Russia, the world’s largest nation, has been blessed with natural as well as manmade beauty. Here are 10 strange facts that you might not know about Russia.

1. The Russian Smile Holds Great Meaning and Significance:

In Russia, a smile is something absolutely personal. It is not acceptable to smile at strangers. A shopkeeper or a salesperson will always be found with an absent smile. They only smile at people that they like or want to be friends with, but even then without showing their teeth, which is considered improper. A smiling person is considered to be in a really good mood, and if someone dares to smile without any good reason, they are considered suspicious.

2. A Restaurant in Moscow is Staffed by Twins Only:

When it comes to eating, Russia stands by its uniqueness in restaurants. The Twin Star restaurant in Moscow creates a unique experience for its guests by hiring only twin brothers or sisters. From the host serving you at the table, to the bartender at the bar, both identical twins are identically dressed. Whether you want to have a burger, Thai, European, or Russian food, the distinctive twin scenario will make eating more interesting. The motivation for the owner behind this idea was a 1964 film called Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors.

3. The Subway System in Moscow is One of the Most Beautiful and Expected to be the World’s Fourth Longest:

Beneath the roads of Moscow, there’s another world of magnificent architecture to discover — the Moscow Metro. The statues, mosaics, and murals are all fascinating. The Moscow subway is one of the most elaborate transport systems. When it first started running on 15th May, 1935, the entire network was seven miles long with 11 stations, all stretching in one line. Now it has 200 stations and is expanding so fast that within the next three years there will be 35 new stops and 75 miles of track — making it the world’s fourth longest.

4. It is a Criminal Offence to Drive Around With a Dirty Car:

Russia’s driving laws state that it is illegal to drive with a dirty car. The dirty car is considered illegal and the driver has to pay a fine, especially if the license plates are dusty or muddy.

5. The Ter Sami Language of the Kola Peninsula is Almost Extinct:

The Ter Sami language was spoken by 450 speakers till the end of the 19th century. By the end of the 20th century, that number was reduced to six. Only 2 elderly people were speaking this language by 2010.

6. An Emperor of Russia, Peter III, Hanged a Rat for Chewing His Toy Soldier’s Head:

Peter III ruled Russia for 6 months in 1762. In a biography about Peter III, Henri Troyat writes that he loved his toy soldiers so much that he executed a rat that chewed the head of one. For the execution, miniature gallows were constructed and the rat was left hanging for three days in public.

7. There are At Least 15 Secret Cities in Russia, the Names and Locations of Which are Unknown:

A closed city in Russia is a restricted area where only specific authorized persons can enter. It may be a military, scientific, or nuclear establishment or some border area. Some of the cities are freely accessible to Russian citizens, while others demand a permit from citizens as well. Currently, there are 44 publicly acknowledged closed cities, while another 15 or so closed or “secret” cities still exist with publicly unknown names and locations.

8. There is So Much Traffic in Moscow That Rich People Use Ambulances to Get Around:

The traffic conditions in Moscow are so jammed that the rich people hire ambulances to drive them from place to place.

9. There are Some Weird Do’s and Don’ts That Non-Russians Might Not Know:

Only children or married people can sit at the corner of table. If an unmarried person sits on the edge, they will not get married (or be happily married) for 7 years.

One has to be careful about the number of flowers in a bouquet because bouquets with even numbers of flowers are only for funerals; odd number flowers should be given on happy occasions.

There is a superstition that if someone whistles inside the house, it will result in financial downfall.

These are some of the very weird (and interesting!) Russian Taboos.

10. Ziferblat is a Place Where Everything You Eat or Drink is Free Except For The Time You Spend:

Ziferblat, meaning “clock face,” is an anti-café that started in September 2011 and now has over 14 branches all around the world. You can comfortably use it as a co-working area or an entertainment venue and can make coffee or cook food. The purpose of Ziferblat is to provide a comfy environment just like home. The owner pays for the space and the customers pay for the time.

Featured photo credit: russia via photopin.com

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