Stretching from the East of Europe, over 10,000 km all the way across Northern Asia, Russia is the largest country in the entire world. This behemoth measures in at a total of over 17 000.000 square km in area and borders a whopping sixteen countries. There are eleven time zones across the whole country, which is home to an estimated 144 million people of various ethnic groups.
- Capital city – Moscow
- Currency – Ruble
- Official religion – Orthodox Christianity
While the official language spoken in Russia is Russian, there are over a hundred other languages and dialects used by the 160 ethnic groups in Russia. Ukrainian and Tatar are also widely spoken. The Cyrillic alphabet is used in Russian, which can be difficult for beginners to get used to. However, with the alphabet learnt it’s easier to get to grips with this fantastically rich, phonetic language. The bare basics for anyone visiting the country are listed below.
- Yes = дa – Da
- No = нет – Nyet
- Hi = Привет – Preevyet
- Good day/hello = Добрый день – Dobry D(y)en
- Good bye = До свидания – Do-Svidania
- Thank you = Спасибо – Spaseebo
- Please = Пожалуйста – Pozal-oosta
- Excuse me = Извините – Eezveneetyeh
- Where is = где – Guh-dyeh
Russia is well known for its cold climates. Indeed, the coldest inhabited place on Earth, Oymyakon, is located in Siberia and temperatures can plunge as low as -68°C. With long cold winters and brief summers it’s no wonder the country and its people have a reputation for being hardy. There’s a stark difference between North and South, with some coastal areas enjoying an almost sub tropical climate. In the North however, temperatures rarely sit above freezing for long, even in summer.
Being the largest country in the world, it’s little wonder that Russia’s landscape is as varied and diverse as its people. Half of the country is covered by immense pine forests, while huge mountains and deserts lay to the East. The Siberian highlands are a harsh place to live, though the Russian Tundra, covering 20% of the Earth’s surface, is near uninhabitable. It is a sparse, highland, that suffers from freezing temperatures made worse by high winds. It’s said that bare skin can freeze within 30 seconds in the Tundra. Thankfully there are warmer coastal areas on the Black and Caspian Sea coastlines. The mighty Caucasus mountains separate South Western Russia from Georgia and Azerbaijan, while the immense Ural mountains effectively divide West and Eastern Russia. The highest mountain in the country is Mount Elbrus, at 5642m. Lake Baikal in Siberia is the world’s largest freshwater lake, containing around 20% of the world’s unfrozen fresh water. It’s also the deepest lake in the world, plummeting down an impressive 1,642 m. Russia certainly doesn’t seem to do things by halves!