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RUSSIA


Geographical Position:
The territory of Russia occupies a part of the Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. As one can follow the borders beginning from the Far East, it neighbours upon the Democratic People's Republic of Korea , People's Republic of China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Belorussia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Norway . A part of the state, namely, the Kaliningradskaya Oblast, is separated from the rest of the territory by another state that is Lithuania . The land boundary of Russia is the longest in the world.
Climate & Weather:
The greater part of Russia lies within the moderate climatic zone. The northern regions of the country, i.e., the islands of the Arctic Ocean and a part of the continental areas, lie in the arctic and sub-arctic belts, while the southern regions, that is the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus , lie in the sub-tropics. The climate almost everywhere is continental and in the extreme northwest, it is sea climate. On the Central and East-European plain, the climate, as a rule, is temperate, while in Siberia and in the Far East , it is severe continental with large temperature variations in the daytime and at nights, with hot summers and cold many-snow winters. The average temperatures of January are from 0 to minus 5 °C near the northern spurs of the Caucasus Mountains and in the West-European part, and from -40, -50 °C in Yakutia, and those of July are ranging from 1 °C in the northern coast of Siberia to 24 - 25 °C in the Pricaspiyskaya lowland. Located in the Eastern Siberia is the pole of cold of the northern hemisphere - the town of Oimiakon where the minimum temperature of January is minus 72°C.
Landscapes:
Because of theirs scales, the landscapes of are rather variable, from swamps to waterless steppes and arctic tundra. A considerable portion of the territory is covered with tundra and taiga, and more than 60% of the territory is perpetually frozen ground. Three fourths of the territory of Russia is plains.

The mountainous relief is dominating in the east and south of the country. Situated in the south of the European part are the Caucasian Mountains. The highest point of the Large Caucuses and concurrently the highest peak of Europe is the Elborus Mountains. Located in the southern part of Siberia are the Altai Mountains (the Belukha Mountain, 4506 m), the Western and Eastern Sayani, the Kuznetski Alatau, the Mountains of Tuva, Pribaikalie, Zabaikalie, etc. Stretching along the far-east coast of the Pacific Ocean is the belt of young Kamchatka Mountains with the highest acting volcano of Eurasia named the Kluchevskaya mud volcano (4750 m) and the acting volcanoes of the Kurilie Islands.

There are about 120 thousand rivers in having the length of more than 10 km. The rivers of Russia are relating to the basins of three oceans: the Arctic Ocean (the Northern Dvina, Pechora, Ob, Irtish, Enisei, Lena, Indigirka, Kolima rivers and so on), the Pacific Ocean (the Amur, Anadir, Penzhina rivers and so on) and the Atlantic Ocean (the Don, Kuban and Neva Rivers). The Volga River, which is the largest river of Europe (3531 km), falls into the Caspian Sea ( Lake ) and is related to the internal drainage system.

Russia is the country of lakes. Their total number of lakes (salt and fresh-water) is about two million. Located in Russia are the largest natural fresh-water reservoir and the deepest lake of the world - the Baikal Lake (1637-m deep) and also the largest lakes of Europe - the Ladozhskoye Ozero and Onega Lake . Distinguished by its sizes is also the north lake called Taimir. Note-worthy of salt lakes are the Caspian Lake-Sea and the Baskunchak Lake . There are a lot of artificial "seas" - reservoirs in the country. Related to artificially made reservoirs is the Bratskoye reservoir, which is the largest in the world.
Time Zone:
Russia has eight time zones. Moscow and St Petersburg are GMT+3. Moscow time is adopted nearly everywhere west of the Urals. When it is 3pm in Moscow, it is 5pm in Yekaterinburg, 7pm in Novosibirsk, 8pm in Irkutsk, 9pm in Chita, and 10 pm in Vladivostok . Moscow time is shown on the station clocks along the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Population:
There are 145 million people constantly living in Russia . They are represented by more than 100 nationalities speaking their own languages. The most numerous people of Russia are the Russians (81.5%) and the rest are the Tatars (3.8%), Ukranians (3%), Chuvashs (1.2%), Bashkirs (0.9%), Byelorussians (0.8%), Mordvinians (0.7%), Chechens (0.6% each), Avarians, Armenians, Jews (0.4% each) and other people.
Major Language:
The Russian language is the state language and it is used everywhere. At the same time, at the places of compact living of those or some other people, there are widely used their native languages and dialects, there is issued the national press and there are acting the schools with the teaching process on the native languages.
Capital:
The capital of Russia is Moscow. St. Petersburg is also very important administrative, business and cultural centre of Russia and that is why it is often called the second or the Northern capital of Russia.
Largest Cities:
There are more than one thousand cities and towns in Russia. The largest cities, with the population of more than one million people, are as follows: Moscow (more than nine mln people), St. Petersburg (about 4.7 mln people), Nizhniy Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Omsk, Tcheliabinsk, Kazan, Perm, Ufa, Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd.
Money Matters: Russia's national currency is ruble. Notes are in the denominations of 10, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 rubles. You can exchange currency practically everywhere (US dollars, euros) - in banks, currency exchange booths on the streets, in hotels, supermarkets, at train stations and in airports. The exchange rate is set by the Central Bank of Russia. Currently it is about 26 rubles per dollar and 34,5 rubles per euro. Many currency exchange booths in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other major cities work 24 hours. When going to small provincial cities it is advised to take a sufficient amount of cash with you since it is often hard to exchange money there in the evening and during the night.

Credit cards and traveler's checks have limited use since they are usually accepted only in large cities, hotels and supermarkets. Commission for cashing a check is usually 2-3%. You can transfer money using the services of such companies as TT, Western Union , Money Gram.
History & Culture:

 

Tour Packages:

 

What to bring from Russia:
There is a great number of folk crafts and various goods available for tourists as souvenirs. The choice depends on the region. Tourists visiting Moscow and St. Petersburg usually buy Gzhel or Leningrad porcelain, matreshkas (nesting dolls) of various sizes, hand painted Zhost trays, colorful wool shawls, wonderful Palekh lacquer boxes with varnish pictures, wooden spoons, vases and other hand painted ware from craftsmen of Khokhloma. Smolensk and Kostroma regions are famous for embroidered tablecloths and lace-trimmed linens, Tula region - for shiny souvenir samovars, Vologda region - for very fine laces, woven by the local craftswomen, Orenburg region - for weightless down shawls, Urals region - for souvenirs and jewelry made of semi-precious stones. You can always find a good Russian souvenir wherever you are.

Besides crafts, the concept of "traditional Russian souvenir" also includes food stuffs. Usually it is black and red caviar, various brands of vodka, decorated cakes from Tula and Russian chocolate known for high content of cacao.
Getting There:
There are daily flights to Moscow from all major European capitals and New York, as well as from Hong Kong and other Asian travel centres. There are also daily services to St Petersburg from many European capitals.

The main western rail gateways to European Russia are Helsinki, Warsaw, Prague and Budapest. There is a daily service from Paris and Amsterdam to Moscow via Berlin and Warsaw. There's also a service from Berlin to Omsk. The Trans-Siberian Railway runs from Moscow to Vladivostok, and you can get a train from there to Beijing. There are limited cruise and ferry services between Russia and Finland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Turkey and Georgia.
Useful Links:

 


CONTACT DETAILS
Bolshoi pr. 100, of. 616 Saint-Petersburg, Russia
Tel./Fax: +7 (812) 740 47 22
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