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Russians Go Swimming at -36 Degrees Celsius

Members of a Russian winter swimmers’ club went for a swim into the Yenisei River, at a temperature of around -36 degrees Celsius.

Russians are no strangers to cold, and most of them cope pretty well with it, especially after a few shots of vodka, but under -35 degrees is extreme, even for them. Winter swimming is very popular in Russia, and the ritual of the Epiphany has thousands of people bathing in ice-cold water to purify their bodies, but this particular group of swimmers, from the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, did it simply for fun. That’s right, they stripped down to their bathing suits and dived into the Yenisei River at -36 degrees Celsius, because that’s what they call a good time.

In case you were wondering, they all survived this crazy stunt, which means they’ll probably survive the next ice age.

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Prince Saint Vladimir – The World’s First and Only Chapel Boat

The Prince Saint Vladimir is basically an old boat converted into a floating church that could make the sacred relics on board accessible to people in remote areas along the Volga River.

This isn’t the world’s first floating church, communities living on water have built plenty of them all around the world, but the Prince Saint Vladimir (named after the saint who baptized Russia) is the world’s first self-propelled chapel boat. Built back in 2004, the unique church was designed to reach even the shallowest waters, so that all the people of the Volvograd region could have access to a church and priest. There were two other similar churches built before, but because they were practically converted barges, they could only be moved by tugboats. The Prince Saint Vladimir is, however, a self-propelled craft.

On September 13, 2010, the great river voyage of the Prince Saint Vladimir began. The floating church will travel around 3,000 kilometers along the shores of the Volga, from the river mouth, all the way to Moscow. It will make stops in both cities and small communities along the shores, allowing people access to relics of eight great saints from the era of the Undivided Church. Its voyage will take the sacred ship to areas that have suffered from drought and terrible wildfires, and the Russian Church hopes it will bring comfort to locals.

Along with the captain and ship crew, a priest will be on board the Prince Saint Vladimir at all times, and he will celebrate the Sacred Liturgy at every stop.

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Russian Builds House Shaped Like Noah’s Ark

Nikolay Orekhov, from the village of Kemerovo, eastern Russia, has built his house to look like a miniature replica of Noah’s ark. Not that he’s ever seen the real thing, but we’ve all been blessed with an imagination.

47-year-old Nikolay Orekhov has spent more than a year working on his unusual house shaped like some sort of ugly ship. According to Russian site Life.ru, the reason behind this modern version of Noah’s ark is Nikolay’s fear of floods caused by climate change. He says he’s not a fanatic but he does strongly believe in the possibility of a serious flood.

But according to the livejournal of Viktor Borisov, who also took some photos of Orekhov’s ship-shaped house, the weird craftsman actually dreamed about building the strange structure, and has really no fear of an actual flood. Regardless of his reasons, Nikolay Orekhov managed to create a truly unique piece of architecture, and he did it all without any blueprints. All the plans he needed were all in his head, and frankly, you can tell by the final result.

Located in his backyard, Nikolay Orekhov’s strange house measures 9 meters in height and 14 meters in length, and is three levels high. On the first floor, the Russian builder created a bathroom (complete with sauna and swimming pool) and a small kitchen, the second floor features two bedrooms and a nursery, while the third one is a greenhouse.

Nikolay began building his ship-shaped house on the “sacred” date of July 7, 2007, and is now living in it with his family. His neighbors have started referring to his weird creation as the “Ark of Nikolayev”.

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Russian Woman Builds Glass Bottle House

The glass bottle house built by Olga Queen, from Novoshakhtinsk, Russia is a fine addition to our hefty collection of glass bottle architecture, which already includes various bottle houses and a unique bottle temple.

In an effort to build herself a house out of cheap and environment-friendly materials, Olga Queen spent six months collecting glass bottles, around her home town of Novoshakhtinsk. She managed to gather around 5,000 of them, which proved enough to build her very own little dream house. Using some wood for the framework and concrete to fix the bottles in place, she manged to finish construction and is now ready to move in.

Glass might not seem like the right material to use when building a house, especially in a place like Russia, but the air trapped in the bottles actually provides great insulation. We’ll just see if Olga makes it through the winter in her little glass home.

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Russian WW2 Enthusiast Builds His Very Own Armored Division

Vyacheslav Veryovochkin, a village craftsman from Russia’s Novosibirsk area, has become famous for building exact replicas of various World War 2 armored vehicles, in his own garage.

Vyacheslav Veryovochkin began constructing WW2 vehicles a few years ago, when he got his hands on the plans of a Lend-Lease Studebaker truck. With only some basic tools he had in his garage, he managed to create a perfect replica, and continued to build other models, as a pastime. Because he is trying to recreate historical pieces, the passionate craftsman only works according to the original plans of the vehicles, which he now looks for on the internet and in magazines.

Right now there are just six vehicles in front of Vyacheslav Veryovochkin’s home, but he says he has so far created around 30 different WW2 tanks and armored trucks. He is the only man in Russia to create such exact replicas, so some of his works have been acquired by museums, while others rented by Mosfilm, the main film studio in Moscow, to be used in an upcoming movie inspired by the events of Stalingrad.

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Russian Geek Shows Off His Processor Collection

It’s official people, the world’s biggest geek has been located in Russia. Sporting a collection of over 1,000 computer processors, this dude has no competition.

If someone actually made a top of the geekiest things a man can collect, I’m positive computer processors would be somewhere in the top three. So it feels only natural that this guy be awarded the title of biggest geek of all, for his collection of over 1,000 computer processors. Some are from the time of the Soviet Union (those might actually be worth something), while others are a more modern.

But the oddest thing about this “high-tech” collection, is the setting of the photos, with that carpet on the wall that reminds me of my grandmother’s old home. Not really the right place for such a collection, don’t you think?

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The Suzdal Cucumber Festival

Cucumbers may be just every day vegetables to you, but in the Russian town of Suzdal they are of such importance that they have their own yearly festival.

The first cucumbers were cultivated in the Suzdal area, around 500 years ago, and some locals even consider the popular vegetable inherently Russian. The people here consider cucumbers the most nutritious vegetable in the world, and they use them in thousands of different dishes, from cucumber soups, to cucumber cakes and rolls, and even cucumber drinks. This being of the biggest cucumber producing centers of Russia, you’ll have a hard time finding a household that doesn’t make a living growing cucumbers.

The Suzdal Cucumber Festival takes place every year, in the month of July, during the vegetable harvest. During this event tourists will learn everything there is to know about cucumbers, from hot to grow them to the many different varieties. The region’s most famous entertainers perform different plays relating to cucumbers, and tourists can try the various cucumber delicacies of Suzdal, as well as buy cucumber souvenirs made of clay, wood and other materials.

One of the most important events of the Suzdal Cucumber Festival is the cucumber eating contest, where competitors try to beat the competition by eating as many cucumbers in the set time limit. Judging by the whole atmosphere of the festival, the winner probably receives some cucumbers as the prize.

This year, the Suzdal Cucumber Festival took place on July 24.

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Russian Cult Worships Female Cartoon Character

I’m sure we can all agree Gadget Hackwrench is an adorable character, but do you like her enough to worship her like a goddess?

If you’ve never heard of the cute Gadget Hackwrench, she is a Disney character from the Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers cartoon series. This female mouse was the team’s pilot, mechanic and inventor. That’s all pretty impressive, but she’s hardly worthy of her very own cult, don’t you think?

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Till Death Do Us Part? Russian Couple Has Zombie Wedding

Vitalich and Jirka are a young couple who decided to have their very own special wedding, as zombies. I guess not even death can split-up these two.

Believe it or not, this is the couple’s third wedding so far. Every time they married each other. It sounds strange, I know, but they have reasonably good explanation. Their very first wedding was pretty much what you’d expect a normal wedding to be like. They did it to please their families, but felt they needed to have a new ceremony just for them

The problem was in order to legally get married again, they had to divorce each other. And so they did. Thei second wedding was Goth-themed and their most recent one was all about zombies. They got some real cool make-up on, dyed their clothes and asked the same thing of their friends. They consider themselves normal people who just love getting married in the most unique ways. Read More »

600-Kilogram Hero Book on Display in Russia

In order to better familiarize the people of Chelyabinsk (the city that brought us the human smiley face) with the tragedies and heroes of World War II, local authorities have created a giant Hero Book.

6 meters long, 3 meters wide and weighing around 600 kilograms, the Hero Book of Chelyabinsk contains photos of the people who were killed here, during World War 2, and stories about how they fought for the freedom of Mother Russia.

Photos by CFP via Cri Online

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Make Art, Not War

I guess it’s true what they say, guns really don’t kill people, they can actually be used to create original works of art.

Come May 21, The Rusian city of Perm will be hosting an important exhibition of modern Ukrainian art, called YAKSCHO. It aims to reflect the situation in this country: productively unstable, full of contradictions, promises, hopes and disappointments, bursts of protest and creative energy.

One of the most interesting displays at YAKSCHO will definitely be the shot-up BMW. A local shooters group was asked by the Museum of Modern Art, in Perm, to take part in an unusual, but fun shooting session. Participants were promised a BMW X5 to shoot at, but in the end they were happy to empty their guns into an older model.

Volodymyr Kuznetzov, the man behind this unusual art project, decorated the car with flowers and other ornaments, marked with nail polish crosses, but the shooters, weren’t really able to follow the pattern. Still he was pleased with the final result and believes his shot-up BMW will be a hit when the exhibition opens.

via ilipin

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Russian Craftsman Builds Himself a Castle

Ever since I started this blog I’ve been amazed at what amazing things ordinary people can achieve, if they put their minds to it. And this old Russian craftsman is just another perfect example.

Vladimir Filippovich must have really wanted to be a king, and live in a palace. His desire was so strong that he used his exceptional craftsmanship to transform his home into a breathtaking castle, worthy of being compared to actual royal residences. But human subjects are often traitors who stab you in the back, when you least expect it, so Mr. Filippovich chose to rule over 13 subjects, from the animal kingdom, 11 dogs, and two cats.

His amazing-looking palace is rather noisy, with all his courtiers barking most of the time, but their loyalty and selflessness more than makes up for that. This goes to show you that, with the right skills and a lot of patience, pretty much anyone can be a king and even build their own little kingdom.

via PhotoPolygon

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Russia’s Super Car Hits the Streets

Presented at the beginning of 2009, Marussia has finally hit the streets of Russia, and we have the pics to prove it.

You’re probably wondering what a car has to do with an oddities blog, but i figured it’s not every day you see a super car that’s made in Russia. We first reported on the Marussia, in January of 2009, but if any of you had any doubts this futuristic looking beast would ever hit the streets, you were wrong. Livejournal user, quantum, took some awesome pics of the Russian super car, and it looks a lot better than I expected.

Marussia is the brain child of Russian GT driver, Nikolai Fomenko, and it’s the first GT model built in Mother Russia. Most of the parts, are however imported. Marussia features an ingenious light body that can be changed whenever you’re sick of the colors.

If you’re wondering if there’s more to this super car, than the aerodynamic look, you should know it’s got a 3.5 liter engine, and 300 bhp, under the hood. Marussia reaches 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds.

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Mosquito Monument Found in Russian Village

If this thing was for real, you’d need a lot more than a can of Raid, to hold on to your blood.

Back in 2007, Biologists from the Tyumen Regional Museum, who were examining the Noyabrsk area, for creating an eco-tourism route, for kids, stumbled across what they considered the most bizarre find, in their careers, in Lata village. A giant mosquito, as tall as an average person, was staring them in the face.

Luckily for them, this particular blood-sucker was just a sculpture, made from scrap metal. Local artist, Valery Chaliy built this strange monument, using old car and truck parts. It’s not exactly a monument, since we’re talking about a pest that no one would really miss, but the artist admits he was inspired by the millions of mosquitoes inhabiting the neighboring swamps.

Photos via svintuss

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Russians Blow Up Their Own Weapons

Russia’s blow-up weapons might seem funny, but they play a crucial role in the country’s strategy to keep their real arsenal hidden from prying eyes.

The inflatable decoys were commissioned by the Russian government, to protect their real military capabilities from surveillance satellites. The company making them, Rusbal, says they imitate the heat signature of real military vehicles and look so realistic that’s it’s easy to mistake them for the real thing, even from short distances.

These blow-up weapons are only around 100 kg heavy and can be easily transported and set up by small teams, in a matter of minutes. They’ll also stay intact in case of gunfire or small explosions.

Even though this type of inflatable decoys have been very popular in World War II and the Cold War, they are just as important and useful now as they were then. Rusbal says they are now creating inflatable decoys for Russia and several other Western countries.

Photos via CCTV

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