The Varied Customs, Traditions and Rich History of the Russian People
Russia is a country full of life, vast stretches of land, wonderful divergence, and equally interesting people. From east to west, it spans 9000 kilometers long and from north to south, it encompasses 5000 kilometers of varied landscapes. Many people born from different nationalities and bearing different traditions call Russia their home. This country that is filled with beautiful contrasts is also referred to as the bridge between Europe and Asia.
Because of its vastness, being the largest country in the world, Russia's geography is very diverse. The northern Russia reaches into the Artic Circle. This part of Russia is occupied by tundra and thick forests and dotted with thousands of lakes. A big part of Russia is mountainous. Eastern Russia is wrapped in 2,500 miles of Ural Mountains while the southern part is comprised with the vast Caucasus Mountains. These mountainous areas in the south stretch from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea.
The North European Plain occupies the massive area from the western perimeter to the Ural Mountains. The Plain is a long stretch of fertile soil and grasslands. A large part of the Russian population inhabits the cities of Russia. Many Russians also live in towns that are located in the western region. Only a small number of Russians occupy the rural areas.
A number of tribes had alternately invaded Russia in the early times. The German Goths, the Turks, and the Asian Huns had taken their turn occupying the mountainous country. But by the turn of the 9th century, a big part of Russia was occupied by the Eastern Slavs. Scandinavian traders and warriors soon came and they had wittingly merged with the early settlers. Vladimir I, who ruled from 980 to 1015, adopted Christianity and practiced the Greek Orthodox rite. During this time, the Byzantine culture became widespread. In 1237 to 1240, Batu Khan and his Mongol warriors stormed into Russia and invaded the major cities. Their empire was known as the Golden Horde but their rule over Russia was short-lived. In 1380, Dmitri Donskoi defeated the Tartars at Kulikovo.
In the 17th century, Russia adopted the feudal system of government. Russian nobles were awarded with land titles and increasing power over the lower ranking citizens. Serfdom was the way of government in Russia during 1649. Their population grew and so did the power of the nobles. Oppression of the peasants also became predominant. The ruling of the monarchy, which became very powerful in the 18th century led to a series of revolutions initiated by the oppressed peasants. Stenka Razin and Pugachev were among the prominent figures of these revolutions.
Russia's invasion of Japan proved to be disastrous for the Russian government. Russia finally withdrew its troops in 1905 and badly humiliated, signed the Treaty of Portsmouth. Nicholas II was forced to implement the parliament government. In 1917, Russia became the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. Together with the Ukrainian, Belorussian, and Transcaucasians, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was born in 1922.
Presidents Gorbachev's regime put an end to the tyrannical political controls and allowed nationalist movements to take form in the USSR's various constituent republics. When Gorbachev resigned, Boris Yeltsin and his reformer colleagues earned a spot in the Russian parliament and Yeltsin eventually became president. When Boris Yeltsin and eight other leaders from Soviet's constituent republics were about to sign a power-sharing agreement with former president Gorbachev, the Soviet conservatives attempted to raise a coup. It resulted to the disintegration of the USSR.
Main Tourist Attractions
Despite the harsh weather and its turbulent periods in history, Russia is not scarce of tourist attractions. From grand palaces and luxurious castles to cathedrals and vibrant cities, visitors will surely be taken to a ride of interesting places and cultures. Adventure-seekers will have their fill trekking the marvelous mountains, thick forests, volcanoes, lakes, and other bodies of water, which definitely abound in Russia. The major attractions in Russia are unlimited and those who are brave enough will definitely have their hands full of Russian activities.
Attractions vary according to the time of the year. Some of Russia's top tourist historical spots are the Kremlin, Red Square, and the statue of Motherland Calls. Old churches like the St. Isaac's Cathedral and the Church of Our Savior of the Spilled Blood also offer a good place for sight-seeing. The palaces of Ivan the Great, Mikhailovsky, and the Winter Palace offer a glimpse to the richness of Russia's history. Most of these sights can be found in major cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Sightseeing in Russia is not restricted to impressive structures, artifacts, and architecture. The tallest mountain in Europe can be found in Russia. Here on Mount Elbrus sits the largest freshwater lake. Sports lover can go trekking, skiing, or snowboarding in the beautiful Caucasus and Ural Mountains. Lake Baikal gains the nickname of the Pearl of Siberia and is the deepest and most expansive freshwater lake. There are also other tourist attractions that scattered all across the country. Visiting the Russian Far East and Kamchatka will take visitors to amazing sceneries and a handful of activities.
Uniqueness of the Country
Russia is a large country where a number of different cultures and traditions meet. This makes it interesting and unique. Its wide expanse also offers unlimited activities and wonders, not to mention the arts and crafts of its people. Russia is the home of vodka. Those who have not been to Russia probably even know where vodka comes from. This spirit is widely produced in Russia and Russian vodka is considered the best in the world.
The Matryoshka dolls are also popular souvenirs from Russia. They're very stylish and bringing some of them home will give vivid reminders of the time spent in this country. The fur hats remind people of Russian spy movies. They are very popular in Russia and their style is truly one of a kind. Because of Russia's extreme climate, fur hats also fulfill a function. The city of Moscow is a billionaire's nest. Russia has more billionaires than anywhere else in the world. An estimated 70 billionaires roam the streets of Moscow.
Russian culture is everything but bland, thanks to its wide and varied history. From arts and literature, to food and traditions, Russia is home to interesting facts and mores. Russian culture can be compared to a palette of different colors. Easter Holiday is very significant in Russian tradition. The modern and old practices had interspersed a long time ago and today's celebration is more colorful than ever before. Painting Easter eggs is a popular activity during Easter Holiday.
Aside from vodka, beer is also a very popular beverage among Russian people. There are many regions in Russia that are considered major beer producers and they have ignited a rich beer culture in the country. A zakuska is a popular Russian treat that is feasted on before meal. One of the most popular festivals in Russia is the Russian Winter Festival held in Moscow. Visitors can take part in traditional activities, witness magnificent ice sculpting, and attend other activities associated with the festival. Russians are mostly fond of soccer and hockey.