From Moscow’s bright lights to Siberia’s ancient tribes, the world’s biggest country is a glorious mishmash of modernism and traditionalism, yet the country often makes the news for all the wrong reasons.
This is incredibly unfortunate as Russia is home to an array of cultural delights and boasts a long and varied history that has inspired countless works of arts.
Here are 16 surprising facts about Russia you might not know.
16The capital’s famous Red Square did not get its name from communism
While media outlets like to associate Russia with all-things communist- despite the breakup of the Soviet Union occupying almost 30 years ago- the country’s cities are like most others in Europe. Contrary to popular belief, even the naming of the famous Red Square isn’t related to communism.
Red Square actually derives from the word “Krasnyi”, which once meant beautiful. It has nothing to do with the red budenovka hat that became an archetypal part of the Communist military uniforms during the civil war.