Astrakhan is a city on the Volga River in southern Russia. It's known for the Astrakhan Kremlin, an expansive fortress built in the 1500s. Its grounds are home to several Russian Orthodox churches, including the five-domed Assumption Cathedral. The Museum of Military Glory displays weapons and artifacts from war. The Astrakhan Drama Theatre stages Russian and Shakespearean classics in an opulent, 1880s auditorium.
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.