Tag Archives: foreign-friendly

Russian dishes, utensils

Samovar (Самовар)

- Russian folk device for boiling water and tea making. You can try tea from a samovar at some of the places mentioned by me in this article.

Samovar for a Russian was a symbol of home, comfort, companionship. The presence of a samovar in the house was the evidence of material prosperity. During the XIX and XX centuries samovar became characteristic feature of Russian life, the central subject of tea drinking. In the XIX century it was already considered to be a part of the national cultural tradition.

XIX century was the “golden age” of Russian samovar manufacturing. Each factory was trying to come up with their original samovar. The items had extremely diverse shapes, sizes and capacities from a glass to twenty liters.

In Soviet times, they were producing samovars, running on coal and electric ones. They are still available in our days. Electric samovars are like the same kettles made in the shape of traditional samovar (so it is kind of fake samovar).

Faced glass (Гранёный стакан)

Faceted glass has a number of advantages over conventionalrussian-facets-table-glass glass of cylindrical shape. Due to its faces a glass is stronger than usual, can survive at falling to the floor. Therefore faceted glasses are produced so far and are used in schools, catering, passenger trains (usually with a cup holder), on ships.

Mass production of glass began only in 1756  after opening Gusev Crystal Factory. Since then, changing color, size, shape and number of faces (it ranged from 8 to 20, always staying even), faceted glass became  an integral symbol of Russian people’s life.

Cup holder (Podstakannik= Подстаканник)

- a convenient fixture that allows people to keep a glass with hot drink in the hands. Variety of shapes and decorative elements can easily explain the popularity of cupholders among foreigners.

The decoration on the kettle made of patches

Kettle covers made of patches are quite popular among foreign visitors, as well as bright toys, made from patches.

russian-khokhloma-traditional-dishes-and-utensils

Traditional Russian painting techniques

Khokhloma

- an original Russian folk craft, formed in the province of Nizhny Novgorod. The main feature of Khokhloma craft is production of gilded wooden utensils without the use of a precious metal and an original special floral and herb painting.

Lacquer Miniatures (Palekh, Kholuy, Fedoskino, Mstera)

lacquer-miniatures-variety

Palekh miniature – is an original folk craft, formed and maintained in a settlement of Palekh, Ivanovo region. All Palekh lacquer miniature drawings  are based on the iconographic painting, its traditions and techniques.

From the very beginning Palekh artists widely used folk motifs and poetry of Pushkin, Lermontov and others. Range of Palekh miniatures products was very broad: brooches, jars, boxes, cigarette cases, snuff boxes, panels and so on.

Overall Palekh lacquer miniature has a special recognizable style. Conditional colors and architectural forms, subtle, elongated proportions of the figures, which stand out in gold on a black background, are typical distinguishing features of Palekh miniatures.

Kholuy miniature. The main difference is the use of painting Kholui bluish-green and brown-orange tones. Kholuy miniatures are not only more realistic compared to Palekh miniatures and Mstera, but also more decorative than those of Fedoskino.

School Fedoskino – lacquer miniature, executed with oil paints and covered with several layers of lacquer. Russian realistic painting had a significant impact on Fedoskino style. Favorite subjects of that time were drinking tea, scenes from of rural life, round dances and skating in troikas (oldtime Russian team of three horses). Exceptionally attractive caskets and panels, brooches and boxes of various shapes and sizes with miniature paintings and gold ornaments.

Mstiora miniature – kind of traditional Russian miniature painting by tempera paint on paper mache, formed in the village Mstera on the basis of the local icon painting by the beginning of the 1930s. After the beginning of the 20th century, preserving the principles of iconic letters Mstiora miniaturists turned to themes of peasant life, of Russian folk songs and fairy folklore.

Unlike other Russian lacquer miniatures based on the old Russian icon painting tradition (Palekh and Kholuy) landscape plays a special role in Mstiora miniature. It is written by small patterned strokes on the background of a radiant blue sky. Space is constructed by several picturesque parts and has depth. Usually a composition on the surface of the box is framed by thin elegant gilded ornament, floral painting often covers the side faces of caskets and boxes.

Attention: Be aware that cheap souvenirs are not hand made, they just have a colorful print. If you want to buy a good present, check the item several times so you get sure that it doesn’t look bad at another light.

If you want to buy a genuine lacquer miniature, check the name of the artist and the place of drawing on the irem you are going to get.

lacquer-miniatures2

Traditional Zhostovo trays

Their production started in the early XIX century. Zhostovo trays or Zhostovo painting on trays is a genre of Russian painting, craft, they are no longer used in everyday life. Now they are a separate independent decorative element of the room.

The most common motive of this painting is often multicolored bouquet on a dark background. This bouquet is necessarily alternated by large garden flowers and small field flowers. Sides of the tray are painted by gold ornaments and everything is covered with a special varnish that gives the tray a characteristic luster.

Gzhel

russian-gzhel-Saharnitsa-sugar-bowl

Since the second half of the 20-s of the XIX century, many ceramic and porcelain products were painted only in blue paint. Gzhel has its own style – dark blue and blue patterns and colors and decorations on white background. The paintings are made with cobalt, which acquires typical Gzhel color during the process.

Traditional Gzhel drawings are folk life stories of the past – sleigh rides,  shrovetide, genre scenes, fairy tale characters, floral and geometric designs. Patterns are unique, because each dish or tray is painted by hand, in a single copy.

Modern masters were able to recreate a multi-color painting, as well as drawings of gold and platinum.

different-gzhel

Gorodets painting

- Russian folk art craft. Exists from middle of the XIX century in the town of Gorodets. Bright, concise Gorodets painting was on distaffs, furniture, shutters, doors. The usual drawing were genre scenes, figurines of horses, roosters, floral patterns, made by loose strokes with white and black graphic outlines.

picture-of-gorodetskaya-rospis

Just-photo-of-honey

Russian honey

Russia is a big country with different delicious and tasty food. Real Russian honey is a tasty and useful gift for guests of Russia.

Bee honey (МЁД) – is a food, actually, a nectar which is partially digested in the jowl of the honey bee. Honey contains 13-20% water, 75-80% of carbohydrates (glucose, fructose, sucrose), vitamins B1, B2, B6, E, K, C, carotene, provitamin A, folic acid. A special taste and aroma of honey, along with its usefulness, are the main reasons why many people prefer honey to all other sweeteners.

Color of honey depends on the type of plants from which the bees collected nectar. By color, there are three groups of honey: light, moderately colored and dark. The most valuable are lighter honeys (made of acacia, linden and etc.). The exception is of buckwheat, which is very valuable to the body. At the same time,  dark types of honey are more rich in minerals.

Nutritional and therapeutic properties of honey are reduced when it is heated. The temperature that is above 50 ° C makes the greatest harm to it. Honey thus loses the bactericidal properties and flavor. The more intense and lasting is the influence of heat, the more deteriorated is the quality of honey.

 Polyfloral honey

According to the landscape basis honey can be divided into these groups:  forest, meadow, prairie, taiga, field and mountain.

Field (Полевой) honey has various colors ranging from light amber to brown, it crystallizes quickly. It is usually of high quality, with a strong flavor and good taste. This honey is produced from coriander, sainfoin, lavender, bittercress, sow-thistle, phacelia and cultivated plants – sunflower, colza, buckwheat, alfalfa, mustard.

Meadow (Луговой) honey has many shades from light yellow to light brown, has a very fragrant bouquet and pleasant taste. It is produced from the nectar of meadow flowers: dandelion, thyme, white clover, sow-thistle, wild mallow, hypericum, cow-parsnip, sweet clover, meadow cornflower, sage, chicory, motherwort, thistle and many  other honey plants growing in meadows.

It is characterized by high nutritional and medicinal qualities.

Forest (Лесной) honey also has a lot of different shades, from light yellow to dark brown. Compared with the meadow and field it is always darker. It is not worse the meadow or field honey in taste.

Bees produce it from wild honey plants: wild fruit trees – wild rose, hawthorn, Tatarian maple, viburnum, willow, linden and other plants – raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, fireweed, heather. The most demanded forest honey is produced from spring honey plants (rowan, willow, fruit trees, acacia, raspberry, blueberry).

Prairie (Степной) honey – honey that is collected in the prairie plains of the Altai Territory. This type of honey is considered to be  a classic Russian honey. It is collected by bees from various plants, mostly plants that bloom in the prairie – sage, clover, sweet clover, fireweed, sow thistle, thistle, dandelion, bittercress, motherwort, buckwheat, cornflower and many other honey plants. Has an unusually rich, reddish-amber color. Taste is rich, herbal, there is a little bitterness.

Taiga (Таёжный) honey – honey that is collected from wild honey plants of  taiga-forest zone. Spring honey plants are:  Lungwort, coltsfoot, yellow acacia, etc. Summer honey plants are: oregano, fireweed, sow thistle forest, motherwort, strawberries steppe, etc.

Taiga honey has a specific, distinct taste and strong medicinal properties. This honey is considered to be one of the most high-quality varieties. Has a dark brown color and an amazing rich aroma of taiga expanses.

Mountain (Горный) honey. According to various information sources, mountain honey that is collected in alpine meadows at an altitude of over 1,000 meters is considered to be the most valuable  among  polyfloral types of honey.

 Single-flora honey

Single-flora honey tend to have the smell of the plants from which they are collected and have a refined, subtle, spicy flavors. The pure single-flora honeys actually do not exist, so you can only talk about the prevalence of a specific component.

Acacia (Акациевый) honey. Stands among the best varieties. It is widely popular because of its taste, and it is also widely used in folk medicine. Honey of white acacia is characterized by delicate aroma and pleasant taste. Fresh honey has a light transparent color. It crystallizes very slowly getting milky-white color; honey can remain long as a syrup. It is the most liquid among  all types of honey .

Barberry (Барбарисовый) honey. Has a golden – yellow color, pleasant aroma and delicate sweetness.

Cornflower (Васильковый) honey. Honey bees collect it from blue or field cornflower. This honey has a pleasant taste with a slightly bitter aftertaste, it is of is greenish – yellow color. Its smell can remind you almonds. It has not only good taste, but also healing properties.

Buckwheat (Гречишный) honey. Has a high content of proteins, minerals, very strong specific pleasant aroma and taste. Its color  is light – brown with a reddish tinge. Excellent food and medical product.

Sweet Clover (Донниковый) honey. It possesses high gustatory qualities. Its color is different from light amber to white with a greenish tint. Has a specific taste, sometimes slightly bitter, and specific aroma reminiscent of the smell of vanilla. Crystallizes to a form of grained solid mass .

Chestnut (Каштановый) honey. It is collected by bees from flowers of horse and edible chestnut. Honey that is collected from horse chestnut, is colorless, watery, the one that is collected from edible chestnut  is dark, very liquid. In general, any type of  chestnut honey has a slight scent of chestnut and bitter taste. It crystallizes slowly gaining the look of of oil, after that the crystals  appear. Has valuable antimicrobial properties.

According to its properties belongs to the category of low-grade honey.

Clover (Клеверный) honey. Colorless, almost transparent, with a high gustatory quality, one of the best among light honeys. At crystallization turns into a fine-grained solid white mass. Is characterized by low natural diastaznym number (less than 10 units Gotha).

Linden (Липовый) honey – the most high quality type of honey. It has a pleasant aroma of linden, pale – yellow color. Quickly crystallizes into small crystals, has  white afterwards. Has a high specific taste.

Honey from bee plant burdock (Лопуховый). Has a high pleasant scent, very malleable, fragrant and delicious. He has a light – yellow with a dark – olive hue.

Alfalfa (Люцерновый) honey. Bees collect it from the purple or violet alfalfa flowers. Honey that is freshly pumped out has various shades – from pale light to amber, it crystallizes quickly getting white color and consistency of heavy cream. This honey has a pleasant aroma and specific taste.

Raspberry (Малиновый) honey. This honey is collected from forest clearings, covered with raspberries. Raspberry honey is light in color, has very pleasant aroma, tastes wonderful.

Mint (Мятный) honey. Bees make it from the nectar of flowers of spicy plants – peppermint, so honey has such a pleasant aroma. Peppermint is widely cultivated and gives plentiful gathering of qualitative honey. Mint honey is of amber color, contains large amounts of vitamin C. It crystallizes with fine grains of light – yellow color.

Dandelion (Одуванчиковый) honey. Has a golden – yellow color. It is a very thick, viscous, fast crystallizing honey with a strong smell and strong taste. Bees make it from the nectar of the well-known and widespread dandelion.

Sunflower (Подсолнечниковый) honey. Has a distinctive taste, but a subtle aroma. When has a liquid form its color is light – brown. Crystallizes very quickly, its crystals are large, has a yellow color afterwards.

Honey made of the motherwort flowers (Пустырниковый). Bees collect it from the pale – purple flowers of motherwort, or cardiac herbs grown on wasteland. Honey has a light – golden, straw color, with a light aroma and specific good taste.

Rowanberry (Рябиновый) honey. Rowanberry honey has a reddish color, strong flavor and good taste. Bees make honey from the nectar of the blossoming rowan.

Beeswax – the second most important product of beekeeping. Natural wax which composes honeycombs possesses therapeutic properties on its own. And in combination with honey all these valuable properties are dehiscing even more. Such type of a honey should be eaten by small pieces, with long and carefully chewing  (as chewing gum).

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Purchase of honey

I advise you to buy honey in specialized stores. As for me, I do not buy honey at all (I have no particular desire), but for foreignchain-of-beekeepers-pchelkin-myod friends and acquaintances I buy Medovukha (=mead, a product of honey) in the Beekeepers’ chain shops called “Пчёлкин мёд”. Based on the information of the references you can buy there the most popular and famous  Russian  honey according to honey bee plant species (check the list below):

  • Acacia honey (акациевый)
  • buckwheat honey (гречишный)
  • Sweet Clover honey (донниковый)
  • willow honey (ивовый)
  • chestnut honey (каштановый)
  • fireweed honey (кипрейный)
  • maple honey (клёновый)
  • cranberry honey (клюквенный)
  • coriander honey (кориандровый)
  • linden honey (липовый)
  • burdock honey (лопуховый)
  • alfalfa honey (люцерновый)
  • honey of camel thorn (с верблюжьей колючки)
  • Euphorbiaceae honey (молочайный)
  • carrot honey (морковный)
  • mint honey (мятный)
  • cucumber honey (огуречный)
  • dandelion honey (одуванчиковый)
  • sow-thistle honey (осотовый)
  • honey from valleys  (падевый)
  • Sunflower honey (подсолнечниковый)
  • motherwort honey (пустырниковый)
  • rapeseed honey (рапсовый)
  • Resedaceae honey (резедовый)
  • rowanberry honey (рябиновый)
  • honey of bittercress (сурепковый)

and other types. russian-honey-souvenir

By the way, you can buy a stylized jar of honey (usually the shops offer chkockloma styled jars or made of beresta). Once i bought such a jar as a present, its recipient loved both the package and the honey.

 Advice on buying real honey:
  • The best way to buy honey is to go to a specialised shop. If you are at the trade fair (a usual situation in St. Petersburg), you can follow my advice written below;
  • If you are going to buy specific type of honey, you should read some information about it in advance. Any specific type of honey has its own flavour and color;
  • If honey is very pale, close to white, it may me not natural, made of sugar. If the flavor is not clear enough and you feel a taste of caramel, it is one of the signs of fake honey;
  • Also pay attention to the consistency of honey – it must match the density of the class, at a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius is enveloped around the spoon, like a ribbon, sweet threads, interrupted at some point;
  • Beware acquiring honey from apiaries located along road routes with heavy traffic. This honey may have an increased amount of lead compounds and other substances that fall on the flowers with car exhaust fumes. With nectar and pollen lead gets into the honey, and it is dangerous to the health of those who eat it.
How can you determine the quality of honey?

 1) By color

  • Each variety of honey has its own certain color. Flower honey is usually of light yellow color, linden – of amber color, Ashenvale – transparent as water, buckwheat has different shades of brown. Pure honey (without impurities) is usually transparent, whatever  the color  may be.
  • Honey, having in its composition additives (sugar, starch, and other impurities), is unclear, and if you look closely, it is possible to find sediment.

2) By flavor

  • Honey is usually characterized by fragrant aroma. Honey with an admixture of sugar has no flavor, and the taste is close to the taste of sugar water.
 How else can you distinguish a fake?
  • Over time, the honey becomes turbid and gets denser (candied) – that is a sure sign of good quality. Some may mistakenly believe that honey is spoiled.
  • Sometimes during storage honey is split into two layers: it gets denser from below and remains liquid from above. This indicates that the honey is verdant and therefore it should be eaten as soon as possible – it may be stored for a few months.

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 Медовуха (Medovukha=Russian mead)

Медовуха – a special drink of honey, water, hops or yeast, which also may have additional ingredients such as spices, berries.

May be as low alcohol beverage (without addition of ethanol. Mead Strength – from 5 to 16%.) as well as strongly alcoholic (with addition of ethanol).

The most famous traditions of making this drink are preserved in Suzdal and Novgorod the Great. Beverage is characterized by an expressing honey flavor and aroma, lightness and sweetness of taste (because of the high content of fructose and glucose in honey and  a large amount of honey in the drink).

 When I want to treat foreign guests with this Russian beverage (with low alcohol amount), I buy Медовуха in the apiculture chain «Пчёлкин мёд». Recently I have tried the beverage in a Russian fast-food chain «Теремке» -the taste was right.

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Train tickets. F.A.Q.

In this article you can see some of the most frequently asked questions about train-ticket purchase and answers to them (in order to refresh your memory with the benefits of Russian travel you should read the relevant article).

a.      How do I receive my train tickets?

 There are a number of ways this can happen depending on the type of ticket you have ordered.

  • E-Ticket – These will be emailed from Real Russia to you within two working days of payment. This voucher will then need to be printed, and exchanged at a rail ticket office within Russiafor a paper ticket, before boarding your train. The identification used to book the ticket will need to be presented; this will usually be your passport.
  • E-Registration – This will be emailed from Real Russia to you within two working days of payment. This voucher can then be printed and used to board the train. The identification used to book the ticket will need to be presented; this will usually be your passport.
  • Paper Ticket – There are a number of options with regards to paper tickets.
      • For tickets departing from a station within Russia, you can have your tickets delivered by courier worldwide, or, if you are beginning your journey in Moscow, they can be delivered to a hotel or collected from the Real Russia offices. Courier prices will vary dependent on location.
      • For tickets departing from a station in China or Mongolia, you can collect them from one of Real Russia partner offices, or have them delivered to a hotel within the relevant city. Further details will be made available on booking.

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b.      There is a mistake on my ticket, what do I do?

Contact Real Russia travel experts for advice in this instance (you can do it in the form of response to a letter with your tickets).

As a rule, you will be allowed to board the train with up to three mistakes on your ticket. Missing out a letter in your name, or a mistype of a letter in your name would each count as one mistake. Beyond three mistakes a new ticket would need to be issued.

Issuing a new ticket would involve cancelling the current ticket and purchasing a new ticket at the current price; which may be more expensive than the price paid originally.

For this reason Real Russia specialists recommend checking all the details on any tickets booked immediately upon receipt of them.

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c.       Can I cancel tickets that I have already purchased and get a refund?

Yes, you can.

Contact Real Russia travel experts for advice in this instance (you can do it in the form of response to a letter with your tickets).

Refunds are calculated by the ticket issuer on a sliding scale that differs for domestic, and international, train tickets from country to country. Generally speaking, the amount of refund you will be eligible for will depend on how many days remain before your date of departure. The nearer to your date of departure, the smaller the available refund.

If physical tickets have been issued, such as those issued for an international journey, departing from Russia, then  Real Russia partner company  will need the tickets in their possession to process the cancellation and refund. If the tickets are already in your possession you will need to send the tickets to Real Russia’s Moscow office at your own expense.

If you have international tickets, and are travelling within Russia already, then returning them to Real Russia partner  may be difficult. In this instance you can go to the ticket counter in your closest station and cancel them there. You will be given a cancellation receipt and your unused ticket, but no immediate refund. You will need to send this cancellation receipt, and your unused ticket, to Real Russia’s Moscow office, at your own cost, who will then be able to process the refund. Your cancellation must be made before the departure date and time on the ticket. You will then have up to four months from the date of cancellation in which to claim your refund.

If your booking is an e-ticket, and you have yet to exchange your voucher for a paper ticket at a station within Russia, or your booking is e-registration, Real Russia travel specialists will be able to process your cancellation.  All requests received will be processed on the next working day. During peak times, such as during the summer, processing may not take place until 48 hours after receipt of your request. All refunds will be calculated based on when Real Russia travel specialists are able to process your request.

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d.      Are prices reduced for children?

Children are eligible for reduced ticket prices.

Within Russia, children under 5 can travel for free with one paying adult provided they share one place. If the child requires their own space, or is between the age of 5 and 10, they will need to pay, but at a reduced rate of around 40 % – 50% of the regular ticket price.

Children’s prices to, from, and within other countries may vary, in both price and what ages are considered to be children; though, generally, prices will be around 40% – 50% cheaper than adult tickets.

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e.      When can I book my tickets?

While Russian Railways and other ticket issuers will not allow the booking/issuing of tickets more than a few weeks before the date of departure, Real Russia booking system can take your details at any time in preparation for booking when the ticket issuers allow.

As it stands, these are the rules that the following issuers use when issuing tickets:

  • Russian Railways issue tickets 45 days in advance for domestic travel and 60 days in advance for international travel.
  • Mongolian Railways issue tickets around two weeks in advance for all travel; this can fluctuate depending on demand and public holidays.
  • Chinese Railways issue tickets around 10 – 12 days in advance of travel; this can fluctuate depending on demand and public holidays.

If you would like to start your journey within these dates Real Russia travel specialists will book and, where possible (such as when E-Tickets/E-Registration are selected), issue your tickets within two working days.

If you would like to start your journey on dates further in advance than these rules allow, Real Russia booking system will save your booking enquiry so that on the first day that booking is available your ticket will be booked and, where possible (such as when E-Tickets/E-Registration are selected), issued within two working days. Payment will be required before booking takes place; one of Real Russia travel experts will be in touch to confirm these details in advance of confirming the booking.

Please note:

Owing to the fact that the ticket issuers are based in various time zones around the world, the time at which Real Russia travel specialists are able to book/issue your tickets may vary.

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f.        Is Russian train travel safe?

Millions of people, both Russian locals and tourists, travel safely on Russian trains every year. In many ways they are the safest trains to travel on.

  • Each carriage is looked after 24 hours a day by at least one or two conductors.
  • Each passenger must show their ticket upon entry and present with it an official identification document; for foreign visitors this will usually be a passport.
  • At every stop the train will be checked to ensure there is no damage.

With regards to remaining safe and secure, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has the following to say:

    • If you are travelling by overnight train in a sleeping compartment, store valuables in the container under the bed or seat. Don’t leave your sleeping compartment unoccupied as some compartments only have a simple lock on the sliding door. On some trains there may be an additional security device, which can be attached to the fitted handle/lock unit. There may also be a steel switch at head-height on the door panel which, when pulled down, prevents the closed door from being slid open.
    • Don’t agree to look after the luggage of a fellow traveller or allow it to be stored in your compartment.

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 g.      What are ‘gender specific’ cabins?

 On the many trains travelling the Russian rail network it is possible to select to travel in a male, or female only cabin. This may be of interest to lone female travellers who may feel awkward, or unsafe, sharing a room, exclusively, with men they do not know.

You can only mark a cabin for single gender use if it is currently empty. If there are any bookings at all this will not be possible. Once a cabin has been selected for single gender use it is not possible to change it back again. Please bear this in mind if you are travelling with, or potentially travelling with, a member of the opposite sex.

Real Russia travel specialists cannot guarantee that single gender cabins will be available. The earlier you book the more likely it is that you will be successful in creating a single gender cabin.

Not all countries that have connections with the Russian rail network operate single gender cabins. So if you travel outside of Russia in a single gender cabin, you may find that the cabin becomes open to all again.

You will find gender specific cabins in the booking system by looking for tickets marked with sign-gender-specific-cabins.

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Useful links

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Enjoy your trip, explore real Russia!

Back to “Russia by train” section

Magic places of St. Petersburg

You can see a map of these places in the end of the article. Check it out! =)

1. Malaya Sadovaya street

As you may have noticed, you can make wishes for the whole family on Malaya Sadovaya street: the smallest of Petersburg’s streets has 5 lucky monuments: 2 cats, a photographer with a bulldog and ball-fountain.Magic-fountain-petersburg-on-Konushennaya-street

Ball fountain is a composition of a large heavy granite ball, weighing more than 700kg, rotating due to water pressure, and 12 granite steps for the water flows (of course, these things happen during the working period of the fountains). If you want your wish to come true, you just need to think about it and touch the ball (I do not advise to turn the ball or stop its rotation by force, it may damage the mechanism design). They say there is a kind of a “pore from the door into a dream”, located directly on the ball and which can be seen at good light composition. I have never seen that (as I have never tried), so I do not know whether it is true or not.

2. Palace Square – Alexander Column Hermitage-in-the-evening

It is said that every wish will be granted if a person walks three times around the column (clockwise), mentally focusing on his dream.

 

3. Fountain near the Admiralty petersburg-wish-place-fountain-Admiralty

Location

It is located in the Alexander Garden, near Palace Square.

You can make a wish and throw a coin over your head back to the fountain, if you are facing the Admiralty. Then, without turning around, you should go ahead, so that the desire will be fulfilled in the future. If you are already tired of making wishes, you can  throw a coin into the fountain in order to visit St. Petersburg one day and to attend this particular place.

 

4. Potzeluyev Bridge petersburg-wish-place-potselyev-bridge

Location

Glinka Street, 1, not far from Yusupovskiy palace.

Potzeluyev Bridge (the name is translated “the bridge of kisses”) has never been a drawbridge, so that lead to several signs. If lovers were kissing before parting, it would become a guarantee of a short separation. Also it was said that long kiss of loved ones on the bridge would be the key to a happy life together.

Here is the map of all the places. You can see the routes to each particular place by clicking on the car symbol.

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Map of magic places of St. Petersburg

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Malaya Sadovaya street: 59.934366, 30.337565
Palace square (Дворцовая площадь): 59.939020, 30.316172
Fountain near the Admiralty (Фонтан у Адмиралтейства): 59.937085, 30.309134
Potselyev bridge (Поцелуев мост): 59.928066, 30.295122
Часовня на могиле Ксении Блаженной : 59.944319, 30.251391
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Malaya Sadovaya street
There you can find 5 magic statues and make wishes for the whole family!
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Palace square (Дворцовая площадь)
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Fountain near the Admiralty (Фонтан у Адмиралтейства)
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Potselyev bridge (Поцелуев мост)
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Часовня на могиле Ксении Блаженной
Россия, город Санкт-Петербург, Санкт-Петербург, Камская улица 24

You can also click on the QR sign (of a scanner), so that you will get a special code, which you can print and take with you without getting the addresses with directions. With a free app Scanvi your mobile device (ipod, any smart phone) will show you that real map, which you can zoom and do whatever you like =) Enjoy it! =)

Here is a self-made code

petersburg-Map of magic placesMap of magic statues with human faces made by mapsmajker through skanvi

And the scanned picture will appear like that (after showing you a 2 sec ad)

Wish-fulfilling animals of St. Petersburg

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You can also click on the QR sign (it is the 3rd above the map), so that you will get a special code, which you can print and take with you without printing all the addresses with directions. With a free app Scanvi your mobile device (ipod, any smart phone) will show you that real map, which you can zoom and do whatever you like =) Enjoy it! =)

Here is the self-made code

 Map of magic animal statuesMap of magic statues with human faces made by mapsmajker through skanvi

And the scanned picture will appear like the one you had in the previous post but with other marks  (after showing you a 2 sec ad)

Wish-fulfilling people and creatures with human faces in St. Petersburg

You can see a map of these places in the end of the article.  Check it out! =)

1.Peter the Great in the Peter and Paul Fortress Petersburg-statue-of-Peter-fortress

 If you rub the knees of Peter the 1st, located in the territory of the fortress (Shemyakin is author of that unusual sculpture), the pain in your own feet will pass (although nowadays the execution of this ritual is interfered by fence that surrounds the sculpture). If you hold the little finger of an emperor, any dream will come true.

  1. Peter I – the carpenterpetersburg-Peter-carpenter

This monument is located to the right of the palace bridge. The energy of the person, who was fluent in different handicrafts  will add you mastery to your profession, will help you with career growth, and  will help for job seeking in general.

* according to contemporaries, Peter 1 could perfectly master 15 crafts: joiner, turner, painter, armorer ,blacksmith, plumber, watchmaker, typographer, shipbuilder, architect, carpenter, mechanic, cartographer, navigator, artillery.

  1. Peter the Great near Mikhailovsky Castle Peter-the-great-bas-relief-Gangut

Directly in front of the main entrance to the Mikhailovsky (Engineer) castle there is Klenovaya Street, on which you can see a monument to Peter the 1st. You should make a wish with the help of an image on the bas-relief where a person gets into a boat (“Gangut Battle”). You should grasp the heel and make a wish. It will come true and you will become more successful, you will be able to find a way out of any, even the hopeless situation.

petersburg-peter-the-great-bas-relief-horses

Also, you can see another shining bas-relief from another side of the monument. I do not know the legend, but am sure, that grasping the horseshoe can lead to happiness and luck =)

  1. Lieutenant Kizhe (Kije) Mikhailovskiy-castle-Lieutenant-Kije

Figure of Lieutenant Kizhe (the character of  historic anecdotes of Paul the Ist time) is small in size, it can be missed by an uninformed person. It is installed at the bottom of the main facade of the Mikhailovsky Castle in a small niche.

Lieutenant Kizhe will bring you luck, if you manage to throw the coin to him.

  1. Photographer with a Bulldog  magic-photographer-on-Malaya-Sadovaya-street

Sculptural group in the street Small Garden depicts the famous photographer of the XIX century Karl Bulla. By taking picture underneath the right hand, you can be photographed for happiness, for financial well-being you should hold the little finger of the photographer. You can find information about a dog in the section about wish-fulfilling animals.

  1. Atlantes of the Hermitage magic-atlantes-of-Hermitage

The most famous Russian Atlantes prop part of the museum overlooking the Millionnaya Street. Some claim that it is necessary to hold out the thumb of the left leg of the second Atlanta (counting from the Field of Mars), that will make the dreams come true, but it seems to me that this role is suitable for any finger of any Atlanta. It is recommended to hold the finger while making a wish.

  1. Janitor (dustman) on Ostrovsky Square magic-dustman-and-yulia-gladtomeetyou

How to get there

You should go to the right from the metro station russia-petersburg-subway-3-line“Gostiniy Dvor” (exit on Nevsky Prospect), cross the Sadovaya Street, turn onto Ostrovsky Square, pass it to the Alexandrinsky Theatre, go around Alexandrinsky Theatre from the right side. When you look to the right you will see a statue of a janitor on the diagonal away.

Historical background

The monument was erected on March 16, 2007 in front of the Housing Committee of Saint Petersburg. The figure was a collective image of the janitor of the XIX century. Face and a shape of the Russian peasant figure could show force, diligence and accuracy of people of this occupation.

At that time the responsibility of the dustman included not only cleaning the territory entrusted to him, but also following the general procedures, issuance of passports, first aid, etc. Such a wide range of duties could be explained by subordination of the dustman to the Ministry of the Interior.

The procedure of making wishes

It is believed that if you put a coin at the feet of a granite statue, it will help “to rake money with a shovel, as he has.”

  1. Ostap Bender magic-statue-of-Ostap-Bender

How to get there

At the Italian street, 4, near the restaurant “Golden Ostap”, stands a bronze Ostap (literary character of the novel “12 Chairs”)

Historical background

Monument to the great strategist Ostap Bender was set on July 25, 2000 in St. Petersburg at his “birthday” at the entrance to the restaurant “Golden Ostap”.

The sculpture represents a figure of Ostap (sculptural portrait of Ostap Bender embodies features of the actor who played him -Sergei Yursky), his left hand is resting on a chair made by Gambs, and his right hand holds a folder with collected material about subterranean millionaire A. Koreiko.

The procedure of making wishes

It is said that you should to rub his nose for execution of the planned actions! Ostap also helps in adventurous projects. Instead of grasping the nose, you can sit on a chair, if you wish.

  1. The first Lamplighter magic-first-lightman-of-petersburg

How to get there

The address is Odesskaya Street., 1. You should go there from the subway station russia-petersburg-subway-1-line“Ploshad’ Vosstaniya”, if you are going to use public ground transport or go by foot from russia-petersburg-subway-1-line“Chernishevskaya” station.

Historical background

In 1873, for the first time in the world flashlight created by inventor Alexander Lodygin was lit. Now on that exact street there is a monument to the lamplighter, who helps with money and family well-being.

The procedure of making wishes

It is believed that wealth will come to the house, if you rub his feet. Left boot should be rubbed to the growth of the “left” income, the right – to the increase of official salary.

  1. The Good Soldier Schweik petersburg-soldier-shvejk

Location: russia-petersburg-subway-2-lineKupchino subway station, Balkan area, Shopping mall “Balkan”, between buildings #5 and 6. It is several meters away from the subway exit.

I do not advise going so far away from the city center if you do not have anything to do in the area, because you will not find sculpture and architecture masterpieces there, it will be a time-waste.

The procedure of making wishes

This positive character is a symbol of good luck and good mood. Buyers of shopping center are specially coming to the sculpture in order to rub the soldier’s nose and a tin cup (it is hidden behind his back) for “good luck“.

Here is the map of all the places. You can see the routes to each particular place by clicking on the car symbol.

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Map of magic statues with human faces

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Peter the Great - a carpenter (Пётр - плотник): 59.939245, 30.307551
Peter the Great in Peter&Paul fortress (Пётр 1 в Петропавловской крепости): 59.950191, 30.317861
Lieutenant Kizhe (Kije) (Поручик Киже): 59.939906, 30.338332
Peter the Great near Mikhailovsky Castle (Петр 1 у Михайловского замка ): 59.939198, 30.338531
Photographer with a Bulldog (Фотограф с бульдогом): 59.934581, 30.337436
Atlantes of the Hermitage (Атланты Эрмитажа): 59.941057, 30.317599
Ostap Bender (Остап Бендер): 59.936381, 30.333810
Janitor (dustman) on Ostrovsky Square (Памятник Дворнику на площади Островского): 59.931697, 30.335151
The first Lamplighter (Фонарщик): 59.945976, 30.387379
The Good Soldier Schweik (Бравый солдат Швейк ): 59.830389, 30.377584
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Peter the Great - a carpenter (Пётр - плотник)
Peter the Great - a carpenter
59.939244650779294, 30.307551193982363
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Peter the Great in Peter&Paul fortress (Пётр 1 в Петропавловской крепости)
59.950304308085975, 30.31630039215088
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Lieutenant Kizhe (Kije) (Поручик Киже)
Lieutenant Kizhe (Kije)

location 59.939905679091034, 30.33833222463727
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Peter the Great near Mikhailovsky Castle (Петр 1 у Михайловского замка )
location 59.939198, 30.338531
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Photographer with a Bulldog (Фотограф с бульдогом)
Location 59.934581, 30.337436
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Atlantes of the Hermitage (Атланты Эрмитажа)
Location 59.941057, 30.317599
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Ostap Bender (Остап Бендер)
Location 59.936381, 30.333810
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Janitor (dustman) on Ostrovsky Square (Памятник Дворнику на площади Островского)
Location 59.931697, 30.33515372313559
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The first Lamplighter (Фонарщик)
Location 59.945976, 30.387379
59.94565964597142, 30.38735780864954
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The Good Soldier Schweik (Бравый солдат Швейк )
Location 59.830389,  30.377584
59.82968704325725, 30.37607626989484

You can also click on the QR sign (of a scanner), so that you will get a special code, which you can print and take with you without getting the adresses with directions. With a free app Scanvi your mobile device (ipod, any smart phone) will show you that real map, which you can zoom and do whatever you like =) Enjoy it! =)

The self-made code will look like this Map of magic statues with human faces made by mapsmajker

And the scanned picture will appear like that (after showing you a 2 sec ad) Map of magic statues with human faces made by mapsmajker through skanviEnjoy your walk!

Hermitage. Giveaway

Dear readers of the website! I hope you remember the passed events of the previous year: an exciting Petersburg Card contest and a tasty competition =) this year is going to offer more entertaining and unbelievable options to you!petersburg-museum-Hermitage-statue

Now you are offered an opportunity to win the Hermitage tickets which also provide the permission for photographing and option of bypassing the line to the museum.  In order to understand the greatness of this offer, you should probably get acquainted with an Hermitage section of the website!

The rules of the Hermitage tickets giveaway are stated there.

While you are waiting for the results of the contest, you can find out the reasons of visiting Russia there,  of St. Petersburg here, know more about the beauty of St. Petersburg.

Keep track of the news, share this information to remember!

*read the main information about St. Petersburg in the language that you prefer!

Folklore restaurants of St. Petersburg

Entering these restaurants be ready to explore Russian folk-shows, the traditional interiors of different  and, of course, to eat tasty traditional food and try Russian drinks.

Some of the places are considered to be the “tourist ones” due to a big number of tourists sitting there and eating obligatory sets of non-extraordinary food. I would recommend you to look at the ratings of the restaurant- searching engines (including trip advisor and other good websites) and to try visiting the restaurants for enjoying the folk shows and eating a la cart (some restaurants accept exact bank cards and do not have shows on a daily basis, check that information while booking the seats).

This list of restaurants is made according to the Restoclub ratings, some places were verified by me.

 1. Тройка -Troika   (verified by me, I liked it!). Russian and European cuisine. Rating 9,4 out of 10. Located in Central district. Troika

This is the restaurant with the highest rating and… the highest prices, but everything that is inside worth paying for. If you want to see a folk performance, to eat more than starters and canape, to get acquainted with multinational guests and to dance afterwards – that place is ideally suited for you.

I was there once with several foreigners of different ages and preferences and everyone loved the show.

The booking is required in advance.  There is an extra fee for the show (a year ago it was 500r per person). Be sure to check that the show will be performed at the day of your visit.

The restaurant has a confectionery at the side of Razhiezhaya street, it is not expensive at all.

2) Ресторан-кабаре “Нэп” – restaurant-cabaret NEP.  Russian and Soviet cuisine. Rating 8,9 out of 10.   Located in Central district (not far away from Hermitage). neprestaurant

They have different exciting colorful shows and retro disco of NEP time  and years  later.

3) Хутор Водограй – Bowery Vodogray. Ukrainian cuisine. Rating   8,1 out of 10.  Located in Central district.

They offer a range of food options, the meals are considered to be tasty by people who know how the traditional food should taste. The interior amazes till the moment of receiving tasty food (the oven in the photo is real).

hutorvodograyThey have live music (and singing) on the daily basis, check it on the website or call the restaurant in advance.

2) Советское кафе “Квартирка”- Soviet cafe “Kvartirka” (means a flat) located on Nevsky Prospect (there are two more of the same chain but their rating is a little bit lower, you can check it). Russian and Soviet cuisine. Rating 8 out of 10.  They have the certificate of Excellence on tripadvisor.  Located in Central district.  sovietcafekvartirka

They do not have shows or live singing,but they have well arranged interiors transferring you to Soviet times, tasty meals, good deals and some Soviet table games as dominoes, chess to play.

 Мари Vanna – Mari Vanna (a Russian-styled restaurant of Ginza project).  Russian cuisine. Rating 8 out of 10.  They have the certificate of Excellence on tripadvisor.  Located in Petrogradskiy district. marivanna

Rather expensive restaurant. It is decorated stylistically. There are no shows and live music, but the restaurant offers table games to play: such as chess, backgammon, cards, dominoes.

Пузата Хата (no website).  Ukrainian cuisine. Rating   7,7 out of 10.  Located in Central district.   puzatahata

The interior reminds a Ukrainian cottage. There is live singing on Fridays and Saturdays. The place has a lot of good reviews.

3) Советское кафе “Дачники” – Soviet Cafe Dachniki (means cottagers).  Russian and Soviet cuisine. Rating 7,6 out of 10.  They have the certificate of Excellence on tripadvisor.  Located in Central district. cafedachniki

The cafe offers a good variety of options including fish made in the private smokehouse.

The cafe is well decorated in a Soviet way with cuckoo clock, guitar on the wall and the Soviet carpets. Their TV-set is showing soviet comedies, there is Soviet music of  60s-80s, a samovar with cookies, bingo, dominoes, checkers and chess.

2) арт-кафе Сундук – art-cafe Sunduk  (food and interior are verified by me, not the show).  Russian, European and vegetarian cuisine. Rating 7,5 out of 10. artcafesundukLocated in Central district.  If the English page doesn’t open, try translating Russian pages on your own.

The interior is full by rare vintage things, but not overwhelmed artcafesunduk2by that.

They have shows of jazz, blues, Latin, Spanish music on the daily basis, a nice place with a coloring interior.

 Корчма сало – Korchma salo (tavern lard)  (verified by me, I liked it!).  Russian and Ukrainian cuisine. Rating 7,5 out of 10. A very folklore Ukrainian place, that has recently got a certificate of excellence. There is a wide number of food and beverages options. korchmasalo

They have evening performances of Ukrainian folk musicians.

На здоровье  (verified by me, I liked the interior but not the business lunch – it had nothing special in taste and was overpriced) Russian, Soviet cuisine. Rating 7,4 out of 10. Located in Petrogradskiy district. nazdorovie

As entertainment they have Russian and Gypsy romances; Russian folk music [balalaika, accordion].

According to the Restoclub reviews some portions can be small and the service slow and sometimes rude but the rating of the places seems to be ok, you can check other search engines if you wish.

Кабачок Одесса-Мама – Tavern Odessa-Mama (verified by me, I liked it!) Russian, Ukrainian, European and Jewish cuisine. Rating 6,9 out of 10. Located in Central district.

odessa-mamaThey have a good interior, tasty meals and live music performance.

A place that is  mentioned by Restoclub with 6,2 rating but has good reviews on that search engine and on tripadvisor is Трын-Трава. That is Fast food place-restaurant with a Russian spirit, offering traditional Russian food. the place is well-decorated.trintrava

There are folk dances on a daily base there. The best food deal for a foreigner is to try their business-lunch – a decorated cart with a good  variety of Russian starters, salads and side dishes – you can have a look at it before making an order.

And here is my favorite cafe from a chain that makes Russian food (especially, pies). They do not have a lot of interior things but offer traditional food. pirogoviydvorikПироговый Дворик – Pirogoviy Dvorik (a yard of Pies)- they are not mentioned in Restoclub, but have the certificate of Excellence on Tripadvisor and that means  a lot. They offer kind of low-priced tasty pies with various stuffings  and their interior has elements of folklore. petersburg-viewThere are no shows there, just the tasty food and budgetary and tasty business-lunches. The best location of the cafe is on Griboyedova Canal – the view over Kazan Cathedral is fabulous. On the 1st floor you can make  to-go order, if you wish.

In order to revise in memory all the tasty Russian food, check the article about Russian and Ukrainian food.

Museums with a free entrance

Have you heard anything about a free entrance to the museums of St. Petersburg? For the foreigners the list consists of 4 museums, you can check them out below.

Read more about this clocks in the proper section or check my review on Tripadvisor (Yulia_S_gtmy)
Hermitage. Read more about this clocks in the proper section or check my review on Tripadvisor (Yulia_S_gtmy)
Museums*
  1. Hermitage – the 1st Thursday of each month (by the way, if you check couchserfing.org, you can find information about monthly meetings of enthusiasts who want to explore the museum together). If you do not want to come to the opening of museum, to avoid lines you can take the free ticket in advance – on Wednesday’s evening.
  2. The State Museum of the History of Religion is free for all visitors for the first Monday of each month (except this November. The free entrance will be on the 10th of Novermber due to the pupil’s holidays). Here you can make a virtual tour for free.
  3. Zoological Museum -every last Thursday of each month (except the days of pupil’s holidays. this year the days are: autumn – 27.10- 05.11, winter – 29.12-12.01, spring – 23.03-01.04.) http://www.zin.ru/museum/info.html (Russian language only)
  4. Acad. F.N. Chernyshev Central Scientific Geological and Prospecting Museum – the entrance is free, if you are going without the tour guide. The museum works Monday-Friday from 10am to 5pm (they are not working the last friday of the month)  http://www.russianmuseums.info/M151 (choose the English version)

*The museums are listed according to the subjective author’s rating