35 fascinating facts about Russia
27th January, 2023
There are so many fascinating facts about Russia. From its unique culture to its landscape and natural resources; there is a lot to learn about Russia.
When Russia comes to mind, many people immediately think of cold winters, the red colour, and perhaps even bears. But there is so much more to this country than just that. Russia is a land of contrasts, with something to offer everyone, whether you’re interested in its history, culture, or natural beauty.
Once Winston Churchill famously said: “Russia is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” This quote pretty much sums up a lot about this country. So, if you want to know more facts about Russia, just scroll down to uncover them.
Fascinating Facts about Russia
Here are 35 surprising facts about Russia that will help you explore this amazing country a little better:
1. Largest Country in the World
The first of my facts about Russia is size. With a surface area of 17,098,242 square kilometres, Russia is the largest country in the World. It’s so big that it covers more than 1/9 of the Earth’s landmass and spans over 11 time zones. Plus, if you were to drive from one side of the country to the other, it would take you more than nine days.
2. Only 4 Km Distance to the USA
This is one of the most surprising facts about Russia! Did you know Russia is only 4 kilometres away from the United States? Yep, on Big Diomede Island in the middle of the Bering Strait, you can see America from Russia and vice versa. The International Date Line also runs through this island, meaning the two countries are a day apart.
3. Abundance of Trees
Russia is home to the world’s forests (one-quarter) and has more trees than any other country. Trees cover approximately 60% of the country.
4. Lake Baikal is the World’s deepest lake
Lake Baikal is the world’s deepest, oldest, and a largest freshwater lake. It contains around 20% of the world’s fresh water and is even older than the dinosaurs. In winter, the lake freezes completely! People even drive their cars over the lake.
5. The World’s first satellite
The world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched by the Soviet Union in 1957. It was about the size of a beach ball and weighed just 184 pounds.
6. Snow Village
Did you know that Russia has a Snow Village? Every year, a new village is built entirely out of snow and ice in the Republic of Karelia. It usually takes around two months to construct and can accommodate 200 people in its hotels made of snow and ice. This is one of my favourite facts about Russia!
7. Hub of Diamonds and other precious stones
Russia is the world’s largest producer of diamonds and other precious stones. Around 20% of the world’s diamonds come from Russia. The country is also home to some of the world’s largest and most famous diamonds, including the Orlov Diamond and the Great Star of Africa.
8. Active Volcanoes
There are around 200 volcanoes in Russia, but only around 30 of them are active. The most famous volcano in the country is Klyuchevskaya Sopka, the highest peak in Eurasia.
9. Matryoshka dolls
Matryoshka dolls are one of the most iconic symbols of Russia. These wooden dolls are nested inside each other and get progressively smaller the further you go in. They were first created in Russia in the late 19th century and have since become a popular souvenir for tourists.
10. The Hermitage Museum
Another one of the best facts about Russia is about its famous museum. The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is among the oldest and largest museums in the World. Catherine the Great founded it in 1764 and now houses over three million items, making it one of the largest collections in the World.
11. The oldest city in Russia
The oldest city in Russia is Novgorod, founded in 859 AD. Today, the city is a popular tourist destination for its well-preserved medieval architecture. Additionally, Novgorod is also home to the World’s oldest Russian Orthodox cathedral, the St. Sophia Cathedral, which was built in the 11th century.
12. Lake Ladoga
Lake Ladoga is among the largest lake in Europe and Russia’s second largest freshwater lake. It’s so giant that it has its mini-climate and is home to around 50 islands. The lake is also popular for its sandy beaches and clear waters. This is one of the most interesting facts about Russia!
13. Mount Elbrus
Mount Elbrus is the highest mountain in Europe and is located in the Caucasus. It’s a dormant volcano that last erupted in 50 AD. The mountain is a popular destination for climbers and has even been used as a training ground for NASA astronauts. It is also among the top wonders of nature in Russia.
14. The World’s longest railway
The Trans-Siberian Railway is the World’s longest railway and stretches over 9,289 km from Moscow to Vladivostok. The journey takes around seven days to complete and passes through some of the most scenic parts of the country. This is definitely one of my favourite facts about Russia!
15. The Valley of Geysers in Kamchatka
The Valley of Geysers in Kamchatka is the largest geyser field in the World. It was discovered in 1941 by a Russian geologist and now contains around 500 geysers. The area is so remote that it can only be accessed by helicopter. It is among the top wonders of nature in Russia and the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
16. The Baikal Seal
The Baikal Seal is the only freshwater seal species in the World, also known as the Nerpa. They are found exclusively in Lake Baikal and can grow up to six feet in length. They are also a popular tourist attraction, with many tourists coming to Lake Baikal to see these seals.
17. Columns of Erosion in Komi
The Columns of Erosion in Komi are a natural phenomenon caused by years of erosion. The columns are sandstone and can reach up to 30 meters in height. They are a popular tourist destination and have been used as a backdrop for many films and TV shows.
18. Languages in Russia
One of the most exciting facts about Russia is that there are over 270 different languages spoken in the country. Besides the official language (Russian), there are also many minority languages spoken, such as Tatar, Bashkir, and Chuvash.
Petergof is a small town located outside of St. Petersburg. It was founded by Peter the Great in 1710 and is home to many beautiful palaces and parks. It is popular for its history and architecture. Moreover, it has been used as a filming location for many Hollywood films. I bet this is one of the facts about Russia that you didn’t know?
20. The White Nights
The White Nights is a natural phenomenon from late May to July. The sun does not set during this time, and the sky remains light for 24 hours. This is a popular time to visit St. Petersburg, as the city is beautiful during this time.
21. The Mamayev Kurgan with the statue of Mother Russia
The Mamayev Kurgan is a hill located in Volgograd. It is home to Mother Russia’s statue, the tallest statue in the country. The hill is also a popular tourist destination for its history and scenic views. It is famous for being the site of the Battle of Stalingrad, one of the bloodiest battles in history.
22. Kizhi Pogost
Kizhi Pogost is on an island in Lake Onega and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a Russian wooden architecture masterpiece with two churches and a bell tower. The site attracts tourists for its beauty and history. It is also famous for its unique construction, as it was built without nails.
23. Lake Karachay is the World’s most polluted lake
Lake Karachay is located in the Ural Mountains and is considered the most polluted lake in the World. The lake was used for nuclear waste dumping and is so polluted that it is said to be able to give you radiation sickness if you spend just an hour there. This is one of the saddest facts about Russia for sure.
24. Largest producer of Urea
Russia is the largest producer of Urea, a compound of nitrogen and carbon. It is used as a fertilizer and an important chemical industry component.
25. The Sakha Republic, the Coldest inhabited place on Earth
The Sakha Republic is a region in Siberia and is the coldest inhabited place on Earth. The average winter temperature is -50°C, and the average summer temperature is +30°C. Despite the cold, the Sakha Republic is home to many different animals, such as reindeer, foxes, and wolves.
26. The Volga River
It is the longest river in Europe and is located in Russia. It is a major transport route and is also a popular tourist destination. The river is famous for its beauty and is often referred to as the “national river” of Russia.
27. The Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad
The Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad is located in St. Petersburg. It is a tribute to the people who defended the city during the Siege of Leningrad during World War II. The monument comprises a granite obelisk and a bronze sculpture of a woman with a child. The most interesting fact is that you can still hear the sound of the guns that were used during the siege.
28. Helicopter Golf
In Russia, you can play a game of golf using a helicopter. The game was invented by a group of businessmen and is played on a course located in the mountains. The game is played by hitting a ball from the helicopter onto the green. This is one of the most unusual facts about Russia!
29. Petergof, the luxurious city, and rival to Versailles
Petergof is a city located outside of St. Petersburg. It was founded by Peter the Great and is home to many beautiful palaces and parks. It is a popular architecture with over 150 fountains and four gigantic cascades. The Bolshoy cascade is the most famous; that contains 225 bronze sculptures and 64 fountains. The city is often called the “Russian Versailles” due to its luxury and beauty.
30. Biggest Medieval Fortress of the World
The fortress of Moscow’s Kremlin is the biggest medieval fortress in the World. It covered an area of 67 acres and was built in the 15th century. The fortress is home to many important buildings, such as the Presidential Palace, Parliament, and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The Kremlin is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
31. Russians are more Welcoming to Immigrants than any other European country
A recent study found that Russians are more welcoming to immigrants than any other European country. This is because Russia is a country of immigrants, with many different ethnic groups living within its borders.
32. The Significance of Red Color in Russia
Red is a very important colour in Russia. It is the colour of the Russian flag and is also associated with communism. Red is also a symbol of blessing and is often used in traditional Russian folk art. You will also find Red Corner, a special section in most Russian homes dedicated to religious accouterments and family icons. Click here to learn more about red tourism.
33. Stray Dogs in Russia Navigate the Subway
In Moscow, there are many stray dogs. These dogs have learned to navigate the city’s subway system and ride the trains to get around. The dogs have even been given their rules and are allowed to ride for free.
34. Beer was not Alcoholic Drink
Until 2011, beer wasn’t considered an alcoholic drink in Russia. This is because the alcohol content in beer is less than 10%. However, after a rise in alcohol-related deaths, the Russian government re-classified beer as an alcoholic drink.
35. Before Travelling, Russians sit quietly for a few seconds
It is a Russian tradition to sit quietly for a few moments before traveling. This is done to reflect on the journey ahead and to make sure that everything is in order. They also consider it a tribute to family spirits.
Facts about Russia- further reading
Russia is a fascinating country enriched with a complex history and culture. Its land, people, and many hidden facts about Russia make it a unique and intriguing place. There are also other things such as culture and traditions that make Russia an exciting place to visit. If you enjoyed this article on the facts about Russia then you will love these too-
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