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10 facts about Russia you probably did not know

Russia is huge, inexplicable, unique and controversial country, which you can re-discover to yourself every time you pay a visit. In below, there are 10 facts about this amazing country that should reveal its phenomenon for you.

1. Freshwater wonder

Baikal is the deepest lake in the world (1642 m) with an area of more than 31.7 sq. km. It contains more than 23.5 cubic meters of water, which makes it the largest freshwater source on the planet (about 20% of all reserves). Coastline’s length is almost equal to distance from Moscow to Istanbul. The basin is populated with unique flora and fauna. The water here is extremely transparent (visibility up to 40 m), it contains a minimum of mineral substances. The purity of the water is maintained by a special crawfish. Water temperature usually does not rise above + 9 °С even in summer, which may make it a bit of challenge for swimming.

2. Siberian taiga – as famous Russian saying suggests, is the planet’s green "lungs"

It is the world's largest land biome (it extends 40 parallels from south to north). Dark coniferous forests prevail here. Basically, they are represented by boreal species of pine, fir, spruce and larch. The undergrowth is very poorly developed or even absent, moss cover and the grass-shrub layer are also uniform. There are few herd animals. There are mainly fur animals, ungulates, birds, rodents, some cold-blooded, many of which are sedentary.

3. Dacha style holidays

The phenomenon and the word "dacha" exists only in Russia. Its appearance dates back to the beginning of the 18th century. In the mid-50s of the 20th century, the "dachaboom" has began, which gained even more force in the mid-90s (with the development of former collective farm fields and villages’ outskirts). Then small plots (600-800 sq. m.) were used mainly for growing vegetables, fruits, berries and greens. In modern Russia, people are less keen on cultivating the land and just relaxing in their country houses, i.e. dachas.

4. New "sport"

Oddly enough, but this is a helicopter golf. It cannot be said that sports spirit prevails here; it is rather an entertainment for oligarchs. The essence of the game is similar to a mixture of polo, classic golf and helicopter piloting. 2 helicopters with teams of 5 people each (a pilot, an attacker, a coordinator and 2 utility men) play with 4-meter clubs and 2 balls with a diameter of 1 meter. According to the rules, you need to hit the ball with a club, which is rather difficult to do because of the considerable weight of the equipment: the stick weighs about 10 kg, and the ball - about 20.

5. "Top secret" cities

In fact, not all Russia’s cities are marked on maps and road signs. There are at least 15 localities and 42 closed territorial-administrative districts, where foreigners are strictly not allowed. These districts are generally fenced with barbed wire and guarded by military patrols around the clock; they can only be visited by possession of a special permit. Such areas belong to the Ministry of Defense, Rosatom and Rosсosmos.

6. City with a camel on the coat of arms

Chelyabinsk is located both in the Urals and in Siberia, but camels are not found there. However, the city was built on the "Great Silk Road" and earlier there was a brisk trade. Camel caravans were used in this place on regular basis. Inhabitants greatly appreciated and treasured pack animals, as they were an ideal trading vehicle. Therefore, they appeared on city’s coat of arms.

7. Museum cats

Unusual employees appeared in the Hermitage as early as the 18th century to protect exhibits and building from the hordes of rats and mice. Since that time, as a rule, every cat must be sterilized, has a veterinary passport and identity card. Cats "work" exclusively in the basement, fully equipped for their comfort. Each animal has everything it needs, and food is acquired by the matter of donations from visitors, employees and sponsors.

8. 7 Sisters

In Moscow, you can find 7 absolutely identical buildings built in Stalinist Gothic’s style. They are also called "7 Sisters." In particular, these are 2 residential buildings, 2 hotels, 2 administrative buildings and a university.

9. How far is it from America?

Surprisingly, not that much. In case you may desire to measure the distance between the Ratmanov (Russia) and Kruzenshtern (USA) islands, it is only 4 km.

10. Gloomy country

Russia is relatively "famous" for not being the friendliest country in many foreign ratings. Yet, this is far away from the real case. The fact is that it is not customary to smile at all people passing by. Children in schools are taught to be serious and not look frivolous. Many of them quite alert to strangers. However, Russian people are always ready to help to even completely unknown people. They don’t mean to be rude but Please and Thank You are also more rare to be met in compare to European customs. 

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