Are you tired of your daily routine and want a change of lifestyle and your surroundings? Are you looking for your perfect new home across the globe? In case you haven’t decided yet, or that you have decided to move to Russia, here are some interesting facts you should know about it, that could either make you finalize your decision, or maybe think twice before actually relocating there. However, whatever you decide, these things will at least be amusing:
The greatest museum in Russia is definitely the Hermitage. It is located in St. Petersburg and dates back to the 18th century. It is also one of the greatest, biggest and oldest museums in the world. It is comprised of 6 buildings and has more than 3 million exhibits inside its premises. If you can’t grasp the magnitude of that just think about this: it would take you six years to see every exhibit if you spent two minutes by each one. Apart from that, it is also a home to approximately seventy cats which guard the premises and their treasures against nasty rodents.
Russia is the land of fabulous shoes. When you arrive to Russia and you start walking around, you will notice a lot of women actually wearing 6-inch heels on the streets, they always want to look as good as possible and don’t even mind walking around in heels the whole day. You have to admire their perseverance!
In Russia, after you get married, you go on a tour around the city and take pictures in front of some of the city’s famous churches or significant buildings or at parks and even boats. It is a tradition there, and you will surely see a lot of brides casually strutting next to you on the streets or posing with their new spouse in a nice location.
Superstition is a big deal in Russia. For example, if you want to get money you need to rub a dog’s paw with your left hand and that will bring you luck with money; if you have a wish that you want to come true, all you need to do is throw a coin into Peter the Great’s boot. There is an interesting old superstition that used to exist in Russia, and it is about how Russian people chose where to build their homes. The superstition is that the first one to go into a new house would die, so they had to think of a way to send someone else first, and who better than a cat which has nine lives anyway! If the cat refused to enter, they would tear down the structure and go somewhere else and choose another place for their new home.
After the revolution, the Russian people would volunteer one day of the year and help tidy up the city and sweep up the streets. That day is called “Subbotnik” and the tradition of sweeping and cleaning the city still exists. There is something we could learn from them and maybe implement that tradition into our own lives and cities.
During the winter in Moscow, there are massive icicles that hang from the gutters and because of the danger that they present to the people walking under them, the pavements are cordoned off. They could actually kill a person if they fell on someone’s head.
At the “Ploshchad Revolutsii” metro station, there’s a sculpture of a dog, made out of bronze, however, the dog’s nose is always shiny. The reason for this is because it is said that it’s good luck to touch it. And as many people walk by the statue daily and touch the dog’s nose, they are polishing the bronze and keeping the nose shiny at all times.
Russia has eleven time zones which is more than any country in the world.
There are approximately eleven million more women than men in Russia. And not only that, the life expectancy for men is only sixty three years, which is lower than in both North Korea and Iraq. However, for Russian women, the life expectancy is 75 years.
When you decide to buy flowers for your kind hosts, make sure that you buy an odd number of flowers. This is another tradition and kind of a superstition in Russia that you give flowers in even number when going to a funeral, that is why you must give your hosts flowers in odd numbers.
The people in Russia are number four in the “world’s biggest drinkers” list according to some research. On the list, they are right behind Belarus, Moldova and Lithuania. In fact, did you know that the word “vodka” is actually derived from the Russian word “voda” and it means water?
If you think the traffic in your country is insane, wait until you get to Russia. The traffic is so terrible there that Russian people with a lot of money actually pay fake ambulances to drive them so that they could get through the traffic jams faster.
Another crazy thing about Russian people is that it is estimated that around fifty percent of Russian police officers take bribes. Also, although things are looking up and the police officers have improved compared to how they were before, they are still notorious for shaking down foreigners for “paperwork infringements”. That is why you should always carry your documents with you.
There is a lake in Russia, called Lake Karachay that is a dumping ground for nuclear waste. The lake is so toxic and radioactive that if you only stood next to it for an hour it would almost certainly kill you.
St. Basil’s Cathedral
There is a legend about the man behind the amazing St. Basil’s Cathedral named Postnik Yakovlev and according to that legend Ivan the Terrible blinded Postnik after building the Cathedral so that he could never build anything that could compare to it.
Russians are taught not to smile as much in school. Therefore, even though they do enjoy a good laugh, do not expect to smile to a stranger on the street and get a smile back. Do not take this personally, it is just how they are taught, it is generally not expected to talk to strangers or smile at them, especially in big cities like Moscow. But don’t worry, once you get to know them better, you will be seeing a lot more smiles in your vicinity.
In Russia, there is actually a chain of cafes where you do not pay for what you drank, but you pay for how long you stayed. Everything in there is free and you pay based on the length of your stay.
In Russia, there are hats that you can wear when it is cold outside, that are made out of fur and that are called “Ushanka”. However, you will be thought of as weak if you lowered the ear flaps on the hat and the temperature was above -20 degrees Celsius.