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RUSSIA

In 1939, Winston Churchill famously described Russia as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” And in that sense, not much has changed in the world’s largest country. Occupying one-tenth of all land on Earth, Russia spans 11 time zones across two continents (Europe and Asia), with coasts on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans. Approximately 120 ethnic groups reside in Russia, speaking more than a hundred languages.

About 80 percent of Russia’s population can trace their ancestry to the Slavs who settled here some 1,500 years ago. The Mongol invasion of Kiev in the 13th century brought about the emergence of Moscow, which until then had been a small trading post. In the 1550s, Ivan IV (known as “the Terrible”) became the first in a long succession of “Tsar of All the Russias.” The Russian Revolution of 1917 brought the Tsarist monarchy to an end. The USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) was formed in 1920, and lasted until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1991 when the Soviet flag with its hammer and sickle was taken down from the Kremlin flagpole and the Russian Federation was born.

From its spectacular cities and vast landscapes to its world-class art treasures and mighty fortresses, Russia is truly a land of superlatives. No less enigmatic now than in Churchill’s day, Russia remains one of the most exciting destinations for the serious adventure traveler.

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Journey through Mongolia and its surrounding countries on the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway.

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Featured Reading

Immerse yourself in Russia with this selection of articles, recipes, and more

RECIPE

Venture off the beaten path of dumplings and try a new recipe for Russia’s pelmeni, or meat dumplings.

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6 NIGHTS FROM $2,895

POST-TRIP EXTENSION

Siberian Odyssey: Lake Baikal & Irkutsk

Days in Russia
5

Discover the geological wonders of Lake Baikal
Explore the Decembrist's House Museum
Visit the Exaltation of the Cross Church
Witness Lake Baikal's wildlife and the Baikal Limnological Museum's aquarium
Spend 15 days in Mongolia 

16 DAYS FROM $4,395 • $ 275 / DAY
Small Group Adventure

The Baltic Capitals & St. Petersburg

91% Traveler Excellence Rating
Read Reviews

Days in Russia
4

14 DAYS FROM $7,295 • $ 522 / DAY
Small Ship Adventure

Grand Baltic Sea Voyage

86% Traveler Excellence Rating
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Days in Russia
2

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Travelers should be able to climb 25 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 1-2 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last at least 1-2 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

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Travelers should be able to climb 40 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 2-3 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for at least 2-3 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

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Travelers should be able to climb 60 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 3 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 3 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.

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Travelers should be able to climb 100 or more stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 8 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 10,000 feet or more.

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Savory Russian Dumplings

Beef & Pork Pelmeni

from Harriet's Corner

Every culture has its own version of dumplings. China claims pot stickers, pierogies can call Poland home, and Italy boasts its famous gnocchi. Russia’s are pelmeni, meat dumplings found easily across the country—although most Russians believe they originate from Siberia because they are most often purchased frozen. Lore has it that Siberians made them by the hundreds and froze and stored them outside throughout harsh winters, but they are tasty no matter what the season. Pelmeni can have any number of fillings. This recipe uses pork and beef, but you can make them with chicken or turkey if you’d like. Serve alone or with dipping sauces, such as sour cream or balsamic vinegar.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper
Garlic to taste

Preparation:

  1. Combine the flour, eggs, water, and 1/2 tsp salt to make the dough.
  2. Knead them until well mixed, then leave aside for 30 minutes.
  3. Mix the ground beef, ground pork, onions, 1 tsp salt, pepper, and garlic to make the filling.
  4. Cut the dough into three equal portions. Roll each one into a cylinder the diameter of a finger.
  5. Cut the dough cylinders into pieces the size of a walnut, then roll until very flat and thin, a disc about 2 inches across.
  6. Put some of the filling into the center of each disc. Fold the dough in half and pinch the edges to seal them.
  7. Boil the pelmeni in salted water for seven minutes, or until they float to the surface.

Serves: 4

Beef & Pork Pelmeni

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