What comes to mind when you think of Russia? Tundra? Snow? Probably. But today we’re going to take a look at the Russia you’ve never seen before. Given that it’s the world’s biggest country, it has quite a bit of diversity within its borders. It’s not all snow and ice! These are 25 Really Cool Facts About Russia You Might Not Know.
Lake Baikal contains more than one fifth of the world's unfrozen fresh water. Russia as a country contains one quarter of the world's unfrozen fresh water.
Russian bank notes have braille markings on them for blind people.
Russia's dialing code is 007.
The name of the Red Square doesn't actually have anything to do with communism. Its name is derived from the word "krasnyi," which means "beautiful."
Remember Sochi? It hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics? Well, it can be found on the "Russian Riviera." And yes, it has palm trees.
Moscow is the biggest city in Europe with 13 million people. London comes second with 8 million.
The highest mountain in Europe is Mount Elbrus which can be found in the Caucasus Range. It stands at 5,642 metres (18,510 ft).
Everyone knows Russia is big. Just how big? To give some perspective, Russia covers more time-zones than any other country...11 in total.
The busiest metro system in Europe can be found in Moscow with an average daily ridership of over 6 million people.
On the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Russia, you can go trekking on volcanoes. Klyuchevskaya Sopka is the highest active volcano in both Europe and Asia.
As the biggest country in the world, Russia contains 10% of the Earth's arable land.
The Volga River is the longest river in Europe.
By now you may have realized that Russia isn't all snow and tundra. While most of the country can be quite cold, down near Sochi, the climate is actually subtropical. And with the Caucasus Mountains looming in the background, you can go to the beach in the morning and skiing in the afternoon.
Although Russia is mostly oblasts (provinces, of which there are 49) and krais (territories, of which there are 9), it also contains 22 republics, each with their own constitution.
Why so many divisions? Well, only 80% of Russia is actually ethnically Russian. The country is home to more than 160 different ethnic groups.
As many of you may know, Russia has played a huge part in space exploration. In fact, Russian and English are the two official languages of the International Space Station.
Take a look at number 1 to see more about Russia’s space exploration!
After the United States (46 million), Russia has the second largest number of immigrants in the world (12 million). A lot of them are from former Soviet countries.
More than 100 languages are spoken within Russia's borders. And remember those republics? Many of them have their own official languages.
Russia has the largest energy and mineral reserves of any country in the world and provides Europe with most of its oil.
It may be hard to believe, but Russia even has a desert. It can be found near the Caspian Sea and is appropriately called the Caspian Lowland Desert.
With the world's largest forest reserves, Russia has been called the "Lungs of Europe." It's second only to the Amazon in the amount of carbon dioxide that it absorbs.
To give you a sense of Russia's size, it stretches all the way from the European Union on one side to almost touching Alaska on the other. (At one point, the US and Russia were only 4 km apart.)
Although its population dipped after the dissolution of the USSR, Russia's birth rate and immigration rate have now surpassed other European countries.
Russia has 15 cities with a population of over 1 million people. This is largely due to a highly urbanized population.
Russia (Soviet Union) was the first country to send a human to space (Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin) and the first country to send a satellite to space (Sputnik I). It was also the first country to land on the moon (Luna 9), Venus (Venera 9), and Mars (Mars 3).
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Photos: Featured Image: shutterstock, 25-20. pixabay (public domain), 19. LxAndrew, Эльбрус с перевала Гумбаши, CC BY-SA 3.0, 18. Hellerick, Russia physical location map, CC BY-SA 4.0, 17-13. pixabay (public domain), 12. anonymous, Republics of Russia Catalan, CC BY-SA 3.0, 11-7. pixabay (public domain), 6. Alexxx1979, Astrakhan Oblast camels P5101090 2200, CC BY-SA 4.0, 5. pixabay (public domain), 4. TUBS, Russia in the World, CC BY-SA 3.0, 3-1. pixabay (public domain)