Geographic facts about Russia
The largest country in the world, Russia constitutes one-seventh of the world’s landmass and spans eight time zones. This expansive area allows it to neighbor more countries than anywhere else on earth, as well as touch twenty-two bodies of water and hold twelve seas within its borders. Its vast and complicated array of landscapes has created a diverse blend of forty national parks alongside its forty UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. Here you can find the oldest mountains in the world, the Urals, and the deepest lake in the world, Lake Baikal. Travel from the tundra to the steppes, the desert to the glaciers, the valleys to the volcanoes without ever needing a new visa.
Climatic facts about Russia
The climate of the Russian Federation formed under the influence of several determining factors. The vast size of the country and the remoteness of many areas from the sea result in the dominance of the humid continental and sub-arctic climate, which is prevalent in European and Asian Russia except for the tundra and the extreme southeast.
Most Russians live in continental climate with distinct periods of warm (summer) and cold (winter) weather. The coldest month is January (February on the shores of the sea), the warmest usually is July. Great ranges of temperature are typical. In winter, temperatures get colder both from south to north and from west to east. Summers can be quite hot and humid, even in Siberia. A small part of Black Sea coast around Sochi has a subtropical climate. The coldest temperature in the world (-71 C) is fixed in Oimyakon also known as the Frost Pole. Temperature in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg range from +25 C in July down to -25 C in January.
he Russian monetary unit is the rouble. There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency allowed to be brought into Russia. However, all money brought into the country (including traveller’s checks) must be declared upon entering the country.
Tourists can exchange any amount of hard currency for roubles at any authorized Russian banks, Intourist exchange offices, foreign currency offices or ATM located in major hotels, shopping malls, international airports and sea ports. Exchange rates between the rouble and hard currencies are set by authorized Russian banks within Russia and by authorized banks within each of the independent republics. All major credit cards including American Express, Diners Club, Eurocard/Mastercard, Visa International and others are accepted for payment in shops, restaurants and banks in Moscow, Saint-Petersbourg, Kazan and other big tourist centers.
See current exchange rate of Russian currency now.
Getting in and out of the country
The common way of arriving to Russia is an air flight. You can get to Russia by regular flights and charters of world’s biggest carriers as well as discounters, from all European capitals, New York, Washington and Los Angeles in the USA, Beijing, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Delhi, etc. Main tourist traffic goes through 3 international airports (Domodedovo, Vnukovo and Sheremetyevo) in Moscow and Pulkovo in Saint-Petersburg. All these airports have been recently renovated according to the international standards. There are international airports in other Russian cities as well. The biggest Russian air carriers are Aeroflot, S7, Transaero, Pulkovo airlines.
Domodedovo airport: www.domodedovo.ru/en
Sheremetyevo airport: svo.aero/en
Vnukovo airport: www.vnukovo.ru/eng/index.wbp
Pulkovo airport: www.pulkovoairport.ru/eng/
List of international airports in Russia
Other ways of arriving to Russia are by train, by ferry or by tourist bus. Moscow has regular train connections with Helsinki, Prague, Berlin, Warsaw, Budapest, Kiev, Minsk, Riga, Vilnius, Tallin. Main railway stations in Moscow are Leningradsky, Yaroslavsky and Kazansky located nearby on one square, Belorussky, Kursky and Paveletsky. All of them are located in the center of the city. In Saint-Petersburg there are Baltic, Finlandsky, Moscovsky, Ladogsky stations. Ferry lines connect Saint-Petersburg with Sweden, Finland, Norway, Estonia. Bus terminal connects Saint-Petersburg with Helsinki, Tallin and Riga.
In-country transportation (Getting around the country)
For short trips from major cities to the nearby towns, bus is the most convenient mean of transportation. For long-distance trips it is advisable to use train services, provided by Russian Railways, a government-owned railway monopoly. The company is one of the biggest railway companies in the world with 1.2 million employees. Compartments with 4 beds provide comfort and secure journey and can be booked in advance. 2 bed-compartments are also available.
Most Russian cities have well-developed and diverse systems of public transportation. Tickets are required for buses, trolleybuses and train journeys. One ticket must be validated for each journey. It is best to purchase tickets prior to boarding, but they can also be purchased directly from the driver while boarding. If you need to get a taxi you can either order it from your hotel or hail in the street. Taxis are normally yellow with chekers.
The fastest public transportation in the cities is Metro.
The Moscow Metro opened in 1935, now it is the most popular kind of transport used by approximately 9 million passengers. The major advantage of Moscow metro is a good combination of reliability, comfort and transportation speed which is crucial, assuming the close conditions and the pace of life of the modern metropolis. Every day 9915 trains run over 12 lines of the system (~300 km and 180 stations) with the minimum headway of 60 seconds and less during peak-hours. The Moscow Metro is well known for it’s outstanding design of halls and stations. The Moscow Metro use magnetic contact cards for tickets with a fixed number of pre-paid journeys (1, 2, 5, 10, 20) with small discounts starting with 5-ride cards.
Metro systems also operate in Saint-Petersbourg (5 lines, 63 stations), Novosibirsk (2 lines, 12 stations), Nizhny Novgorod (1 line, 13 stations), Samara (1 line, 8 stations), Yekaterinbourg (1 line, 8 stations), Kazan (1 line, 6 stations). Metro systems are under construction in Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Chelyabinsk.