7 Amazing Facts about Russia

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” - Gustav Flauber 

Russia was defined as “an enigmatic riddle wrapped in a deep mystery” by Winston Churchill, which is probably the best way to describe this country today. Stretching over 6.6 million square miles, Russia is the largest country in the world; and makes up one-seventh of the earth’s entire landmass! Plus, it spans over eight time-zones! With so much heterogeneity, there’s no wonder that the country is culturally, historically and visually diverse. With ingredients of unexpectedness and multifariousness, any spirited traveller would be instantly allured by this land to unravel its true personality. And the real greatness of the nation is best understood by standing on her soil. This June, as the summer season begins; unravel the traveller in you by exploring this exciting country that is on par with high-value tourist destinations across the globe.

Russia has a certain fizz and paradox to it that can be experienced through these seven reasons.

1.    The Trans-Siberian Rail

It is a popularly known fact that the Trans-Siberian Rail is the longest journey by rail in the world. Spanning across eight time zones, this route is often used from St. Petersburg to Chelyabinsk. From high-end carriages to budget-open ones, this rail offers different train types. Experience the vastness of the interiors of this country during the warm months of June, along the rail that has existed since 1891. Travellers from across the world come to Russia to hike along the tracks in order to experience the euphoria from witnessing the country’s natural landscapes. Although winters are the best time to walk across these tracks for a jaw-dropping sight of the frozen Baikal Lake, the warm months of June lets you have a fun hike along the varying landscapes that the rail is set in. 

2.    Circus acts 

Russia is known for its extravagant circus entertainments across all major cities throughout the year. Every month, circus troops from all over, visit the cities and bring with them new themes to keep audiences amused. This is the perfect opportunity to witness different entertainment shows - from clowns to magicians, dancers to hoopers, trapeze acts, tightrope walkers and more. Their skills and talent will leave you sitting on the edge of your seat all through the show. 

3.    Russia’s culture and art

The country has always excelled in the field of arts, earning itself a prominent spot on the global map. Visit the Pushkin Art Gallery and the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, the Hermitage and the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, all of which play their part in being renowned art institutions of the world. St. Petersburg alone is home to over 2000 libraries, 80 theatres, 221 museums, 45 art galleries, 100 concert halls, 80 nightclubs and 62 movie theatres. You can enjoy your time by indulging in concerts, festivals or shows especially during the warmer months. As the sun shines, saunter through the many lush parks, visit the cathedrals, amble past iconic buildings or watch the bustle in and around the city square – there is no better way of immersing in Russia’s culture.    

4.    The Russian banya (sauna)

If you are a seasoned traveller or someone who indulges in the art of massages, you would have revelled in a Thai massage and reaped the benefits of a steam room. However, until you experience an authentic Russian banya – a quintessential experience – you have not acquainted yourself with the land. The hot water makes your body tingle and leaves you delirious from the dry heat. Said to be good for your skin and health, it’s the perfect way to de-stress and relax after a long day of sightseeing/shopping or even watching a boisterous football game. So, sit back, unwind and let the steam and water work their magic.     

5.    A varied geography 

Russia acts as a neighbour to more countries than any other while touching over twenty-two water bodies and housing twelve seas within. The extensive, complicated array of landscapes has created forty national parks along with forty UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. Forget about all the information you’ve heard that talks only about snow and ice. Russian summers, especially along the Ural Mountains, are the best to venture across this land. As the sun comes out, you can raft down the Ay River for picturesque views, hike up the oldest mountains and swim in the deepest lake. 

6.    The architecture

The first thought about Russian architecture brings golden onion domes to mind. However, the country is heavily dotted with iconic sights that will leave you transfixed. While you enter the Red Square (a city square in Moscow), the unexpectedly tiny St. Basil’s church with its extravagant domes creates a magical feeling. The architecture encircles you, giving you a peek into Russia’s past. The red Kremlin Towers, Lenin’s tomb, ghostly Cold War tanks and more, all depict the country’s underlying history, which spreads over 1150 years and began with the Viking military leadership. A walk down the streets will bring forth the famous churches, museums and richness of Russia’s historic past. 

7.    Football’s biggest competition

And if none of the other reasons convince you to travel to Russia, then maybe the world’s most significant football event will. A spectacle that avid football enthusiasts wait for every four years, will be held in Russia in June 2018. And this means loads of excitement, the chance to see some of the greatest players of the game, tons of new people to meet and an experience like never before. The tournament is being held in Europe after 12 years. If this doesn’t implore you to head to this fantastic nation, then you don’t know what you are missing out on!   

Russia’s bustling shopping districts, restaurants and its varied geography provide the perfect fodder for your #TravelGoals. So, pack your bags. And if you are worried that it might be too late to plan an extraordinary trip to Russia, don’t be. With an HDFC Bank Personal Loan you can get travel funds in a matter of hours. So, start looking for tickets and accommodation and #GoForGoals! Even if you aren’t a football fan, you can plan a trip in late July or August, when the crowds are all gone, but summer is still prevalent. Check out personal loan benefits; and right now, it can help you plan the trip of a lifetime.

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