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Russian Culture To Do in Moscow To Do in Saint-Petersburg Top Travelers Advices Traveling in Russia

3 reasons why to do dog-trekking in Russia (in Moscow and in Saint-Petersburg)

What is dog-trekking?

Dog-trekking in Moscow
Dog-trekking in Moscow

 

Dog-trekking becomes more popular every year amongst nature and animal lovers especially, who want to combine their passions for fresh air, natural landscapes and interaction with animals together. So, basically dog-trekking is an activity when a dog is strapped to one’s back with a rope and together with a dog you go for a walk in the nature – to the forest or alongside the river bank. The dogs are taking people for a walk actually as they are the ones guiding trough the nature. Hereunder you may find 3 good reasons why to do dog-trekking in Russia this summer or every other summer possible:

Trekking in the Nature in Moscow
Trekking in the Nature in Moscow

 

  • To enjoy natural landscapes

For more than anything else, dog-trekking is famous for the opportunity it gives to enjoy the nature. Dog-trekking is usually done in the most beautiful and picturesque places of an area. In Moscow, for instance, where we do our Tsar Visit dog-trekking + kayaking tour, people walk alongside the Moscow River and they can see the unique rope bridge and enjoy cool summer winds from the river. Also, people go through the forest with different fresh water streams and flower fields.

Dog-trekking in Saint-Petersburg
Dog-trekking in Saint-Petersburg

 

  • To meet husky dogs of 4 northern breeds

Dog-trekking is an activity that is focused on dogs – main protagonists. In Russia the dogs’ breed is naturally husky – Siberian huskies, Alaskan huskies, Laikas and Malamuts. These dogs have an absolute love for humans and they are happy to play and hug with you. Tsar Visit dog-trekking tour usually begins with meeting all the dogs and playing with them. After this unforgettable moment with all the huskies, you will be able to choose one dog with who you would like to go trekking in the forest!

 

Kayaking on Moscow River after dog-trekking
Kayaking on Moscow River after dog-trekking

 

  • To do sports while trekking with husky dogs

What you should know about dog-trekking is that it is more than just a walk – it is a sports activity. Although it requires no special preparation and no special abilities, you still have to be prepared for doing sports. 5-km route that we propose on Tsar Visit in Moscow and in St. Petersburg contains various parts that require some speed and balance. Moreover, huskies are a strong and extremely active breed, so you must be very focused during the trip. Also, in Moscow you may add kayaking to your tour and your route will be 6-km of dog-trekking and 6-km back on kayaks with professional instructors. In Saint Petersburg after the dog-trekking tour you will be able to do some rowboat riding on a wonderful lake!

Rowboat riding on the lake in St. Petersburg
Rowboat riding on the lake in St. Petersburg

 

To sum up, dog-trekking is a very new, but already extremely popular activity in Russia. Both in Moscow and in St. Petersburg it is famous for being a great opportunity to spend time on fresh air observing beautiful natural landscapes, reuniting with animals, studying about husky breed and doing sports at the same time!

Dog-Trekking in Russia
Dog-Trekking in Russia

 

We definitely recommend you to go for it and if you do, you will cherish those memories forever!

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Russian Culture To Do in Moscow Top Travelers Advices Traveling in Russia

Top 3 best parks to enjoy summer in Moscow in 2020

If you wonder what parks to visit in Moscow in 2020 and spend an amazing time outside, hereunder you find the best answer.

Parks of culture and leisure became a real thing in 2010s when Moscow government decided to invest money in landscape gardening of the city and its image of a “green capital”. Right now, in Moscow parks are the most popular places to hang out for the full day with lots of activities: walking, cycling, playing basketball and volleyball, laying on the grass and having a picnic etc. If you don’t know where to go on weekend in Moscow – parks are best options to spend time.

Gorky Park in Moscow
Gorky Park in Moscow

 

Hereunder you will find the 3 best parks to visit in Moscow:

  • Gorky Park of Culture and Leisure

Gorky Park is the most famous park in Moscow, about which you could have heard in the song “Wind of Change” by Scorpions. Back in the days it was an amusement park with biggest rollercoasters in Eastern Europe. Nowadays this park is loved by hipsters, youngsters and families for its number of activities. In Gorky Park you can practice sports like basketball and volleyball on pitches made by biggest sports brands Nike and Adidas. You can do yoga classes, dancing classes and many more. What to eat while in Gorky Park? In food-courts, of course! There are a lot of different restaurants with numerous cuisines – Greek, Chinese, Thai, Italian and Russian. We recommend you to sit on the terrace near the Moscow River bench and enjoy the moment. Also, in Gorky Park you may go to a concert or a show, which are held almost every day!

If you want to know what is Gorky Park and how it changed the image of Moscow, follow Leo, young French journalist and guide living in Moscow for his Gorky Park private tour, during which you discover the history of this place, walk around best sights and get to know how to spend great time on fresh air in in Moscow.

address: Krymsky Val, 9

open 24 hours a day

Center of Gorky Park in Moscow
Central Fountain of Gorky Park in Moscow

 

  • Zaryadye Park

The most recently opened park now in Moscow is Zaryadye Park right in the heart of the capital near Red Square and Kremlin.

Park Zaryadye in Moscow has numerous installations, created by very famous Russian artists, and many things to visit – the Ice Cave made of 70 tons of frozen water, Florarium with more than 200 plant species, Media Center with interactive walls and floor to watch stunning 360-degrees videos, etc.

Zaryadye Park in Moscow
Zaryadye Park in Moscow

 

But the most symbolic and impressive sight in Zaryadye is definitely the River Overlook Footbridge from which you can amazing views on Kitay-Gorod, Kremlin, St.Basil’s Cathedral and Stalin Towers.

River Overlook Footbridge in Zaryadye Park
River Overlook Footbridge in Zaryadye Park

 

If you want to discover more Zaryadye Park with Kremlin and Red Square, take part in Walking Tour in the Center of Moscow of Tsar Visit and explore Moscow deeper with professional guide.

address: Ulitsa Varvarka 6, building 1

open 24 hours a day

  • VDNKh Park

VDNKh Park (or VDNH, which stands for Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy) in Ostankino District of Moscow is at the moment the biggest and the most developed park in Russia.

If you want to receive all at once – VDNKh park is the best choice. It contains a lot of worldwide famous symbols of Russia and USSR – pavilions of former USSR republics, the People’s Friendship Fountain, Ostankino TV tower, Moscow Monorail and Museum of Cosmonautics.

Ostankino Tower in VDNKh park in Moscow
Ostankino Tower in VDNKh park in Moscow

 

VDNKh Park was recently renewed and now it has one of the biggest Aquariums in Europe with more than 12000 water animals. In VDNKh you can play any sports, rent a bike or a scooter, walk the eco-trail, go climbing or do yoga.

VDNKh Park in Moscow
VDNKh Park in Moscow

 

If you want to explore VDNKh Park fully, join the tour of VDNKh and Cosmonautics Museum by Tsar Visit and learn about these impressive sights with a professional private guide.

address: Prospekt Mira, 119

open 24 hours a day

Cosmonautics Museum in VDNKh Park
Cosmonautics Museum in VDNKh Park

 

All in all, in Moscow more than anywhere else in the world, parks are sights definitely worth visiting. They contain a lot of worldwide famous attractions and they keep developing every day. If you want to know Moscow better and to spend amazing time in Russia – visit the famous capital parks.

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To Do in Saint-Petersburg Top

Top 4: Unusual Things To Do in Saint Petersburg

Are you bored to see tourists everywhere you wanna go? Do you feel like you want to explore areas others haven’t? You can unearth places like that even in Peter! (yeah, that’s another way to call Saint-Petersburg, way more popular in real life than “The Venice of North”) Thanks to this top 4, you’ll bring back home unique pictures and memories, and everybody’s gonna tell you: wow, where have been? where have you seen that?… Now you’re wondering what exactly, I’m gonna tell you.

In Moscow? Check this unusual top 3!

  • Saint Petersburg Secret Roofs

Many people have already seen outstanding videos and pictures on St-Petersburg from its roof. But few had the opportunity to actually go there, and pretend to be one of the Hermitage’s cats. Several locals started “mini-businesses” and let you access the roofs through their stairs. For the view, the feeling of breaking the rules, the adrenaline and for the likes on Instagram, take the stairs and explore another side of this surprising city! But careful when roofs are wet or icy, you wouldn’t let your annoying step-sister fall…

Picture: View from Saint-Petersburg's roofs © Dreamstime
View from Saint-Petersburg’s roofs
  • St-Anne’s Church-Theater (Annenkirche)

Building shared by a lutheran congregation and a liberal theater company, St-Anne’s Church Theater is the doorstep of Peter’s underground. Hidden in a small street, the building had a long history, built as a church it became a theater and a nightclub that burnt in 2002. Restored on popular initiatives it remains a strange and amazing building half-burnt but slowly rising again. There you’ll meet interesting people and will be able to explore the whole building (including the mysterious and very scary undergrounds) by yourself. This place is actually great for photo shoots (especially if you like to pretend that you’re so “out of the tracks”) or if you want to appear as a muzhik by protecting your so… but don’t bring your kids, they’ll have nightmares.

Picture: Gloomy Interior of St. Anne's Lutheran Church (Annenkirche), Saint-Petersburg
Gloomy Interior of St. Anne’s Lutheran Church (Annenkirche), Saint-Petersburg

If you like this kind of original, non-touristic places, try our tour “like a local” of St Petersburg.

  • Loft Project ETAGI

This surprising building in the heart of St Petersburg is a center of cultural life for many artists, hipsters and all curious people. There, you’ll find progressive exhibitions, workshops and original events. For example, you may meet real huskies and play with them while sitting on a swing on the 4th floor of the building. While your new-made Petersburgian friends may enjoy a meal in the food-court in the basement, you might head up to the rooftop and enjoy the rays of sun while sipping mulled-wine or a milkshake. Across the different floors, you’ll probably pop into one of the shops selling all sorts of things from clothes to graffiti equipment, nail bars and green cafes. You’ll even find a container alley and a sock vending machine (yes, yes, a machine that sells socks, some with pikachus, some with unicorns, and many others).

Picture: Main entrance to Loft Proyekt Etazhi © Eva Delaunay
Picture: Main entrance to Loft Proyekt Etazhi
  • «Pushkinskaya-10» Art Center

This is the only non-governmental, self-regulated and independent art center of St Petersburg, and probably even of Russia. In this creative place, you may try yourself at painting by taking drawing classes, or simply discover contemporary art from local and international artists. If you fell like you want to keep concrete memories from this unique place, you may buy paintings or books, and even music! An since St Petersburg underground is a vibrant and fashionable topic, people there will be pleased to inform you about its history.

«Pushkinskaya-10» Art-Center © Eva Delaunay
«Pushkinskaya-10» Art-Center

If you’re really fond of art and prefer to see real Russian art across all ages, then the State Russian museum was made for you.

 

Want to know more about Russia? Read more on our Travel Blog!

Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!

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Cultural Fact Did you know? Russian Culture Top Travelers Advices Traveling in Russia

Hidden places of St. Petersburg

Saint-Petersburg is full of surprises… From surprisingly beautiful sights to surprisingly small prices. You will enjoy this city even if you visit just the main tourist attractions, but believe us, a lot of amazing places are hidden on those streets..

Here is our top!

  • Nelson yard
Picture: Nelson Yard, Saint-Petersburg
Dvor Nelsona, Polozova Ulitsa, 6, St Petersburg

Bard Nelson fought gray routine and created in the yard area of the house on a small Polozov street a bright colorful atmosphere. The musician managed to create the most amazing courtyard of the Petrograd side with the help of a spray paint, applying imagination and using all the trash that had been gathering dust on the mezzanine for many years.

  • Chufalnya on Aprashka Market
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Chifanka (Chufalnya), Sadovaya Street, 28, St. Petersburg

” Chufalnya ” is in the third house on the right, if you go on Apraksin Market through the gate with Apraksino lane. Here, as before, (in 90s) the authenticity is turned to the maximum: the owners and cooks are Chinese, the wall menu with touching mistakes in translation, the complete lack of interior, ridiculous prices and a whole rack of Chinese goods — from bamboo rugs to wood mushrooms. However, because of the increased attention on the part of students and fashionistas the titular nation in the room appears in a noticeable minority and the place is becoming not that unknown.

  • Kabinet bar
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Kabinet, Malaya Sadovaya Street, 8, St Petersburg

The establishment of the famous bartender in the city is made in the style of a closed poker club or an illegal casino of the 30s. Entrance to the” Kabinet ” is through the diner Grill Brothers: you need to find the door with the inscription” only for staff ” and go down the stairs to the basement. However, to get to the bar itself is possible only upon prior reservation, contacts for which you have to search in social networks under the hashtag #вкабинетпожалуйста.

  • The house of Buck
2
Kirochnaya Ulitsa, 24, St. Petersburg (currently in restoration)

Apartment house of Buck, whose name has become an integral part of the name of the building, is interesting from all sides: its amazing facade is one of the dominants of Kirochnaya street, in the front it is still preserved part of the interior decoration, which can be judged on the solvency of the former tenants. Unfortunately, the house of Buck is in a depressing condition, but also on the dirty marble stairs, broken in places stained glass, apartments, first 15-room, but later given to the communal, as well as dusty twisted railing bars can restore the image of the former splendor of the house.

  • Rotunda
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Fontanka River Embankment, 81, St. Petersburg (Gorokhovaya Street, 57А, St Petersburg)

In the house on the corner of Gorokhovaya street and Fontanka embankment you can find the most mystical city object — Rotunda. The house is not noticeable, it is a typical structure for St. Petersburg. It’s all about the Rotunda — a round building with six free-standing columns. The curves of the walls repeat the stairs, as if striving endlessly upwards. The rotunda received the title of a cult place in the 70-80s of the last century – the time of the emergence of informal movements among the Soviet youth. Representatives of different subcultures gathered here — rockers, hippies, punks.

Want to know more about Russia? Read more on our Travel Blog!
Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!

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Top 5: Russian drinks

What do Russians drink? Vodka, and sometimes … more vodka! If you think so, then this top is for you! There is a big variety of drinks that can only be found in Russia and its neighbors or foreign drinks that Russians adopted. Some are quite good, some are … quite strange for those who are not used to it, but I will leave you the judge of it (as Russians say “for taste and colors there are no comrades”). So here are some of the most popular drinks you can ( and must ) experience in Russia.

  • vodka

Let’s start with the obvious one… Yes, vodka is the most appreciated strong alcohol in Russia, but there are way more interesting things to say about this drink (even if you don’t drink). First of all, “Vodka” comes from the Slavic word “Voda”  (water) and can be translated by “little water”. It started spreading in Russia and in eastern Europe in the 16th century. Vodka is usually obtained from the distillation of grain like wheat or rye, but you can also find some (few) from potatoes or even grapes. In Russia, it used to be quite common for people to make their own vodka called Samogon, but it’s dangerous because it can contain methanol and it is now forbidden.

There is also a legend saying that the great Russian scientist Mendeleïev is the “inventor of vodka” having proven scientifically that the perfect percentage of alcohol is 40°C. Unfortunately, this rule was introduced in Russia in 1843….. when Mendeleïev was 9, quite young to be interested in vodka, even for a Russian.

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Vodka usually comes with something to eat, here salted cucumbers
  • Kompot

The word “Kompot” comes from the French word “compote”, but that is the only French contribution to this beverage. It’s a very old way of conserving fruits that used to be called “ouzar” until the 18th century. It is obtained by boiling fresh or dry fruits in sugar water and served fresh. But Kompot is not specific to Russia, it’s a very popular drink in all central and eastern Europe. It is quite common to find glasses of kompot in every cafeteria or “stolovaya” in Russia.

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Kompot made with dry fruits
  • tea

Tea is not from Russia, but they like it for sure! If you ever work in Russia, you’ll experience the “tea break” (it’s basically a coffee break but you drink tea instead of coffee). When invited by Russians to their house they will probably offer you some tea with pastries. Nevertheless, Russians still have their own way to drink tea. Back in the day, the Samovar was very common, but its use declined with the arrival of modern electrical kettles. Nowadays, Russians usually prepare one very strong teapot that they can use during the whole day.  They pour a certain amount in the cup then dilute it with hot water. No need to wait for your cup to get cold then forgetting it, here you can control the temperature!

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The king of glass tea is served in Russian trains
  • Russian soda

Why is it here you might say? Soda is basically water, sugar, and bubbles with some taste… Well, in Russia they have some of the weirdest sodas I tasted in my life (Haven’t been to Japan thought but I heard it’s quite weird there too). Those tastes are the reflection of what Russians like. For example, you can find some cucumber taste soda! Having seen how much Russians love cucumbers I’m not surprised that they made it real. Another one quite interesting is a neon green soda perfumed with… Tarragon!! It was first thought of as a remedy against stomach ache by the Georgian pharmacist who invented it (maybe that why it taste like a medicine to me). There are so many other strange sodas in Russia that I don’t even know how to describe them, so I’ll just tell you to go and taste.

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A street vendor with different soda types (very colorful)
  • Kvass

Last but not least, Kvass! This might THE Russian drink. It is an ancient fermented beverage which origins come as far as the middle ages (and maybe even further). This traditional Slavic drink is usually obtained by the fermentation of rye bread in water and is comparable in some way to beer. It can also sometimes be flavored with fruits or berries. Homemade Kvass was (and is still in some ways) quite popular and the internet is full of receipts if you want to try it yourself.

During the Soviet Era, it was quite common to see Kvass vendors in the streets. The drink was then quite popular and cheap. When the Soviet Union collapsed, new sodas from the west arrived (we’re all living in America), but nowadays, Kvass is regaining popularity, and a very famous soda company from America (like very, very famous) created their own brand of kvass.

Funny thing, due to its low level of alcohol (around 0.7% to 1.2% usually, compared to around 9% for wine) Kvass is not concerned by the alcohol legislation in Russia!

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A glass of Kvass with rye bread, rye bread is very popular in Russia and known as black bread

Do you want to try those drinks? Then come to Russia and discover more of this country with your guide on Tsar Visit!

 

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Top 5: influential women in Russian history

Russia has a rich and complex history in which women have always played a significant role. Numerous Russian personalities (and sometimes foreigner ones) left a permanent mark on Russia. You may know some of them (or may not, I’m not here to judge), but just in case here are some of the most influential women of Russian history, let’s go!

  • Olga

Also known as Olga of Kiev, she was the regent of the Kiev principality. She started her reign by avenging the death of her husband Igor who was killed by the Drevlian tribe while collecting taxes ( Sweet vengeance). Baptised in Constantinople, she became a Christian in a kingdom that was mainly pagan at the time and tried to convert her son but without success. She is also the first woman saint of her country and is celebrated on the 11th of July (24th of July in Gregorian calendar).

Helga_Olgacredit: Wikimedia Commons
  • Sophia Alexeïevna

Sophia was a very intelligent and cultivated woman, she was probably as ambitious as she was smart (which is a good combo). When her brother Fedor died without an heir, a new Tsar had to be chosen, her brother Ivan was the rightful heir, but he was weak, many nobles preferred his (and her too) stepbrother Peter. Sophia disagreed, she used the streltsy (A Russian military corps) to impose her point of view and … two co-Tsars !!! Ivan and Peter. And of course, she was named regent for her brothers. She pursued in her brother’s politics of opening to the west and fought two wars against the Ottoman Empire (With not much success). Unfortunately for her, her step-brother Peter was no one else than Peter the Great. After a little less than ten years, Peter put an end to his sister’s carrier and made her retire in the Novodevichy Convent where she lived the rest of her life.

Sophia_Alekseyevna_by_anonim_(19_c.,_Hermitage)credit: Wikimedia Commons
  • Catherine II

This is certainly the best part, Catherine is by far my favorite Russian ruler of all time. Not only did she managed to get to the top power position as a woman in a world mainly dominated by men, but she was not even Russian, nor born in Russia.

Catherine was born of the minor nobility in Prussia, nowadays Germany. She got married to Peter (not the great unfortunately), heir of the Russian Empire, and quickly learned Russian and the Russian way of life, she also converted to Orthodoxy. When the tsarina Elisabeth I (You should also check her out) died, her son, Peter III (Catherine’s husband) took the throne. To be polite, he was not a well-appreciated ruler and Catherine, helped by officers of the guard, organized a coup ( and possibly had her husband killed). She then became Empress of all Russias until her death.

Her reign is full of military victories and art creation. She had a lot of talented counselors and was open to new ideas such as the enlightenment ( she used to converse with Voltaire).

Katharina-II-von-Russlandcredit: Wikimedia Commons
  • Anna Pavlova

Anna Pavlova was a Russian Prima Ballerina in the late 19th and early 20th century. Those who like ballet probably already know her and won’t learn much more than they already know here (really sorry guys). But for every body else, Anna Pavlova was one of, if not the, best ballet dancer. She learned from the best in St Petersburg where she danced in the famous Mariinsky theater. She then started an international career, leading her own dance company and she became the first ballerina to make a world tour with the choreography The dying swan. She inspired many other young artists with her performances.

Anna_Pavlova_as_the_Dying_Swancredit: Wikimedia Commons
  • Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina Tereshkova is the first woman in space. For those who will say that it was just propaganda… well, you are right, Soviet Union saw women in cosmos mainly as propaganda. But this shouldn’t cloud your judgment, she was chosen for a reason. During her training, she flew many times on Mig 15 fight aircraft and had courses on spacecraft engineering. She flew the 16th of June 1963, two years after the first human inhabited flight, she was 26 at the time. She is still the youngest female cosmonaut and the only female cosmonaut to fly alone. After her flight, she achieved a degree in engineering and she started a political career.

RIAN_archive_612748_Valentina_Tereshkovacredit: Wikimedia Commons

Let’s also remember that the Russian revolution was initiated the 8 of March 1917 (23 February in the Julian calendar) by a demonstration of women workers asking for bread. Women can change the course of history.

Want to discover more about these women? Book a guided tour on Tsar Visit!

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Top 5: Key historical figures of Russia

Every country has its great figures. Characters who will live through centuries and still leave a mark in everyone’s spirit. Even though the vision of their deeds can evolve with time, they still live in our memory. Russian is not an exception and also has its historical figures that all Russians know about (or at least should). Do you know some of them?

  • Ivan IV

Also called Ivan the Terrible, even if most Russians will tell you it’s a bad translation (trust me on this don’t even try to argue with them about it). But apart from being quite cruel, like enjoying watching his enemies being tortured, Ivan was a great reformer. By great I mean he tried things, even though it wasn’t eventually successful all the time.

To do his reforms, he needed power. It might be surprising, but even within a monarchy, there were counter powers (mainly nobility and the clergy). So he did something… Special! He simply left Moscow, with a letter saying he would come back only if he could do want he wanted, without being contradicted. And you know the funny part? It actually worked! And so, he did what he wanted, he created a state police called the Oprichnina. The idea was not that stupid, creating an army with lands to finance it and which only answers to the Tsar. But Ivan used it mainly as a way to persecute all the people he thought were his enemy, basically everybody with some power. They were finally disbanded during his reign after they failed to protect against the Crimean Tartars and the Tsar lost faith in their effectiveness.

1280px-Iván_el_Terrible_y_su_hijo,_por_Iliá_Repin
Ivan The terrible kills his son Ivan on November 16, 1581 – Ilia Repine (1885)

After his death, a very serious succession crisis happened, his children dying without heirs. The time of troubles, as it’s known, was a real mess of kings, false kings, treasons… If you liked Game of Thrones you will like it!

  • Peter The Great

Just by the name, you know this guy did something extraordinary. Indeed, he was quite the guy, who started his career as a Tsar he ended up as an emperor. He is the one who modernized Russia to make it become a great power, gave it a Navy and created a city that bears his name and is one of the biggest and most beautiful city of Russia, St Petersburg.

Born from the second wife of his father, he started as a co-Tsar with his brother Ivan V. He was the favorite of the Russian nobles but his stepsister Sophia didn’t agree with that. She had both of them crowned and took power as the regent. Peter grew up in a village near Moscow where he liked to play war games with real regiments. That regiment will become the core of its guard that helped him taking power from his sister.

He formed an embassy and went to all the European countries to form alliances and study the way of life, science, culture… He even worked incognito in a shipyard to learn about shipbuilding. His embassy was shortened by a revolt of the Streltsy, a Russian military corps that previously allied with his sister

Surikov_streltsi.jpg
Morning of Execution of Streltsy – Vasily Surikov (1881)

Nevertheless, his reign was also brutal and bloody. He fought for twenty years in the great northern war against the very talented Swedish King Charles XII (but defeated him in the end, he is still Peter the Great), the construction of his new capital cost hundreds of thousands of workers’ life, had to fight different revolts and maybe the worst, had his own son beaten to death because he disagreed with his father’s new ideas. His modernization effort often met resistance that he would drown in blood.

  •   Alexander Pushkin

Considered by many as the greatest Russian poet (or at least one of the best). Alexander Pushkin is also known to be the father of modern Russian. Combining elements from the Grammar written by Lomonosov and the old Slavonic language, mainly used during Religious ceremonies, he also added different loan words, words taken from other languages. With his novels, he popularized the use of this way of speaking and also gave some of the most beautiful pieces of art, like the novel Eugene Oneguine, later adapted into an opera. Russian language evolved and is still evolving, but he is the one who was able to unite the different influences of Russian and built the base of the modern Russian language.

AleksandrPushkin
Portrait of Alexander Pushkin – Vassily Tropinin (1827)

His grandfather was Abraham Petrovich Hannibal, an African slave bought as a child by Peter the Great (remember him?) and raised as a noble. He occupied several important positions like governor of Tallinn.

  • Lenin and Stalin

Not to be mistaken with Lenon and Stalone… Badam Tsum! (Please don’t judge me on this joke). Let’s cut the joke, those two really had a very (very, very) big impact on Russia, describing here all they did and their consequences would take us hours if not days! I suppose most of you already know more or less who they are and what they did. So I’ll tell you about what is left of them, especially how they are seen by Russians nowadays.

What I know, is that Russians are very divided on the matter. Some see them as cruel monsters who destroyed and killed for an ideology, other as savors who did what was necessary to save and transform Russia. You might think that only elderly people, the ones who grew under the Soviet regime, are the most enthusiast about USSR. Well, it’s kind of true, but not only, I personally met a student who claimed to be a Stalinist, it’s quite surprising I have to say. Even if there are very few statues of Stalin (they were all taken down during Khrutchev period) you can still see his face on some flags. He is still a strong symbol of hope for some people. As for Lenin, it’s a bit different, there are still many statues of Lenin in different towns in Russia and sometimes in the former Soviet Union. By the way, you can still see his mummy in its mausoleum on the Red Square (for free). I think it’s the sign that Russians aren’t completely done with this part of their past.

Stalin-Lenin-Kalinin-1919
Stalin, Lenin, and Kalinin – Modified photo from the VIII Congress of the Russian Communist party in 1919

 

  • Andreï Sakharov

Last but not least, Andreï Dmitrievitch Sakharov, a Russian great physicist that worked for the Soviet Nuclear program and was awarded a Nobel Peace price! Yes, you read it well, a Nobel PEACE price! But how? Don’t worry, I will tell you :).

Probably one of the greatest physicists of his time, Sakharov is one of the inventor of different civil Thermonuclear devices (for example the Tokamak system, still used today for the fusion reactor project ITER). He also worked in the military sphere, with his team they designed the most powerful bomb to ever detonate on earth (Tsar Bomba). He then started to realize the threat of the nuclear arms race. He began to criticise the government politics and wrote essays that were often distributed illegally. In the same time, he continued to work on problems about physics especially cosmology, and enounce the “Sakharov conditions” to explain the unbalance between matter and anti-matter (Quantum physics and stuff). But it is his activities as a Human-right activist and standing against the Soviet power led him to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. After protesting against the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan he was arrested and sent to exiled (he avoided Gulag due to his academician status).

Berlin, East Side Gallery
Graffiti on Berlin’s wall “Thank you Andrei Sakharov” – Photo: Joachim Thurn
Source: Bundesarchiv

His exile ended with the arrival of Mikhail Gorbachov and his political reforms (Glasnost and Perestroika). Sakharov then started his political career and became one of the leaders of the democratic opposition. He continued to fight for Human-Rights until his unexpected death in 1989.

 

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Top 5: Street food in Russia

Time is always precious, especially if you are on a trip visiting another country. You may not have time to look for a restaurant and wait for your meal to be ready. Street food is often the best solution to get the energy to go exploring the country. Russia, despite the arrival of fast food giants, has its own types of street food that you might enjoy as well. Here are some of the best ( and I personally tested them for you!).

  • Shawarma

The question of who created Shawerma is still a source of tension but we are not here to discuss it today. Shawerma arrived in Russia through the Caucasus and extended its influence over all Russia, from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific ocean. It’s the most popular food among the young generation of Russians and students (maybe because it stays open until late in the night).

It is usually composed of chicken, sheep or beef meat, marinated and sliced in thin slices. It is rolled up in a Lavash bread with different vegetables likes tomatoes or cucumbers and sauce.

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  • Pirozhki

One of the most famous traditional Russian meal. The best are of course the home-made ones by a real “Babushka”, but you can still find good ones in the streets of every Russian city. A pirojok, which is the singular form of Pirozhki, is a type of pastry stuffed with different fillings. It goes from stewed fruits, like apples or berries, to marinated beef with onions or mashed potatoes and mushrooms.

WARNING !!! never forget to ask what is inside the Pirozhok or you might eat one expecting a sweet fruit taste and end up with some boiled cabbage (happened to me once).

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  • Pelmeni

As for Shawarma, Pelmeni are not a traditional Russian food, it comes from Siberia and is now one of the most favorite food of Russians. In Siberia, they used to be frozen outdoors and then carried by explorers but nowadays no need for Siberian winter, a simple refrigerator is enough.

Pelmeni are a type of dumpling filled with various meat (pork, beef, chicken,…) or with mushrooms. They often come with Smetana, a milk product close to sour cream that Russians appreciate a lot.

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  • Blini

Blini is a Russian traditional Pancake. It is so much popular that there even is a whole fast food brand dedicated to this dish, Teremok. In those restaurants, you can find different types of blinis with different topping both sweet and salty. It often comes with soup like Borscht or shchi. It is a good alternative if you don’t want to go to the same fast food as usual ( no need to name it, you know what I mean).

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  • Boiled corn

This might sound strange to some people but Boiled corn is really a thing in Russia. You can find small shops selling those in every park and even in train stations. It is quite cheap and nourishing, especially in cold weather.

Plus scientists say it’s healthy to eat corn so why not try 😉

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Top 5: Aquaparks in Moscow

Are you staying in Moscow over the Summer and still would want to get a feeling of being on vacation during weekends? Want to spend time with your family and forget about the heat? Here are our top 5 Aquaparks:

  • Kva Kva Park

Not the closest Aquapark, since it is located 1km away from the MKAD, the ring road encircling Moscow, on the Yaroslavsky Shosse. The always hospitable and cozy, always clean and safe, always sunny and joyful Kva-Kva park is one of the best destinations for the whole family: 7 large slides, a large wave pool, hot steam rooms, a fabulous blue lagoon with mysterious caves and a large aqua zone for children. Even in winter, Kva Kva is the place where you can get a feeling of Summer.

 

dreamstime_xl_20004477website (only in Russian) : kva-kva.ru

 

AddressKommunisticheskaya St., 1Mytishchi 141011

For more information about this park click here!

 

  • Moreon (Yasenevo)

Are you looking for space and variety? Then Moreon is the place as it is the largest Aquapark in the capital with an area of 25,000 square meters! Unrestrained fun, joy, and happiness: a wave pool, 6 slides, a spa zone, a Thermal zone with lots of steam rooms. Moreon is rightfully considered one of the best water parks in Moscow and the Moscow region. I recommend to visit the Moscow Aquapark Moreon!

 

img5752_1419594840source : aquapark.more-on.ru (only in Russian)

 

Address: Golubinskaya St, 16

For more information about this park click here!

 

  • Karibia

This is one of the largest water parks in Moscow and the Moscow region and ideal for you, if you go there with your children. 20 000 square meters of summer and joy: 4 slides, a large wave pool, saunas, 2 hammams, a children’s aquazone, bubbling Jacuzzi. The unique design of the Moscow aquapark Karibia impresses even the most sophisticated guests and it has the right to be called one of the best water parks in Moscow. It is located close to the Perovo metro station, which makes it easily accessible by public transportation, so for those who have no car, Karibia is the place to go to.

 

gallery_big_2source : karibiya.ru/akvazona (only in Russian)

 

Address: Zeleny prospekt, 10b

For more information about this park click here!

 

  • Fantasy

Are you looking for already tested places? Then Fantasy is the place because it is one of the first Aquaparks in Moscow. It was opened in 2003 and has since then been a center for family recreation with its 5 water slides, a large wave pool, an aqua zone for children. Fantasy definitely deserves to be in the top 5 of Moscow’s Aquaparks.

 

akva_18source: fpark.ru/o-parke

 

Address: Lyublinskaya St., 100

For more information about this park click here!

 

  • Alye Parusa

Alye Parusa is slightly more expensive than its competitors. Not everyone can get here, but the stunning architecture of the Alye Parusa water park creates an unforgettable atmosphere of tranquility. This premium class place has a Swimming pool, a lagoon with mysterious caves, a wave pool, a bubbling Jacuzzi, water slides and, of course, saunas. A shallow pool is provided for children, in which the youngest visitors can safely swim. Alye Parusa is definitely worth a visit!

 

aquaparkalyeparusa-532701eb7a37f_620_416Source: chips-journal.ru

 

Address: Aviatsionnaya Ulitsa, 79

Unfortunately I only found a Russian website for this one, guess it’s time to learn Russian)

 

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Top 6: Bars and Restaurants in St. Petersburg

Capital of Imperial Russia and cultural capital of the Russian Federation, SPB is always worth a visit. With its stunning architecture, and cheap prices (compared to Moscow), SPB is the perfect place to go to over the weekend. Here are our top 6 places to go to:

  • “Krysha 18” 

Are you a fan of bars with nice views? Then Krysha 18 is ideal for you! From the windows you get a stunning view of the Petrograd Embankment and the famous cruiser “Avrora”. During Summer, guests can enjoy the nice and sunny weather on an open-air terrace with a view over the old city of St Petersburg. The staff creates their own, new menu for each season with different dishes and special cocktails, which makes this spot special.

img5Credit: www.kryshamira.ru

Address: Kutuzovsky Ave, 12

  • Restaurant-Karaoke Bar “DoZari”

Do you like to sing after a couple of drinks? Do you want to enjoy the Neva and SPB’s famous bridges? “DoZari” is located at the shores of the Neva, and it gives you the possibility to enjoy some good music, cocktails and a view on the city’s famous bridges. A mix of Russian and Pan-European cuisines, the place is ideal for Lunch, Dinner and Drinks with friends on weekends, to have a blast.  

One of the particularities of the restaurant is that every guest can rent a cell, with keys, in the restaurant’s shelves (for spirits) to store their own alcohol.

6Credit: www.dozaribar.ru

Address: Prospekt Dobrolyubova, 14

  • Chika Bar

Have you ever wondered why almost all the restaurants in Russia offer dishes from different cuisines? It makes things much easier for guests. Everyone has their cravings. Chika Bar offers Japanese, Italian and European cuisines. It is a go-to place for Lunch, Dinner, to watch a Football match, and in the late evening it turns into a club, hosting some of the best DJ’s of the city. So, you can come and enjoy music and have some drinks with your friends! It also has a separated Karaoke room, for those who like to sing.

original_52b0292240c0888d378b6ce9_5afbeacc75016Credit: www.zoon.ru

Address: Ulitsa Podvoyskogo, 38

 

  • The Office Nargilia Lounge

Want to chill with your friends? If you just want to relax and spend time with your friends, then “the Office” is the ideal place located in the center of SPB, on Rubinstein Street, which is well-known for its high concentration in restaurants and bars. Decent food (Italian, Japanese and others cuisines) and some unusual cocktails. On week-ends DJ’s play music, so that guests can relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

57465d8a5195df7a238b456b_5ac2652a2cdbcCredit: www.zoon.ru

Address: Novolesnaya 8, 12

 

  • Scandal Bar

Do you like mixing things up? Starting with pre-drinks and then go out with your friends? Then Scandal bar is the ideal place, with its 4 floors, each floor having a different purpose, located in the Nevsky Prospekt area. You won’t need to move from one bar to another! The first floor (karaoke), is ideal for amateur-singers, who will get to sing their favorite songs. On the second floor, you have a lounge, where you can relax with your friends, and play PlayStation. It is ideal for pre-drinks! For guests who need a dancefloor, they can go to the third floor and enjoy themselves and watch Go Go dancers put on a show! A fourth floor is to be introduced soon!

original_57e1fab88735c8d8218b456c_59ad36466a57aCredit: www.scandalbar.ru

Address: Ulitsa Lomonosova, 2

 

  • Street food café and Bar “Vaffel and Wine”

If you are looking for some unusual food in the city, then this is the place! Norwegian wafers remain unchanged from one order to the other, with a soft base. But the fillings are chosen by the guests. At your choice – pumpkin, ham, chicken, fish, cheese. If you have a sweet tooth, wafers with apples, berries, marshmallows or nuts are available.  

6D3A1856-EditCredit: www.vaffelspb.com

Address: Gorokhovaya Street, 41

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