Where is it: Russia is located in northern Asia, bordering the Arctic Ocean, between Europe and the North Pacific Ocean
Why do people go here: Oh sweet Russia! Still an empire in its own right, but struggling with development. A massive country packed with history, rural communities and the Trans-Siberian railway.
What are the main entry points: Russia is BIG, but most travelers head from the West to St. Petersburg or Moscow from Ukraine, Belarus or the Baltic countries
Currency used: Russian ruble
Country Code for Phones: 7
Area codes for Major Cities: Moscow 95, St. Petersburg 812
Religion: Russian Orthodox, Muslim
Population: 144.5 million
Ethnic Breakdown: Russians 79.8%, Tatars 3.8%, Ukrainians 2%, Bashkirs 1.2%, Chuvash 1.1%, Chechen 0.9%, Armenians 0.8%, other – 10.4%
Government: Federation. Until 1991, Russia was the stronghold of the U.S.S.R., the Eastern communist bloc.
Major Cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg
Attractions: Trans-Siberian Railway, Kremlin, Moscow
Tourism Office locations and links: http://www.russia-travel.com
Off-the-Beaten-Path: Astrakhan, Trinity Monastary of St. Sergius, Izmailovsky Park
Health Issues: No vaccines are required for the international traveller
Tips for Visiting
When to go: Avoid winter at all costs, unless you plan on drinking a lot of vodka to keep warm. Early fall is relatively dry, still warm and generally more cheery than the damp spring.
Common Phrases: Hello=pree-vyet, Goodbye=da-svi-da-niya, Yes=da, No= knee-yet, Please=pa-zhalyi-sta, Thank You=spa-see-ba, Do you speak English?= vi gavareetye pa angleeskee?
Specific Events/Holidays: Russia Day, 12 June (1990)
Getting Around: Bring some good reading, ’cause you’ll need it on the extensive, but slow, trains. Buses visit smaller towns.
Good to know: Visitors must be ‘invited’ to travel to Russia- this is usually arranged through your hostel or hotel. It’s typically for 30 days.
Cheapest airport to fly into: The cheapest airport to fly into Russia is the Domodedovo International Airport.
Need more information?: Check out the Russia travel guide for more on what to see, where to stay, and how to get there.