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INTRODUCTION"By reason Russia can't be grasped," wrote the famous poet Fyodor Tyutchev (1803-1873). These words still hold true to this day. To grasp Russia, one needs to travel through it, meet its wonderful people, experience the diversity of its culture, taste the food, and take in the spirit of this amazing country. Our album and web-site describe only several of the cities and regions that are the most interesting for foreign visitors. There are limitless opportunities for tourism in our country.

Russia is an extremely large country: its total area is over 17 million square kilometers (6.6 million square miles). In the east, on the Chukotka Peninsula, the morning starts nine hours earlier than in Moscow. To cross Russia by train takes over a week and it takes about ten hours by air. The plane crosses almost every kind of climatic zone, including tundra, taiga, steppe, and even desert. Overall, Russia's natural landscape is amazing and unique in many respects: it is not surprising that Russia has over 25 national parks and 84 nature reserves. Forests occupy over 50 % of the country's territory.

The birch tree, one of the most beautiful trees to be found here, is considered to be the Russian national symbol. The Volga, Europe's longest river, flows through Russia. However, many of the rivers in Siberia (the Russian part of Asia), such as Amur, Lena, Ob, and Yenisei, are considerably longer than the Volga. The largest lake in the world, the Caspian, is also in Russia. Its waters are salty and it is commonly referred to as a "sea' however, it is not connected to the World Oceans. The world's deepest freshwater lake, the Lake Baikal, and Europe's highest mountain peak, the Elbrus, are also in Russia.

Every nation has its own special features, and the Russians are no exception: they are notably distinguished people. It is not by accident that the phrase "mysterious Russian soul" is known throughout the world" it implies strong passions and subtle feelings, prowess, dare-devilry, irrationality, and addiction to risk. Russia is a true godsend for adventurers. There is perhaps no other country with such a fantastic variety of quiet corners of pristine nature, an incredible variety of indigenous peoples and their uniquely original cultures and traditions, as well as wild animals that never heard the sound of shooting guns. One may choose from a variety of exquisite adventure, environmental, and other tours, including diving in the White Sea, horseback riding in the Republic of Bashkiria, rafting through the mountainous rivers of Siberia, fishing in the Lake Baikal and the Volga Delta, mountain-skiing in the Caucasus and the Kamchatka Peninsula, tours to the North Pole, the Komandorskiye Islands (near Japan), and the Putorana Plateau in the basin of the Lower Tunguska River (Eastern Siberia), among others.

We invite you to experience our vast, boundless, and inimitably beautiful land called Russia!

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