Russia is one of those countries that it seems impossible to get your head around. Outside the opulent grandeur of Moscow and St Petersburg, where the fairytale palaces of the Tsars starkly contrasts with the stone simplicity of the Soviet-era, it is easy to forget about the patchwork of people, religions and cultures that call it home. Here, the present fades to the background and the old traditions and rural beauty shine through, giving a completely different vision of this enigmatic country. Tolstoy’s weighty tomes may not appeal to everyone, but they say you should never judge a book by its cover.
We all enjoy a good fact or two - here are a few useful ones about Russia: