Information about Russia
Travel is a fantastic way to wake up your mind and your heart! And if nature is your calling, Russia is your destination!
Here are some basic facts about Russia –
Russia (officially the Russian Federation) is the largest country in the world, stretching across Europe and Asia. Moscow is the capital and Russian is the official language. Yes, it is advised to know a little Russian before travelling there. The western regions are much more urbanized and populated than the eastern regions of Russia.
Some of the most popular cities in this vast country are Moscow, St Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod etc. Russia also shares borders with Finland, Norway, Latvia, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, China & few others. Hence, if one has the time and the inclination, there is much to be explored!
With such a large landscape, Mother Nature has a free hand in Russia and She has endowed the country well, making it a mysterious and magical place to be. Here are some of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders -
Putorana Plateau, located near Norilsk, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a high lying basalt plateau, and a mountainous region which is a natural wonder. There are large nickel deposits, varied ecosystems and pristine cold-water lakes & river systems. Lake Vivi is Russia’s geographical center and the largest waterfall in Asia, Talnikovy is located here.
Maly Semyachik Volcano, a stunning compound stratovolcano is a natural wonder located on the Kamchatka peninsula, and features a brilliant green-blue lake. Minerals are believed to be responsible for the color of this hot, acidic lake.
The Altai Mountains are the centerpiece for nature’s stunning work in terms of flora and fauna. Altai means Golden Mountain in Mongolian & Turkish languages. This is the range where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together. It is the highest point of the Arctic Ocean watershed, and is accessible by helicopter. Belukha, located in the Katun Mountains is the highest peak of the Altai in Russia. Access requires planning in advance. Sheep, deer, boars, Siberian ibex, gazelles, snow leopards, lynx, bears, tigers etc., are some of the fauna found here. Altai and Katun Natural Reserves, Lake Teletskoye, Mount Belukha, and the Ukok Plateau—comprise a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site entitled Golden Mountains of Altai.
Kungur Ice Cave is a karst cave located in the Urals, Russia, on the right bank of the Sylva River. The cave is famous for its ice formations and is a popular tourist landmark since 1914. Tourists flock here to gaze at the natural sculptural ice formations, stalactites and stalagmites. Myth has it that inside the cave there is narrow path which is called “the women road” because a long time ago a foreign princess fell down on this road. After she returned from the cave she got married. Therefore, the says is that if a lady falls down on this road she will get married soon.
Baikal Lake is Russia’s nearly 25-million-year-old natural wonder! It is known as the Pearl of Siberia. It is the largest freshwater lake and aslo, the oldest and deepest lake in the world. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site comprising of over 1700 species of flora and fauna.
The Curonian Spit is a magnificent wonder of nature that began its formation over 5,000 years ago. It is a 98 km long, thin, curved sand-dune spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is shared by Russia and Lithuania. Some of these drifting sand dunes can reach up to 200 feet – the highest in Europe!
Volga River is the National River of Russia, and the largest in Europe. It flows across 11 of Russia’s twenty largest cities, including Moscow. Despite most of it being frozen for three months each year, it still provides hydroelectric and irrigation benefits by feeding some of the largest reservoirs in the world. The Volga is revered in Russian culture and is fondly called Mother Volga for being a natural resource and maintaining ecology in the region.
Lena Pillars is a natural rock formation along the banks of the Lena River in far eastern Siberia. It is called The Stone Forest of Yakutsk. The pillars are 150–300 metres (490–980 ft) high, and were formed many years ago. The pillars consist of alternating layers of limestone, marlstone, dolomite and slate. This World Heritage Site can be explored by a river cruise via travel services in the city of Yakutsk.
The Virgin Komi Forests is a natural UNESCO World Heritage site in the Northern Ural Mountains of the Komi Republic, Russia. At 32,800 km² it is the largest virgin forest in Europe. It is a forest that has attained great age without significant disturbance and thereby exhibits unique ecological features. The Virgin Komi Forests belong to the Ural Mountains taiga ecoregion. Dominant tree species include Siberian Spruce, Siberian Fir and Siberian Larch, while the most prominent mammals are the reindeer, the sable, the mink and the hare. Despite the area's recognition as a World Heritage site, attempts at extracting gold are a constant controversy.
So wait no longer, plan ahead and explore you way across Russia’s natural beauty and find a wonderland worthy of awe.