Smolensk is a city in western Russia. It’s known for Lopatinsky Garden, with amusement rides, paths and a pond. Also in the park is the cast-iron Monument to Defenders of Smolensk in 1812, commemorating a key battle against the Napoleonic Army. Stretches of the city's 16th-century fortifications still stand, including a preserved wall in Pioneer Park. The hilltop turquoise Assumption Cathedral dates from the 1600s.
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.