Being the largest in the world, Russia is a country of contrast and diversity, that allures travelers with its unique national coloring and peculiar traditions. It’s very true that Russia comprises so many treasures and attractions that even a lifetime will not be enough to see and discover them all. However, if you still plan your trip to this beautiful and yet enigmatic country, here’s a list of things to do in Russia, without which your Russian vacation will be incomplete.
Russian art seeking
Russian cultural heritage is extremely multifaceted. Basically, you’ll come across various masterpieces literally on the streets and squares of the majority of Russian cities, which beckon tourists with their non-conventional architectural expressions and bizzare facades. But to get a deeper insight into the historic milestones of the past of such a great artistic power like Russia, you need to immerse into the main ‘pantries’ of traditional Russian art.
If you are interested in masterpieces created by legendary Russian artists, you just can’t miss the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow which is now considered the largest collection of works of Russian art in the world.
The gallery was established in 1856 by a poor merchant Pavel Tretyakov. Eventually, the gallery has evolved from a small collection of paintings to an iconic art museum, boasting a huge collection of Russian art of several epochs.
So all art lovers are welcome to the Tretyakov Gallery to admire unique masterpieces of Russian painters and sculptors.
What is more, the gallery hosts numerous exhibitions of contemporary artists so you’ll also get a chance to enjoy the works of praised creators of the present.
Note: the Tretyakov Gallery is closed on Monday, so plan your Russian art hunting carefully.
Another twirling highlight of Russian culture
One more thing that occupies a special place in diverse Russian culture is, without a doubt, ballet. It first appeared in the northern capital of Russia, Saint Petersburg, in the 18th century and has become one of the main trademarks of Russian art ever since. There’s an impressive number of theatres across Russia, including the most famous ones in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Samara.
Located in the very heart of Russian capital, the Bolshoi Theater on Teatralnaya Square in Moscow, is one of the symbols of the brilliant skill of Russian ballet dancers.
Spending a romantic evening at the Bolshoi Theatre is a great entertaining option as well as a perfect way to experience the electric atmosphere of a gala night.
Talented performers, dramatic plots, romantic storylines will reflect the Russian soul at its brightest and leave colorful memories that live long.
Another historic opera and ballet theatre that won’t leave you indifferent is the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg. Apart from fancy appearance and internal decor, the theatre hosts some really splendid and exclusive plays of modern and world-famous classics.
Bears, ushanka hats and...vodka!
No, obviously we don’t suggest to combine all these elements at once (unless you have Russian roots), but excluding some vodka tasting into your tour to Russia would be at least a serious slip.
Specially for this occasion, we recommend you to visit a one-of-a-kind restaurant - the Russian Vodka Room №1, located in Saint Petersburg.
This unique place reproduces the decor of a tavern that existed in Russia at the end of the 19th century. Antique chairs and buffets, shabby parquet floors and lampshades help to create the unique vibe of bygone times.
The way of serving dishes also corresponds to the general style so that traditional Russian specialties look the same as a hundred years ago. Even vodka is served in lovely old-fashioned faceted shot glasses. So just don’t forget to deliver a toast and...cheers!
Best Russian souvenirs
It’s impossible to leave Russia without some souvenirs and, gladly, the country offers a wide choice of authentic items that can become amazing gifts for your friends and family. Let’s consider at least some of them.
The thing that is associated with Russia apart from the ones, mentioned above is, of course, Matryoshka.
This lovely wooden doll is a true symbol of Russian folk culture the popularity of which is really hard to deny.
Matryoshka comes in many types, colors and sizes, so try not to get too carried away when choosing among these charming nesting dolls.
You can even go on a masterclass and paint your own doll. Take a look at how it’s done HERE.
If you look for an elegant and traditional souvenir for a woman, there’s no better option than Pavlovo Posad scarves. The intricate colorful patterns with flower and oriental ornaments of such scarves look exclusively original.
Russian folk motives appear on some handcraft as well. Gzhel and Hohloma are the most traditional ones. Gzhel represents blue and white painting, while Hohloma looks more lively, using more bright colors like red, green and gold. So a trip to Russia is your chance to buy some fancy ceramics or painted wooden items for your home decoration.
To sum up, Russian holidays are simply an unforgettable experience and we hope that the points described here will make your memories even more vivid while the souvenirs you bring home will become a heartwarming reminder of hospitable and fascinating Russia.