Russia is a vast country offering so many different landscapes and with a fascinating history and lots of places to visit. By choosing to travel to Russia you will get to enjoy one of the most challenging but incredible experiences of your life. Russia is a country that will take your breath away, there are modern cities, spectacular mountains, snowcapped mountains, and also off the beaten track exotic destinations like Siberia.
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The name Russia originated from the old Norse term, for "the men who row" (rods-) as rowing was the main method of navigating the rivers of Eastern Europe. Russia became the medieval state of Rus after being ruled by the early Swedes and became independent, began to flourish in the 9th century. The Mongols invaded and split the country into small tributaries until it reunified itself to become the Kievan Russian empire in the 18th century.
The monarchy became established into the tsarist regime until the Russian Revolution overtook it and Russia became the USSR, which some saw as a failed socialist state. In 1991, the soviet state was dissolved and the Russian Federation was established. Today, much of the Soviet Union is gone and a new democratic government has emerged into the 21st century to maintain Russia's dominance in the world stage.
Russia is a huge country that spans 11 time zones on two continents and its climate is as varied but the dominating humid continental climate persists except in the tundra and the southeast of the country. The rest either have a subarctic climate or polar climate. The majority of the country has only two distinct seasons winter and summer with spring and autumn just managing to act as change for the two seasons. January is the coldest when temperatures are in -10C while July is the warmest when temperatures can reach 25C but extremes happen.
July and August are the summer months in Russia and many tourist prefer this months as it's a bit preferable to getting frozen in winter. This is also why the term “White Nights” was coined because at these time, the sun doesn't set in the first part of July. Temperatures can climb to 90 degrees F. it is also humid which make it a bit uncomfortable but there's almost always air-conditioning.
Getting into Russia is not a problem with over a thousand airports. Almost all major airlines have flights to Moscow where the traveler can continue on to their next destination.
Visitors to Russia need a visa if they are not citizens of countries listed for visa exemption. A tourist visa is not needed if the tourist comes with a tourist group with a travel agency.
Popular sightseeing destinations you must try to visit include St. Basil's Cathedral, St. Petersburg's, the Kremlin, the Bolshoi Ballet, the Imperial palaces and grand museums. Local people will meet you with smiles and interest, this will be the cultural experience like no other.
Russia offers an exciting calendar of events every year and you will find the locals as excited as the visitors. Russians are well known for enjoying a tipple and there are plenty of entertaining events centred around drinking. Russia offers several outdoor and indoor music festivals throughout the year. Many exciting cultural, sporting and special events are part of the festivities in Russia and the traveler is always welcome to join.
Russian Orthodox Christmas: (7 Jan) Xmas only comes once a year...unless you’re Russian! Prior to 1918, Russia used the Julian calendar which is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar. Orthodox Xmas celebrations last for 6 days and begin on Xmas Eve.
Maslenitsa Festival: St Petes & Moscow (28 Feb to 6 Mar) This colourful festival dates back to Pagan times. Join in the carnival style celebrations around StPetes and Moscow, with live music, dancing, sleigh rides, fireworks.
Russian Football Championship: St Petersburg & Moscow (Mar to Nov) See Russia’s largest cities battle it out on the football pitch at St Pete’s atmospheric Petrovsky Stadium or Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.
International Ballet Festival Mariinsky: St Petersburg - (14 to 24 Apr) Watch leading ballet companies perform in St Petes during one of the most significant events in the ballet season.
Night at the Museums: St Petersburg - (21 May) and Moscow – (June) Spend a night at the museum! The most respectable museums and art galleries stay open until the earlyhours for this wonderful event which is accompanied by special exhibitions, street art and performances.
St Petersburg Beer Festival: St Petersburg – (Jun/Jul) St Petes best street festival. Watch the Nevsky prospekt parade and fireworks, whilst drinking lots of beer! On The Go will be offering an optional Beer Festival bolt-on, enabling you to attend this lively event at the start of your tour. Further details to follow, once the Beer Festival date has been confirmed.
Ballet Show “Summer Seasons”: Moscow - (5 Jul to 27 Aug) Watch the acclaimed Moscow City Ballet and Russian National Ballet perform in the capital. Performances usually take place in the old Russian National Theatre opposite Red Square.
Moscow International Folklore Festival: Moscow - (Aug to Dec) Based in Moscow’s Hermitage Gardens, this folklore festival attracts dancers and musicians from all over Europe.
Art Moscow: Moscow - (21 to 25 Sep) Visit the largest and most influential contemporary art fair in Russia, covering every aspect of modern art. 40 international galleries display pieces at the Central House of Artists.
St Petersburg Open Tennis: St Petersburg – (Oct) See the world’s best male tennis players battle it out for the title at this exciting sporting event.
Russian Wine Festival: Moscow – (Nov) Fancy a tipple? The Crocus Expo International Exhibition Centre showcases wines from around the world. The event includes master classes, professional presentations and plenty of wine tasting!
Christmas at the Kremlin: Moscow - (Dec to Jan) Get in the festive spirit with Yuletide concerts at Moscow’s mighty Kremlin. Russian Winter Festival: Moscow & St Petersburg - (Mid Dec to Early Jan) Celebrate the Russian Winter Festival with troika rides (sleighs), folk music and games galore.
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