Steeped in history, Russia has emerged from decades of communism and today embraces its freedom and its tourists with open arms. Russia's turbulent history is visible on street corners across the nation and throughout its awe-inspiring cities. Cultural treasures and historical monuments abound, silhouetted by great imperial palaces and glittering cathedrals, especially in larger centres such as Moscow (the capital) and St. Petersburg. Russia offers travellers the opportunity to revel in its overwhelming sense of history, its impressive museums and its unspoiled wilderness.

Straddling two continents and 11 time zones, Russia is the largest country on earth - far larger than even Canada. Its features include natural wonders such as Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world, and beautiful mountains, rivers and forests teeming with wildlife. The former Soviet Union shares its newly-created borders with Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, North Korea, Norway, Poland and The Ukraine.

As a result of its vast size, the Russian climate does experience fluctuations from one region to another. On average, Moscow's climate is slightly colder than that of Toronto, while St. Petersburg is colder in the winter and more temperate in the summer than here in Ontario. The main vacation season in Russia are the months of July and August, which are also the warmest months, though rain is also frequent during this time. If you want to avoid the rain (and the crowds), you may want to visit from May through June or September through October.

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