements: passport + visa (check your visa requirements)

health tips & vaccination: drink only bottled water and avoid ice. 

local currency: Russian Ruble

local time zone: GMT+1-11 (2-12)

electricity: tipe c and F (220-230V 50 Hz)

mobile phone operators: 

WHAT TO DO IN RUSSIA

typical food in Russia

  • Beef Stroganoff: pieces of sautéed beef in sauce, with smetana (sour cream)
  • Bliny: large pancakes 
  • Borscht: soup made of broth, beetroot, and tomatoes with vegetables (onions, cabbage, tomato, carrots, and celery).
  • Kotleta po Kievskiy: french-inspired chicken cutlet with butter sauce as filling
  • Coulibiac:  fish (usually salmon or sturgeon) loaf, with rice, hard-boiled eggs, mushrooms, and dill
  • Dressed herring: diced, salted herring covered with layers of grated, boiled vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beet roots), chopped onions, and mayonnaise
  • Golubtsy: cooked cabbage leaves wrapped around a variety of fillings
  • Guriev porridge: porridge dish prepared from semolina and milk with the addition of nuts (hazelnut, walnuts, almonds), kaimak (creamy foams) and dried fruits
  • Kasha: porridge made of buckwheat, millet, oat, wheat or semolina
  • Kissel: fruit dessert of sweetened juice, thickened with arrowroot, cornstarch or potato starch
  • Knish: baked or fried potato dumpling made of flaky dough
  • Kholodets or studen: meat jelly
  • Kvas: fermented non-alcoholic beverage made from black or regular rye bread or dough
  • Medovukha: honey-based drink
  • Mimosa salad: salad, whose main ingredients are cheese, eggs, canned fish, onion, and mayonnaise
  • Okroshka: cold soup of mostly raw vegetables like cucumbers, spring onions, boiled potatoes, with eggs, and a cooked meat such as beef, veal, sausages, or ham with kvas, topped with sour cream
  • Oladyi: small thick pancakes
  • Olivier salad: diced potatoes, eggs, chicken or bologna, sweet peas, and pickles with a mayonnaise dressing
  • Paskha: Tvorog (farmer's cheese) plus heavy cream, butter, sugar, vanilla, etc., usually molded in the form of a truncated pyramid
  • Pelmeni: dumplings filled of a meat wrapped in thin, pasta dough
  • Pirozhki: small stuffed buns made of either yeast dough or short pastry, filled with different fillings
  • Pozharsky cutlet: breaded ground chicken patty
  • Rassolnik: soup made from pickled cucumbers, pearl barley, and pork or beef kidneys
  • Sbiten: honey-based drink
  • Shchi: cabbage soup that can be based on sauerkraut
  • Solyanka: thick, piquant soup that combines components from shchi (cabbage, smetana) and rassolnik (pickle water and cucumbers), spices such as olives, capers, tomatoes, lemons, lemon juice, kvass, salted and pickled mushrooms
  • Sorrel soup: qater or broth, sorrel leaves, salt, sometimes with whole eggs or egg yolks, potatoes, carrots, parsley root, and rice
  • Syrniki: fried pancakes made of quark, usually topped with sour cream, varenye, jam, honey, or apple sauce
  • Ukha: clear soup, made from various types of fish
  • Vatrushka: pastry with a ring of dough and sweet farmer's cheese in the middle
  • Veal Orlov: braised loin of veal, thinly sliced, filled with a thin layer of pureed mushrooms and onions between each slice, topped with bechamel sauce and cheese
  • Vinegret: diced boiled vegetables (beet roots, potatoes, carrots), chopped onions, and sauerkraut and/or pickled cucumbers

souvenirs from Russia

  • Matryoshka nesting dolls
  • Khohloma-style wooden spoons
  • Palekh-style lacquered boxes
  • Pavlov shawls and scarfs
  • Orenburg knitted shawls
  • Vologda laces
  • Faberge egg replica
  • Birch bark crafts
  • Bogorodsk wooden toys
  • Flax table-clothes and napkins
  • Soviet memorabilia
  • Valenki, felt boots
  • gold jewells
  • Budenovka, is a hat used as the uniform of the Soviet troops from 1918 until 1940
  • Ushanka, a traditional Russian fur hat that has ear flaps that might be tied at the chin to protect ears and neck from the cold or fixed at the back of the head
  • Rostov enamels
  • Zhostovo hand painted metal trays
  • Krasnaya Moskva perfume
  • furs
  • Ortodox icons
  • Samovar, the heated metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water for tea
  • Podstakannik, tea-glass holder
  • Gzhel porcelain
  • Telnyashka, stripped blue and white underskirt
  • Balalaika, wooden triangular base guitar
  • Dymkovo or Filimonovo clay toys
  • amber and semi-precious stones
  • Cheburashka plush
  • red or black caviar
  • honey from Siberia
  • Vodka

SIMPLE DICTIONARY

Hello: Здравствуйте (Zdravstvuyte)

Goodbye: до свидания (do svidaniya)

How are you?: Как дела? (Kak delà?)

Thank you: спасибо (spasibo)

What is your name?: Как вас зовут? (Kak vas zovut?)

How much is it?: Сколько стоит? (Skol'ko stoit?)

Sorry: Извините (Izvinite)

Sources:

Source: http://www.thebesttimetovisit.com/

Source: http://www.roughguides.com/

Source: http://www.worldtravelguide.net

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