Russia in the past decades was shut off from the rest of the world with no information available about it. By the time the Soviet Union fell, the country was once again open to the rest of the world. Even after the barriers have been taken off and Russia is not secluded anymore, there is still a cloud of mystery that surrounds Russia. Here is a list of things that would definitely surprise you about the mysterious land of Russia.

The Most Polluted Place On Earth

In Russia Lake Karachay is placed near the biggest nuclear factory in the country. This is considered to be the most polluted location on the whole planet. There are loads of nuclear leaks and meltdowns every year. These then flow into the Techa River which ultimately ends up in Lake Karachay. Also, the lake had been filled with concrete to hopefully stop the nuclear leaks from touching the shores.

Shamanism In Siberia

There is a common notion that Shamanism does not really exist today. Actually, on an island in Siberia, there are still many who practice it. Olkhon Island is probably one of the only places where Shamanism still exists. There is a Shaman’s Rock on the island’s west coast too. If ever you get to visit Russia, make sure you go to this island and explore this amazement.

Russia’s First McDonald’s

January 31, 1990, would definitely go down as one of the most important days in Russian history. The first Mcdonald’s was opened this day, warming Russian hearts everywhere. It is located in Moscow, right in Pushkin Square. Since this was undoubtedly a completely new thing for the then called Soviet Union, you can imagine the amount of crowd it attracted. Thousands of people came to feast on the newly opened fast food joint.

Bear Addicts

If you look around the  Kronotsky Nature Reserve in South Kamchatka you will notice that the bears here have a little problem. These brown bears have actually gotten addicted to kerosene and gas barrels made for aviation fuel and also in generators and helicopters. People have seen bears lurking around these helicopters just to get a whiff of kerosene that they drop on the forest floor as they take off.

The Cats At The Hermitage Museum

The Hermitage is certainly a special museum compared to the other ones in Russia and the world. The St. Petersburg museum actually has over 70 cats living in it. They serve as protectors of all the artifacts from rodents that come inside the museum. This is actually a longstanding tradition that dates back to the 1700s during the time of Empress Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter, The Great, the founder of St. Petersburg.

Saint Basil’s Cathedral

In Europe, you get to see the most beautiful cathedrals that cannot be compared to any other in the world. Even from a picture, you can see just how incredible Saint Basil’s Cathedral is. Postnik Yakovlev had built this fascinating architecture in 1561. There were rumors of Ivan, The Terrible, blinding Postnik after he was done. His reason was he did not want anyone else to replicate this structure’s beauty.