Travel to the Chechen Republic and to the north Caucasus region is not advised. For additional information visitors should seek official advice.
The Russian Federation covers up almost two times the area of the United States of America, and reaches from Moscow in the west over the Urals and the vast Siberian plains to the Sea of Okhotsk in the east. Moscow, the capital, was founded in 1147. The main point of the city is Red Square, on one side of which is the Kremlin bordered by a thick red fortress wall containing 20 towers. This is where the tsars were crowned; Ivan the Terrible's throne is located near the entrance. For those interested in Russia's achievements in the field of space travel should visit Star City, just outside Moscow, which is a cosmonaut training complex open to visitors.
Northwest of Moscow, St Petersburg, is recognized both as a cultural centre and for its elegant buildings. The city is spread over 42 islands in the delta of River Neva. Wide boulevards, serene canals and bridges led to the city being known as the 'Venice of the North'.
The Winter Palace and the Palace Square are among the most attention-grabbing sites for followers of Russian history. The Hermitage houses almost all the vast treasures of the former tsars. For those who wish to get a better idea of the huge variety of scenery in the Russian Federation, cruises can be taken along the mighty Volga River between Kazan, the cultural centre of the Tartars, to Rostov-on-Don, once an Armenian town and the gateway to the Caucasus.
Russian cuisine is based on staples of buckwheat (to make porridge or blini), borshch (beetroot soup) or shashlik (shish kebab). Roast goose stuffed with buckwheat, whole roast suckling pig and roast duck stuffed with apples are served at parties and for special occasions.