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Experience Tranquility at St Petersburg's Botanical Garden

Founded by order of Peter the Great in 1714, St Petersburg's Botanical Garden started out as an apothecary's garden, filled with a variety of medicinal herbs. Over subsequent years the gardens expanded to include a huge collection of rare and exotic plants, and today is one of the city's most popular attractions for nature enthusiasts. Visitors to the Botanic Gardens of the Komarov Botanical Institute, as it is officially known, will find twenty-five greenhouses recreating different habitats in which the huge collection of plants flourishes.


Step Back in Time at the Museum of Soviet Life

Promoted as the 'Third Capital of Russia', Kazan is both the capital and largest city of Russia's Republic of Tatarstan and is home to more than 1.1 million people. The city is strategically located at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka and has featured prominently in the history of the vast country of Russia. While the exact origins of the city are unconfirmed, in 2005 Kazan celebrated its 1000th anniversary by issuing a commemorative medal in honor of the event. Visitors to Kazan will find that there are a host of fascinating attractions to explore, with one of the more unusual being the Museum of Soviet Life.


Siberian Tiger Conservation in Russia's Far East Region

In the interests of protecting Siberian Tigers in the Far East region of Russia, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has been conducting radio-tracking of more than sixty of these magnificent animals since 1992. Information gathered gives researchers an understanding of their food requirements, social structure, reproduction, mortality, and land use patterns, as well as their interaction with other wild species and humans.


Historic Religious Buildings of Nizhny Novgorod

As the fifth largest city in Russia, Nizhny Novgorod is an important economic and administrative center for the Nizhny Novgorod oblast. Divided into two distinct parts by the Oka River, and with a history stretching back to 1221, Nizhny Novgorod has a host of historical and cultural attractions to visit. In fact there are more than six hundred architectural, historic and cultural monuments in the city, among which are a large number of churches, monasteries, abbeys, cathedrals and other houses of worship.


History at the Bottom of the Baltic Sea

Located between Central and Northern Europe, the Baltic Sea incorporates a number of gulfs, one of which is the Gulf of Finland. Bordered by Finland to the north, Estonia to the south and Russia to the east, the Gulf of Finland stretches out as far as Saint Petersburg, where it is joined by the Neva River which flows through the city. With the countries surrounding it including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden, the Baltic Sea has a long history of trade and conflict, dating back to Roman times, and is the graveyard of an unknown number of ships that have sunk over the centuries.


Gigantic Owls of Far Eastern Russia

With a six-foot wingspan, Blakiston's fish owls need large trees to nest in, such as those found in old-growth forests along the banks of rivers and streams in Russia's Far Eastern region. In the normal course of their lifespan, these massive trees die off and topple over into streams, thereby disrupting the natural water flow and creating channels with fast running water and deeper, slow-moving backwaters. These varying habitats are perfect for the different developmental stages of salmon. So, not only do these enormous ancient trees provide cavities for the owls to breed in, they contribute to the river conditions needed for salmon to breed in – and salmon is the Blakiston's fish owl's preferred food source.


The Museums of Kaliningrad

Russia's westernmost oblast, Kaliningrad, is located on the Baltic Sea coast between Lithuania and Poland. As the capital of the oblast, the city of Kaliningrad lies at the mouth of the Pregolya River and has long been an important port and trading post, playing a significant role the history of the region. Prior to World War II, Kaliningrad was known as Köningsberg and was Germany's largest easternmost city. Toward the end of World War II, the city was captured by the Soviet Union and renamed Kaliningrad in honor of Mikhail Kalinin, a Bolshevik revolutionary and nominal head of state of Russia and the Soviet Union between 1919 and 1946. Large parts of the city were destroyed at the time, but later restored. Visitors to Kaliningrad will find a number of interesting museums to explore, including the Regional Museum of History and Arts, the Kaliningrad Amber Museum, and the museum dedicated to Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant.


Exploring Russia's Blue Lake

Located in a remote area in North Caucasus, between the Caspian and Black Seas, the spectacular blue waters of Lake Goluboe, also known simply as the Blue Lake, are thought to conceal what may be the largest karst cave system in the world. It has been suggested that, as the lake along an ancient trade route, it's very likely that historic artifacts may lie in its depths. It is also speculated that World War II military vehicles laden with military equipment lie at the bottom of the lake. As yet, the lake remains largely unexplored and such theories remain unconfirmed, but if there is some truth to them, experts note that the constant nine degree Celsius temperature of the water would contribute to the preservation of any items hidden in its depths.

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