20 Things Russia Is Famous and Known For

Please note that some posts may contain affiliate links. We may earn a commission should you choose to purchase using these links but at absolutely no extra cost to you.

Russia is famous for being the largest country in the world. It extends across two continents: Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. Because of its size, Russia borders 14 countries, the longest being Finland and China. Additionally, it is bound by both the Pacific Ocean and the Arctic Ocean. 

What Is Russia Famous For?

Russia is known for its Vodka production, cold climate, and Matryoshka Doll. The country also has a rich historical past consisting of The Russian Empire and The Soviet Union.

Due to this, it has many distinguished landmarks such as The Kremlin and The Winter Palace which are known for housing generations of royals as well as their extensive, elegant gardens.

Russia is also famous for also being refined, and showing a strong interest in arts, music, and dance.

History, Culture, And Traditions Russia Is Known For 

Soviet Union


Russia is perhaps most well known for being a part of The Soviet Union (USSR). This was a large country made of up 15 constituents in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. These included countries such as Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova.

The Soviet Union was a socialist state, which existed between 1922 and 1991. It encouraged the idea of communism, which was a popular concept enforced by Vladimir Lenin and founded by Karl Marx. This is the ideology that a population deserves equal ownership of property.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union resulted in the republics it was made up of gaining their independence as countries.

Matryoshka Dolls


One of the most famous things from Russia is matryoshka dolls. These are a set of wooden dolls, usually, ten, which fit into each other cumulatively. As a result, they are often termed ‘stacking dolls.’

The idea behind these dolls is widely disputed. Many say that they represent fertility and family, as there is a hierarchy for the family by which members should abide. On the other hand, some claim the dolls represent peasant life, which is depicted by the poor clothing they wear.



Arts, such as dance and music, are a popular part of the culture in Russia. In fact, the Russian society is known for intertwining these aspects, which go hand-in-hand.

For example, ballet is widely practiced in Russia. Families encourage discipline and grace, which the dance requires. As a result, many composers from the country write melodies that are suitable for this, such as ‘Swan Lake’ by Tchaikovsky and ‘A Life for a Tsar’ by Glinka.

Baba Yaga


Baba Yaga is a prolific supernatural elderly woman who is a huge part of Slavic folklore. She is one of the most famous people from Russia, despite being supernatural.

In the tale, Baba Yaga is known for kidnapping and cooking children. She is scary in appearance, and as a result, terrifies her victims. In addition to this, Baba Yaga lives hidden in the forest, in a house that is constructed from chicken legs.

The idea of this myth is to represent themes of selfishness, greed, and death. This is a lesson taught to all generations both young and old.

Cities and Travel Destinations Russia Is Known For



The most notable city that Russia is famous for is undoubtedly Moscow. It has been the capital since 1918, the first of the Soviet Union, and now of Russia.

As Moscow is large and densely populated, there are several striking landmarks. This includes Saint Basil’s Cathedral and Kazan Cathedral. These are all important historical and religious attractions.

In addition to this, Moscow is known for its beautiful architecture. Red Square, for example, is a historic center with several unique structures such as The Kremlin and Lenin’s Mausoleum.

Saint Petersburg


Saint Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia. Previously, it was known as Leningrad, an eponym of Vladimir Lenin. It is best known for its strong cultural identity.

Landmarks in Saint Petersburg are famous for being historical and affluent. For example, the Winter Palace is a huge building in which famous royals have resided, such as the Romanov family. Another popular attraction is the Mariinsky Theatre, a historical concert hall where you can watch the opera.



Novosibirsk is another large city which Russia is known for. It is a modern city in Siberia, which has many impressive operations. This includes a hydroelectric power station, prestigious science universities, and many commercial centers.

Despite being contemporary, there are also several historical landmarks in Novosibirsk. This includes the Alexandre Nevsky Cathedral and Mikhail Zuyev Monument.

The city is located on the Ob River, on which many attractions are built. This adds beauty and a natural element to the city, which many other regions lack.



Smolensk is a dynamic, family-friendly city in the west of Russia. It is located on the Dnieper River, due to its proximity to Ukraine.

The most famous landmark in Smolensk is Lopatinsky Garden. Inside it is daring fairground rides, ideal for children and teenagers. Additionally, there are many monuments such as the Defends of Smolensk memorial. This is to commemorate the soldiers who defended the city in The Patriotic War.

Other attractions include the Cathedral of Assumption and the Smolensk Historical Museum.

Landmarks and Architecture Russia Is Known For 

The Moscow Kremlin


Russia is famous for its Kremlins, particularly the one in Moscow. Some of us probably don’t even know that “Kremlin” doesn’t automatically refer to “The Kremlin” in Moscow.

A kremlin is essentially a fortress that plays a key role in the history of Russia. The purpose is to house important government figures, serve as a religious sanctuary, and also protect inhabitants during wars.

Although there are 12 of them in the country, the most popular is hands down the one in the capital city.

The Moscow Kremlin is well-known for being a complex made up of palaces and cathedrals. Furthermore, it is the residence of the President of Russia.

Moscow Metro

The Moscow Metro is a large transportation system in the capital city that also serves the neighboring towns. One of the fun facts about Russia is that the Moscow metro system is the third busiest in the world.

It was founded in 1935 and is a significant landmark that Russia is famous for, due to its accessibility. Although the metro station is old, there are many modernized lines within it that have been updated since its construction.

Within the Moscow Metro, there are over 200 stations, most of which are deep or shallow underground. One of the most renowned stations is ‘Arbatskaya’, which is amongst the longest of them all. It is painted deep beige and has golden chandeliers as well as bronze sculptures. The idea of this is to make the station appear spacious and luxurious.

Peterhof Palace


The Peterhof Palace in Saint Petersburg is a succession of palaces constructed in the early 18th century.

Russia is known for its historical figures, in which one of the most significant was Tsar the Great. Initially, The Peterhof Palace was formed for him, serving as a royal residence. However, after visiting the Palace of Versailles in France, Tsar the Great decided to replicate this and create a similar complex.

The Peterhof Palace is made up of many palaces and gardens. Additionally, there are several fountains. The Grand Cascade is undoubtedly the most picturesque, culminating in over 60 fountains and several biblical statues.

Alexandre Nevsky Cathedral

The chief religion in Russia is Christian Orthodox. Therefore, you can imagine the Alexandre Nevsky Cathedral in Novosibirsk is one of the most significant landmarks in Russia.

The Church was constructed in the 19th century in remembrance of Saint Alexandre Nevsky, who was a renowned Russian leader with excellent military skills. His relics are stored in the cathedral.

The architectural style of the cathedral is Neo-Byzantine, shown by the open spaces, marble columns, and gold ornaments. As a result, is hugely popular worldwide.


Food Russia Is Known For

Russia is renowned for its delicious traditional cuisine, which is often hearty and full of flavor. It has been shaped by centuries of history and a variety of influences from neighboring countries.

Traditional Russian food also uses ingredients that are native to the region, such as potatoes, grains, cabbage, and mushrooms. This makes it unique compared to other cuisines around the world.



When debating what Russia is famous for, blini is undoubtedly one of the first foods to come to mind. These savory pancakes are small and circular, making them perfect for canapes during luxury dinner parties.

Blini are made like regular pancakes, using eggs, milk, and buckwheat flour. They are a popular option among traditional Russian desserts.

Blini are most commonly topped with a tangy crème fraiche, fresh salmon, and chives. Rarely, they can also be made with sweet toppings such as a fruit compote. This is the modernized version of blini, although traditionally they were made much bigger.



Many Eastern European countries, such as Ukraine and Poland, claim borsht as their national dish. Similarly, Russia is famous for its borsht, which is traditionally made in a slightly different manner.

Borsht consists of three main ingredients: beetroot, cabbage, and meat. Often in Russia, this meat is beef, whilst other countries prefer pork. Additionally, Russian borsht rarely includes root vegetables like potato or parsnip, instead opting for a simpler recipe.

This is a staple in households around the country, as it is a warm and affordable meal during the harsh winter climate. It is one of the most iconic Russian soups.



As we have established, Russia is famous for simple yet filling recipes. Kasha, otherwise

known as oatmeal, is a great example of this.

Kasha is an everyday food made of grains such as buckwheat. It is a popular food due to its versatility, as it can be made plain, sweet, or savory. Most commonly, it is garnished with meat and vegetables. On the other hand, you can opt for a quicker, everyday version with honey or cinnamon.

It is a typical Russian breakfast food, but can also be eaten as a quick meal during for lunch, or dinner.



Pirozhki are warm baked buns that are topped with a rich, heavy filling. They are colloquially known as ‘hand pies’ due to their closeness to pie, although made smaller.

Traditional pirozhki dough is made with flour and yeast and can be stored for months. This is essential as it is a staple food that can also be found in Russian households. Usually, the dough can be baked, however, frying pirozhki has become increasingly popular as street food in Russia.

Common savory fillings include beef, rice, and onion.

Famous People From Russia

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova is one of the most famous people from Russia born in Nyagan, a small yet popular city.

Sharapova is known for being a former tennis player who has accomplished great feats. She is one of the only Russian people to achieve a Grand Slam, composed of four major tournaments. This includes the French Open, Australian Open, US Open, and Wimbledon.

Additionally, tennis is a male-dominated sport, which has earnt her more appreciation for her dedication as a female.

Vladimir Lenin

Historically, Russia is famous for being an important part of the Soviet Union, made up of 15 republics. Lenin was known for being the first head of government in the USSR, and as a result, being a part of the socialist party.

Lenin implanted many policies which promised to lift the country from its hardships. In his famous speech, he declared that the government would fight for “Bread, land, and peace.” For this, he was respected and admired by the population. He was also the founder of the Communistic Party.

Overall, Lenin was liked for his devotion to supporting and uplifting minorities.  

Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Pyotr Tchaikovsky was a prominent Russian composer during the 19th century. He is one of the most famous Russian people due to his worldwide success and recognition.

Tchaikovsky composed a variety of melodies that are admired for different reasons. His lifelong depression was reflected in his music which as a whole was emotional, dramatic, and gloomy.  

The most well-known pieces include Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Symphony No 6. All of these impressive pieces are used in opera to this day.

Irina Shaykhlislamova

Irina Shaykhlislamova, known as Irina Shayk, is a famous model and public figure. Russia is famous for its discipline regarding exercise and beauty, which Shayk has demonstrated time and time again.

As a child, Shayk partook in beauty contests and eventually became known for her debut in the 2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. This was because she was the first Russian model to land this cover.

During her career, she collaborated with many designer brands such as Givenchy, Guess, and Moschino. She is publicly scrutinized, as her clothes worn at hyped events such as the Met Gala and Paris Fashion Week have an international influence.

Discovering More Things Russia Is Known For

These are just some of the many things that Russia is famous for. There is plenty more to explore in this geographically huge, and culturally rich country.

Many of the attractions in Russia are complex, intricately-designed buildings such as the Mariinsky Theatre or the Alexandre Nevsky Cathedral, which display beautiful art and designs.

Famous Russian people reflect the discipline and elegance of the country, as many are successful athletes or composers despite their humble beginnings. This reinforces the culture of Russia, which teaches the population to be determined.



Book Your Flight

I usually use a combination of 2-3 of the following search engines to find cheap flights: Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights

Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

For more travel resources, check out my resources page for best platforms and companies to use when you travel.

More Adventures


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


other stories