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Only In Russia- 38 Things You’ll Only Find Here And Nowhere Else

Russia is a unique country with wooden churches defy architectural norms, ancient mountains play host to Europe’s highest peak, valleys that hide the world’s largest lakes, and one of the most scenic volcanoes in the world. But this isn’t even the top of the iceberg. Venturing into the world’s largest country offers a kaleidoscope of experiences that you can find only in Russia and nowhere else and in this article, we’ll focus on them.

The Hermitage Museum’s Art Collection

state hermitage museum

The Hermitage is a colossal treasure trove of art, with a collection that’ll make your jaw drop. We’re talking over three million items – yes, million. The place is basically a who’s who of the art world. You’ve got your Rembrandts, your Da Vincis, your Picassos. It’s like walking through an art history book, but better, because you’re not snoozing in the back of a classroom. Every corner you turn, bam! Another masterpiece. The museum’s not just showing off paintings, though. It’s got sculptures, jewels, ancient artifacts – if it’s artsy and fancy, chances are, it’s in there and the building itself is a real masterpiece too.

Only In Russia- The World’s Longest Railway Line

longest train ride in the world

This list of things you can find only in Russia can’t be complete without mentioning the Trans-Siberian railway. Spanning a mind-boggling 9,289 kilometers (that’s about 5,772 miles, if you’re wondering), it stretches across the vast expanse of Russia. It’s like the Iron Man of train routes – long, impressive, and full of surprises. Taking the train from Moscow to Vladivostok (which by the way takes about 2 weeks), isn’t just a journey; it’s a whole adventure in its own.

The Deepest And Oldest Freshwater Lake

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is like the Everest of lakes. It’s so deep, at 1,642 meters, you could stack the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, and still have room for a submarine to wave at them from below. But Lake Baikal isn’t just deep; it’s ancient. We’re talking 25 million years old which makes it the world’s oldest.

The Annual Night Of The Ad Eaters

In a world where most of us zip through ads as fast as possible, The ‘Night of the Ad Eaters’  in Moscow is an annual event dedicated to commercials. It’s basically a marathon viewing session where people gather not for the latest blockbuster, but for a parade of advertisements from around the globe. But why, you might ask, would anyone subject themselves to hours of ads? Well, it turns out, ads can be pretty entertaining when they’re not interrupting your favorite show.

Traditional Russian Banyas (Steam Baths)

russian banya

This only in Russia list couldn’t be complete without mentioning the traditional Russian banyas. The traditional Russian banya is less about quiet relaxation and more about a cultural experience that literally takes your breath away – and not just because of the steam. Picture a cabin-like steam room, but the heat is cranked up like someone’s trying to bake bread. In a banya, the air is so thick with steam, you’d think you could cut it with a knife. It’s like stepping into a cloud, if that cloud were heated to sauna-like temperatures. 

But wait, there’s more. After you’ve steamed and been tenderized with foliage, it’s time for the grand finale: the plunge. This isn’t a gentle dip into a lukewarm pool. We’re talking about diving into ice-cold water. It’s like a shock to the system, a jolt that says, “Wake up, body!” It’s exhilarating, refreshing, and a little bit crazy.

Mammoth Ivory Crafts In Siberia

Ivory Crafts In Siberia

In the frosty stretches of Siberia, artisans are turning back the clock – not figuratively, but literally, by crafting with mammoth ivory. Yes, you heard that right. Siberia is like a chilly time capsule, and when the ice thaws, it occasionally coughs up a woolly mammoth, tusks and all. This isn’t your everyday ivory; this is prehistoric pachyderm gold, as old as the last Ice Age.

The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow

The Bolshoi Theatre

The Bolshoi Theatre is like the heavyweight champion of the theatre world, and it’s got the belt to prove it. The name ‘Bolshoi’ literally means ‘grand,’ and it’s not kidding around. It’s grander than your grandma’s tales of the ‘good old days.’ The Bolshoi is to performing arts what the Colosseum is to gladiators – epic. It’s where prima ballerinas and tenors come to prove their mettle. Think of it as the Olympics for the arts, where only the best of the best get to take a bow. And the building itself? It’s a showstopper. With a neoclassical façade that’s more Instagrammable than a brunch spread, the place oozes drama from every column.

Closed Cities

Seversk Russia

Russia is also probably the only country in the world that has closed cities. The concept of closed cities in Russia was developed during the Cold War when entire cities were created to boost Russia’s nuclear and military power. These cities were not marked on the map and were given military names, and were closed to everyone except the people living there who were forced to guard the secrets of what’s happening there for their entire lives. Today, many of these cities were open to the public but there’s still a few of them (like Seversk) where visitors are not allowed.

The Annual Polar Bear Plunge In Siberian Waters

Russia ice swim

Let’s talk about the annual ‘Polar Bear Plunge’ in Siberia, where the term ‘chill out’ takes on a whole new, literal meaning. Every year, scores of brave (or perhaps bonkers) souls line up to take a dive into Siberia’s icy waters, in a ritual that makes a cold shower seem like a steamy sauna. Participants cut holes in the ice (because of course, the water’s not just sitting there waiting), often in the shape of crosses for the Orthodox Epiphany, and take the plunge, often after a steamy session in a banya to get the blood flowing.

The Fabergé Eggs

faberge eggs

Created by Peter Carl Fabergé for the Russian Imperial family, these eggs are the epitome of opulence – they’re like the Bentleys of the decorative egg universe. Back in the day, the royals would gift each other these lavish trinkets as if to say, “Here’s a little something I picked up,” except this ‘little something’ was a bejeweled masterpiece that could pay off a small country’s debt. Only 69 of these were ever made and only 57 are still intact. And where can you find them? Only in Russia. 

The ‘White Nights’ Phenomenon In St. Petersburg

white nights st petersburg

When you think of nights, you think dark, right? Well, flip that script when you’re in St. Petersburg during the ‘White Nights.’ This isn’t your typical insomnia-induced 2 a.m. brightness from your phone screen. No, this is Mother Nature’s own all-nighter. For a few weeks each summer, the sun decides it’s not in the mood to set, and voila, you’ve got daylight at midnight. This isn’t just a quirky twist of latitude; it’s St. Petersburg’s claim to fame, turning the city into a twilight zone of endless day.

The Russian Space Dog Memorial

Russian Space Dog Memorial

The Russian Space Dog is a memorial to Laika, the Russian dog that was sent into space which was the only such occurence in history.  Even though the act can certainly be classified as animal cruelty it’s at least something that the dog has become a national hero and got its own memorial. Again, only in Russia, folks.

The Unique Sport Of Bandy 

bandy only in russia

Bandy, ever heard of it? Think of it as hockey’s long-lost cousin who decided to play by its own quirky rules. This sport is to Russians what apple pie is to Americans – a slice of cultural pride. It’s played on a frozen pitch roughly the size of a soccer field and with 11 players on each team instead of 6. The ball is also pink and bouncy – yes, pink – which definitely makes it easier to spot in the snow.

The Tsar Bell And Tsar Cannon 

Tsar Bell And Tsar Cannon

In the heart of Moscow, nestled within the Kremlin’s fortified complex, you’ll find two colossal symbols of Russia’s grandeur; the Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon. The Tsar Bell the king of bells, a massive bronze behemoth that has never rung because it cracked during casting and The Tsar Cannon, a cannon so large, it’s never been fired in battle.

The Russian Tradition Of Maslenitsa


Maslenitsa, Russia’s buttery bridge between winter blues and springtime blooms, is like Mardi Gras with a Slavic twist. Picture a whole week where pancakes reign supreme, and “carb-loading” is a cultural imperative. Why pancakes, you ask? Their round, golden appearance is a nod to the sun, coaxing it back into the sky after the long, dark winter. It’s like the Russians decided that if they’re going to lure the sun out, they’re going to do it with food. Can you blame them?

The Soviet Arcade Games Museum 

Soviet Arcade Games Museum

This is one of the most ‘only in Russia’ moments ever. The Soviet Arcade Games Museum in Moscow is the ultimate retro arcade experience from the USSR era. I’m sure that if you were born in the 70s, 80s, or 90s, you have seen these arcade games but I bet you wouldn’t think that they had versions of them in Soviet Russia too. Coming here is like stepping into a time machine that takes you a on a journey discovering games that were once the pinnacle of Soviet technology and leisure. 

Permafrost In Yakutia

Permafrost In Yakutia

Permafrost in Yakutia is like Mother Nature’s freezer, and it means business. We’re talking ground that’s been frozen solid for thousands of years, not just since last winter. It’s the kind of cold that makes you rethink the meaning of the word ‘frozen.’ But here’s the cool part – literally and figuratively: Yakutia’s permafrost is a treasure trove of scientific wonder. It’s like a time capsule preserving ancient life. Scientists have found everything from 40,000-year-old woolly mammoth tusks to prehistoric puppies, perfectly preserved as if they were just taking a chilly nap.

Walrus Ice Swimming

only in Russia ice swimming

Walrus Ice Swimming in Russia – it’s exactly what it sounds like, and yet so much more. Imagine it’s the dead of winter, and there’s a group of people who decide, “Hey, let’s go for a swim.” But not in some cozy, heated pool – no, they’re diving into freezing cold waters, cutting through ice just to take a dip. It’s like choosing a cold shower on a winter morning, but cranked up to Siberian levels. The people indulging in this ritual are called morzhi (walruses) and they even have whole clubs dedicated to this quirky, only in Russia activity.

Beluga Caviar

Beluga Caviar

There are many different kinds of caviars in the world but only in Russia, you’ll find the so-called black gold of the culinary world. This variety of caviar is very rare (and therefore very expensive) because it’s made of eggs from the beluga, a small toothless whale that lives up to 100 years and grows as large as an average small car. The eggs have a shade of grey that gives them an elegant appearance, and once you try them, you’ll understand that their flavor is certainly deserving of its extreme price tag.

The Annual Victory Day Parade

only in russia

Victory Day in Russia, celebrated annually on May 9th is a spectacle of national pride commemorating Russia’s victory in the Great Patriotic War (you probably know this war under a slightly different name- World War II). The celebration includes thousands of soldiers marching through the heart of Moscow, tanks rumbling and fighter jets roaring overhead, synchronized fire drills, and the ‘Immortal Regiment’ march, where people parade the streets holding photos of relatives who gave their lives in the war.

The Oymyakon Pole of Cold


Head to Oymyakon in Siberia, and you’ve hit the jackpot if you’re looking for cold. Not just any cold, though. We’re talking about the Pole of Cold, the kind of place where the thermometer gets so scared, it practically gives up. Oymakon is one of the most isolated cities in Russia and also probably the coldest inhabited place on Earth with temperatures that dip below -50°C (-58°F). It’s so cold here, cars are left running all day, because if you turn them off, good luck getting them to start again.

The Peterhof Palace’s Grand Cascade 

Peterhof Palace's Grand Cascade

Located in St. Petersburg, the Grand Cascade is like the Versailles Gardens decided to go on a Russian vacation. Designed to impress and, let’s be honest, show off a bit, it’s a baroque masterpiece that makes you think, “Okay, Russia, we get it, you’re fancy.” At the heart of it all is a series of cascading fountains, over 60 of them, tumbling down a terraced hill like a waterfall that’s been given a royal makeover. And at the top? A golden statue of Samson wrestling a lion, because why not? It’s as if the architects thought, “How can we make this more epic?” and someone whispered, “Gold. And lions.”

The Kunstkamera’s Cabinet Of Curiosities


Founded by Peter the Great in the 18th century, it’s Russia’s first museum and a quirky window into the mind of a ruler who was as eccentric as he was visionary. What sets the Kunstkamera apart, and cements it as a uniquely Russian experience, is its original collection, which Peter the Great himself began. He had a fascination with the unusual and the extraordinary, which is pretty evident once you step inside.

The Cabinet of Curiosities is the heart and sould of the Kunstkamera; it’s a collection full of anatomical anomalies and rarities that make you question the boundaries of nature. It’s as if Peter the Great wanted to challenge the squeamishness of his subjects and promote scientific understanding, one jarred specimen at a time.

The World’s Largest Collection Of Russian Art

Tretyakov Gallery

Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery is famous for being home to the world’s largest treasure trove of Russian art. But what makes the Tretyakov Gallery a quintessential ‘only in Russia’ moment? It’s simple. Every piece in this massive collection is a thread in the rich tapestry of Russian culture and history. From ancient icons that seem to stare right through you, to avant-garde masterpieces that tilt your perspective – it’s all here, under one roof.

The Ancient Architecture Of The Golden Ring

Russia golden ring

Sorry if this sounds corny but visiting Russia’s Golden Ring feels like a journey back in time (I’m not kidding nor exaggerating). I have read this phrase so many times but I actually felt it when visiting The Golden Ring. In case you’re not familiar with the term, the Golden Ring is a group of Rusian towns famous for their well-preserved historic architecture that features, Russia’s iconic onion domes, a lot of neoclassical architectures, and breathtaking monasteries. Every stop on this journey, from the spiritual serenity of Sergiev Posad to the timeless streets of Suzda offers a unique slice of Russia’s glorious past.

The Meteorite Crater In Popigai

Meteorite Crater In Popigai

Heading out to the wilds of Siberia, you’ll find the Popigai Crater, a wonder of nature with a story that could rival any blockbuster movie. Around 35 million years ago, a massive space rock decided to make a rather dramatic entrance, crashing into Earth and leaving behind this gigantic crater. We’re talking about a crash landing that was so epic, it ranks as one of the largest known meteorite impact sites on Earth. But wait, that’s not all; this crash site turned out to be the motherlode of impact diamonds created by the immense pressure and heat from the meteorite impact.

Russian Old Believers Communities

Russian Old Believers

In the vast expanse of Russia, tucked away in corners where the modern world seems like a distant rumor, you can still find a few communities of the ‘Old Believers’. For centuries, they have been guardians of ancient Russian customs and religious practices. In the 17th century, the Russian Orthodox Church made certain changes to the ways rituals and liturgies are performed with the reforms of Patriarch Nikon of Moscow. A small part of Russia’s population rejected this new way of doing things and they’ve been doing their own thing ever since.

These communities are all about preserving the old ways – from the way they dress, with women in long, colorful skirts and men in traditional tunics and beards, to the way they worship, sticking to rituals that the rest of the Orthodox world has left behind.

The Road of Bones

kolyma highway

This list of things you can find only in Russia wouldn’t be complete without the Kolyma highway in Siberia, one of the most dangerous roads in the world. So why the ominous name? Well, this road was built during the Stalin era, and it wasn’t exactly a standard infrastructure project.

The builders were prisoners of the Gulag, the Soviet labor camps, and if we say that the working conditions were brutal that wouldn’t even begin to cover it. In the harsh Siberian climate, many didn’t survive. The road is called ‘Road of Bones’ because it’s believed that the remains of those perished workers were laid within its foundations.

Ice Sculpture Festivals

Ice Sculpture Festivals

Only in Russia, you’ll find these fascinating winter festivals devoted to ice sculptures where artists from around the country and the world come to showcase their skills. There are several such festivals that are worth visiting including the one in Saint Petersburg, the one in Perm, since recently, the one in Sochi, but the real highlight is The Snow and Ice Festival in Moscow that’s held every year in Gorky Park from January 2nd to February 28th.  

The Mother Motherland Statue

mother motherland

One of the first things that pop on my mind when talking about things you find only in Russia is the gigantic statue of the Mother Motherland in Volgograd. The statue is  part of the Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex, commemorating the Battle of Stalingrad. This statue is a symbol of defiance, resilience, and the “never-say-die” spirit of Russia during World War II. Just to give you a glimpse of its size, the statue is 85 meters-tall (279 feet) and that’s not counting the sword, which by itself is about as long as a blue whale.

The Russian Troika Sled Rides

troika sleds

Let’s talk about something quintessentially Russian – the Troika sled rides, or how I like to call them, the Formula 1 of sleds, powered by not one, not two, but three horses arranged in a unique formation – one in the middle, and two on the sides, wings spread out. Riding a Troika is an experience that’s thrilling and distinctly Russian. It’s fast, it’s exhilarating, and, let’s be honest, it’s kind of stylish. Imagine dashing through the snow, wrapped up in furs, as the horses gallop, their manes flying in the wind.

The Kamchatka Peninsula’s Volcanic Activity

Kamchatka Peninsula volcano

We cant’ complete this list of things you find only in Russia without mentioning Kamchatka. Kamchatka is like the Disneyland for volcanologists, except instead of roller coasters, there are over 300 volcanoes, 29 of them very much active.

The peninsula is so dotted with these smoky peaks that it could pass off as a backdrop for a fantasy movie – think ‘Lord of the Rings’, but with more Russian flair. Among some of the volcanoes in Kamchatka, you’ll find Klyuchevskaya Sopka, the highest in Eurasia, and Sheveluch, one of the most notoriously active and temperamental ones in the world.

The Annual Scarlet Sails

Annual Scarlet Sails

If you’re ever in St. Petersburg during the White Nights of summer, the Annual Scarlet Sails is one thing you won’t want to miss (but even if you want to don’t worry, you’ll see it happening because it’s one of the most prominent events of the city’s iconic White Nights of Summer).

Scarlet Sails, or ‘Alye Parusa’, is like the senior prom for the entire city, originally celebrating high school graduates, but now it’s a party for everyone. The highlight of the celebration includes a majestic ship with scarlet sails gliding along the Neva River with a majestic white night background.

Petroglyphs Of Lake Onega

Petroglyphs Of Lake Onega

Venture to the shores of Lake Onega in Karelia, and you’re in for a prehistoric art show that’s literally set in stone. We’re talking about the Petroglyphs of Lake Onega – ancient rock carvings depicting life thousands of years ago. These petroglyphs aren’t behind glass in a museum; they’re out in the open, exposed to the elements, still standing the test of time.

The Kizhi Pogost Wooden Church

kizhi pogost

This list of things you can find only in Russia couldn’t be complete without the imposing Kizhi Pogost. This architectural marvel is a wooden wonder that doesn’t include a single nail in its structure. It’s entirely made of wood and has some of the most beautiful domes you have ever seen and was built using only the limited tools of the 17th century. So, it should come as a surprise to no one that the Kizhi Pogost is one of Russia’s 30 UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Europe’s Highest Peak

mount elbrus

Standing at a whopping 5,642 meters (about 18,510 feet), Mount Elbrus is home to the highest peak(s) in Europe. But that’s not where the story ends; Elbrus is one of the rare mountains of its height to have two almost equal mountaintops and between them- a dormant volcano. It’s a symbol of Russia’s natural grandeur, and a majestic landmark that’s steeped in folklore and history.

The Mosfilm Studio Tours In Moscow

Mosfilm Studio

Mosfilm in Moscow is like Russia’s version of Hollywood with a dash of Soviet flair. The museum features some of the higlights of the golden era of Soviet cinema and offers a peek into modern Russian filmmaking. What’s really cool about Mosfilm is its eclectic mix of old and new. One minute you’re checking out vintage cars from the 20th century, the next you’re peeking at the latest in film technology

The Curonian Spit Sand Dunes

Curonian Spit Sand Dunes

When you think you find only in Russia, sand dunes might not be the first thing that pops into your mind, but the Curonian Spit in Kaliningrad Oblast is here to flip that script and to once again demonstrate the incredible natural diversity of the world’s largest country.

Nestled between the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Lagoon, this 98-kilometer long spit that’s home to dunes the size of skyscrapers, some reaching up to 60 meters high. But that’s not the only reason why it’s on our list. The dunes are a an ecological wonderland, home to a unique mix of landscapes – from its whispering sands to lush pine forests and tranquil waters.

The Eurasia Border

Yekaterinburg Euro Asia Border

Last but not least, we conclude this list of things you can find only in Russia with the Eurasia border. Even though technically the Eurasia border stretches across hundreds of kilometers, there’s a specially designated landmark near the city of Yekaterinburg that’s the only place in the area where you can have both of your feet on different continents. How’s that for a bucket-list achievement? Oh and by the way, if you’re planning to visit this marvellous city, make sure to check out this list of the best hotels in Yekaterinburg.

Lastly, you didn’t think we’d complete this list of things you find only in Russia without a few wtf images from the world’s largest country…

How did you like this list of things you can find only in Russia? Did you ever experience any of them? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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