Polibino. The World's First Hyperboloid Lattice Shell structure (2010)
The World's First Hyperboloid Lattice Shell structure. The Russian engineer and architect Vladimir Shukhov was the first in the world to invent and use in construction hyperboloid towers. For the 1896 All-Russia industrial and art exhibition in Nizhniy Novgorod Shukhov built the steel lattice 37-meter tower, which became the first hyperboloid structure in the world. The astonishing hyperboloid lattice structure caused delight of the European specialists ("The Nijni-Novgorod exhibition: Water tower, room under construction, springing of 91 feet span", "The Engineer" magazine, 1897, № 19.3. - P.292-294). After the exhibition had closed, the openwork tower of rare beauty was bought by the well-known Maecenas of that time Yury Nechaev-Maltsov and placed in his estate Polibino, Lipetsk Oblast, where it has preserved until now under the state protection. In the subsequent years, V.G.Shukhov developed numerous structures of various lattice steel hyperboloids and used them in hundreds water towers, sea lighthouses, masts of warships and supports for power transmission lines. The hyperboloid structures appeared in Spain (Gaudi) and USA (battleship masts) only 10 years after the Shukhov's invention.
Just in case you mistakenly heard that it was all ice and snow in Russia, take a peek at the Big Bikini Exposition. This is right on the river Moskva in Moscow!
Moscow has been the capital of Russia for almost its entire history. The exception is during the period of the Russian Empire, which lasted from 1721 until the Russian Revolution 1917. For these two centuries the capital was St. Petersburg. The Russian Empire was the second largest contiguous Empire in world memory; only the Mongol Empire had been greater.
Check out what's happening north of Mongolia these days, in Chita
Although you may not have heard of Sochi, on the Black Sea, they're building up quickly and hope to host the 2014 Olympics.
Other periods of Russian history include the Tsardom of Russia, from Ivan IV to Peter the Great, and the Grand Duchy (14th-16th centuries).
The earliest period of Russian history was ruled by the Novgorod Republic and Kievan Rus, which was the first Russian state dating back to 800AD in Kiev.
Modern Russia remains one of the world's superpowers. They launched the earth's second satellite, called Sputnik 1, and were the first country to put a human being into orbit around earth. (The first one is called the Moon.)
After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia became a federal republic of 83 states.
Text by Steve Smith.