From Volga to Yenisei: Five Unique Places in Russia

PHOTO by Ramil Sitdikov / RIA Novosti
There are hundreds of breath-taking sites in Russia – majestic lakes, impenetrable fortresses, gentle valleys and rugged mountains. Rambler.Travel takes you on a tour of the most fascinating places on the Russian map

Champ Island

Located in the Franz-Josef Archipelago, which is sandwiched between the Arctic Ocean, the Barents Sea and the Kara Sea, Champ Island is best known for its extraordinary landscape. The island is strewn with spherical stone boulders of unclear origin that range from several centimetres to several metres in diameter.

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Museum of Aphorisms

A 12-square-metre room in a communal flat at 73 Sacco and Vanzetti Street in Voronezh is home to one of the city’s most unusual attractions. The Museum of Aphorisms was established in 1977 by writer Arkady Davidovich, whose legacy includes several voluminous Books of Wisdom containing tens of thousands of aphorisms.

The centrepieces of the museum are the walls, floor and ceiling, which are covered in witty Russian sayings: “I have slept through a historic era – but the women were worth it,” “He even made rabbits go feral,” “The soul is the dissident of the body,” and many more. When planning a trip to the museum, be sure to contact the host in advance and inform him of your upcoming visit by calling +7 (919) 238 33 65.

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Nizhny Tagil Factory Museum

The former Kuibyshev factory, founded in 1725 in Nizhny Tagil, has made a long journey from one of Europe’s largest manufacturing facilities to a monument of industrial culture and mining.

In 1987, the plant was shut down and converted into a museum that showcases numerous feats of 18th-century engineering. Some of the surviving features include the blast-furnace and rolling-mill workshops; an overhead crane; a water tower; the mechanical factory and livery as well as rolling stock and industrial equipment dating from the 19th and 20th centuries.

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Kirillov’s House

The fairy tale-like house built by village blacksmith and self-taught artist Sergey Kirillov in Kunara in the Sverdlovsk region is adorned with carved figures representing animals, space rockets, red-scarfed Young Pioneers and horseback riders as well as colourful ornaments and Soviet symbols.

The building took 13 years to construct: the log house was started in 1954 and completed in 1967 shortly before the 50th anniversary of the October revolution. The façade bears quotes from Soviet songs: “May there always be sunshine; May there always be blue sky,” and “Fly, doves, fly on, nothing can stop you.”

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Lake Elton

The largest salt lake in Europe, Lake Elton is situated in the Volgograd region near the border with Kazakhstan. The lake measures just several centimetres in depth and is filled with oily brine saturated with salts as well as macro- and microelements. One litre of brine contains up to 400 grams of salt – 1.5 times more than water in the Dead Sea.

During periods of dry weather, the brine evaporates completely, transforming Lake Elton into a salt desert. The lake is inhabited by algae and microorganisms.

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