25 fascinating things you didn't know about Russia
- Russia is home to Europe’s longest river, the Volga, at 3,690km (2,293 miles). It has more than 200 tributaries that, if counted with the main river, would add up to 357,000km (221,800 miles).
- St. Petersburg's greatest museum the Hermitage is home to around 70 cats, which guard its treasures against rodents. The tradition dates back to a 1745 decree of Empress Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great, founder of St. Petersburg. The museum also has almost 14 miles of marbled corridors.
- Giving flowers to residents can be a delicate point of etiquette. You should always make sure you give them in odd numbers unless going to a funeral, when even numbers are the rule.
- It is home to the coldest inhabited place on the planet - Oymyakon. On February 6, 1933, a temperature of −67.7 °C was recorded at its weather station
- Subbotnik is the day when residents of Russian cities volunteer to sweep up and tidy the streets. It started after the revolution but still happens today.
- The icicles hanging from the gutters in Moscow in winter are so enormous that the pavements below are cordoned off - as they'd kill you if they fell on your head.
- Chicken's foot soup (kholodets) is a traditional delicacy.
- Russians are the world's fourth-biggest drinkers, according to WHO statistics, behind Belarus, Moldova, and Lithuania. Britain comes 25th.
- It has more time zones (11) than any other country.
- Mikhail Gorbachev recorded an album of romantic ballads. Putin has a judo DVD.
- St. Peterburg has its own beach - besides the Peter and Paul Fortress. The city’s so-called “walruses” – believers in the therapeutic effects of freezing water – gather here to bathe in winter.
- There is a bronze sculpture of a dog with a shiny nose at Ploshchad Revolutsii metro station - it is shiny because it's good luck to touch it.
- Lake Karachay, a dumping ground for nuclear waste, is so radioactive that standing for one hour beside it would almost certainly kill you.
- The male life expectancy is just 65, lower than it is in North Korea or Iraq. Russian women, on the other hand, can expect to live to 75.
- There's reputedly another secret metro system - Metro-2 - which links a collection of military bunkers.
- It's considered wimpy to lower the ear flaps on your Ushanka (fur hat) unless the temperature drops below -20C.
- It has one of the world's most terrifying walkways: the 439-meter SkyBridge.
- In 1908 the Russian Olympic team arrived in London 12 days late because it was still using the Julian calendar.
- For many Russians, it is tradition to wear your wedding ring on your ring finger of your right hand. Countries like Ukraine, Poland, Georgia, Germany, Spain, Austria, India, and Greece have a similar tradition of wearing the wedding ring on the right hand.
- Russia is the largest country in the world by area. Its total area is 17,075,400 square kilometers and it covers more than a ninth of the Earth’s land area. The area of the land in Russia is 1.8 times larger than the total size of the United States.
- Russian’s will never shake hands over a doorway. It is believed to be a bad omen and most Russians are convinced the action will lead to an argument.
- Russia is the only country in the world which is washed by 12 seas and 3 oceans.
- Along with the Russian language considered to be the official language of the country, the population of Russia speaks over 25 other languages that are co-official ones depending on the regional diversity.
- Russians do not feel easy about talking to strangers in the street unless it is a foreign traveler who needs any assistance.
- Russian people enjoy all kinds of celebrations, be it a birthday party or a wedding celebration, or a promotion within the company, or even a comeback from holiday.
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