In this video, we are going to take a brief look at ten of the most fascinating facts you should know about Russia. This includes their love for Vodka, Russian nesting dolls, and one of the strangest burial sites on the planet.
The Trans-Siberian Railway
Russia is home to the world’s longest railroad. The Trans-Siberian Railway spans nearly all the way across the country. Moscow, Russia’s capital, serves as the starting point; all cars depart from here, and make the 9,289 kilometer or 5,772 mile trek to Vladivostok, a far east Russian port not far from the North Korean border. The town marks the end of a seemingly endless journey which lasts roughly 152 hours in total, if no stops are made. Construction began in 1891 and was completed in 1916 under the supervision of government ministers handpicked by Tsar Alexander III and Nicholas II.
Traditions and Superstitions
Many countries have their own unique superstitions, Russia being no different. One of their bizarre superstitions is that most Russians will never shake hands over a doorway, claiming that it is a bad omen that will lead to an argument. Men will not give their lady counterparts an even number of roses, claiming that it’s bad luck, that even number of flowers is associated with funerals. During pregnancy, it is bad luck to buy the woman anything for their newborn before the child is born, gifts should be purchased after a safe delivery. Finally, licking food off of a knife is considered taboo, a person who does this is considered very cruel.
World’s Largest McDonalds
Viewers from the United States and many other countries across the world take the fast-food franchise “McDonalds” for granite, seemingly finding them in every town you may visit. In 1990, Moscow, Russia made headlines when they opened up the countries first McDonalds, and they did it with style. Boasting a record 28 cash registers and some 700 seats inside the restaurant, the opening day brought in more than 30,000 customers, some weighting up to 6 hours to order, which is a franchise record for the McDonalds, which is located in Pushkin Square in Moscow.
Alexander Popov, a Russian professor of psychics, announced and demonstrated his system of wireless communication at a conference held at St. Petersburg University in March of 1896. Sadly enough he was not able to publish the creation because he worked for a military institution. May 7th is known in the Russian Federation as “Radio Day,” it celebrates that date in 1895 when Popov presented his invention to the Russian Psychical and Chemical Society. After studying Nikola Tesla’s and Popov’s work, an inventor named Guglielmo Marconi was awarded the radios patent in 1897. Russian inventors have also gave the world several other beneficial things including the grain harvester, television set, and synthetic rubber which is used in tires.
Golubtsy is a stuffed cabbage dish served in Russia and some Middle Eastern countries. This food often comes in the form of ground beef mixed with boiled rice or buckwheat all wrapped together in cabbage leaves. Golubtsy is believed to have been carried over from the 18th century when grilled dove was a popular meal. Because of its price, many of the common folk couldn’t afford such a luxurious course and tried to imitate the taste and shape. It goes without saying that the most enjoyed accompaniment to this meal is vodka, but for the younger children a more appropriate choice is Mors. This is a sweet juice-like drink made from fermented bilberries, a Russian berry slightly resembling the cranberry. It is commonly mixed with alcohol, but the amount is so minuscule – 1% in most cases – that its presence is rarely noticed.
World’s Largest Freshwater Lake
When you think of the world’s largest freshwater lake that is unfrozen, most people think of Lake Superior, which is bordered by Ontario, Canada as well as Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin in the United States – however, they’d be wrong – kind of. As far as surface area is concerned, Lake Superior easily takes the cake, but when we talk about volume, it doesn’t hold a candle to Lake Baikal in Russia. Lake Baikal is about one-third the size of Lake Superior as far as surface area goes, but volume, Lake Baikal is over double the size of Lake Superior, at 23,600 cubic kilometers, respectively.
Russian Nesting Dolls
A Matryoshka, or Russian nesting doll, is a popular souvenir often brought back by tourists. This refers to wooden dolls that gradually decrease in size, all placed inside one another. The first of these was hand carved in 1890 by an independent wood carver and aspiring craftsman. Traditionally, the woman on the outermost shell is dressed in sarafan, the most commonly worn Russian jumper dress which can also be found in Finnish culture. The figures size vary in gender, but in almost all cases the innermost one, also the smallest, is always a baby carved from a single piece of wood. Themes have included characters in fairy tales to even political figures.
Planting the Seed
Although much is unknown about the couple’s life, many reliable sources claim that a couple living in the 1700’s in Russia holds the record for the most children birthed by a single woman, with a staggering total of 69, only 2 of which had not survived infancy. The woman gave birth to 16 pairs of twins, 7 sets of triplets and 4 sets of quadruplets. What makes her even more unique is she had exactly 27 child births, meaning she never gave birth to just 1 child. Russians also hold the record for the oldest plant regenerated from a seed, at nearly 32,000 years old, according to carbon dating estimates. The seeds were uncovered surrounded by ice, accompanied by mammoth and woolly rhinoceros bones and were thought to be selected placed there by a thoughtful squirrel. What is most impressive about the “Silene stenophylla”, is that the plant no longer existed on Earth prior to finding the seeds, at least, not with the same characteristics. The modern day “S. Stenophylla”, native to Siberia, has much different flower shapes.
The Railway System
Russia’s metro system transports 7 to 9 million travelers daily, more than London and New York City combined. To descend into Moscow’s underground transport is to take a step back in time to the mid 1930’s. It is decorated with Communist style architecture including large chandeliers and massive marble columns. The network was constructed under Premier Josef Stalin’s supervision and is amongst the most intricate designed railway systems in the world.
Russia is the world’s largest country at over 6.5 million square miles or 17 million square kilometers, but is ranked number 9 as far as population goes, with just over 140 million citizens, which is less than half the size of the United States and roughly 1 tenth the size of China. The country is a third larger than Canada and includes nine different time zones, more than any other country. So how big is Russia as far as land mass goes? Well, there is more area there than the surface of Pluto! With all this space, Russia has been given the chance to drill and mine valuable resources provided by the earth; these include coal, oil, timber, and most importantly natural gas. Their reserves of natural gas are so large in fact that an estimated 13.2 billion Olympic sized swimming pools can be filled with the substance.