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Russia From Above | Series review

As the world has shrunk through the internet, the ways of learning about the world have grown by leaps and bounds. Today, you can virtually experience every corner of the world before you are able to transport yourself physically there. And there are some remote areas that are best seen with modern technological marvels like hidden cameras to capture wild animals or “eye in the sky” UAVs and drones.

We love documentaries featuring nature, wildlife and travel around the globe and recently we came across this 2018-2019 mini-series called Russia From Above. As the name suggests, the series is shot with state-of-the-art camera gear flying above this vast country and it has some fantastic and majestic scenery that is only possible to capture from air.

You may know how massive Russia is when you look at its spread over a map from Europe in the West to Siberia in the East and polar seas in the North to the vast grasslands of Asia in the South. The country is so big that its split into eleven time zones and if you take a train to go long distances, you could be travelling for a week before you reach your destination.
A huge part of this country suffers from extreme weather conditions and around 85% of its population lives in the more habitable sections of the country. The lights of its biggest cities – Moscow and St Petersberg – are visible even from space.

And so it is a difficult country to map in one travel show or one tour. Every corner of it has something unique to offer and what ‘Russia From Above’ offers is absolutely mesmerising visuals of this country that have never been seen before from this perspective.

The landscape of this country includes mountains, lakes, steppes as well as tropical waters and hence filled with the variety of species inhibiting cold to tropical land and waters. As such, there are countless spots and creatures to admire. Just to give you a few examples of the natural beauty and wildlife pictured on this series:

  • The Volga Delta – where the 3000 km Volga river meets the Caspian sea over almost 300 km trajectory. This is a heaven for migratory birds and we see the beautiful Whooper swans as they travel thousands of kilometers to come to this winter heaven.
  • Kalmykia – the only remaining home in the Eurasian steppes for endangered member of antelope family called Saigas
  • Caucasus mountain ranges – covered in eternal covers of ice and a place of pilgrimage for the mountaineers

Or its majestic cities:

  • St Petersberg – sometimes called the Venice of North – built on the shores of Neva by Peter and Katherine.
  • Moscow – where humans have lived for almost five thousand years
  • Or smaller cities like Kaliningrad, Kazan, Volgagrad and a lot more that put on display cultural variances of European as well as Asian histories.

The series shows us through aerial maps, how these cities came into existence and their footprints as they grew over time. It shows us their beauty that reaches to sky in form of its social classicism architecture in Universities, its onion domed basilicas, the soviet star, the statues of “Motherland Calling” and “Hammer and Sickle”. Not to mention, the skyscrapers that make Moscow look like something out of a videogame at night.

The series has captured the beauty of the harsh winter in these cities as people walk over iced-up canals or brave the cold to take swims in ice-cold water..!!! Speaking of the human world, we also see the shipyards that specialise in building crafts that survive the extreme cold and keep the waterways navigable.

You’ll fall in love with the rich colours of the Russian countryside, its mountains, its lakes, its rivers, its sand deserts and its towns and cities as they are captured on the film here. And the background music is just right. One of my favourite segments from the series is the capture of harvest season in Kazan with ballet music in background – we watch from the sky the symmetry of the tracks as the tractors make their way through rich, golden farmlands.


A must-watch series with breathtaking visuals and lovely background score.

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