Izhevsk is the capital city of western Russia’s Udmurt Republic. It’s known for the Kalashnikov Museum and Exhibition Complex of Small Arms, which displays weapons and documents the Russian arms trade. Close by, the interior of the gold-domed St. Michael’s Cathedral is decorated with colorful frescoes of saints. Near the huge Izhevsk Pond, Udmurt Republic Zoo is home to arctic foxes, Amur leopards and polar bears.
Russia, the world?s largest nation, borders European and Asian countries as well as the Pacific and Arctic oceans. Its landscape ranges from tundra and forests to subtropical beaches. It?s famous for Moscow's Bolshoi and St. Petersburg's Mariinsky ballet companies. St. Petersburg, founded by Russian leader Peter the Great, has the baroque Winter Palace, now housing part of the State Hermitage Museum?s art collection.