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Birding in Siberia

Birding enthusiasts looking for a challenge and the opportunity to spot some rarely sighted feathered treasures may want to consider a trip to Siberia, where vast evergreen forests, spectacular lakes and wetlands, along with the Siberian taiga provide habitats for a wide variety of birds, some of which are permanent residents, with others being migratory. Endangered and vulnerable birds found in Siberia include the Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides), Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus), Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis), Steller’s Eider (Polysticta stelleri), Yellow-billed Loon (Gavia adamsii), Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus), and Greater Spotted Eagle (Clanga clanga). The Siberian Crane (Grus leucogeranus) and Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarious) are considered to be critically endangered, bordering on extinction.


Tour Russia's Golden Ring

Renowned for their role in Russia's history and influential in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church, the cities on the Golden Ring route are so rich in history and culture that they have been referred to as 'open air museums'. The original eight cities included on the Golden Ring route are Sergiyev Posad, Rostov Velikiy, Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Ivanovo, Vladimir and Suzdal, each of which has superbly preserved examples of 12-18th century Russian architecture such as monasteries, cathedrals, churches and kremlins (fortresses), many featuring the distinctive 'onion dome' that is so readily associated with Russia. Tourism is a major source of income for cities in the Golden Ring and there is plenty for visitors to see and do.


A Slice of History in a Unique Russian Cookbook

Today considered to be a historical treasure shedding light on Russian society prior to the Soviet Era, the cookbook entitled A Gift to Young Housewives was at one time considered essential in many middle and upper-class Russian households. Written by Elena Ivanovna Molokhovets, this Russian cookbook has gone down in history as the most successful book of its kind in Russia during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The author revised the book frequently between 1861 and 1917 and more than 20 editions were printed, with over 295,000 copies being sold. The 24th edition of A Gift to Young Housewives, published in 1904, contained 4,163 recipes.


Golfing in Russia

The first 18-hole golf course in Russia was built in 1994 in the Moscow suburb of Nakhabino. For a number of years the golf course was the only one in the country, with keen Russian golfers traveling to resorts in Spain, Portugal, Poland, Finland and China to play the game on world-class courses. In the past decade or so, golf has become more popular as a leisure activity, resulting in the number of golf courses increasing to eighteen, located in eight of Russia's eighty-three regions. Moreover, the Russian Ministry of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy, along with the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, have started to actively promote golf as a sport at school level to children and youths.


Nizhny Novgorod's Historic Chkalov Staircase

Located at the confluence of the Volga and Oka Rivers in Russia's Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, the city of Nizhny Novgorod is an important cultural center for the region and has a number of interesting attractions to visit. One of the top attractions in the city is the Chkalov Staircase, the construction of which turned out to be quite controversial and resulted in the arrest of the government official who carried out the project. The staircase was originally known as the Volga Staircase, but was later renamed in honor of a Soviet Union test pilot, Valery Chkalov, who in 1937 was the first pilot in history to fly non-stop from Moscow, via the North Pole to Vancouver in the US state of Washington. The enormous staircase climbs a hill overlooking the river, providing a spectacular view of the surroundings, and a monument in Chkalov's honor stands on Minina Square at the top of the staircase.


Russia’s Coat of Arms

Designed by Russian artist Yevgeny Ukhnalyov, and officially adopted on 30 November 1993, Russia’s coat of arms is directly derived from the coat of arms used in medieval times. While the coat of arms was modified at different times over the years, the two-headed eagle was used during the reign of Peter the Great, where it was depicted in black, rather than the golden color of today. The rider on horseback and the slain dragon have also been an almost constant feature on the coat of arms, although today the rider is not referred to as Saint George as this has religious overtones and modern Russia is viewed as a secular state.


Moscow Museum Remembers Russian Jewish History

Russia's capital city has a host of fascinating attractions vying for the attention of locals and tourists alike, and on the 12th of November, 2012, a new museum opened which is well worth adding to the list of places to see when exploring Moscow. Housed in the 1927 Bakhmetevsky Bus Garage, the Jewish Museum and Center of Tolerance is the largest Jewish museum in the world and aims to detail the history of the Jewish people in Russia in a manner that will hold the interest of young and old alike. To this end, the museum designer Ralph Appelbaum has used technology in innovative ways, to capture the attention of visitors, and engage them in each topic covered along the journey through the museum.


Sochi Counts Down to 2014 Winter Olympics

With just one year to go before the opening ceremony on February 7, 2014, organizers of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics have expressed their confidence that the city will be ready to welcome athletes and spectators to the event. As the country's largest resort city, the residents of Sochi are no doubt accustomed to large numbers of holidaymakers, and the Olympics is set to bring unprecedented numbers of visitors to the city. Construction work that will change the face of the city is well underway, with a number of new sports venues being built from scratch.

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