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St.Petersburg News

Russian Opera

280 years ago the first Opera performance was conducted in Russia. On the 29th of January 1736 an Italian troupe perfomed "the Power of love and hate" in St. Petersburg. From that moment almost three-century of the opera development began. Russia was introduced opera during the reign of Empress Anna Ioannovna. She spent 20 years in Courland and loved to have fun. Her reign was marked by huge expences on her entertainment, including theatre. The Opera "the Power of love and hate" was translated into Russian language by famous Russian poet Vasily Trediakovsky. The play was a huge success, the genre caught the fancy of the audience and stuck on the Russian stage. Soon after the court was introduced a French company. Music opera groups from Italy, Germany started to be invited by the royal family. Private Opera became very popular and many of the nobleman considered it to be a question of prestige to have it. The first performers in such operas were from the church choir thus they were experienced church hymns singers.

The first truly Russian Opera was staged in St. Petersburg in 1755. The lyrics was written by the poet Alexander Sumarokov, it was called "Cephalus and Procris". From the first steps Russian Opera was a democratic art. Stories often had advanced anti-serfdom ideas characteristic of Russian drama theatre and Russian literature of the late eighteenth century.Gradually, by the early nineteenth century, Russian operas began to dominate on the stage. In 1830 Glinka, wrote historical and tragic Opera "Ivan Susanin", and in 1842 – "Ruslan and Lyudmila". These works became classics of Russian Opera and still have huge success all over the world. They initiated two key areas of music theatre: a historical and magical epic operas.

Maslenitsa Festival in St Petersburg.

More than 600 effigies of Shrovetide has been burnt in St Petersburg this year. The city has hold games for children and festivities celebrations for adults and children. Following the tradition to have a lot of fun during the Pancake Week to insure the luck throughout the whole year.

The burning of effigies of Shrovetide is very important rite of Maslenitsa, meaning, directly related to fertility. Many centuries ago people believed that the sacrifice can get rid of any troubles. That is why the Scarecrow was made in the image and likeness of a man. Besides, the carnival loved to trick out a variety of women's dresses, associating it with the outgoing winter.

There are several reasons for the burning of an effigy in antiquity. First of all people believed that with the death of the Shrovetide Scarecrow all sorrows and hardships are gone. Also the rite was a symbol of farewell to winter. Another important purpose of burning the effigies there was improving of the fertility of the land.

For the first time about this tradition was mentioned in the first written sources concerning the ancient Russian state. Then the party lasted not 7 but 14 days, and sometimes it did several ritual burning of a straw effigy. For ancient Slavs it was important not only to betray the image of the carnival fire, but also to carry out a ritual burial of ashes. It was believed that the ashes should definitely buried in the ground, because it increased the productivity of fields and meant the final arrival of spring.

The state Hermitage Museum in St.Petersburg

The state Hermitage Museum was included into the list of the top 10 the most romantic museums of the world as it was written in The Telegraph. The location of the Museum and its interiors were took into account.

Thus, the Hermitage, is located in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and impresses with its grandeur and scope. The grand royal reception rooms are interwoven with the exhibition rooms which make the visit of the museum very spetial.

The list also includes Paris, the Rodin Museum, the Victoria and albert Museum in London, the Uffizi in Florence, and a number of other cultural institutions, celebrating the romance. However, the Museum of Broken relationships in Zagreb is on the 11th place of the list. According to the authors was included only for contrast.

Nicholas Roerich Exhibition.

A new exhibition project, displaing show paintings of Nicholas Roerich opened in St. Petersburg. Roerich was a Russian painter, writer, who was interested in archaeology, philosophy. In his youth he was influenced by a movement in Russian society around the occult. He was interested in hypnosis and other spiritual practices and his paintings are said to have hypnotic expression.

Visitors of the exhibition will see paintings that usually are permanently stored at the Latvian national Museum of art, among them there are the famous paintings such as "the Way", "Kuluta" and "Compassion".

Svetoslav Roerich sent his paintings to the Museum of Latvia fom India for the Latvian Roerich society. In India, Nicholas Roerich was personally acquainted with the famous Indian philosophers, scientists, writers, public figures. He often arranged his personal exhibitions in India, and his paintings were known throughout the country.

In addition to Roerich, the exhibition will feature the works of his contemporaries.

The exhibition "Nicholas Roerich and Latvia" is open in the Museum-Institute of the Roerich family at 18 line Vasilievsky Ostrov, home 1

Fort "Constantine" in Kroshtadt will be the entertainment center.

Since 2006 the company "Marine League" has set the pontoons for mooring of yachts and launched a sightseeing ferry and a programme of festivals and entertainment events on the territory of the Fort "Constantine" in Kroshtadt. As a result, in 2014, the Fort was visited by nearly 90 thousand people.

The popularity of the events set the plans to start a restoration of the fort. The administration has announced starting the big project of making the entertainment center on the fort. The concept of development was made to have a museum complex with conference facilities, a restaurant with observation deck on the roof, a hotel on its territory and a children's sailing school.

Fort "Konstantin" is one of seventeen Kronstadt's Forts. It was built in the XIX century as a military fortification to protect St Petersburg from attacks from the sea. Nowadays they have become a monument of the fortification art of world importance. The complex of defensive structures is unique as it let trace the progress in creation of artillery systems for over two hundred years, during which the defense of Petersburg has never been broken.

Frida Kahlo. Paintings and drawings from Mexico's collections.

The exhibition of Paintings and drawings from Mexico's collections by Frida Kahlo is open for visitors in The Faberge Museum in St Petersburg from February 3 to April 30, 2016.

This is the first Frida Kahlo exposition of such scale in Russia. There are more than a hundred photographs, Mexican folk costumes similar to those Kahlo loved to wear herself, paintings, drawings and lithographs, both from her earlier and later periods. The exhibits on the display are arranged on the principle to trace the stylistic evolution of the artist. The versatile collection has already been named an art event of international significance. Among the most famous paintings are The Broken Column, Portrait of Dona Rosita Morillo,Henry Ford Hospital.

Frida Kahlo did not receive systematic art training. After severe injuries in an accident, she was bedridden for a long time. She started to paint to entertain herself. Frida's first work was a self-portrait. At that time her main characters were Frida herself, her family and friends.

The Link of Times Foundation succeeded in organizing this long-awaited exhibition after lengthy negotiations. Frida Kahlo paintings are scarcely available for loans outside of Mexico.

The exhibits for Frida Kahlo. Paintings and drawings from Mexico's collections have been generously provided by the Museum Dolores Olmedo, Galeria Arvil, and by Juan Coronel Rivera, grandson of Diego Rivera.

The Link of Times Foundation, Museo Dolores Olmedo and MondeMostre are the organizers of this exhibition.

Mechanical wonders in the collection of the State Hermitage Museum

The exceptional exhibition has been opened in the blue bedroom of the Hermitage Museum which will last till April 2016. Unique mechanical wonders created in Western Europe and Russia in XVII-XIX centuries were placed on the display from the Hermitage museum storage. Some exclusive music watches, animation mechanisms, pieces of furniture with the secrets, samples of jewelry art are on the display for the first time.

The exhibits reflect not only technical achievements of his time, but fashion and passion, the ambition and the imagination of the customers and talented masters.

The presented works are the masterpieces of the celebreted mechanics of the past. They are works made by James Cox (1723-1800), Pierre Jaquet-Droz (1721-1790), David Roentgen (1743-1807), Peter Kinzing (1745-1816), Ivan Petrovich Kulibin (1735-1818).

A significant number of exhibits during the second half of the XVIII-XIX centuries were in the Imperial collections.Some pieces came to the Hermitage after the 1917 revolution from St Petersburg aristocratic gatherings. Individual items become part of the Museum's collections in the second half of the twentieth century.

The earliest examples of mechanical art, shown at the exhibition, belong to the XVII century. This is a German table clock and silver animal toy-chariot made by the mechanics of Augsburg and Nuremberg.

St Petersburg is getting into the holiday spirit

St Petersburg is getting into the holiday spirit. The city's winter festival has lit up central squares, parks and boulevards in the fairy tail like city. The decoration will last until January 10. There are literally millions of lights; thousands of food, drink and gift stands; and hundreds of activities, events and performances. The largest tree ornament in the world on Dvortsovaya Square. Ostrovskogo square is ablaze with activity, and Christmas Market.

This is a beautiful, festive market with lots of stands selling all kinds of traditional gifts, like painted trays, Orenburg scarves, wooden toys and seasonal confections, along with other gifts and souvenirs may help everyone to find Christmas gifts. Traditionaly the food stands sell Tula gingerbread, roasted chestnuts and Viennese waffles. Ice-skating on Palace Square rink is the place to enjoy the winter holiday.

Carl Faberge rooms in the State Hermitage Museum

The new halls devoted to Carl Faberge in The State Hermitage Museum permanent exhibitions at General Staff Building welcomes the guests in the halls of the East Wing of the building.

The exhibitions devoted to Carl Faberge make up one of the most fascinating parts of the new museum complex. They demonstrate the heritage of the firm, founded by eminent Carl Faberge, as well as further developments and achievements of contemporary jewellery and stone-cutting art.

"The Rooms Dedicated to Carl Faberge" include 3 rooms. The first room is devoted to the main Faberge masterpiece in the State Hermitage Museum collection related to the Imperial Court. There is a copy of the Imperial regalia and other artefacts related to the coronation events. Temporary exhibitions "Plastics in Metal and Stone of jewellery" in the second hall boasts the jewellery and stone-cutting works made by contemporary Russian and foreign artists. The third hall is dedicated to the works created by the Faberge Company.

The museum complex also featurs 19th century paintings, Impressionism and Postmodernism art works from famous collections of S.I. Shchukin and I.A. Morozov, as well as collections of Russian and European decorative and applied arts. The historical interiors of gala halls of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire, private apartments that belonged to Chancellor K.V. Nesselrode, rooms of the Ministry of Finance and the Museum of Guards expand the exhibition space.

National Show museum - Grand Maket.

After visiting several wonderful gardens and parks in Saint Petersburg Grand Maket will be a complete change of mood. Big generalized model of Russia represents all the principal areas and in minor details the life scenes. It gives you a great picture of Russia endorsed with stereotypes, generalizations and main attractions of every region. Some of the spots are interactive, which means you can press a button to make the little figurines perform some action. If you take a close look, you will see memorable little scenes where the plastic people are living their lives, having good times and bad. There is even a miniature of the museum itself inside the museum.

Do not miss this museum, especially when travelling with children! Its super-realistic model of all of Russia blew the mind with its detailed and candid depiction, including a hidden production site and an area labeled desolation, all crossed by endless numbers of moving trains. It is perhaps the most educational museum, teaching about the culture, geography and economy of Russia in most compelling ways, including the pattern of day and night across the country. Dads can relive their affinity for model train sets as this is as big a train set as you will ever encounter. Just a few subway stops from the city center, this gem is an absolute must.

Museum "Grand Maket Rossiya" is open from 10:00 am till 8:00 pm. Russia, Saint-Petersburg, Tsvetochnaja str., 16

Cult of Lenin in the Soviet Russia

The leader of the October revolution Vladimir Lenin (born 22 April 1870, died 21 January 1924) was a Russian communist, revolutionist, politician and political theorist. Heading the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, he took a senior role in orchestrating the October Revolution in 1917, which led to the overthrow of the Russian Provisional Government and the establishment of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, the world's first constitutionally socialist state. In 1922, the Russian SFSR joined former territories of the Russian Empire in becoming the Soviet Union, with Lenin elected as its Premier.

Lenin remains a controversial and highly divisive world figure. Detractors label him to be a dictator whose administration oversaw multiple human rights abuses, while supporters cite on a limitations on his power, and promote him as a champion of the working class. Lenin had a significant influence on the international Communist movement and was one of the most influential figures of the 20th century.

The historians call the phenomena of his figure as the "Cult of Lenin in the Soviet Russia". The image of Lenin remained one of the main political characters of that time, but it was not the same: each turn of the ideological course gave life to a new interpretation of Lenin.

Exhibition, dedicated to the image of Vladimir Lenin in the Soviet and post-Soviet art, has been opened in the Museum "Hut" near Saint-Petersburg. The main theme of the exhibition is to reflect the creation and transformation of the image of Lenin in art and culture of the past nine decades. The rare exhibits from the funds of the State Museum of political history of Russia, the State Museum of history of St. Petersburg, Museum of "Nevskaya Zastava Museum complex in the Spill, as well as the work of contemporary artists of St. Petersburg were given to make the basis of the display. Paintings, graphics, posters, as well as sculpture, and decorative arts reflect the image of the communist leader in the art in the best way.

The 70th anniversary of the final lifting of the Siege of Leningrad.

The siege of Leningrad was a prolonged military operation undertaken by Germany's Army in WWII against Leningrad, as St. Petersburg was then known. It was one of the longest and most destructive blockades in history. The 872 days of the siege caused unparalleled famine in the Leningrad region through disruption of water, energy and food supplies. This resulted in the deaths of up to 1.5 million soldiers and civilians.

2014 is the 70th anniversary of the final lifting of the Siege of Leningrad. It will be marked with many memorial events in St. Petersburg.

At 7 p.m. on Jan. 27- a candlelight procession along Nevsky Prospekt. Photos and video images from the siege will be projected onto the facade of the General Staff building after the march.

An installation called "Children of the Blockade" will be housed under the arch of the General Staff building.

At 7 p.m. on Jan. 27- the city will hold a minute of silence.

Musical groups will perform songs and dances from the period on the main squire of St. Petersburg-on Palace Square.

The original trams that carried Leningrad residents during the blockade will operate on Vasilevsky Island.

Jan. 25-27 the recreation which is aimed to give an impression of how daily life was in the besieged city is to be held on Manezhnaya Square.

Starting Jan. 20, at least 900 of the city's public buses began to play audio recordings dedicated to the anniversary of the siege. The recordings inform listeners of the most significant facts from the life of the besieged city.

Epiphany day.

In celebration of Epiphany more than 10,000 people took the plunge into icy waters of St. Petersburg on the 19th of January to mark the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. Celebrated by the Orthodox Church on January 19, plunging into the icy-cold water symbolizes the washing away of sins.

Twenty locations were open around St. Petersburg that day. As usually it was freezingly cold outside that day but it did not stop believers. Rescuers have warned them to take extra precaution as the ice on many rivers and lakes is thin and weak this year. Traditionally, the ice of lakes and rivers was cut in the shape of a cross to bath on that day. As usually the baptistery near The Peter and Paul Fortress has broken all the records.

Aerodynamic FlyStation Complex in St Petersburg.

Aerodynamic FlyStation Complex in St Petersburg made the dream of flying come true. One year ago the windtunnel was open in St. Petersburg. Since that time this type of flying simulator has got high popularity. It is safe for everyone to fly freely in the air without any restraint devices even you fly upside down. The force of gravity can be overcome easily in it. The enjoyable fly through the air like Peter Pan becomes unforgettable for every child.

The FlyStation in St. Petersburg is one of the largest in the world as its diameter is 4.3m with a height of 17m. The windtunnel reaches speeds of 300 km/hr. Flying in the air makes you feel better too as it can help improve your health and uplift your mood..

This attraction does not require any special training. It is a unique place for the whole family, for any celebration or corporate function as well as professional sports. The Flystation welcomes children from the age of 4 to the "Children's League" program. This program can help provide the first steps towards professional sports.

Ded Moroz and Snegurochka are in St.Petersburg!

Ded Moroz and Snegurochka have made a long way from Veliky Ustyug. The small settlement of some 30,000 people which is located in the northeastern corner of the Vologda region, boasts to be the "hometown" of Ded Moroz.

The decision to name the town Ded Moroz's official residence was taken by former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov in 1998. Since that time the town is in competition with the Finnish Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi.

A figure akin to Santa Claus in the West, Ded Moroz (or Father Frost) brings presents to children on New Year's Eve. At Christmas celebrations he is accompanied by Snegurochka (or Snow Maiden), his granddaughter.

After the Revolution in 1917 Christmas traditions were actively discouraged because they were considered to be "bourgeois and religious". Ded Moroz made something of a comeback in the 1930s though donning a blue coat so as not to be mistaken with the bourgeois Santa Claus. The image of Ded Moroz became the main symbol of the New Year's holiday that replaced Christmas.

According to the tradition the arrival of Father Frost and Snegurochka with their greeting children start the annual celebrations.

New Terminal in St.Peterburg airport.

New terminal in Pulkovo International airport has been launched in St.Petersburg.

Pulkovo consisted of two terminals, one for domestic flights and another for international routes. The new terminal occupies a total area of 94,600 square meters and unites both the flights. The first floor is used for arrivals, the second for immigration control and domestic transfers, and the third for departures. The new terminal was designed by British architect Nicholas Grimshaw. He worked on the construction of various parts of London's Heathrow Airport, Zurich Airport and the Incheon International Airport in Seoul.

The design of the new terminal reflects St. Petersburg's islands, canals and bridges in the construction of several separate zones that are connected to each other by walkways. Another aim of the terminal design is to reflect the image of traditional Russian churches.

The new facilities built as part of the new terminal include a covered multistory car park, a business center and a hotel.

A railway line connecting Pulkovo Airport and Baltiisky Railway Station is on the way and planed to be ready until 2014.

The updated Pulkovo is to become one of the largest airline hubs in Northern Europe and in order to achieve this certain steps to liberalize legislation concerning the licensing of air carriers and facilitating visa regimes will be taken.

100 Years of Suprematism.

The State Russian Museum in St Petersburg is organizing the exhibition "Kazimir Malevich: Before and After the Square".,

The Museum owns the world's largest collection of works by Kazimir Malevich. Malevich known for his purely abstract work was inspired by the diverse art movements of his day. It included Impressionism, Symbolism, Fauvism and Cubism. His style was also influenced by Russian icon painting and folk art.

The Russian Museum's collection of Kazimir Malevich's Suprematism is unique as it has the divers and versatile works from monumental canvases to the artist's drawings for Futurist booklets, propaganda pictures for the First World War, futuristic architectural projects, fabric designs and innovative porcelain. Malevich's archive held by the museum which includes the artist's correspondence and documents is on the display too.

The current exhibition is devoted to two stages of Malevich's career: Before and after he painted the groundbreaking "Black Square."

The Black Square of Kazimir Malevich is one of the most famous creations of Russian art in the last century. The first Black Square was painted in 1915 and it became the turning point in the development of Russian avant-garde. The artist unveiled his painting to the public in Petrograd in December 1915 at an exhibition organized by the artists of Moscow and Petrograd, symbolically entitled 0.10. Last Futurist Exhibition.

"When, in my desperate attempt to free art from the ballast of objectivity, I took refuge in the square form and exhibited a picture which consisted of nothing more than a black square on a white field, the critics and, along with them, the public sighed, "Everything which we loved is lost. We are in a desert... Before us is nothing but a black square on a white background!" Malevich wrote.

The exhibition is on the display from December 2013 till mid-February 2014.

One more flood was in St Petersburg on the 17th of November 2013.

At present, a rise of the water level is considered as a flood if it is over 160 cm above the average level of the Baltic Sea near Kronstadt.

It is conventional to classify floods as dangerous (161-210 cm), extra dangerous (211-299 cm) and catastrophic (over 300 cm). Throughout its history, the city has witnessed 243 dangerous, 77 extra dangerous and 3 catastrophic floods. On the 17th of November 2013 the water level rose 121 centimeters above the normal level. Since the 18th century the level of the city's streets has been increased significantly, but some of the areas close to the rivers and canals can still be seriously damaged during major floods. Nowadays a long dam across the Gulf of Finland (west of St. Petersburg) protects the city from the affects of the floods.

The strongest flood happened in St. Petersburg was on November 19, 1824, when the water level rose 421 centimetres above the normal level; the second strongest one occurred a hundred years later, on September 23, 1924, when it rose 380 cm above the normal level. Most of the floods take place in the fall and early winter. St. Petersburg's flooding patterns are closely connected with the movement of low-pressure air masses over the Atlantic. Low-pressure air moves in from the West, creating so-called "long waves" that bring extra water into the Gulf of Finland and the Neva River. Strong winds then block the flow of water from the Neva River into the Gulf of Finland, the river level rises, and excess water spills onto the city streets.

The private Faberge Museum

The private Faberge Museum will be open at the recently renovated Shuvalovsky Palace on November 19 in St. Petersburg. The rare collection of works by tsarist jewelry maker the

House of Faberge will go on a permanent display at the Shuvalovsky Palace. Nine famous imperial Faberge eggs previously owned by the Romanov tsar family will come from the collection of Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg to the palace. He bought the famous collection in 2004 and that acquisition made him the largest individual owner of Faberge eggs.

Mr. Vekselberg, who is the head of aluminum, energy and telecom conglomerate Renova Group, bought the famous collection, months before it was to officially go under the hammer at Sotheby's auction house in New York.

There is no doubt that the unique collection of about 4,000 artworks from the late 19th and early 20th century, including nine famous imperial Faberge eggs will add the exhibition to the list of must-see places in St. Petersburg.

The exact value of the deal is unknown, but it has been estimated at more than $90 million.

A Visa-free Travel for Short-term Visits to Russia!

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev approved a new legislation on September 4. According to the new regulations, foreign citizens visiting Russia by plane as transit passengers can stay in the country for 72 hours without a visa. The new law, which updates previous legislation from 1996 is estimated to increase tourism by 30 percent. It also takes into account the experience of the country. Russia has loosened visa restrictions for short periods in the past as well. In accordance with the present-day legislation of the Russian Federation, foreign tourists travelling on ships may arrive at the ports of the country without a visa and stay in Russia up to 72 hours, if they have booked a guided shore excursion with a licensed tour operator.

Medvedev believes that it should increase the attractiveness of the country for tourists and make the country more open for such kind of contacts. According to figures released by the government, the new legislation is expected to annually increase tourist revenue from 13.1 billion rubles ($393 million) up to 19.1 billion rubles ($572 million).

The list of countries whose citizens may have such benefits, and the list of the airports that will allow such visits, is currently being reviewed by the Russian government. The regulation of being able to stay in a country for 72 hours without a visa is not unique to Russia. It already exists in various countries, such as Singapore and Hong Kong. Russia hopes to have a visa-free agreement with the European Union by the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2016.

The new 72-hour visa-free period is currently awaiting ratification by the State Duma before it can be brought into force.

Kingdom of Flora. Still-life Floral Artwork from 17th century Dutch and Flemish Masters.

A new exhibition at the Rumantsev Mansion in St. Petersburg is on view through March 9, 2014. It brings floral still lifes from the 17th to early 18th centuries. Floral still lifes took shape as an independent genre in the fine art of the Netherlands and Flanders in the 17th century. This is largely explained by the great love of the Flemish and the Dutch for floriculture and horticulture. Luxurious floral arrangements, reflecting the beauty of the world, did not have only for aesthetic pleasure. They transmitted coded messages as every flower in the composition carried a symbolic value.

Vanitas, for example, are a special kind of still life that offer an allegory of the transience and perishability of all earthly things. Among the exhibited works, this type of still life painting is represented by the work of Ferdinand Bruegel, Egidius Neymans, Jan Evert Morel and Alida Vithoos. In such paintings, human life is represented by bouquets in vases while images of butterflies and bumble bees symbolize the immortal soul. Withered flowers and fallen petals are meant to remind the viewer of the impermanence of the material world.

Another common motif in the exhibition is the floral garland, which usually frames a medallion depicting the saints and various biblical scenes. As an example of such "pictures in a picture" are the works of Jan Philip van Tilenau, Jan Brueghel the Younger and Jan Baptist Bosschaert. Brueghel the Younger's "Annunciation of the Virgin Mary". The collection has been built over the past 20 years, which is just one of the reasons it is such a unique exhibition. Paintings from the Dutch Golden Age were brought to St. Petersburg by the Moscow-based art gallery Modus Vivendi, which is led by the art collector Valery Babkin.

Before arriving in St. Petersburg, the collection was presented in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Liechtenstein.

Agate Rooms: The Way to Revival

The long restoration of the Agate Rooms in the Cold Bath pavilion of Catherine Park in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin) has made it possible to enjoy the unique eighteenth-century interiors on its upper floor. The exhibition "Agate Rooms: The Way to Revival" on the first floor of the pavilion illustrates all the stages of that work.

The seven restored rooms were created by the famous architect Charles Cameron. It is well known fact that the architect attached special importance to the interiors of the Agate rooms. They were richly decorated with marble, paintings, gilded bronze, inlayed parquet, Ural and Altai Jasper. The exquisite art objects surrounded Empress Catherine II at her beloved place of retreat from state affairs.

Deposits of solid colored stones were discovered in the Urals in the sixteenth century, but at that time the methods of processing them were not developed. Great interest to the use of "colored stones" in the decoration of Palace interiors was shown by the Emperor Peter the Great. He laid the Foundation for the development of stone carving in Russia. The first in Russian lapidary factory was open in St. Petersburg suburban city Peterhof by the Emperor decree in 1725.

The passion towards Mineralogy spread among the Russian aristocracy in the middle of the XVIII century. By the beginning of the 1780s the Russian lapidary works developed the technology of obtaining products of stones, and the dream of decoration the Palace halls in natural color stones became practicable.

William II and Anna Pavlovna. "Royal Splendour at the Netherlands Court".

The Armorial Hall in the Winter Palace will house the exhibition telling a fascinating story about William II and Anna Pavlovna. It will be open between 25 September 2013 - 12 January 2014.

Anna Pavlovna of Russia was a queen consort of the Netherlands. She was born in 1795 at St Petersburg suburban palace in Gatchina. She was the eighth child and sixth daughter of Russian Emperor Paul I and Empress Maria Feodorovna. Anna was raised at the summer residence of the Romanovs, Tsarskoye Selo. She spent her childhood there with her two younger brothers, Nicholas and Michael. Anna received a broad education. In 1809 Emperor Napoleon I of France asked for Anna's hand in marriage. Her mother managed to delay her reply long enough for Napoleon to lose interest and marry Princess Marie Luise. On 21 February 1816, she married the Prince of Orange, who would later become King William II of the Netherlands. The couple remained in Russia for one year. Anna and William II had five children.

Anna Pavlovna was shocked over the differences between the class system in Russia and her new home country. It was much less strict in the Netherlands than in Russia. She had difficulties adjusting herself to this.

The marriage of Anna and William was stormy. From the beginning, Anna considered herself superior in rank to William. In 1829, several pieces of her jewellery were stolen, and she suspected her spouse of stealing them. He was at the time in debt and mixing with people she considered to be questionable. The adultery of her spouse created conflicts between them. They lived separated until 1843.

On 7 October 1840, on the abdication of her father-in-law, William I of the Netherlands, she became Queen Consort of the Netherlands. She was the 343rd Dame of the Royal Order of Queen Maria Luisa on 1 February 1842.

As a Queen, Anna is described as arrogant and distant towards the public. She valued etiquette, formal ceremonies and rituals. It has been said of her that she remained a Russian Grand Duchess more than she ever became Queen of the Netherlands.

Holiday of fountains will be held on the 14th of September this year in Peterhof.

The festival "The Romanovs. Their Legends and The Fate" is dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the Imperial house.

A lot of mysteries and mystical coincidences, sometimes dissolving the line between fact and fiction, a myth and reality are connected with the dynasty of the Romanovs. A light and sound show with 3D mapping and historical reenactment in a fascinating manner will tell about the role of each of the emperor in Russian history. The main events of each period their reign, will reflect political views, personal tastes and characters of ruling monarchs, who influenced the course of not only Russian but also world history. Images will follow each other on a historical principle Colorful and diverse time of Peter the great, Elizabeth, Nicholas I, Alexander II and Nicholas II. Grand Peterhof fireworks as always will become the final presentation.

The festival begins at 9 p.m.

The Ninth Elena Obraztsova International Compertition of Young Opera Singers.

Elena Obraztsova is the first Russian singer since Fyodor Chaliapin to become one of opera's greatest stars. Ms. Obraztsova has performed on the most celebrated opera stages of the world such as the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theatres, La Scala, El Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, the Grand Opera, Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, and the San Francisco Opera.

The beginning of her career is connected with St. Petersburg and it explains her choice to organize International Competition of Young Opera Singers in this city. She graduated from the Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1964.

Over 100 young opera singers from across the globe are taking part in this year's competition held in St. Petersburg between 24.08.Saturday-31.08. Saturday 2013. The performances are judged by the Jury, consisting of outstanding musicians and prominent opera artists.

As part of the event there there is also an exhibition of art by Mist Zhumbaeva dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Elena Obraztsova's career.

St.Petersburg Harley Days

The Celebration of 110 years of a legendary brand was marked by the best motor-parade in Europe. More than one century of the history of Harley-Davidson showed that for many people in the world it is not simply a brand.

The popularity of the International Harley-Davidson Saint-Petersburg Festival is rising every year. The First Festival took place on June 24-26, 2011 in St. Petersburg. There were about 1.500 participants from all over the world this year. They came from Norway, Sweden, Ukraine, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Slovenia, Scotland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Syria, Finland, the United States of America, Russia and other countries. 4000 people saw a unique and bright show and became active participants of the Program.

A lot of events were on Ostrovsky Square: a Fair of motorcycle goods, interactive programs, different shows, competitions, food cort and a Concert. A Demo-ride of new Harley-Davidson was organized from Ostrovsky Square. Every biker was able to try the legendary motorcycle. The "St. Petersburg Harley Days" included the Parade along the Nevsky Prospekt, central streets and embankments of St.Petersburg.

International Festival of Sand Sculptures is The Island of Fairy Tales

The theme of the 12th annual St. Petersburg International Festival of Sand Sculptures is The Island of Fairy Tales. The beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress transformed into a land of Pushkin, Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm characters is open for the visitors daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The festival will run until Aug. 31.Organizers are anticipating large crowd numbers to the popular free summer event. Last year, over 50,000 people came to see the sand sculptures on the beach of the Fortress.

For the first time last year, color was used on some of the sculptures with paint especially created for sand. Organizers have allowed the paint to be used again this year as they felt it would help create a more fairy tale-like atmosphere on the beach. Each sculpture must also be a minimum of three and a half meters high.

Working under the very capricious and changeable St. Petersburg weather is one of the biggest and most difficult challenges for the sculptors. To help minimize these issues, special sand has been brought in from the quarries in the Leningrad region. Very fine sand without any stones contains small inserts of clay, which is considered to be the best material for creating sand sculptures.

The Telephone History Museum is has been opened in St. Petersburg.

The total cost of the collection is estimated at several dozen million rubles. The collection has notable antique telephones, andtheir prices have grown several times since the moment they were acquired. Some of the exhibits are up to 5 times.

The Telephone History Museum project is exclusively social. It was started with the target to keep and pass on to later generations the history of the development of telecommunications.

The collection of the Museum illustrates the evolution of communication means in a very informative way: Among the exhibits - a Telegraph station, where everyone can try himself in the role of "telephone ladies", the Telegraph system Morse, the layout of the invention Alexander bell, a copy of the Telegraph "Shappa", which in the end of XVIII century could deliver the message from Paris to Brest, in 7 minutes. There are some pieces witnessed the First and Second world wars, the first mobile phones of the Swedish company "Ericsson", as well as telephone, belonged to the wife of Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna.

The address of the Telephone History Museum is: 60 Shpalernaya Street (in the same building where Mastertel North-West's office is located)

Kronshtadt in summer 2013.

The town's most famous Naval Cathedral has opened its door after long tern of restoration in May. It was built from 1908 to 1913 and considered to represent the beauty of the Russian Neo- Byzantium style.

In June Kronshtadt hosts an ecological festival "Kronfest". Its purpose is to form ecological culture among young people. Such direct contacts with representatives of creative and scientific community let the festival participants to realize their projects effectively. The program of this festival includes many events. They aim is to develop nature conservation in the region of the Gulf of Finland. It also has different art-events and ecological actions.

Last Sunday of July the city celebrates the Navy Day. The program of this day consists of ships parade, water and sports competitions, concert of creative groups of St.-Petersburg and Kronshtadt. The navy ships will be open for a visit. The citizens and guests of the town can attend the excursion "Forts of Kronshtadt". Everybody will have an opportunity to visit a naval weapon exhibition and Kronshtadt museums. A shot from the memorial canon will be given at midday. A lot of different cultural-entertaining events, sport games and various contests during the whole day traditionally make the celebration interesting for all the visitors. At the end of the celebration there will be a firework show.

St. Petersburg is 310 this year!

On the 27th of May, St.Petersburg celebrates its 310th birthday. The celebration begins on Saturday, May 25 on Palace Square. Theater troupes from different countries will open the annual festival of street theaterswith their stage performances.

Bicycle lovers can participate in three different cycling tours. The main routestarts from Palace Square and covers the historical city center. The others are at the Primorsky Park Pobedy and on Krestovsky Island. Cyclists who want to join in should keep the dress code set for the event, dressing or coloring their bikes in black and white Sunday, May 26, on St. Isaac's Square at 2 p.m. professionals, amateurs, students and veterans sing the popular works of Russian composers. The chorus of four thousand participants will be accompanied by a symphonic orchestra.

At 3p.m., the participants of marching bands from various countries, will parade down Nevsky Prospect.

Annual ice-cream festival will be held on Ostrovsky Square all throughout the day.

The final event on Sunday is a large concert of classical and jazz music on Palace Square. The performances by some of the world's best opera singers and the Academic Philharmonic Symphonic will take place on the specially-equipped stage constructed near the arch of the General Staff Building.

The square will be briefly transformed into a dance floor too. Everyone will have the opportunity to take a turn with professional dancers. Among the scheduled highlights is a dance performance by wheelchair-bound athletes.

On Monday, May 27st will start with a church service at St. Isaac Cathedral and continue with the bringing of flowers to the monument of Peter the Great on Senate Square. At 3 p.m. May 27st the season of fountains will begin in the Summer Garden.

35 local theaters, including the Mikhailovsky Theater, Molodezhny Theater and Priut Komedianta, will offer visitors tickets for 10 rubles (0.3 USD) each.

Victory Day

Russia celebrates the country's victory in World War II on the 9th of May. This special day marks the capitulation of Germany to the Soviet Union in 1945. It became the end of the Great Patriotic War for the USSR in which the country lost about 25 million citizens in the four years of that war.

Since the 20th anniversary (May 9, 1965), every year Victory Day celebrations started to feature a military parade.


Smelling as a cucumber, favorite fish of all the residents of St. Petersburg is being sold on the streets of the city. It gives the smell to the city these days as only early spring is the "kuryushka" season here. Smelt (Koryushka) is the main commercial fish for St. Petersburg residents. It is fished up to 700 tons per a year. Smelt is one of the most popular objects of fishing in the North-West part of Russia. In addition to the North-West, it is usual in the Baltic and White seas, the Ladoga and the Onega lakes and lakes of Karelia. Each year, with the arrival of the fish in the Neva river within the city of St. Petersburg, the Day of smelt is declared as a holiday. On this occasion in the Peter and Paul fortress and city parks Smelt festivals are held. They feature competitions on fishing, over-fishing (release of young fish in the river Neva) and offering to taste a variety of dishes from the smelt.

Preparation of various dishes of the fish is an ancient culinary tradition of St. Petersburg residents. The classic method of cooking is frying. It can be also marinated, make grilled, stewed in white wine.

Mariinsky II Opens its Doors

The new Marinsky stage was open to the public on the 2nd May,2013.A gala performance with some of the world's finest musical talent, including tenor Placido Domingo, violinist Leonidas Kavakos, pianist Denis Matsuev, bass Rene Pape, soprano Anna Netrebko and dancer Diana Vishneva started the new era of the Mariinsky.

The new stage is full with a vast range of technical capacities on it. According to Gergiev, new performances designed specifically for the new stage, will impress all the visitors. The first of them will be Vasily Barkhatov's take on Dargomyzhsky's "Rusalka," which premiers on May 24 at the opening of the International Stars of the White Nights Festival. Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin, will present the premiere of his new opera "Lefty," . He was inspired by Nikolai Leskov's 19th-century tale about the cross-eyed craftsman who made steel horseshoes small enough to fit a flea. Alexei Ratmansky, will also stage new ballets for Mariinsky II, to be premiered later this year.

Gergiev stressed that the new venue will have a strong focus on a new series of concerts and performances for children and students. The maestro sees accessible shows and education-focused concerts as part of his mission. He is intended to bring the musical arts closer to city residents, especially those with evolving tastes and a heightened interest in the arts.

Easter in Russia

Russia commemorates a Christian festival and holiday of resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter is the greatest Christian festival of the year. It relates to the moveable feasts, which do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars. They both follow the cycle of the sun and the seasons. The date for Easter is determined on a lunisolar calendar similar to the Hebrew calendar.

The date of Easter varies between 22 March and 25 April in the Julian calendar. 21st of March in the Julian calendar corresponds to the 3nd of April in the Gregorian calendar. Therefore the celebration of Easter varies between 4 April and 8 May in it. Eastern Christianity bases all calculation on the Julian calendar, so in the year of 2013 by the Gregorian calendar Easter falls on the 5th of May.

Easter customs vary across the Christian world, but attending sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church and decorating Easter eggs, a symbol of the empty tomb, are common motifs.

The State Hermitage Museum unveils previously unseen treasures.

The new exhibition of works of applied art from The Hermitage storeroomsfocuses on rare works of decorative art, ranging from clocks, table decorations, upholstery and wall coverings to intricate jewelry and other personal possessions of the rich and famous. Over 100 pieces from the museum collection, many of which have never been displayed before, give visitors a unique insight into the way birds have been depicted and valued throughout the 16th-19th centuries in Western Europe. The name of the display is "Birds - Messengers of the Gods. Western European Applied Art of the 16th to 19th Centuries."

At various times birds have played different roles and represented the chief attributes of the gods. They appeared as their heralds or even as incarnations of the gods themselves. Birds, because of their beauty, were popular in ornamental motifs with symbolic meaning. Eeach ancient god had his or her own bird which symbolized the key features of his or her character. For example, Jupiter, a god known for his strength and power, took the shape of an eagle; Juno, the god of grandeur and royalty, appeared as a peacock; Minerva, god of wisdom, took the form of an owl; while Mars, the god known for his belligerence, was represented as a rooster. For the elegant gods of beauty and love, Venus and Apollo, more delicate birds were used, such as the swan and pigeon.

In addition, certain birds were more prominent than others for their symbolic meaning in different centuries. For example, the 17th and 19th centuries the image of the eagle was widely used in decorative art while in the 18th century, images of the swan and pigeon were more prevalent.

The exhibition will be open till the end of September 2013.

Ballet Festival in Saint Petersburg.

The seventh Dance Open International Ballet Festival started in Saint Petersburg

The Program of the Festival includes:

WORLD PREMIERE! "Le Sacre du Printemps", choreography by Edward Clug (Slovene National Theatre Maribor, SNG)
RUSSIAN PREMIERE! "Spazio-Tempo", choreography by Jacopo Godani (Semperoper Ballett Dresden)
PREMIERE IN SAINT-PETERSBURG! "Classical Symphony", choreography by Yuri Possokhov (the Bolshoi Theater of Russia)
April, 21st, beginning at 7 pm, the Oktyarbsky Concert Hall - THE GALA "HISTORY OF RUSSIAN BALLET"
April, 22nd, beginning at 7 pm, the Oktyarbsky Concert Hall - THE GALA OF INTERNATIONAL BALLET STARS DANCE


April, 22nd, beginning at 11 pm, Marble Hall of the Russian Museum of Ethnography - CEREMONY OF THE 4TH INTERNATIONAL BALLET AWARD DANCE OPEN April, 22-29 The exhibition "In Focus of DANCE OPEN" will be held at the Russian Museum of Ethnography.

Within the DANCE OPEN Festival the master-classes for young ballet dancers will take place. The master-classes for young ballet dancers are the very first tradition of the International Ballet Festival DANCE OPEN. They unite the best and the most perspective students from all over the world. Besides that DANCE OPEN contributes into the spreading of the Russian ballet school tradition, which is considered to be the best in the world.

"Focus on the Throne" exhibition in The State Museum of Political History.

The State Museum of Political History of Russia displays an exhibition named "Focus on the Throne". It is dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. The Romanovs' boyars came to power in Russia in February 1613. They governed the country until March 1917. In the period of three centuries 18 tsars and emperors, the members of the family, replacing each other on the throne, contributed to the economic and cultural development of Russia.

Date of the foundation of the new dynasty became the turning point in the history of Russia. Mikhail Romanov was elected by the Assembly of the Land, and the "Time of Troubles" came to an end. The reign of the next member of the Romanovs' family, Alexei Mikhailovich, was characterized by strengthening of the centralized power. The book named "Code, in accordance with which trial and judgment in all matters are organized in Russia, prepared and written during governance of His Majesty Prince Tsar and Gr`and Duke Alexei Mikhailovich�" is the evidence of the time.

Peter the First, who mounted the throne in 1682, by means of its reforms led to the further development of the country. A rare 1739 edition of the book with the decrees of Tsar Emperor Peter the Great is exhibited for the first time the Museum of Political History.

The epoch of "Enlightened Absolutism" of Catherine II and her son Paul I is illustrated by their "Decrees".

The exposition, presents lithography of A. Kivshenko "Napoleon and Alexander I during their meeting in Tilsit (Germany, 1807); Layout of participants of coronation of emperor Nicholas I and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna in the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Kremlin of Moscow (1826); picture of artist Griner "Attempt on Life of Alexander II on April 4, 1866 near the Summer Garden"; photo album of imperial hunt of Alexander III in Spale and Book of Records of the results of hunt of Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich - the junior; portrait of Greek queen Alexandra Georgievna embroidered for her wedding with Grand Duke Pavel Alexandrovich.

A visitor of the display, will be able to see the album, with unique materials about celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Romanov House in 1913.

St Alexander Nevsky's Monastery celebrates it's 300th anniversary.

On the 7th of Aipril 2013 St Alexander Nevsky's Monasterystarted to celebrate 300 years since it's foundation. The festive activities will last till the 6th of December 2013. The city's oldest and largest architectural ensembles was named after Prince Alexander Nevsky, an outstanding 13th-century Russian statesman and military leader, who was canonized by Russian Orthodox Church (1218-1253).

The monastery was initiated by PeterI in honour of St Alexander Nevsky. It was under construction in 1710-1716, and was the third largest monastery in Russia (to the ones in Kiev and Sergiev Posad near Moscow). In 1724, the relics of St Alexander Nevsky were brought to St Petersburg from the city of Vladimir, where the Prince had been buried originally. The monastery was built on the site where historians of those days believed the famous battle had taken place in 1240 between the Russian troops headed by Alexander Nevsky and the Sweeds (it was after that battle on the banks of the Neva that Prince Alexander was nicknamed Nevsky, the Russian for "Alexander of the Neva").

The monastery contained about 10 churches and three cemeteries. In 1797, it was designated "lavra", a special name given to rich monasteries enjoying special privileges. The construction works were completed as late as the early 19th century; hence the variety of styles represented in the Lavra's architectural ensemble.

Hermitage has celebrated it's annual event "The Day of the Hermitage Cat".

Since the early 18th century the unique exhibits at the State Hermitage Museumhave been protecting by a whole army of cats. The cats' chief enemies are the rodents that can do more harm to the museum's holdings than even the most determined human vandal.

The first cat was brought to the Hermitage from the Netherlands by Peter the. His daughter Elizabeth continued her father's initiative. And it was on her decree that a carriage full of cats with good hunting skills was delivered to the court from the city of Kazan in 1745. Later, Catherine the Great established the feline army to guard the picture galleries.

Every spring for the past 15 years, workers at the Hermitage have set aside a special day to honor the museum's four-legged sentinels. Three years ago, that private celebration was made public and has attracted attention to the plight of both the museum's holdings as well as its furry inhabitants.

Students from local schools take part in the competition to depict how they imagine a real Hermitage cat and their works are presented for a week in the Jordan Gallery. During this year's Day of the Hermitage Cat, the youngest of the museum's visitors decorated cat-shaped pieces of wood. Older children played a strategy game.

According to long-standing tradition, exhibits from the museum's storerooms that are not normally on view in the museum galleries are presented at the exhibition each year. Last year it was the museum's only mummified cat. This year it is the display of a book where information about each of the museum cat has been registered. In addition, a master class explaining how best to care for cats was held by representatives from the Vsevolozhsk Cat Museum. As part of the event, a musical about the Hermitage cats was presented on the stage of the Hermitage Theater,"

Currently there are about 50 cats in residence at the State Hermitage Museum. They all have the status of official museum workers. Several charitable organizations look after them throughout the course of their lives.

St.Petersburg Russian Art Museum has provided most of the works of artfor the exhibition arranged in Brussels

St.Petersburg Russian Art Museum has provided most of the works of artfor the exhibition arranged in Brussels. Of the over 150 items on display, Kandinsky is represented by 50 works which are also accompanied by works painted by his contemporaries: Mikhail Vrubel, Nicholas Roerich, Nikolai Kul'bin, Ivan Bilibin, Natalia Goncharova, Alexej von Jawlensky, David Burliuk and his German colleagues from The Blue Rider. Visitors can enjoy canvases and graphic works, the folk objects costumes, traditional musical instruments and icons that inspired him and his contemporaries. The main idea for the display was to connect the art of Kandinsky with his life and to show the reflection of his life in his paintings.

St.Petersburg Hermitage Museum preparedand submitted "Alexander the Great. 2000 years of Treasures" the exhibition in Australian Museum. It is the largest Russian exhibition ever presented in Australia. Exhibition is devoted to Alexander the Great, his campaign to the East and subsequent influence of Hellenism on the world artistic culture. The exposition covers a time span of over two and a half thousand years. It is the period from the 5th century B.C. to the 20th century. The exhibition shows the way the great civilizations met - Hellenic world, ancient empires of the East and the world of nomads; everywhere where Alexander was. Among the works of the 16th-19th centuries telling about the life, deeds and triumphs of impressive ruler, works by Sebastiano Ricci (Apelles Paints Campaspe), weapons and armour, made as imitation of antiquity are exhibited.

Maslenitsa (Shrovetide) Festival - 11 March 2013 - 17 March 2013

Welcome spring in grand Russian style. The traditional festival was reborn in 2002 and is always the week before Lent. Maslenitsa is a remembrance of the dead dating back to pre-Christian times.
  • Mariinsky Theatre - offering colorful symphony and opera performances as well as charity concerts
  • Blini (pancakes) - the pancake is a key part of the celebration. Symbolizing the sun- warm, round and golden.
Blini are given to friends and family topped with lots of butter, caviar, mushrooms, jam or sour cream.

Every day of Maslenitsa was dedicated to unique rituals.

Monday - Maslenitsa is welcomed. People make a straw-stuffed figure of winter and dressed it in old women's clothing. The figure was taken around the town on a sleigh and run down a snow-covered sledding hill to fulfill an ancient ritual (whoever came down the hill more than once was likely to have a tall flax crop)

Tuesday - Tuesday was called "zaigrysh" (game day) Troika rides, sledding, folk festivals, puppet shows, singing, and fireworks.

  • Fist fighting - fighting just for fun, commemorating the Russian military soldiers who fought each other in hand-to-hand combat
  • Fun with Bears - Years ago, bears and their tamers would drink vodka and have a wrestling match, with the bear often winning the match. Trained bears amused the audiences.
  • Tradition says - a woman from the area would dress as Maslenitsa and she would cheerfully be thrown in a snow bank to help welcome spring
Wednesday - Feasts with blini and other dishes in people's homes and in tents all over the cities. Mother-in-laws invited son-in-laws to their homes and served pancakes.

Thursday - Climax of games and fun and the best fist fights.

Friday - If on Wednesday sons-in-law were treated with pancakes in their mothers-in-law homes, on Friday it was their turn to return the favor. On the day before mothers-in-law had to send to their sons-in-law homes everything necessary for blini making: pans, ladles etc., and fathers-in-law sent a bag of buckwheat and some butter. Son-in-law's that didn't respect the tradition were showing dishonor and insult.

Saturday - Saturday was devoted to the visits of relatives paid to young wives.

Sunday - "Forgiveness" People ask each other for forgiveness for all problems. In the evening people went to cemeteries to "say goodbye" to the dead.

On this last day, bonfires would be lit and there is a solemn burning of the stuffed Maslenitsa figure of winter. People throw the left over pancakes and food into a huge bonfire. Children were taught that all the nourishing food was burned in fire to prepare them for the Lent. Coliphia (porridge with raisins) is served, as it is at funerals.

Clean Monday - The first day of the Lent which is considered the day of cleansing from sin and fasting from forbidden food.

Rare Perfume exhibition in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin)

A new exhibition of imperial perfumes is currently being arranged by the museum in Tsarskoye Selo. The display will be devoted the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the House of Romanov. It is planning to be open to the public by the beginning of the summer. A precious present from Zinaida Volodina-Pessoa, president of the Canada-based Svetoch Slavic Culture Association in the form of a collection of favorite perfumes owned by Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II, and the members of his family will make a nucleus of the future exhibition. The donation consists of six bottles of perfume. One perfume, favorite fragrance of empress Alexandra Fyodorovna is "White Rose," by the renowned Atkinson brand. The bottles with perfume tell about the tastes of their crowned owners. The daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra preferred floral scents by famous French house of Coty. Princess Anastasia's most beloved perfume was "La Violette Pourpre." "La Rose Jacqueminot,"by Coty was a favorite of Princess Olga. Perhaps predictably, Princess Tatyana devoted to the creations of Coty too. The collection has a half-full bottle of Tatyana's preferred fragrance, "Jasmin de Corse". Princess Maria preferred "Lilas Pourpre," also produced by the same French house. According to Volodina-Pessoa, all of the bottles were produced at the beginning of the 20th century. The aromatic substances in these bottles have changed but it is possible to establish the base notes of each perfume's composition. The exhibit organizes hope that it will be possible to repeat the flavor of the royal past and the visitors will have an opportunity to enjoy it too.

Pulkovo Airport "genuine "employees"

St. Petersburg's Pulkovo International Airport is preparing toopen a new terminal at the end of this year. In addition to the usual airport security measures, Pulkovo also practices aviation ornithology. The work of ornithology service is to prevent gathering of birds at the airport. It is a phenomenon that presents a real danger for aircraft landing and taking off. The airport's most unusual service is provided by falcons trained to frighten off the numerous other birds that approach airport runway. It's interesting that birds are not afraid of the noise the plane engines make but are terrified when they see a falcon. By the way, the higher a falcon is, the more scared other birds get. The ornithology service has five working falcons and two involved in breeding. The Airport nestlings are trained from a very early age.

The service was founded in the 1980s when a new generation of jet planes appeared on the market. The birds had difficulties flying away from them quickly.

Meanwhile, falcons are not the only means employed to scare away random birds. The aviation ornithologists also use special flares. "What's interesting is that different birds have different reactions to such measures. For instance, crows perceive the danger quickly and fly away, while seagulls are a bit duller. In fact, we use the falcons when birds do not react to our use of mechanical devices," one of the engineers with the aviation ornithology group said.

For many airports birds do not pose a threat but St. Petersburg is one of those airports at which they represent a serious hazard. The problem is that this area of St. Petersburg was historically a place where migrating birds landed to rest. Therefore they are still attracted here, especially during spring and fall migration. That is why the aviation ornithology service is essential for the airport.

Moscow Jazz festival is in St. Petersburg for the first time.

St Petersburg welcomes the13th edition of Moscow's Triumph of Jazz festival. The two concerts included on the St. Petersburg program will be held on the famous stages of the city. Celebrated jazz musicians from around the world and Russia's own stars come to take part in the annual event which has been held in Moscow since 2000.

New York pianist Bill Charlap and his trio, renowned for their interpretations of jazz standards give the concert at the St. Petersburg State Jazz Philharmonic on February 24. The pianist was described by Time magazine as a musician that "approaches a song the way a lover approaches his beloved� no matter how imaginative or surprising his take on a song is, he invariably zeroes in on its essence."

Feb. 25 at the Oktyabrsky Concert Hall the program features legendary American drummer Roy Haynes and his Fountain of Youth band. A jazz veteran, Haynes has collaborated with some of the best jazz musicians of the century. He is the only surviving member of the Charlie Parker Quintet, and was a member of John Coltrane's quartet in the 1960s. The Jazz lovers will have a chance to hear Lee Ritenour and his band performance, as well as Australian singer Fantine. The Moscow Jazz Orchestra, led by festival organizer and celebrated Russian saxophonist Igor Butman will represent Russia.


The city's world-renowned Mariinsky II Theater is currently going through acoustic tests.

Valery Gergiev, the majestic Russian conductor speaks about his passion and pride: The Mariinsky Theater II scheduled to open under his watchful eye in St. Petersburg in May for opera and ballet.

Gergiev joined as principal conductor in 1988, and became its artistic and general director in 1996. The original Mariinsky was built in 1860 and it was known as the Kirov in Soviet times. "There started to be a feeling that we could absolutely not accommodate the huge demand," he said.

The design strategy for Mariinsky II is past and future: Mariinsky II must be a symbol to St. Petersburg of what the city was, and a vision of what the city aspires to be.

The curved glass panels of the glowing glass perimeter are to be like a glass prism providing a protective envelope for the building but do not seal the structure from the weather. Two semi-circular rings soar through the lobby and highlight the curving exterior. Similar to the white hall of the Mariinsky I, the two rings are pedestrian promenades, which can be used for strolls during intermissions.

Escalators and a bridge over the canal connect to the lobby of Mariinsky I. The double lobby concept allows access to the box office and the Mariinsky gift shop.

A glass enclosed walk, along the canal, leads to the rehearsal hall, a secondary performance venue. The Quarenghi entrance to the rehearsal hall has a small exterior seating area affording more intimate views to the canal below and to Mariinsky I.

Ascending by stair or elevator to the roof, visitors can be seated facing the city and assembly space for rehearsals, lectures, or small performances.

Balconies are bejeweled with sconces and miniature chandeliers. The Italianate ceiling carries the magnificent three-tiered chandelier, shaped like Monomakh's cap, spreading a shimmering aura across Fracioli's painting and the interior of the hall.

The opaque, moveable ceiling is designed as an acoustically transparent glass grid, allowing optimal adjustments for opera, ballet, and symphonic music performances. Lighting is essential to this unique glass usage. The glass panels on the balcony faces will be backlit with their edges illuminated using fiber optics, producing a rich glow and a sparkle reminiscent of the interior of Mariinsky I.

With the new theater seating about 2,000 people, the old Mariinsky I, 800 and a concert hall opened nearby, accommodating an additional 1,200, it will be possible that up to 20,000 people can enjoy opera, ballet or classical music over just one weekend, with matinees and evening performances each Saturday and Sunday.

Opera Hall


Key Staff
Dolan Daggett, Scott Nakao, Eugene Glekel, Paul Groh, John Bencher, Eric McNevin, Jose Herrasti, Sophie Frank, Kyoung Kim, Emil Mertzel, Raul Garcia, Elena Andrews, Corinna Gebert, Farshid Gazor, Paulo Volpis, Pierpaolo Granata, Chuck Hellwig, Brooke Luckock

Key Consultants
Structural, MEP, Facade: Arup
Acoustics: Arup
Theater Planning: Fischer Dachs Associates
Glass Fabrication: CTEK

AIA/NEXT LA, Design Award, 2002

A kingdom of cats in Saint Petersburg.

In a city renowned for its beauty, record-breaking sights and museums, the Cat Republic has a devoted and steadily growing fame. It consists of several rooms that house a cafe, a library, a mini-cinema, an exhibition gallery and a souvenir shop, all united by a cat theme. As in a real kingdom to get in one should have a visa as in a fairy tale- visitors to the Cat Republic may pass through the magic wardrobe to meet the country's furry inhabitants themselves. There is one simple rule here: Never insist on interaction with any cat that is not interested. A mistress of the Republic will tell you lots of stories and tales about its inhabitants. The wall paintings portray cats. They are the kingdom inhabitants and their best friends, the Hermites, who are the cats living in the State Hermitage Museum and other museums, according to a new urban mythology.

There are currently 15 cats in residence at Cat Republic. The newest emigres include a mixed-breed cat from the Hermitage named Gauguin, a Leopard cat named Gala and a purebred American Curl named Mango. But no matter where the cats come from, all of the republic's residents have been carefully selected for their capacity to be friendly  both to one another, and to visitors. Every day the cats provide valuable anti-stress therapy to the children and adults who pet, feed and photograph them.

The stated goal of the Cat Republic is to educate the public on proper cat care. In addition to a variety of events and master classes meetings with felinologists and zoopsychologists are held here regularly.

The founder of the kingdom said: 'There was no point in making a duplicate version of a museum. We aimed to create a platform for interaction. And then we combined this dream with the idea of a cat cafe. That's how the Cat Republic was born. The idea of a feline kingdom is based on a Japanese model. The first cat cafe emerged in Osaka.' The Cat Republic is located at 10 Ulitsa Yakubovicha, tel. 312 0487. Open daily, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

St. Petersburg is on the way to open a rock music museum.

One more step towards opening the future museum is an upcoming exhibition at the Pushkinskaya 10 art center. The exhibition will be subtitled 'Exhibits of a Future Museum.' It is expected to showcase some legacy and artifacts of Russian rock music history.

According to the experts, the exhibition is a kind of smaller follow-up to a giant exhibition called 'Realities of Russian Rock' held in Saint Petersburg in 1991. It was 3,500 square meters, with exhibits collected by the Rock Club, musicians and designers.

The exhibition at the Pushkinskaya 10 art center will have a lot of things from the Leningrad Rock Club (Leningrad is a former name of St.Petersburg), which was the center of the rock life for the whole Soviet Union. In 1980s it became the cradle for many famous rock bands. The Club's bands such as Akvarium, Kino, Zoopark and Saint Petersburg made a huge contribution into the development of the new music genre of rock music in Russia.

Not so many years have passed since 1980's, but the Soviet Union collapsed and many things collapsed with it. Unfortunately a lot of important artifacts were simply lost. For instance, some were given to libraries, but the libraries closed and bars emerged in place of them. Enthusiasts want to keep what is about to disappear. But there is no place where fans of this culture in the city can come and see the things. The organizers of the exhibition believe that people should organize themselves and solve the problems that they can.

St Petersburg marks Mikhail Baryshnikov's 65th birthday

St Petersburg marks Mikhail Baryshnikov's 65th birthdaywith a photography exhibitionof images of the dancer on the stage. The title of the exhibition is 'Ballet Is a Castle of Beauty,' which is a line from a poem written by a prominent poet Joseph Brodsky.

Mikhail Baryshnikov was born in Riga but an important part of his life is connected with St.Petersburg. The beginning of his career was in this city. Since 1967 and till 1974 he performed in the Kirov Theater. During the Soviet time St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater was known as the Kirov Theater.

All the photos at the exhibition, open at Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art has been taken by three photographers. They feature Baryshnikov in acting roles, during performances and rehearsals at different stages of his career. It is an interesting story.

The photographs on the display make his dances alive and proof the words of ballet historian and critic Vadim Gayevsky, who wrote of Baryshnikov: "He wanted to do what he could not do, he wanted to try everything, and he was always successful. He flies through the dance, he is free." At the exhibition opening Irina Ivanchenko, who is an expert in the history of art, said that Baryshnikov is an innovator who had pushed new boundaries in dance when he unexpectedly left classical ballet in 1989 to become a modern dancer.

900 days...

The Siege of Leningrad (St.Petersburg) was the most tragic period in the history of the city, a period full of suffering and heroism.

On September 8, 1941 the Germans had fully encircled Leningrad . The siege lasted September 8 1941 until January 27 1944, for a total of 900 days. The city's almost 3 million civilians (including about 400,000 children) refused to surrender and endured rapidly increasing hardships in the encircled city. Food and fuel stocks were limited, by the winter of 1941 there was no heating, no water supply, almost no electricity, and very little food. In just two months, January and February of 1942, 200,000 people died in Leningrad of cold and starvation. Despite these tragic losses and the inhuman conditions the city's war industries continued to work, the city continued to fight, it did not give up.

In January 1943 the Siege of Leningrad was broken and a year later, on January 27 1944 it was fully lifted. At least 800,000 people had died in Leningrad during the Siege.

On January 27 at 17:30 a charity event dedicated to the Day of the Complete Liberation of Leningrad after 900 days of Siege ( 1941-1944) will be held in the Tauride Palace on Shpalernaya str., 47. The program of the evening will combine charity concert, an art exhibition dedicated to the Siege of Leningrad, and the award ceremony "Tree of Life". Many outstanding artists, scientists, politics, sportsman, who are over 75 years old and keep proactive stance, will be awarded.

The concert and award ceremony invited war veterans, residents of besieged Leningrad, members of the Government of St. Petersburg and Leningrad region, representatives of general consulates countries - participants of the 2d World War, prominent figures of culture and art, and Media representatives.

The festive concert will feature International Symphony Orchestra and Choir of the Chapel "Taurian" Horn Orchestra of Russia, the choir students boarding school � 1 named KK Groth and soloists of Academy of Young Singers of the Mariinsky Theatre.

1000 people dipped in the baptistery

near the Peter and Paul Fortress of St.Petersburg on the 19th of January 2013! Neither the cold weather (the temperature was mines 15C degrees outside) nor freezing water of the Neva River stopped them to do it that day. As a result St.Petersburg has broken the record of the Moscow region, when 900 people did the same in one of the baptisteries of the region in the year of 2012.

The Orthodox Church celebrates The Epiphany, which marks the baptism of Jesus on the 19th of January. Traditionally, the ice of lakes and rivers is cut in the shape of a cross to bath on that day. Believing that only on this day water becomes holy and is imbued with special powers, some brave Russians go to dip in water and cold weather never stop them. 17 baptisteries were officially made in the rivers and the lakes of St.Petersburg this year, but the one near The Peter and Paul Fortress has became the most popular one.

Happy Old New Year!

Sounds confusing? Russia welcomes one more New Year holiday on January 13. It is a very popular informal traditional Orthodox holiday. January 13 starts the New Year by the Julian calendar. In the 20th and 21st centu...ries, the Old New Year falls on January 14 in the Gregorian calendar.

Soviet government made a decision to adopt the Gregorian calendar on the 26th of January 1918, while the Russian Orthodox Church continued to use the Julian calendar. As the Orthodox Church traditions play a very important role for many Russians, the New Year started to be a holiday celebrated twice in the country by both calendars. Despite January 13 is not an official holiday, people happy to have this nostalgic family celebration, which ends the New Year holiday cycle (December 31 – New Year Eve, January 6 – Russian Orthodox Christmas)

The head of the young Soviet Government, Vladimir Lenin who signed the decree "On introducing the West European calendar in the Republic of Russia" could not have imagined that it would make unique holiday of the Old New Year. It is not as festive as the New Year Eve but nice meals and other festivities are common on that day.

Once again TV broadcasts all the New Year Eve's programs. There is no need to buy another fir-tree and decorate the house, just enjoy the opportunity to stay with family and close friends. People also like the holiday for Old New Year's Fortune-Telling customs. As in old days people tend to know about their future.

There is a great number of divination ways and methods, but every family definitely has the beloved one. While cooking, the hostess can put a clove of garlic inside a huge meat or fish pie. The one, who happens to find it in his piece, supposed to be lucky and happy during the coming year.

Mittens for Russian Santa

In St. Petersburg on January 31 the first charity "Museum of Mittens" will open its doors for the visitors. The chief guest of the museum will be Grandfather Frost( Russian Santa) from Great Ustyug, said "St." the organizers of the project, the volunteers of charity fund " Time To Help"

Mittens Museum is an exhibition of children's art, it is the only gallery in St. Petersburg where all the artifacts are created by children from all over Russia. One part of the produced exhibits belong to the artists with status "orphan", many of them have severe physical disabilities. Another part of the art facilities has been created by "home" Russian children. It is impossible to see the difference between the exhibits - they are all equally pathetic, wonderfully childish, and demonstrate that creativity does not divide children into groups, does not impose statuses. Any differentiation is conventional and conceived by adults. "Probably it's the right time for us to abandon labels" - volunteers comment.

"Time To Help" organizes competition "Mittens for Grandfather Frost." According to the contest, one must create an unusual and memorable mitten for Santa Claus and give it to the volunteers. The judges led by Santa Claus will select the top 12 mittens. The winners will participate in a unique quest "In Search of Santa Claus Mittens"