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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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Did you know? Russian Culture To Do in Moscow To Do in Saint-Petersburg

5 reasons to visit and try famous Russian Sauna in 2020

It is probable that at least once in your lifetime you have heard about Russian Sauna, or so called “banya” and its traditions. It was created long time ago and converted into a real cultural phenomenon with its own rules. Let us give 5 good reasons to try genuine Russian Banya in 2020:

1. Try an activity that has 2500 y.o. How was the banya created?

The origins of the banya date back to the 5th century BC. We trace its birth in Ukraine, where the banya was made of pieces of wood used as a structure to hold a felt cloth. At the middle of this space was a kettle filled with water where heated rocks were plunged.  Slowly, this sauna culture became a part of the Slavic life. It was celebrating religious events and family traditional holidays such as birthdays and weddings.

Banya was accessible for the richest and the poorest. The richest had their own banya area allowing them to have more comfort and privacy. The poorest who did not own a banya, heated their ovens and wet the walls of their houses to create a slight sensation of humidity.

The access to the banya became widely democratized thereafter. Common and public spaces were created to bring the entire population together in one place. Luxury banyas were opened for the richest, such as Sanduny Baths in Moscow, for example. These spaces offered to their customers exceptional furniture and more comfort as well as better customer services.

Sanduny Baths - Moscow
Spectacular Sanduny Baths – Moscow

2. Learn how to do the Russian Sauna and teach your friends!

As Russian Sauna is a real tradition, it has to be done the good way. Today the banya is composed of a wooden space with a wood-burning stove. It is important to prepare the banya in advance so that it can be very hot. When the temperature reaches between 80-100 C degrees, you can begin the activity.

Put on your bathing suit and sit on one of the benches along the wall of the banya. Watch out! The higher you sit, the hotter you’ll get! So, if you’re not sure you can stand the heat, start by sitting on the lower bench. Once on your bench, you can sprinkle water with essential oils on the hot stones placed above the stove to warm and humidify the room.

Shake your towel over your head if you want the heat to circulate in the banya.

A session lasts between 5 and 15 minutes, depending on your resistance to heat. As the banya is much hotter, the sessions are shorter than those in a classic sauna.

The goal at the end of the session is to cause a thermal shock to your body. You can jump in the cold pool, or spill the bucket with cold water on your head or, if you are in winter, roll in the snow or jump into a frozen lake.

Cold jump after banya
Jump into a frozen lake after Banya session in winter

3. The benefits of Russian Sauna

The advantages of the banya are worldwide known and confirmed by specialists:

  • From inside: it cleans the body by eliminating toxins
  • From outside: it removes dead skin and cleans pores
  • Russian Sauna is the best cure to insomnia and daily anxiety
  • Banya helps human lungs to recharge and work better

The extreme change in temperature also allows the body to gain strength and develops the immune system. There’s no doubt that after a banya session you’ll sleep like a baby!

Russian Banya with friends in winter
Russian Banya with friends in winter

4. The reason why Russian Banya should be done in groups of friends or with family

Visiting Russian Sauna is highly recommended to do with closest friends or family. Banya is, all in all, a limited space where you are almost naked.

Between each session, it is common to get together to drink tea and eat some fruits or to drink cold beer with snacks while playing cards or just chatting.

According to lots of stories, in business, many contracts are discussed and signed in banya and the agreement is usually concluded by drinking one shot of vodka! In Russia businessmen and political figures are usually going to the Russian Sauna together, in order to discuss important matters in complete privacy.

If you travel to Russia, it’s a legendary activity to organize with your family or friends! Don’t hesitate to check our traditional banya tour !

5. Russian Sauna = connection with Nature. Why is Russian banya so priceless?

If Russians regularly practice banya, it is also because it allows them to reconnect with nature and put everyday worries aside. In St. Petersburg, we can organize for you a traditional banya in the forest, after a dog-trekking hike!

Banya is practiced naked and people are surrounded by the simplest elements of nature: wood, heat, water, snow, stones… Banya is considered to be a way to enjoy the wonders that nature offers to recharge one’s batteries.

Russians also have a tradition of whipping themselves with bouquets made of birch or oak branches. This bouquet is called “Venik”. It is plunged in a bucket of cold water and then used to whip itself. This process has many benefits:

  • Reactivates blood circulation: because of the heat, the vessels are “asleep”. Whipping them with the Venik – reactivates.
  • Accelerates sweating: the contact of the Venik on the skin activates perspiration.
  • Removes dead skin: the contact of the leaves and branches will allow the dead skin to peel off.
  • Venik process is not painful. Vice versa, it feels amazing – especially after!
Banya Tour - Russia
Doing Russian Sauna with Venik

You want to try banya when travelling to Russia? Book your tour with us on www.tsarvisit.com !

 

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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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Traveling in Russia

Peterhof Palace

The “Russian Versailles” and the symbol of Russia’s elevation to a position of power within Europe, the Peterhof Palace is, without a doubt, one of the most sumptuous palaces within Russia (and I’m a high standards person).

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Peterhof - Jardins et fontaines (9)

The very first aim of Peterhof was to spread Russian art and culture throughout Europe and of course to symbolise Russia’s accession to the rank of a great European maritime power. That’s why the Palace is dedicated to the god Neptune and the fountains are some of the greatest curiosities. As a result, Peter the Great ordered a stunning European-style palace on the shores of the Finland Gulf. Peterhof is therefore highly influenced by Versailles but developed a peculiar architecture to please the Tsar and its court.

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Peterhof - Jardins et fontaines (3)

Peterhof’s interior ornaments are amazing, but the most impressive thing, the real treasure of this imperial summer residence, are the gardens. They aren’t something in addition, but are a real part of the palace and thought as it. The Upper and Lower gardens, the fountains, the labyrinth, the pavilions, the canal, all of these are creating a marvelous park that increase even the beauty of the palace.

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Peterhof - Jardins et fontaines (5)

In the summer, you can travel to the palace by hydrofoil, and let yourself be sprayed by the fountains, some having been designed for this very purpose. For its interiors and its sumptuous gardens, the Peterhof Palace is an essential visit for any stay in St. Petersburg!

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Peterhof - Jardins et fontaines (8)

 

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

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Did you know?

Looking for free internet?

Did you know? In Moscow, St Petersburg and other cities across Russia, there is free wifi in the subway!

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Métro - Komsomolskaya (3)

It’s not a secret that Moscow and St Petersburg subways are stunning. They really are amazing, clean and travelling through the different stations is like visiting a museum. These subways are so beautiful and peculiar that we even organise guided tours of them

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Métro (3)

But when you’re living in Moscow or St Petersburg you (unfortunately) get use to it and forget to appreciate the work of art that are these underground palaces. When you’re living there, you appreciate another characteristic (in addition to the extreme cleanliness)… the free wifi! It can sounds like I’m an internet addict, a geek or a true representative of my not-understood and under-considered generations. But trust me, when being in the metro for 45 becomes something absolutely normal and a short time, having access to internet isn’t something small.

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Métro (4)
In facts, in the last years Moscow and St Petersburg set free internet in their subway (and public transports). You only need a Russian number and hop! Here it is! You watch an ad each time you enter the subway and you have full free access to internet! Magic and life-saving!

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Métro - Kievskaya

 

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

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Top 5: Amazing Russian Instagram accounts

Russia is a wide and amazing country full of diversified and outstanding landscapes. However traveling through the whole Federation can be costly and kind of time consuming. For the greatest pleasure of all, Russian photographers are travelling and posting on Instagram marvelous pics. Adding tips, recommendations, they make us travel with them and give us ideas for our next vacations. That’s why I made a short list of my favourites (of course Tsar Visit’s Instagram account is the best, but it wouldn’t be fair to add it here).

 

  • Elena Krizhevskaya

Based in Moscow and taking pics of the Russian Capital, Elena Krizhevskaya is an amazing photographer! Even if I live in Moscow, I always enjoy her posts outstanding pics. I don’t know about you, but it’s my daily shot of muscovite beauty. On the plus side, Elena always gives informations on the places she photographed. You definitely need to follow her!

Her Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elenakrizhevskaya/?hl=en

Her website: https://moscow-photos.ru/

Screenshot_3

 

  • Alex Mazurov

Alex Mazurov travels Russia and bring with him stunning pics of Russian landscapes and wildlife. Light colors with a recurring dark blue, these pics are my favourites. Alex’s Instagram account is another insight on Russia and its amazing landscapes. Alex Mazurov shows the beauty of Russia, of a natural and preserved Russia. His pics makes you travel instantly!

His Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alex.mazurov/?hl=en

His website: http://www.russianexplorers.ru/

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  • Andrey Belavin

Another Moscow-based photographer. But Andrey Belavin’s Instagram account mixes perfectly the beauty of the Russian capital city with natural landscapes. Andrey gives to its followers a great view on what is the current Russia. From cities to remote natural areas, from mountains to seasides, Andrey Belavin pictures Russia in all its diversity and wonderfulness!

His Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ted.ns/?hl=en

His website: https://www.filterhero.ru/tedns

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  • Piter Life Style

If Piter Life Style reached about 532k followers on Instagram, it’s definitely thanks to its stunning pics. Focused on the Venise of the North, Piter Life Style gives us informations, tips and advices on the most beautiful corners of St Petersburg. This account is amazing! However don’t look at it too much if you’re not living in St Petersburg…or you would travel there almost every week!

Its Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/piter.life.style/?hl=en

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  • Russian Explorers

Russian Explorers is a team of amazing, smart and skilled photographers (and among them Alex Mazurov). All of them with a peculiar style or focus, they make us travel through Russia thanks to wonderful shots. Follow this account and embrace what can be considered as one of the most beautiful Instagram account on Russia!

Their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/russianexplorers/?hl=en

Their website: http://www.russianexplorers.ru/

Screenshot_2

 

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

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Top 10: Russian Museums

Russian cities, and especially Moscow and St-Petersburg, are full of museums. Some are big, some are small. Some are old, some are new. Some are interesting and some a bit less. How to choose when you’re in a hurry? Feeling a bit lost? Need some tips and advices? Call now and get a… jk, just follow this amazing top and book a guided tour with Tsar Visit!

 

What?

The Largest museum of the world in a building classified by Unesco. A museum that will bring you back under the imperial Russia and amaze you by the splendors of the masterpieces it exhibits.

 

Why?

Well… Shall I really need to explain? The Hermitage is in itself a definition of beauty, magnificence and beauty. A definite must-do for everyone traveling or living in Russia. It doesn’t need any other words.

 

When?

(ticket office)

Monday: Closed

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: 10.30-17.00

Wednesday & Friday: 10.30-20.00

 

How much?

Full price: 700 RUB (11 USD)

Children (under 18yo) & Student: Free

 

Looking for a guided tour? Check it here!

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Ermitage (9)

 

 

What?

One of the most important and famous museum of Russia. A gallery that exhibits Russian and European masterpieces from the previous centuries. The Tretyakov Gallery is especially famous for its rich and stunning collection of icons from the 11th century.

 

Why?

Thanks to the Tretyakov Gallery, you will dive in the Russian past and culture. Through its masterpieces you will travel in time and see the artistic, social and political evolutions known by the Russian population. A very must-do is its unique and marvelous collection of icons.

 

When?

(ticket office)

Monday: Closed

Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday: 10.00-17.00

Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10.00-21.00

 

How much?

Full price: 500 RUB  (8 USD)

Children (under 18yo) & Student (if Russian): Free

 

Looking for a guided tour? Check it here!

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Galerie Tretiakov (2)

 

 

What?

Heart of Moscow, Russian and of the Russian Federation Presidential administration, the Kremlin is a historic and powerful fortress. But it also hosts the Armoury Chamber and cathedrals that trace the evolutions of Russia since the 11th century.  

 

Why?

Because the Kremlin. Is there anything else to say?

 

When?

(ticket office)

Everyday: 9.30-16.30

Thursday: Closed

 

How much?

Full price: 1,800 RUB (29 USD)

Children (under 16yo): Free

 

Looking for a guided tour? Check it here!

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Vue aérienne (12)-ciel bleu

 

 

  • The State Russian Museum (St Petersburg)

What?

As its name let it guess, the State Russian Museum is an important museum exclusively dedicated to Russian art and artists. It offers to the public more than 38,000 works of art and 6,000 icons celebrated from the 10th century to today.

 

Why?

By visiting the State Russian Museum, you will dive in history and discover the evolutions of Russian art of the past 11th centuries. On the plus side, the museum is hosted by the stunning residence of the Grand Duke Michael.

 

When?

(ticket office)

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 10.00-17.30

Tuesday: Closed

Thursday: 13.00-21.00

 

How much?

Full price: 600 RUB  (10 USD)

Student: 300 RUB (5 USD)

Children: Free

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Musée Russe (2)

 

 

What?

The Pushkin Museum is one of the most famous museum in Russia. It is a museum rich in Russian, European, and ancient paintings and objets d’art from both antique and contemporary collections. Moreover it also hosts the marvelous impressionist gallery.

 

Why?

To my very personal (and valuable) opinion, the Pushkin Museum worth a tour for its stunning impressionist gallery and its temporary exhibitions. If the main building is of low interest, the temporary exhibition are always of a very good quality, and the impressionist gallery is absolutely stunning.

 

When?

(ticket office)

Monday: Closed

Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 11.00-19.00

Thursday, Friday: 11.00-20.00

 

How much?

Full price: 750 RUB  (12 USD)

Children (under 16yo): Free

Student: 400 RUB (6 USD)

 

Looking for a guided tour? Check it here!

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Musée des Beaux-Arts Pouchkine.jpg

 

 

  • Erarta (St Petersburg)

What?

The Erarta museum is to my opinion one of (if not the) best museum of contemporary arts in Russia. It opened in 2010 but already exhibits more than 2300 objects d’art with the aim of promoting contemporary Russian art.   

 

Why?

The museum displays artists according to their talent and not their popularity, and put the spotlight on the visitor, which make a visit to the Erarta Museum indispensable for every art lover. If not, at least you will be able to show off in front of your friends!

 

When?

(ticket office)

Everyday: 10.00-22.00

Tuesday: closed

 

How much?

Full price: 500 RUB  (8 USD)

Children (under 2yo): Free

Musée Erarta © Saint-Pétersbourg - Musée art contemporain Erarta (7)

 

 

  • Garage (Moscow)

What?

A museum of modern and contemporary art located in the heart of the splendorous and famous Gorky Park. The Garage is a well-known place for modern art in Moscow and often has interesting temporary exhibitions.

 

Why?

For its location and always interesting exhibitions.

 

When?

(ticket office)

Everyday: 11.00-21.30

 

How much?

Full price: 500 RUB (8 USD)

Student: 250 RUB  (4 USD)

Children (11-17yo): 150 RUB (2 USD)

Children (under 10): Free

dreamstime_xxl_82657845.jpg

 

 

  • The Fabergé Museum (St Petersburg)

What?

The Fabergé Museum is a small and very new museum (but already among the most visited) in the heart of St Petersburg. It offers to the public the main pieces of the famous jeweller Fabergé. Among these collections the most precious is the the Easter eggs collections. Absolutely stunning.  

 

Why?

One of my favorite museum in Russia. Not the biggest, not the most famous but a small museum exhibiting precious artefacts from the late Russian Empire. A true testimony of the Russian craft and the Romanov intimacy.

 

When?

(ticket office)

Everyday: 8.30-21.15

 

How much?

Full price: 450 RUB  (7 USD)

Dreamstime @ Saint-Pétersbourg - Musée Fabergé (2)

 

 

  • The Bunker 42 of Taganka (Moscow)

What?

The most secured and secret bunker of Moscow. Aiming at protecting the Soviet political and military leadership in case of nuclear attack, this bunker is a labyrinth where were working about 2,000 people during the Cold War. It is now a museum offering different thematic tours.  

 

Why?

Visit it and you’ll for sure dive in the tensest times of the Cold War!

 

When?

Everyday: 10.00-20.00

 

How much?

Full price: 2200 RUB (35 USD)

Student: 1300 RUB (21 USD)

Dreamstime © Moscou - Bunker Taganka (3)

 

 

  • The Museum of Cosmonautics (Moscow)

What?

A must-see for those who want to know everything about space adventure, The Museum of Cosmonautics traces the history of astronautics from the 1920’s to the present day. Located at the entrance of the VDNKh Exhibition Park, it is impressive for its architecture and especially for the diversity and richness of its collections.

 

Why?

You will not only understand the reasons of the Soviet domination of space, but you will also discover the role and current involvement of the Russian Federation in space.

 

When?

(ticket office)

Monday: Closed

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 10.00-18.30

Thursday: 10.00-20.30

 

How much?

Full price: 250 RUB (4 USD)

Children (under 7yo): Free

Dreamstime © Moscou - Musée des Cosmonautes (8)

 

 

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

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Top 8: Artists’ houses

Many Russian artists, from writers to dancers, are world-famous. Who never heard of Tolstoy, Dostoievsky, Pushkin? These artists inspired the world and continue nowadays to have a significant impact on our culture. But all of them have also been crucial witnesses of their centuries and of Russia. As most of them were famous while still living, their houses have been preserved by the Russian and later Soviet State. That’s why visiting artists’ houses and apartments in Moscow and St-Petersburg isn’t only about walking where they walked, but is above all diving in specific atmospheres from the past.  

 

  • Tolstoy House-Museum (Moscow)

My favorite is definitely Tolstoy’s house in the city center of Moscow. Not only because Tolstoy is my favorite Russian author, and that I’m dying for his Anna Karenine, but because his house is amazing. Tolstoy’s house is a wooden one that have been protected by the State right after Tolstoy’s death. As a result the house hasn’t been damaged. Enter it, and you instantly dive into the life of the Russian intelligentsia from the late Russian Empire. Amazing and definitely a must do!

Maison-Musée Tolstoï @ Moscou - Maison-Musée Tolstoï (6)

 

  • Dostoievsky House-Museum (St Petersburg)

Other super famous Russian author, Dostoievsky’s apartment in St Petersburg has also been quite well preserved. However, contrary to Tolstoy’s house, Dostoievsky’s apartment became a museum only 1971 due to the Soviet leadership’s unstable view attitude towards the author. Nevertheless the apartment kept the peculiar atmosphere of its time and above all of the vibrant soul that lived in its walls.  

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  • Pushkin House-Museum (St Petersburg)

Probably the most loved and cherished author in Russia, Pushkin died in St Petersburg after a famous (and still painful for most Russians) duel. The apartment in which he lived his last years and died became a memorial treasured by all. As a result the atmosphere remains penetrating. Visiting it also means learning a lot on Pushkin’s life and work so go for it!

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  • Gogol House-Museum (Moscow)

This house being Gogol’s last residence, has been recognised as it only in 2005. Nevertheless the building, both on the outside and inside, is stunning and worth the visit. Enter it and you will travel back in time to discover the living standards of the Muscovite upper classes before the Soviet Union…you may also find some decoration tips for your own house? (I hope not, but who knows?)

Tsar Voyages © - Moscou - Maison-musée Gogol

 

  • Bulgakov House-Museum (Moscow)

If Bulgakov is not the most loved author in Russia, he is not far from it. More, his book The Master and Margarita, is by far the most appreciated and famous book in Russia. That is why Bulgakov’s apartment in Moscow city center is always crowded. This very tiny apartment recall the life of the author but before all smartly mix Bulgakov and Margarita’s lives. Indeed the apartment described in the book is basically Bulgakov’s one. So if you really want to appreciate the tour, read The Master and Margarita before!

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  • Gorky House-Museum (Moscow)

Nowadays, Gorky is a name associated to Moscow’s favored park. But before being a park, Gorky was a Soviet writer. After the revolution, the Soviet leadership seized Ryabushinsky house built in the early 20th century by Fyodor Shekhtel, and Gorky lived in it. To be honest the most important thing about this house isn’t the fact that Gorky lived in it (sorry not sorry). The house worth the visit because it is a mesmerizing and absolutely unusual house, a true eccentric symbol of the Modern Style. Words are not enough to describe it and all the beautifully strange things in it, so just go and open your eyes…but be ready!

Internet Escalier1

 

  • Galina Ulanova House-Museum (Moscow)

The Soviet time also knew some prominent and world famous artists and it would be foolish to think the opposite. One of them is Galina Ulanova. A world famous ballet dancer considered by many as the greatest ballerina of the previous century. Born in St Petersburg, and despite being dancing around the world, she mainly lived in Moscow where her apartment has been preserved since her death in 1998. Tiny apartment of a women with skills, ambition and temper, it definitely needs to be visited. You will be transported to the Soviet times and into Galina’s intimacy.

Tips: some secret letters are displayed on Galina’s desk. You should ready them…

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  • Nabokov House-Museum (St Petersburg)

This house saw the birth of the world-famous writer Nabokov in 1899. Nabokov’s family flew from Russia in 1917. As a result of the Bolshevik seizing of power, Nabokov aristocratic roots, and of course because the writer wasn’t famous at that time, the family house of St Petersburg has not been protected by the Soviet Union. It became a museum in 1998 with very few objects and furnitures. But by the years, Nabokov house-museum became more than a significant museum dedicated to the Russian-American writer. Nowadays it has great collection of books and artefacts, and worth a visit!

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

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Top 10: Imperial Russia

One of the most vivid symbol of Russia in everyone’s mind is its imperial past. Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Catherine II, Nicholas II, Anastasia Romanov are the names that everyone knows either from their sweet taste for history or for movies. Russia has a glorious past that continues to attract billions of tourists every year. But if most of the czarist legacies are located in St Petersburg, it would be a mistake to bypass some crucial places! So wear your most beautiful costume and dive with us into history!

 

Imperial summer residences are numerous in St Petersburg’s neighbouring but not all are equally beautiful. Thankfully, Tsar Visit is organising a very special tour to help you discover the Czars’ most outstanding palaces. You will begin your day at the Pavlovsk Palace. A palace with a facade in shades of yellow with white columns (fancy). You will then go to the town of Pushkin, formerly called Tsarskoye Selo, to continue your journey into Imperial Russia by visiting the sumptuous Catherine Palace (super fancy). But don’t forget that these palaces would be nothing without their gardens (well, except for Catherine Palace, which has the Amber Room…) you must take time to explore them!

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Obviously, the most important and biggest palaces of all is the Hermitage. As the official residence of the Czar, the Hermitage was the very heart of the Russian Empire. Its seizing in 1917 became a symbol of the revolutions and the end of the Imperial Russia. Moreover, the Hermitage became through the centuries the biggest museum on Earth! You would be a fool not to visit it while in St Petersburg…

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  • Peterhof Palace (St Petersburg)

Peter the Great’s summer residence is beautifully amazing. Its sumptuous and rich interiors are only competing with its gardens. Peterhof is for sure the most beautiful Imperial palace in Russia. Indeed it copied Louis XIV’s palace of Versailles. However you must visit Peterhof in summer. Why? First because you can access it by the canal, and this will show to the people what kind of person your are. Second because the fountains are working. Don’t misunderstand me on this. Peterhof goldish fountains themselves are worth the visit as they have been erected as part of the garden…and to please the Czar’s taste for water games. Cheeky!

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  • Tsarskoye Selo (St Petersburg)

Tsarskoye Selo is a small village in St Petersburg’s neighbouring. But Tsarskoye Selo hosts two magnificent palaces, two Imperial summer residences which are definitely worth the visiting. Go to Tsarskoye Selo, and visit both the Alexander Palace (currently under restoration) and the Catherine Palace. But don’t do it in a hurry, you don’t want to miss the opportunity of exploring their english-styled parks!

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  • Yusupov Palace (St Petersburg)

But Imperial Russia and the Czarist regime weren’t all about the Romanov. The Yusupovs constituted at the end of the Russian Empire, the second most powerful (after the Romanov of course) and the richest family in Russia. Those understood everything: money, power, charity but staying next to, not in, the spotlight. As a result they possessed several palaces in the very center of St Petersburg. The most beautiful of them is the Yusupov Palace on the Moyka. A must do! (at least because Rasputin died in these walls).

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  • House of the boyars Romanov (Moscow)

One would think that Czars, Romanov, Imperial Russia are words that can’t go with St Petersburg. This is obviously a mistake! If you’re really into the Russian Empire, you must visit were it all started: the House of the boyars Romanov. Located in Moscow’s very heart (and currently under restoration), this treasure from the past is the house (calling it a palace would be a bit much) of the Romanov right before the Russian Empire and Peter the Great. And in addition to the emotion given by the Romanov souvenir, you’ll dive into the Russian Middle-Age!

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  • Alexander Nevsky Lavra (St Petersburg)

I already wrote a lot about the Alexander Nevsky Lavra, how its peculiar atmosphere and stunning architecture made a great impression on me. I also explained why this Lavra is one of the most important religious sight in St Petersburg. But the Alexander Nevsky Lavra is also deeply linked to the Russian Empire and the Czars. Why? Well check its name! Indeed the Monastery was built in 1710 to welcome the relics of Saint Alexander Nevsky but precisely where Alexander Nevsky defeated the Swedes in 1210. The Lavra is interlinked to the Russian Empire and marks Peter the Great’s intention to establish the new Northern Capital in Holy Russia.

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  • The Fabergé Museum (St Petersburg)

We spoke a lot about palaces but one dimension of the Imperial Russia is definitely its peculiar culture, arts and crafts. The Czars contributed to the development and rise of Russian craftmasters in the Empire and in Europe. One of the best and most famous, is Fabergé. His eggs, and all his artefacts, are among the most beautiful and meaningful jewels made under the Russian Empire. More than artefacts, they are pieces of art and one of the last legacies of the Romanov today. It’s a definitely a must-see! (these eggs drive me crazy).

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  • Peter and Paul fortress (St Petersburg)

As a fan of the Romanov and while exploring St Petersburg, you have to go visit the Peter and Paul fortress. Despite the fact that it’s one of the most interesting and visited site of St Petersburg, the Peter and Paul fortress is before all (at least for us, who know the perfection of the Romanov) the place where are lying almost all members of the Imperial family. A great place to remember the Imperial Russia… and think about the tragic destiny of Nicholas II and his family.

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  • Alexey Mikhailovich Romanov palace (Moscow)

Before being St Petersburg, the Russian capital was Moscow, even under the Romanov. That’s why you should visit Alexey Mikhailovich Romanov palace. A place that marks the Romanov transition from being boyards (nobles) to being Russian emperors. This majestic wooden palace highlights the rise of the Romanov but also is a testimony of the Russian noble life between the Middle Age and the Empire in the heart of Kolomenskoye estate!

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

 

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Traveling in Russia

The Hermitage

Everyone knows the Hermitage, either because of its artistic importance or because of Fox Animation Studios’ movie Anastasia. The Hermitage is one of the most famous sight of Russia and many come to St Petersburg only to visit it!

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Indeed nowadays the Hermitage is also the most important museum in the world with its collections of more than 3 million items. These collections include antiquities, masterpieces of both the Western and Russian schools of arts (and especially from the Impressionists), jewels and objects of various types from the Imperial Russia. But the Hermitage is also a work of art in itself.

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The museum sets in the different but interconnected palaces on the Neva’s shores that constitute the former residence of the Czars. The Winter Palace, the Small Hermitage, the General Staff Building are all stunning, as much for their Russian Baroque art facades as for their interior ornaments.

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The Hermitage has been built in 1711, mostly destroyed in 1837 by a fire and rebuilt by Nicholas I. But the Hermitage acquired such an artistic importance thanks to the passion of Catherine the Great for fine arts (and the advices of famous intellectuals such as Diderot).

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But obviously the Hermitage also had (and has?) a political major importance. If it was the residence of the Czars during the Russian Empire, meaning the heart of the Imperial State, its seizure in 1917 became a symbol of the Soviet revolutions. Currently the Hermitage remains a reminder of St Petersburg political power and taste for art, often prompt to recall the Imperial Russia rather than the Soviet Union. That’s why in 2017 the museum staff restarted a clock switched off by the revolutionaries a century before while declaring “the time of aristocracy is now over”… sweet wink to history.

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Because of its history and its collections, the Hermitage is without any doubt an absolutely essential during any visit to the Venice of the North, and is not to be missed for any reason!

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