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Arts and Culture for Expats in Russia

Submitted: January 2014

Russia is well known for its rich culture, history and arts. Moscow, in particular, is a delightful mixture of historical and contemporary sights which would intrigue any newcomer. When you move to Russia you will be delighted to know that there is something for everyone.

 

Theatre

The Bolshoi Theatre, located in Moscow, is a world- famous theatre. The theatre is home to around 3-4 different operas and 2-3 ballets every year. The principal focus is on classical masterpieces from composers such as Wagner, Mozart and Tchaikovsky. Some of Russia's most popular operas include: Boris GodunovEugene Onegin, The Golden Cockerel and Prince Igor. Russian ballet is world-renowned and is an integral element of the Russian culture. To see the Bolshoi Ballet in action as well as other opera performances, visit: https://www.bolshoi.ru

 

Museums

To get a glimpse into the rich history of Russia, see the very popular Historical Museum of Moscow, which has extensive collections for every phase of Russian history. It is ideally situated in the Red Square and has multiple exhibition rooms.

 

Art Galleries

Russian artistes over the centuries have produced an eclectic mix of classical paintings, realist impressions, avant-garde works, and Soviet art amongst other forms and impressions. If you are interested in the Arts, the best place to visit is the Central House of Artist (or CHA), which is the largest exhibition centre in Russia. It boasts of having 27 halls with over 60 galleries and hundreds of exhibitions from all over the world.

 

Architecture

Russian architecture has its origins with the ancient Slavs. Thereafter Russian architecture was influenced predominantly by the Byzantine era for several centuries, until the Fall of Constantinople. For architecture buffs, here is a list of just some of the must-see architectural works in Russia:

 

Holidays

When you are in Russia, you will have to get used to the fact that Christmas and New Year’s are celebrated twice (in December and in January), due to the fact that when the Soviet Government changed to the Gregorian calendar, the Russian Orthodox Church refused to do so as well and adhered to the Julian calendar for religious celebrations.

Some other important holidays for you to look out for and even participate in are:

Victory Day - This is perhaps the most well-known festival in Russia and it is usually falls on May 9th of each year. It is a day to commemorate those who died during World War II and the victory over Nazi Germany. There is a normally a massive military parade in the Red Square hosted by the President of the Russian Federation, which draws thousands of spectators.

Maslenitsa - Also called pancake week, is a delightful festival, held at the end of February, which celebrates the end of the usually harsh Russian winters.  The symbolic purpose of the pancake is that it represents the sun. As part of the festivities, you will see that some people wear costumes, sing songs and do various dances. Hot tea and pancakes are of course served during the festival.

Paskha (Easter) -  Easter is a very important holiday in Russia, particularly for members of the Russian Orthodox Church. Easter is normally celebrated during April or May. At midnight on Easter Sunday, you will find priests and patrons walking throughout the streets greeting people with the following; “Христос воскрес” (Christ is risen) - this is pronounced as ‘khristos voskres’. If you desire, you can respond with the following; “Воистину воскрес” (Indeed He is risen) - this is pronounced as ‘volstinu voskres’

 

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