The capital of Russia is Moscow, the country’s largest city, its major political, industrial and cultural center. First tribes appeared on the territory of the future Moscow in the Neolithic epoch. The reference to a Moscow, as to a town, is found in the old manuscript of 1147. Today Moscow is one of the world biggest megapolises and the biggest city in Europe. Its population is about 15 million people.
The second largest Russian megapolis with almost 5 million people inhabitants, St Petersburg is really a unique place to visit. The city was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, Russia's first and the most famous Emperor. For more than 200 years, St. Petersburg was the capital of Russia and the main residence of 13 Russian Emperors.
The participants of the conference will have a chance to visit two capitals of Russia: Moscow (during the Conference) and St. Petersburg (during pre- or post- conference tour), to enjoy the beauty of their magnificent historical monuments.
Official language in Russia is the Russian language. English is quite widespread among the population, especially younger people. At most 4 and 5 star hotels staff speaks English, German, and French. You may find useful some basic knowing of the Russian alphabet, as most of the signs are in Russian. The conference staff speaks fluent English, they will be happy to help anyone who is experiencing difficulties in communicating their needs.
English is the official language of the School.
The currency of Russia is ruble. To see the rate of exchange you may visit http://www.xe.com/ucc.
By law, you can only use rubles to pay for goods and services in Moscow and other towns in Russia. There are many currency exchange offices in the center of the city, though you should pay attention to the fixed commission being charged and consider the special rates offered for the exchange of large sums. As a rule, the worst rates are available at large banks and Sberbank in particular. Do not exchange money with private individuals – you may get ripped off in the process of exchanging the money in the street. In addition, the exchange will be illegal.
Traveler’s checks are accepted only by leading banks. You should be aware that using traveler’s checks in Russia is not popular as in other countries. Credit cards Visa, Master Card, American Express are widely accepted at hotels, department stores, big shops, restaurants.
Despite the fact that credit card use is widespread in Moscow, it is best to carry at least some cash when in the city. Many places do not accept cards (transport, certain restaurants and cafes, museums). You should also be warned that the logo or sticker of any payment system on the door of any particular establishment is no guarantee that your card will be accepted and you should check with the staff in advance. Cash machines accepting the main credit and debit cards – Visa, Master Card, Maestro, American Express – are fairly common and can be found at shopping centers and large shops, hotels and metro stations.
Can be dialed direct from payphones, with no codes. If you are calling from a mobile phone — 112 — which will connect you to the emergency number of your service provider. If your operator does not provide this service or if your roaming agreement doesn’t include it, you will be given the correct number to dial the city emergency services.