In terms of size, Russia is the largest country in the world and it encompasses a total area of approximately 6,601,700 square miles. This transcontinental nation is mainly situated in northern Asia and it stretches from the western section of the Urals in Europe to the Northern Pacific Ocean. Russia traverses almost halfway around the Northern Hemisphere, with its coasts forming along the Arctic and Pacific Oceans.
Russia derived its name from a medieval Kievan kingdom called "Rus." The land occupied by this once prominent Slavic state eventually became modern-day Russia. Compared to the size of the United States, Russia is roughly 1.8 times larger. The entire Russian territory is so massive that it covers 11 time zones, as of 2015. Russia shares its land borders with 14 Asian and European countries and it forms maritime boundaries with Japan and the U.S.
Present-day Russia, formally known as the Russian Federation, was officially established on August 24, 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Its seat of government is located in Moscow. Some of the country's national symbols include the Russian bear, birch tree and balalaika, as the national animal, tree and instrument, respectively.
Russia offers a wide array of historical and cultural sites, natural landmarks and popular tourist attractions. Some of the most significant geographical features in Russia include the Ural, Caucasus and Altai mountains, Siberian plain and plateau, Kamchatka Peninsula, Volga River, Lake Baikal and Baltic Sea. Russia is also home to the Kremlin, Red Square, Winter Palace, Saint Basil's Cathedral, Bolshoi Theater, Hermitage Museum and Gorky Park. Yuri Gagarin, Vladimir Lenin, Mikhail Gorbachev, Joseph Stalin, Leo Tolstoy and Vladimir Putin are some of the internationally renowned Russian citizens.