Russia spans across both Europe and Asia. Home to 11 time zones and various cultures, Russia is also an acclaimed space exploration leader and birthplace of Yuri Gagarin.
Russian culture and tradition is home to some odd practices and beliefs; for instance, Russians believe it is appropriate only to give flowers in odd numbers.
1. Russia is the largest country in the world
Russia stands out among the world’s biggest countries when it comes to size. Boasting 11 time zones and covering an area of 17,098,246 km2, this vast nation is more than twice as big as Canada and three times larger than China – both ranked in second and third respectively.
Russia is an expansive and sprawling nation, but relatively sparsely populated. Most Russians reside in urban centers like Moscow and St. Petersburg. There are more than 190 recognized ethnic groups within the country – making it one of the world’s most diverse nations! While Russian Orthodoxy remains at the core of its culture, other religions such as Islam or tribal rituals in Siberia also practiced today.
Russia is home to an abundance of geographical features to explore, from vast plains and taiga forests to high mountains and an icy tundra landscape. Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world and home to one-fifth of global liquid freshwater supply is found within Russia’s borders; furthermore there are over 80 national parks/reserves within its borders, plus over one million lakes!
Russia spans an area of 14 nations across its fourteen land borders – Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus Ukraine Kazakhstan China. Due to this straddling Europe and Asia with a unique landscape with the Ural Mountains serving as its traditional boundary.
2. It has 11 time zones
Russia is home to 11 distinct time zones that reflect its vast and varied geography. While most nations only boast 24 time zones worldwide, Russia spans 11 from GMT +2 Kaliningrad all the way through to GMT +5 Kamchatka – reflecting its diverse landscape.
Time zones serve to maintain order in our nation’s various industries and sectors, and facilitate communication among different regions within it.
Russia currently maintains an unparalleled space program. Satellites orbit Earth regularly while they maintain one of only two operational space stations worldwide – all thanks to Russia.
Though the fall of the Soviet Union resulted in economic hardship for its people, their space program survived and has even flourished to become the leading provider of planetary probes.
Russia established time zones largely out of necessity, to enable more effective operations and coordination across its vast territory. They were also determined by geographical considerations and political considerations.
Before time zones were implemented, most of Russia followed solar time – meaning midday occurred when the Sun reached its zenith instead of at noon as is commonly practiced across Europe and North America.
President Dmitry Medvedev made an interesting suggestion during his annual state of the nation address; Russian President Dmitry Medvedev proposed that Russia reduce from its 11 time zones to 7. While his suggestion was quickly mocked, it’s an intriguing idea; perhaps making Russia more efficient and easier for visitors. If you plan on visiting this fascinating nation soon, we suggest learning Russian with one of our top tutors!
3. It has the largest lake in the world
Most people associate Russia with subzero temperatures, vodka and the villains from Hollywood films – but this vast country spanning both Europe and Asia offers much more to experience.
Lake Baikal in Siberia, which holds more freshwater than all the Great Lakes combined in North America, is one of the oldest and coldest lakes on Earth and features an extremely diverse ecosystem – over 80% of its animal species can only be found there!
This lake boasts such clear water that you can see its bottom up to 40 meters deep, thanks to being shallow in some places and surrounded by mountains, as well as being filled with snowmelt from Siberian mountains in its vicinity.
Lake Baikal is famed for its incredible biodiversity. Boasting both saltwater and freshwater environments – its eastern side being more acidic while its western section being alkaline – Lake Baikal contains numerous islands, streams and rivers and hosts over 1,700 different plant species.
Russia boasts one of the world’s highest forest reserve counts with an estimated 640 billion trees, second only to Amazon rainforest in terms of oxygen production and home to endangered animals such as Siberian Tiger. Furthermore, Russian forests contain various other birds, mammals and reptiles as well as endangered ones like tigers.
4. It has 12 active volcanos
Russia conjures images of cold weather, vodka and villains from American movies – but this vast nation offers so much more than just that! As one of the largest countries on Earth spanning both Asia and Europe with 12 active volcanoes and some of the most beautiful scenery available anywhere.
Russia is an immensely powerful nation, possessing one of the largest stockspiles of nuclear weapons and boasting some of the last remaining unspoiled forests on earth – home to some of the rarest species on the planet, including endangered ones like Siberian Tigers.
The Kamchatka Peninsula is one of the world’s highest concentrations of volcanic activity. Home to 29 active volcanoes, scientists are frequently surprised to witness small explosions, fumaroles or hot avalanches at any one of Kamchatka’s volcanoes on any given day – though major explosive eruptions that send material skyward are far less common occurrences here than elsewhere.
One such volcano is Shiveluch, which recently experienced its inaugural bezymianny-type eruption on March 30. Shiveluch shot out ash to an altitude of over 10 miles during this unprecedented “directed explosion.”
Shiveluch volcano has experienced one of the world’s most violent volcanic eruptions in history, creating an explosion that destroyed its summit, creating a nearly mile wide crater and sending out waves of lava into the Pacific Ocean, producing an island-sized rock formation called an island of rock in its wake. Today it remains one of the most active volcanoes.
5. It has a cat that can predict football matches
The World Cup kicks off this week and many fans are trying to predict who will win it all, with Achilles the cat of St Petersburg’s Hermitage museum having an edge: He can reportedly predict winners by selecting from between two bowls of food bearing flags of competing teams; in 2018, Achilles picked Russia over Saudi Arabia!
Achilles the deaf cat boasts an impressive track record; Tass reports he accurately predicted all four winners in last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup soccer competition, Tass reports. Following in Paul the octopus’ footsteps who also claimed to be able to predict football matches results accurately.
Russia boasts many astonishing facts: It boasts the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, the longest river system and second-largest forest reserves with 266 mammal species and 780 bird species residing therein. There’s even Helicopter Golf where golf balls are hit onto snow with helicopters!
Russian space program has long been revered, and while its initial success may have diminished following the collapse of Soviet Union, they never abandoned their quest to reach outer space. Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person ever to set foot on the moon; Soyuz rockets are still used today as the primary means of sending astronauts into space and back again. Russia continues its mission with spaceship development and upgrades; even developing and upgrading fleet of spaceships faster than before with plans of creating a fuel efficient rocket capable of traveling all the way around in two hours!