The Victory Day in Russia
The Victory Day in Russia is a day of national mourning. The day of national pain. The day with tears in our eyes. Today, May 9 is considered to be one of the biggest holidays in Russia, post-Soviet countries and many European countries. On this day, people celebrate The Victory over the Nazi Germany.
The Great Patriotic War
The Victory Day in Russia marks the end of The Great Patriotic War. Being a part of the World War II, The Great Patriotic War started early morning on June 22, 1941. The Nazi Germany attacked the borders on The Soviet Union, thereby violating Soviet-German agreements made in August 1939.
The Great Patriotic War lasted 4 years, taking lives of millions of people. The front line stretched from Barents Sea to Black Sea. From 8 to 13 million people were fighting at a time, using from 6 to 20 thousand tanks and assault guns. From 85 to 165 thousand field guns and mortars, from 7 to 19 thousand aircrafts were involved in the war.
Hitlerites were counting on a blitzkrieg. Their plan was to defeat The Red Army and to occupy Moscow and Leningrad (former name of St. Petersburg), as well as industrial regions of western USSR in just 1-1,5 months. According to Hitler, the war had to be accomplished with powerful attacks in the Ural industrial districts leading to the Soviet Union’s surrender. However, the plan never worked.
The Soviet troops defeated the Nazis in such big fights as Battles of Moscow, Stalingrad (former name of Volgograd), and Leningrad. The Nazi also conceded on Dnieper, in Belarus and Baltic states. Nonetheless, this war turned out to be one of the most costly in terms of human lives. The total number of victims accounted for 27 million Soviet people, who perished in the war fighting at the front and securing the rear. 1710 cities and over 70000 villages and small towns were destroyed.
The Great Patriotic War became a horrible tragedy for every Soviet family, live they in the west or in the east of the country. Therefore, The Victory Day has such a big significance for every single Russian.
May 8 vs. May 9
It is interesting that in many European countries the end of the World War II is celebrated on May 8. The point is that The German instrument of Surrender was signed on May 8, at 10.43 pm Central European time, which was over the midnight Moscow time. For this reason, The Victory Day in Russia is celebrated on May 9.
In 1945 this day was proclaimed to be The Day of Victory over The Nazi Germany. One month later Moscow celebrated the Victory with a great parade on Red Square, which was followed by a bright firework.
However, in December 1947 The Supreme Council of The USSR cancelled the holiday. As a result, it became a regular business day. Only 20 years later, in 1965, it was turned into a national day off. This time, the state holiday acquired a special solemn status, and another military parade was held in Moscow, the first one after the war times.
Nowadays, The Victory Day in Russia is, probably, the greatest holiday is Russia. It is celebrated brightly all over the country. According to the tradition, beside the military parade, one can observe artillery fireworks and ceremonies. Furthermore, in many Russian cities and town special receptions and meetings are arranged to congratulate the veterans with Victory. The people pay tribute to the war heroes by bringing flowers to the Victory monuments, memorials and mass graves. Since 1965 there has been a tradition to honor the defenders of the country with a moment of silence.
New Year in St Petersburg
New Year celebration in St Petersburg
New Year in St Petersburg is a holiday that in just a little while will be brightly celebrated. For Russians, The New Year has always had a great significance. Beside festive dinner, giving and receiving gifts and spending time in the family circle, there are plenty of public activities, that can make the celebration even more memorable. Learn, what events are the most expected for the New Year in St Petersburg.
New Year parade on Nevsky
There is a good tradition for the New Year in St Petersburg to organize a parade, that is headed by Ded Moroz (‘’Father Frost’’, or Russian Santa). Every year on December 31 he rides his carriage along the main street of the city, Nevsky prospect, to reach his destination — Palace square. There is a whole procession of musicians and artists following Ded Moroz. The procession is accompanied with live music and illumination. Once it reaches the square (at around 6 pm), the celebration starts. The New Year concert, games and fireworks on Palace square — nobody will be left cold!
When planning to celebrate New Year in St Petersburg keep in mind a few important things. First of all, it is a great idea to stay informed about road closures. Secondly, check public transportation schedule. During the festive night some central streets can be closed. When going to downtown St. Petersburg, take into account that late at night on December 31 Nevsky Prospect is going to be closed for traffic up until January 1. The easiest will be to use the subway, that will be open during the whole night.
Snow games and ice-skating
Russian New Year is unthinkable without snow and ice. Thus, every year a lot of public snow games are organized in the city. Both locals and visitors have a lot of options how to spend their first day of the New Year in St Petersburg. All around the city you will be able to find skating rinks and sites for snow fights. Some of the places are listed below:
- In Primorsky Victory Park you will be able to skate in the open air. Enjoy the biggest skating rink in St. Petersburg, organized specially for the New Year holidays.
- Kirov’s Park of Recreation and Leisure is going to open two skating rinks. One of them is free of charge. The other one requires an admission fee, that can be paid on the spot.
- The Park of the 300th Anniversary of St. Petersburg will hold the biggest snow fight at the beginning of January. The winners will be rewarded with special prizes and memorable gifts. Great mood is guaranteed!
Activities in the imperial residences
Beside guided tours to the imperial palaces, there is a great opportunity to have fun in the imperial parks. For example, Pushkin (Catherine Palace), Gatchina and Peterhof parks offer riding a Russian troika (team of three horses), sledges and skis.
Downtown St. Petersburg
Are you looking for what to do in St. Petersburg city center? Find out below!
Visiting downtown St. Petersburg Russia is a magical experience. The city was originally constructed in 1703 by Peter the Great and remained the nation’s capital until 1918 when it shifted to Moscow. Saint Petersburg downtown has been known by several names since its founding. In 1914 it was renamed to Petrograd and then to Leningrad in 1924 after Vladimir Lenin. In 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, St. Petersburg city center once again received its original title.
St. Petersburg Russia downtown is the nation’s second most populated city with five million citizens (Moscow being the largest). There have been three revolutions involving downtown Saint Petersburg – 1825, 1905 and 1917 – giving city center St. Petersburg the nickname “City of Three Revolutions.”
Downtown St. Pete sits majestically on the banks of the Neva River and Baltic Sea where it serves as an important port for military, trade and tourism. Besides its natural beauty, visitors to downtown Petersburg also enjoy a wide selection of fascinating architecture. Various structures can be found throughout St. Petersburg downtown built in such styles as traditional Russian, Baroque, Neoclassical, Neo-Gothic and Art Nouveau.
As you wander around St. Pete downtown, you will find attractive monuments erected to honor important people such as Peter the Great, Empress Catherine the Great, Emperor Nicholas I, Alexander I, II and II, Vladimir Lenin and others. Numerous key events which occurred in city center St. Petersburg are also immortalized by monuments, including the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad, the Moscow Gate, the Narva Gate, the Victims of Political Repression, and the Fallen Fighters of the Revolution.
There are plenty of splendid museums to browse through in downtown Saint Petersburg. You will definitely want to visit the Hermitage Museum, that houses several million displays, many of which are world-renowned, and the Russian Museum where nearly a half million Soviet treasures can be found. You might also enjoy the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, the Russian Army Museum, and the Museum of Theater and Music. If you’re traveling with children to downtown St Petersburg Russia, the Zoological Museum and the Museum of Cosmonautics and Rocket Technology are sure to mesmerize them.
Art galleries also abound in St. Petersburg city center. The Pushkinskaya 10 Art Center is a joy to behold with its hodgepodge display of modern art, concert venue, bar and café. Upon finishing a busy day, stop by Lumiere-Hall and gaze on masterpieces while reclining on an ottoman and wrapped in surround sound. You can enjoy a taste of the performing arts at the Leningrad Center in downtown Petersburg where shows, concerts, plays and other performances are offered every week.
Regardless of your particular tastes, downtown St. Petersburg offers an abundant selection of sights, sounds and activities that are sure to make your visit a memorable one.
St Petersburg Tourist Attractions
Are you planning a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia soon, but can’t decide on what places to visit in this marvellous city? It is important to make priorities in the tourist activities, so that you didn’t waste your time. St. Petersburg is the artistic and cultural capital of the country, and has a lot to share. In this article we overview Top 10 St Petersburg Tourist Attractions.
1. The State Hermitage
The first thing on your wish-list will probably become The State Hermitage. Being the biggest museum in Russia, it houses over 3 million precious exhibits in different spheres of art: painting, sculpture, applied art, glasswork, porcelain, embroidery, ancient artefacts… The list can go on forever. No wonder why it occupies so many buildings. The Hermitage is not just The Winter Palace, but a number of structures forming the Main Museum Complex: The Winter Palace and a couple of buildings that were constructed later in the 18-19th hundreds. It is the most well-known gem, located in the heart of St. Petersburg, that attracts thousands of visitors every day. Don’t miss a chance and visit The Hermitage without wasting your time in lines. With an accredited tour company like Hello Russia Tours you can get a skip-the-line admission to Russia’s finest museum. Find more details about our private tour to the Hermitage on our website.
2. Peterhof Palace and Gardens
Peterhof is home to many imperial palaces and gardens, which makes it one of the most visited St Petersburg tourist attractions. Around 2,2 million people come to Peterhof every year. Peterhof Museum Complex includes 150 fountains, 7 palaces and 23 museum structures. The most important highlight of Peterhof is its fountain system. Every day at 11 a.m. thousands of tourists gather in the Lower garden of Peterhof to see for themselves how the fountains start their day. The idea of creating the beautiful residence struck Peter the Great during his diplomatic visit to Versailles. The Russian tzar was very inspired by the beauty of the French residence, so upon his return to Russia, he started the construction of what later was called ‘The Russian Versailles’. As a result, Peterhof Grand Palace was built. It was used as an official residence of the Romanovs, where lots of beautiful receptions and balls took place. We are happy to announce that Hello Russia Tours organizes private tours to Peterhof to make the most of your visit to this beautiful museum.
3. The Church on the Spilled Blood
This colorful church with onion-shaped domes is located in the historic heart of St. Petersburg, not far from Nevsky Prospect. It was constructed in the bright Russian style to the memory of Alexander II, the Russian tzar, who was fatally wounded by a terrorist. Later on the church was constructed on the very place, where the blood of the tzar was spilled. The church is dedicated to Jesus Christ, because Alexander II was compared with Jesus Christ. He wanted to make people’s life easier, but his efforts were not duly appreciated. The church has a lot of mosaics that decorate the walls inside. Over 7000 sq.m. decorate the entire interior of the church. In the Soviet era the church was closed. The soviet authorities were going to demolish it, which never happened in the end, since the WWII broke out.
4. Nevsky Prospect
What can be better than having a nice leisurely walk along the main city’s street? Its name is Nevsky Prospect, St. Petersburg most iconic street. It stretches for over 2 miles, and has lots of restaurants and cafes lining along the street. It is also the best shopping strip that you may find in St. Petersburg. Nevsky Prospect is a great area for buying memorable souvenirs and gifts from Russia. Don’t miss a chance to have an enjoyable walk along the prospect, grab a drink on the way, and take a few memorable pics from the very heart of St. Petersburg.
5. Peter and Paul Fortress
Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Petersburg’s official citadel, is known to be the birth place of St. Petersburg. It was constructed under order of Peter the Great for protection of the nearby lands. In 1700 Peter the Great started the Northern War against Charles XII of Sweden to get the lands of the Baltic coastline, that earlier had been captured by the Swedes. The Fortress was constructed in 1703 right during the course of the war. The original structure was made of wood, but later it was modernized and rebuilt in stone. 27th of May, the day when the construction started, is today celebrated as St. Petersburg’s birthday.
6. Catherine Palace with the Amber Room
The stunning Catherine Palace was created by the daughter of Peter I, the Russian empress Elizabeth. She appointed Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli court architect, who created the project of the magnificent palace. It is located some 16 miles from St. Petersburg. The palace is named in honor of Elizabeth’s mother Catherine I. The most well-known highlight of the palace is the Amber Room. Its story goes back to Peter the Great’s time, when he received the room as a diplomatic gift from a Prussian king. The Catherine Palace was constructed in beautiful baroque style. Later on it was extended under the reign of Catherine the Great, and some alterations of the interiors took place inside. Developed over two generations the residence displays a great mix of baroque and neoclassical architecture, a nice collection of porcelain sets, clocks, chandeliers and whatsoever, that belonged to the Russian royals. Without any doubt, being one of the most significant St Petersburg tourist attractions, the palace deserves your visit. Enjoy the unique atmosphere of the 18th century with your private guide on our Catherine Palace tour. The guide will unveil all the mysterious secrets of this marvelous residence, and will be happy to answer all of your questions.
7. St Petersburg Subway
Few people know that one of St Petersburg tourist attractions is hidden underneath the city. St. Petersburg subway is only remarkably deep. It is so deep that people spend about 50 hours a year on the escalator alone. The subway by itself is like a museum. The vestibules and platforms are decorated with great artworks, precious stones, mosaics, and gilded and crystal chandeliers. It’s easy to navigate in the subway since all the stations have signs both in Russian and in English. The most beautiful stations belong to the red line of St. Petersburg subway. Pay extra attention to the stations called Narvskaya, Kirovskiy Zavod and Avtovo.
8. Rivers and canals of St. Petersburg
Undeniably, the most famous views of St. Petersburg are even more impressive when you see them from the water. A boat ride along St. Petersburg rivers and canals can give you this great opportunity. From the beginning, St. Petersburg developed as one of Russia’s sea and river ports. Water has always had a great significance for the city. That’s why most of St Petersburg tourist attractions are built right on the banks of St. Petersburg numerous waterways. In total, St. Petersburg has more than a hundred of different waterways: 93 natural rivers and channels, and 20 man-made canals. The main artery of St. Petersburg is the Neva, that brings so much fresh water to the Baltic sea, that it freezes in winter. The rivers divide the land into 42 islands, that are connected by almost 350 bridges. 21 of them are draw bridges. They open every night in summer to give the way for big ships and boats. There are plenty of options to join group city tours by boat, or you can order a private boat tour if you want to enjoy the intimacy of your party only.
9. St. Isaac’s Cathedral
Among other St Petersburg tourist attractions, St. Isaac’s Cathedral deserves special attention. It is the biggest St. Petersburg cathedral and one of the city’s tallest structures. Its golden dome is clearly seen from different end of the city. It is a great monument of the architecture of the 19th century. The construction of the marvelous design took 40 years to complete: from 1818 till 1858. It is the city’s heaviest building as well. About 300 000 ton of natural granite were used for the columns that surround the cathedral. The giant dome is made of cast iron and covered with about 100 kilos of pure gold. The interior decoration strikes the minds of even the most demanding travelers: the abundance of gold, marble. malachite, paintings and mosaics does not leave cold anybody, who visit the cathedral. Today the cathedral is operating as a museum, but inside you may find a little corner, that serves as a consecrated sacred place. The people come early in the morning (7 a.m.), when the doors of the cathedral are open for free, to see the worship. The museum is open everyday except Wednesdays from 10.30 am till 6 pm. Great news is that you can even purchase the tickets online on their official webpage.
10. Aurora Cruiser
The legendary cruiser Aurora has played a big role in the Russian history. Her story is truly amazing. The ship was built in the Russian Empire in the end of the 19th century. The Russian tzar Nicholas II and his family attended at the ceremony of the launching the ship in 1900. The heart of the ship, the engine, is still operating, although today it’s never used. It is perfectly preserved and looks even better than a hundred years ago. Now it is anchored at the Petrovskaya embankment as a museum and a monument to the Great October Revolution. The ship is known to be one of the most iconic St Petersburg tourist attractions, that is closely connected to the 20th century history. Today, she is believed to have done a blank shot on 25 October, which symbolized the start of the Revolution.
Interesting facts about St Petersburg, Russia
St Petersburg is Russia’s second biggest city. Although its history is relatively young, there are plenty of different stories that can excite you. Learn the most interesting facts about St Petersburg with us.
Peter and Paul Fortress is known to be the first structure of the city. It was founded in 1703 by the Russian tsar Peter the Great for the protection of the lands. Nonetheless, the fortress has participated in 0 wars.
In the course of its history St. Petersburg was renamed several times: the original name that was given to the city in 1703 is Saint Petersburg. In 1914 when the First World War started it was renamed into Petrograd. In 1924 the city was called after Lenin: Leningrad. In 1991 St. Petersburg got its historical name back.
Other interesting facts about St Petersburg
St. Petersburg is the 3rd biggest city in Europe. Nowadays the population of the city is more than 5 million people. It only yields to Moscow (over 12 million people) and London (over 8 million).
Since there are many rivers and canals in St. Petersburg (92 waterways), the city has a lot of bridges. Altogether there are 350 of them within the city. This includes bridges made of stone, cast iron, steel, reinforced concrete, and even aluminum.
Throughout its history St. Petersburg underwent 288 floods. The flood is declared when the level of water rises 1.5 m (4,9 ft) over the regular water level. The most destructive flood occurred in 1824 when the level of water rose 4 m (13.1 ft) above the average.
The narrowest street in St. Petersburg is Repina street. The width of the street is just 6 meters (19.6 ft).
There are 268 different religious confessions and communities in St. Petersburg. The main confession is Orthodox Christianity, but among other religious temples you can find Catholic and Lutheran churches, Muslim mosques, Buddhist temples, and others.
St. Petersburg is known to be the cultural capital of Russia. No wonder! St. Petersburg accounts for 70 theaters, more than 20 annual international festivals of art, about 80 musical and theatrical contests, and over a hundred of exhibitions.
The City of Museums is an alternative name of St. Petersburg. There are 300 museums in the city, including the main Russian museum – the State Hermitage Museum Every year in May the so-called Museum Night is organized – it’s time when almost all of the museums are open at night and you can visit them buying one ticket only.
The climate in St. Petersburg is humid continental. Due to its location (coast of the Baltic Sea) there is no dry season in the area. The annual amount of precipitations is 634 mm.
If you visit St. Petersburg in the summer you might witness a real wonder of nature that locals call ‘White Nights’. It is a summer period when the nights stay very bright. The peak time for the White Nights is June 11 – July 2, when the day lasts for 19 hours.
The tallest structure of St. Petersburg is a TV tower. It is 310 m tall (1017 ft). Another famous tall structure is located in St. Petersburg historical center: St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral is 122,5 m tall (401,9 ft). The Cathedral is known to be the burial vault of the Russian emperors and empresses and it’s definitely worth seeing.
The first railway that was introduced in Russia connected St. Petersburg and Pavlovsk. It was open on November 11, 1837 during the reign of Nicholas I.
St. Petersburg has one of the deepest subway systems in the world. The deepest station is called Admiralteyskaya. To get to the platform you need to go 86 m (282 ft) down in the grown.
Moskovskaya Square is one of the biggest in Europe. It occupies over 130 000 sq. m. (about 32 acres). In the Sovet Era the square was supposed to become the administrative center of Leningrad.
In the USA there are 15 cities that are called St. Petersburg. The biggest one is located in Florida. The city was founded by Peter Demens (originally, Petr Alekseevich Dementiev – Russian by origin). It is interesting that the train station in this city is an exact copy of the one in Tsarskoe Selo (suburbs of Russian St. Petersburg).
Trans Siberian Railway
The Trans Siberian Railway is a legendary way that connects Europe and Asia. A trip on the Trans-Siberian can become one of the greatest travel experiences of a lifetime. The Trans-Siberian is not only the longest railroad in the world. It is also a unique adventure and a perfect chance to visit the most distant parts of Russia and touch its culture.
The original name of the railroad is the Great Siberian Way.
Being the longest railroad in the world it stretches across 11.024 kilometers (which is about 6.850 miles)
The Trans-Siberian railroad starts in Moscow and goes through 87 major East Siberian and Far Eastern cities, ending in Vladivostok – the biggest city in the Far East of Russia.
One of the railway stations of the Transsib is called Slyudyanka 1 – a remarkable building entirely made of marble.
The Trans-Mongolian railway is a branch of the Trans-Siberian that leads from Ulan-Ude to Beijing.
The railroad goes through the capital of Mongolia – Ulan-Bator.
The Trans-Siberian railroad goes through the area where the winter temperatures goes below – 60ºC (about -76ºF)
The shortest train trip will take you 6 days and 2 hours. In connection to this many trains running from Moscow to Vladivostok have showers, laundries and other services.
Tourism along Trans Siberian Railway
The Trans Siberian railway has become a popular tourist destination recently. Not only Russians, but also many foreign guests are striving to experience real Russia. Isn’t it an amazing feeling to cross the world’s biggest country from the west to the east? Trans Siberian railway Moscow – Vladivostok or Moscow – Beijing are among the most popular itineraries. It is a great chance to visit a number of big Russian cities, such as Moscow, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, and others. While doing your unforgettable Trans-Siberian trip you can explore the Ural mountains, mighty Russian rivers like Volga and Ob, the Baikal – the world’s deepest fresh lake, Altai mountains, and many other unforgettable places! Each of them do deserve your attention!
Visiting St. Petersburg would be incomplete without a tour to Peterhof Palace. It is one of the most fascinating former royal residences in the suburbs of St. Petersburg. Located on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland (Baltic Sea) it stretches along the waterline for 2.5 kilometers (about 1.5 miles). The history of Peterhof goes back to the early 18th century, when it was founded as a monument to the triumphal victory over Sweden in the Northern War. Due to its richest history, incredible architecture and amazing parks Peterhof has become a great tourist destination.
The museum complex is located in 1-hour drive from St. Petersburg city center. Using public transport it will take you about 1 hour 30 minutes to get there. However, if you are unsure how to use St. Petersburg metro or buses a private tour to Peterhof can always be an option.
A classic program of Peterhof tour normally includes the main attractions of the museum complex:
- Peterhof Grand Palace
- Fountains in the Upper and Lower Gardens
- Grand Cascade
- Monplaisir Palace
Peterhof Palace is the heart and the center of the whole Peterhof ensemble. The modern outlook of the palace has been formed for almost 150 years. The construction was initiated by the Russian tzar Peter the Great in 1714. Nevertheless, today we can observe the results of a few palace alterations that occurred later. The biggest one took place during the reign of Peter’s daughter Elizabeth. It is during her time when the Palace acquired its splendor of baroque architecture.
On two sides the rectangular elongated building of Peterhof Palace is framed by the famous Upper and Lower Gardens. The idea of creating this park came to Peter’s mind after visiting Versailles that encouraged him in many ways. It reflects the best gardening traditions of French regular parks. Among other attractions the Grand Cascade is the most outstanding. The iconic view of the Grand Cascade is the first thing that appears on our minds when we talk about Peterhof. The Cascade is a unique system of beautiful fountains and waterfalls, accomplished with over 250 statues and reliefs. It’s definitely a must!
Touring the highlights of the Lower Garden you can’t pass by the Monplaisir Palace. This structure is reasonably smaller than the Peterhof Grand Palace, but not less important. Initially being constructed for Peter’s wife Catherine I, this Palace became a true family nest for the royal couple. Many visitors find that the Monplaisir speaks a lot about Peter’s personality because it took in his spirit. Not to mention, that the palace did not have any changes throughout times. Inside you can also find a nice original collection of Italian, Dutch and Flemish painting of the 17th-18th centuries.
There is, for sure, much more to see in Peterhof and the list can continue forever. During our tour to Peterhof you will get a great chance to see it all!
When is the best time to visit Peterhof?
When planning your trip to Peterhof it is essential to know when the museum is open for visitors.
The Peterhof Grand Palace open hours:
10.30 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily, except Monday
Peterhof Fountain Park:
Open all year round, but in winter season (October – May) the fountains are closed. They start operating in the end of April. The season start is marked by a beautiful Fountain Festival. In 2017 the Fountain Festival is planned on May 20.
In May – September the park is open from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m.
The Monplaisir palace:
Open only in the summer time (May-September)
For more details check out Peterhof museum official page
Maslenitsa in Russia
What is Maslenitsa
Maslenitsa is an ancient Slavic holiday that was imbibed by the Russian culture from heathenism. For centuries the Russian Maslenitsa has obtained a title of a big folk festival that is celebrated across the board. In the Russian culture this festival represents a farewell to the cold, severe winter, and a greeting to the warm and sunny spring. If you still don’t know what to do on during this festival, this article is for you.
The celebration is carried out in the end of February – beginning of March. It has particular symbolism, since February is the last winter month in Russia. The Russian Maslenitsa is a many-sided event combining lots of different traditions that are aimed to hunt away the winter and wake the spring up. People welcome the spring with songs, traditional dances, games, snow-fights, and other fun activities. One of them is burning a chuchelo (the Russian for ’a scarecrow’) – a representation of the leaving winter. When the burning is done the main fun comes into play: accompanied by happy Russian songs and music the people start to compete in jumping across the fire. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
Maslenitsa food – blinis
It’s not a secret that Maslenitsa’s number one treat is Russian pancakes, or blinis. The blinis are cooked in every family during the whole week starting on Monday. The choice of the treat was not occasional. The tradition of making blinis has come from ancient pagan times, when people were calling for Yarilo, the god of the Sun, to chase the frosts away. The round-shape golden blinis were taken as the symbol of Yarilo. Today every housewife has her own blinis recipe but the way they are served is the same: traditional blinis toppings are butter, sour cream, or honey.
Maslenitsa 2017 in St. Petersburg
Maslenitsa in Russia can become a great cultural experience for you if you’re visiting St. Petersburg during the Maslenitsa. It is celebrated all around the country and our city is not an exception. Maslenitsa 2017 starts on February 20 with the main celebration on the weekend – February 25-26. There’s plenty of places that organize public activities for Maslenitsa. One of them is the Shuvalovka village, located in 50-minutes drive from the downtown. It is a big entertaining complex that imitates an old Russian village.
The celebration starts at 12.00 p.m. on February 26 (Sunday). The festival program includes little theatrical shows, snow-fights, different contests and competitions. The main highlight of the day will be the burning of the chuchelo at 2.00 p.m. During the whole day you can treat yourself with blinis and other traditional Russian food. Moreover, you will be able to participate in workshops of cooking blinis, wood carving, embroidery, making clay toys, and many other.
The address of the Shuvalovka village is 111 Sankt-Peterburgskoye highway. To get to the complex you can take a taxi or public transport: shuttle buses 424, 424А, 300, 401, 401А that run from the Avtovo metro station, or bus 404 from the Baltiyskaya metro station.
Most popular ski resorts in Russia
Russian ski resorts are a popular destination in the end of February – March for the lovers of active holidays Early spring is the time when the strongest frosts are already gone, but the snow hasn’t melt yet. In many Russian ski resorts you will be guaranteed with bright weather: sunshine, fresh air and clear sky. Hot tea will for sure make your day. For the lovers of active holidays there’s a number of ski resorts in Russia, in its different parts. In this article we are going to review the most popular Russian ski resorts.
Sochi – Rosa Khutor
Nowadays, Rosa Khutor, being located on the shore of the Black Sea, is known to be the biggest and most popular among other Russian ski resorts. Here, in the surroundings of Sochi, in 2014 the winter Olympic games were held, which definitely contributed to its popularity. For the needs of this international event they have developed a lot of new runs that are equipped with all modern technologies: elevators, fake snow machines, snow smoothers and others. The resort has everything for a comfortable and enjoyable vacation: a number of high-class hotels, well-developed infrastructure, skiing and snowboarding classes (private and group), equipment rental, etc. The total length of the ski runs is 94 kilometers (58,5 miles) with the highest peak 4920 meters (16140 feet) above the sea level. 20 lifts are at the guests’ disposal. The ski season lasts for almost 140 days a year. These days they organize lots of different activities and competitions for skiers and snowboarders on a local and international level.
More details you can find here.
Baikalsk – Gora Sobolinaya
Another great skiing place is located deep is Siberia. The name of the little town Baikalsk derives from the lake Baikal – a Siberian lake, famous for being the deepest fresh lake in the world. To the south of Baikal there’s a mountain chain – that’s the place we are going to talk about. The name of the ski resort sounds as ‘Gora Sobolinaya’, which means ‘sable mount’. Although, Siberia is famous for its cold winters, skiing is getting more and more popular here and a lot of tourists arrive to Baikalsk to enjoy this great experience. There are many hotels located close to or on the territory of the resort. Some of them you can find here. The ski runs make up 15 kilometers (9,3 miles). The highest point is 1004 meters (3293 feet) above the sea level. The key feature of Gora Sobolinaya is that from every slope you can admire a wonderful view of the mighty Baikal. At the bottom of the runs there are a few cosy ski bars and cafes to warm up with hot tea or mulled wine, or have a snack. Everyone can find a run to their taste: from beginners to professionals.
Kirovsk – Big Wood
Another hot spot for skiers and snowboarders is located in European part of Russia. Due to its location it is very popular not only with Russians, but also with foreigners. The Big Wood in Kirovsk is the most high-altitude ski resort in the area. It’s equipped with a number of different lifts (T-bar, chair or gondola lifts). The total length of the runs is 45 kilometers (27,9 miles). The Big Wood provides all kinds of services for an unforgettable trip: from accommodation to equipment rental, ski and snowboarding classes, spa, fishing and lots of different activities and competitions. Check out their official web page for more information.
St. Petersburg – Igora
One of the other Russian ski resorts is located in a 1,5-hours drive from St. Petersburg. Isn’t it a great chance to combine sightseeing in the metropolitan city with sports fun in the countryside? There are trains and buses that can bring you directly to the Igora ski resort. It’s very convenient to come for a day if you’re visiting St. Petersburg. For those of you who want to spend more time at the resort you can book a hotel room, an apt or a cottage. Local spa services will help you to relax after a long day of skiing. There’s also a swimming pool and a gym for the guests. 3 T-bar and 2 chair lifts bring people up. 8 runs are organized for skiers and snowboarders with different level of training. For ski runners they have developed three picturesque itineraries. If you’d like to visit Igora, but you are unsure of how to do it, contact Hello Russia Tours and we will be happy to help you!
St Petersburg lions
St. Petersburg is literally inundated with cats, sphinxes and lions: altogether you can find thousands of them in the city. St Petersburg lions are multifarious: made of marble and plaster, bronze and cast iron, brought from Italy, China or Israel, or made in Russia. You can also see lots of lions and griffins in St. Petersburg suburb like Peterhof.
St Petersburg lions
The lion is the king of beasts, that’s why it is a symbol of royalty, courage and power. First St Petersburg lions appeared in the city at the times of Peter the Great: they started to decorate private houses and public places, squares and embankments, parks and gardens. Even today many restaurants and hotels have lion sculptures in front of their buildings. The Four Seasons hotel in St. Petersburg is also called the Lion Palace since two marble lion statues welcome the guests at the main entrance.
Lions on Trinity bridge
In the Chinese culture the lions are almost always presented in pairs – male and female principals. The male lion has his right paw on a ball, which symbolizes country unity; the female one is frequently shown with a lion cub, which represents the life cycle. One can find a great example of such lions in St. Petersburg. If you go to the Petrovskaya embankment, not far from the Troitsky bridge (the Trinity bridge), you will find Shi Tza – Chinese lion statutes. They were brought to St. Petersburg in 1907 and today are known as the most mysterious lions in St. Petersburg.
In antique times lions were thought to sleep with their eyes open. For this reason they were considered to be the best guards of the house against evil spirits. The ball that the lion had under his paw didn’t let him sleep – even if he fell asleep the paw would slide down the ball, and the lion would wake up again. Today you can see a lot of such city guardians in St. Petersburg.
Here are a few examples:
• Copper lions next to the Dvortsovy bridge (opposite the Admiralty building)
• Lions on the spit of Elagin island
• Cast iron lions in front of the Russian museum
St. Petersburg griffins
Sometimes St. Petersburg lions have wings, some people calls them griffins despite it’s not really correct. Thus, four lions of the Bankovsky bridge (the Bank bridge) have wonderful golden wings. In the past they were watching the Assignation Bank that was located next to the bridge (hence the name of the bridge). Another example is bronze winged lions next to the Egyptians sphinxes on the Universitetskaya embankment (the University embankment). They have shiny heads – people believe that if you pat them on the head they will make your wishes come true. Try to imagine how many people come to polish the griffins’ head everyday!
This is by far not the end of the list, we could go on forever. We only wish you had enough time to see all of them!