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MOSCOW

Moscow is believed to be about 850 years old. The first record of it in the chronicles is dated 1147, and its history starts with a legend about how Prince Yuri Dolgoruky (the Long-armed), who is considered to be the city's founder, invited his neighbour, another Russian prince, to a council meeting, in honour of the event, there was "a great dinner" in Moscow. The monument to Prince Yuri stands in a central square, right across the Moscow Mayor's Office.

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GOLDEN RING

The Golden Ring is the name for a loop of very old towns north-east of Moscow that were the political and cultural heart of Russia and are now the most popular tourist route in the Russian provinces. Depending on the amount of time one has, it is possible to organize one or two day excursions to Vladimir and Suzdal, which are the main points of the route. If one wants to make a more detailed study of the towns that comprise the Golden Ring, two weeks should be set aside to see the area more thoroughly.

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PETERSBURG

St. Petersburg, the most European city in Russia, celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2003. It was founded by the famous tsar Peter the Great (the first Russian emperor Peter the First) and named after Apostle Peter (who guards the keys to the gates of Paradise), under whose patronage the emperor was as well.



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NORTH WEST

The north-western area of Russia is often called the land of the lakes. Europe’s two largest lakes, the Ladoga and the Onega, are situated here. There are over 60,000 lakes and 27,000 rivers in the Republic of Kaelia, the total area of which is 172,000 square kilometers (which exceeds the area of Greece and is almost as large as Great Britain). Those rivers and lakes are rich with fish, including such valued species as salmon, and their banks are plentiful with berries and mushrooms.

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VOLGA

The Volga is referred to as "Russia's Main Street" and is one of the country's main symbols, as one can gather from the old song: "Volga, Volga, mother of mine!" The Volga, spanning 3,530 kilometres, is the longest river in Europe. The first scientist who described and outlined the river on a map was Claudius Ptolomeus (90-160), an ancient Greek astronomer.


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BLACK SEA

Why is the Black Sea called "black"? There are many versions of the answer. The ancient Greeks and Romans called it Pontus Euxinus, the "hospitable sea", wheras Turks, on the contrary, nicknamed it Karaden-Ghiz, "inhospitable" (in other words, "black"). It is also assumed that the sea got its name because of the colour of the silt left on the beaches after storms, or due to the fact that metal items grow black when they are deep underwater.

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FAR EAST

The Far East seems to represent a kind of "edge of the world" for Europeans. Indeed, the distance from Moscow to Vladivostok is almost 7,000 kilometres, and the time difference between the Far East and Central Europe is 9 hours. However, this area does not seem as remote for residents of the Far East themselves and for their neighbours from the Asian and Pacific countries.


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THE URALS

Russia's territory stretches across the entire vast Eurasian continent from end to end. The geographical border between Europe and Asia runs along the eastern face of the Ural Mountains which extend over 2,000 kilometres from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the steppes of Northern Kazakhstan in the south, marking off the Ciscaucasian, or so-called "European" part of Russia from Western Siberia.


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SIBERIA

The main sight of the Krasnoyarsk Region is "Stolby", a unique nature reserve in the spurs of the Eastern Sayan. The rock yields formed about 80 clift groups of upto 100 metres high. Some of them have names resembling their silhouettes: Old Man, Old Woman, War Eagle, Feathers, Fortress and others. The "Stolby" Nature Reserve is a favourite gathering place for alpinists. An interesting ship cruise down the Yenisei to the Far North, upto the city of Dudinka and the urban-style village of Dixon, starts in Krasnoyarsk.

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LAKE BAIKAL

The Olkhon Island is considered to be Lake Baikal's "energy centre". It is also called the "heart of the Baikal", may be because it is shaped much like the lake itself. Olkhon is the largest island on Lake Baikal, with a maximum length of 71 kilometres, a width of 12 kilometres, and a total area of 730 square kilometers. The island is situated near the deepest point of the lake, some 1,637 metres. From the island, the entire variety of beautiful Baikal landscapes are visible.

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