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Russian Culture To Do in Moscow To Do in Saint-Petersburg Traveling in Russia

SIBERIAN HUSKIES: dogs or wolves?

The belief that Siberian Huskies are a breed of wolves is widely spread. But is this theory a myth that has passed down through the centuries or is it a reality?

Where are Siberian Huskies coming from ?

To find the origins of Siberian Huskies, we have to travel back in time in a legendary Russian region: Siberia.

We found the track of the first huskies thanks to the Chukchi, inhabitants of the extreme Russian East, who used huskies for many purposes:

  • To haul the heavy sleds of the inhabitants: strapped together, huskies are physically strong and able to carry heavy loads such as blocks of ice or people on sleds
  • Alert the inhabitants: in case of danger or intrusion in the village, the huskies had a role of warning the population
  • Look after children: as they are a loving animal, huskies had to watch over children while they were playing and sleep with them to warm them up during cold winters 

For the Chukchi people, the true origin of huskies is related to an ancestral legend. Siberian Huskies would be the result of the union between a wolf and the moon. To them, it explains the close appearance between huskies and wolves and their tail with a moon crescent shape.

A Siberian shaman performing – Russia

Siberian huskies became famous thanks to the mythical All Alaska Sweepstake, a sledding competition that was taking place from 1908 to 1917. In 1910, a Siberian Husky crew reached the third place for the first time, competing with crews traditionally composed of Alaskan Malamute only. After that, sled leaders begun to compose their sleds only with Siberian huskies… and their efficiency didn’t have to be proven anymore as they were always winning the competition.

What makes Siberian huskies unique ?

The appearance of Siberian Huskies may be often misleading. Indeed, many breeds look similar and we can confuse them with Alaskan Huskies. The Siberian Husky is also considered as a “dog-wolf” as he shares many features with his cousin, but it is easy to recognise a true Siberian Husky thanks to some details. 

Firstly, the Siberian Husky has a large fur, which can go from black to white or brown. As the dog sheds his fur twice a year, it is possible to follow him thanks to his lost hair!

Secondly, Siberian huskies are recognisable thanks to some distinctive features:

  • Eyes: they are almond shaped, they can be blue, brown or both colors !
  • Body: the body is slim, well proportioned and has a sporty look
  • Face: He has a round face that gets sharpened to the level of the nose.
Russia - Huskies
Siberian Huskies – Russia

Where to meet Siberian Huskies in Russia ?

Nowadays, it’s very easy to meet Siberian Huskies! We mostly find them in specialized farms (kennels) where they are correctly fed and trained. In these farms, they receive all the care they need, and many visitors are coming to meet them. Such farms are located all around Russia, near main cities, like Moscow or St. Petersburg.

This dog needs to move and to live in large spaces in which he can let off steam. He is not a dog that tolerates confinement and requires at least two hours of activity per day! Sporty by nature, he likes to hike in summer in the wild plains, mountains or forest. 

Because of this, dog-trekking is gaining popularity in Russia. The concept: a dog is strapped to you through a special belt, and you go hiking together. The dog is the guide and leads the way! This is a fantastic experience for dog and nature lovers. If you spend summer in Russia and want to try it, do not hesitate to check our dog-trekking tours in Moscow or St. Petersburg.

Russia - Huskies
Dog-trekking with Siberian Huskies in summer – Russia

Siberian Huskies are mostly famous for surviving to very diverse temperatures. With their thick fur, they are used to run in the snow by very low temperatures (sometimes below – 40° C!), and feel better in winter than during hot summers. Their fur protects them from the cold, which is needed for dog-sledding runs. Although they are very resistant to the snow, mushers are more and more equipping them with booties to protect their paws. In Russia, you may find a lot of farms to practice dogsledding, a must-do when traveling in Russia in winter! You can check our dog-sledding tours in Moscow or St. Petersburg here.

Russia - Huskies
Dog-sledding with Siberian Huskies

So, are Siberian huskies closer to the dog or the wolf ?

Siberian Huskies are definitely not wolves! They are a unique dog breed which shares a true love for human. They have a huge loyalty towards their master. They are very sensitive and perceive their owner feelings. They are very attached to their team and their strength make them the perfect fellow traveller.

If you want to meet Siberian Huskies while traveling in Russia : do not hesitate to contact us!

 

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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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To Do in Saint-Petersburg Traveling in Russia

Yusupov Palace

The Yusupov Palace or Moika Palace was the house of the Yusupov family. One of the richest family of Russia at the verge of the Revolution. Its princes were well-known philanthropists and art collector. Preserved and transformed into a museum, it now tells us about the life of the nobility in the Russian Empire.

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Palais Youssoupov (5)

Build in 1776 by the French architect Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe, the Yusupov Palace stands on the Moika river in St Petersburg. In 1830 it was acquired by the Yusupov family. This family, well known for its philanthropy and its art collections, transformed it into a splendid residence, a real piece of art. Many different artists contributed to this palace and you can still admire this variety of styles nowadays. The luxury of this place, its art gallery, the charm of its private chambers and even a private theater, will make you travel to the time when emperors and empresses were governing Russia.

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Palais Youssoupov (4)

This Palace holds a very important place in Russian history. It was one of the finest demonstrations of Russian art and a nest for future talents. But most importantly, it was between these walls that the murder of Grigory Rasputin took place, more precisely in the cave that can be visited nowadays!!!. The murder was organized by a group of monarchists led by Felix Yusupov, the last owner of this palace. The exact way the murder occurred is still obscure, many parts are still unclear. Here is one of the most famous version (and my favorite). After inviting the monk to this palace, the conspirators offered him wine and pastries with enough poison to kill 5 men. Since he didn’t seem to be affected by the poison, they shot him with pistols and beat him, then they wrapped him into a broadcloth and threw him into the Moika river. A doctor that examined the body said Rasputin didn’t die because of the poison, nor the pistols, but out of hypothermia (it happened in December).

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Palais Youssoupov (6)

The Russian revolution turned it into a museum, one of the most visited of St Petersburg. It also hosts different diplomatic or artistic events. It is probably one of the finest and most beautiful palaces of the Imperial area that you can visit in Saint Petersburg.

Visit this palace with a guide right now! Check out Tsar Visit!

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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

Want to book a tour? Check out our website Tsar Visit!

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Traveling in Russia

Tsarskoye Selo

Founded in 1710 and located near St Petersburg, this city used to be the residence of the emperors and empresses of the Russian empire. Tsarskoe Selo means in Russian “Village of the Tsar”, it was renamed during the Soviet period into Pushkin, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of the famous Russian poet.

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Tsarskoe Selo – Tchesmé Church

The land of the future “Village of the Tsar” was first given by Peter the Great to his second wife Marta Skavronskaya, also known as Catherine I. She started the construction of a palace that would be later known as Catherine Palace. Her daughter, Empress Elizabeth I, rebuild the palace into a much bigger and more comfortable one in the flamboyant rococo style. Her successor Catherine II started the construction of the Alexander Palace for her grandson (his name was Alexander as you probably guessed). It then became the summer residence of the Tsars, and in 1905 Nicolas II moved to the Alexander Palace with his family to get away from the growing discontent in the capital (St Petersburg at the time).

After the revolution, both palaces and their parks were turned into museums. It is now one of the most visited places in Russia and a must see if you are in St Petersburg. You can book a guided tour of this city here!

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Tsarskoe Selo - Ensemble
Tsarskoe Selo – Catherine palace

The palaces host some of the finest pieces of art and architecture of Russia. In Catherine’s palace, you can stroll in the impressive great hall or light gallery. This vast reception hall covers all the width of the palace, Its windows, placed on both sides of the room, magnificently enlight it during the day (hence the name). But the real jewel of this palace is the amber room. Totally covered with amber, gold, and mirrors (you love it or you hate it!) it used to be considered as the 8th marvel of the world but it was unfortunately destroyed or lost during World War II. A replica, made using original drawings and old black and white photos, can be seen today. It took 24 years and a lot of skilled amber craftsmen to recreate it.

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Tsarskoe Selo – Catherine Palace – dance hall

Alexander’s Palace is not as famous as its neighbor, but still very interesting. It is the last residence of the last emperor and his family before the Bolshevik sent them to Ekaterinburg where they would be executed. The interior is very different from all the other palaces you will see (or have already seen!) in Russia. The then-modern art-nouveau style, chosen by the Tsarina Alexandra Fedorovna, was not seen as so “imperial”. In this palace you can learn about the daily life of the last emperor and his family.

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Tsarskoe Selo – Garden

Both palaces possess a great garden where you can walk in the steps of the Russian emperors. If after this you don’t want to go to Russia and visit this amazing place, I don’t know what to do. But if you are willing to, then you can book a guided tour here!

Check out for other guided tour on our website TSAR VISIT!

 

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Did you know?

Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood

Did you know? Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood isn’t an usual church (despite its name) but rather a memorial!  Do you struggle identifying Church on the Savior on Blood and Saint Basil’s Cathedral? Well, no worries, in fact the architecture of the first mentioned was inspired by the lattest, which explains why they resemble each other so much. You’ll get more comfortable with it by reading about both of them.

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Saint Sauveur-sur-le-Sang-Versé (4)

The Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood cathedral has been built in 1907 following the orders of Tsar Alexander III. However, it has been erected as a memorial and mourning place following the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, the Liberator, on March 1st 1881.

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In fact, and even if weekly requiem and sermons are given to remember Alexander II, Christ the Savior on the Spilled blood became a cathedral only in 1923. It has been closed about nine years later on the orders of the Soviet leadership to become a garbage dump. Nowadays Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood is an annex of St Isaac’s museum due to its stunning mosaics. That’s why if many believes that this world-known building is one of the most important church of St-Petersburg, it rather is, due to its history and architectural style, a memorial symbolising the Russian dilemma between liberalism and conservatism. And of course, it demonstrates (if needed) the Russian savoir-faire when it comes to architecture and religious art.

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Saint Sauveur-sur-le-Sang-Versé (10).jpg

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

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