- Music – Russia has a long musical tradition and is known for its composers and performers. There is no doubt: the bigger the city, the more orchestral performances there are. Classical music is performed in various theatres, where national and guest concerts are planned in the coming weeks. In addition, the state supports folklore ensembles in small towns or even villages, and gatherings of singing babushkas are still a well-established tradition in many regions. In regions traditionally inhabited by non-Russian ethnic groups, one can encounter ethnic music of all possible sounds, such as throat singing in Tuva or the rare instruments of Chukotka [www]. Sometimes only specialists can distinguish between the Cossack songs of the Urals and those of Krasnodar. Professional jazz musicians meet at the Jazz over Volga festival in Yaroslavl. If you stroll down the main street on a Sunday, you are sure to hear guitar, saxophone, harmonium or flute in every town.
- The Victory Day military parade, celebrated on 9 May, is usually a Russian holiday. The city squares fill with men in uniform and military vehicles from the Great Patriotic War and World War II. The Day of the Defender of the Fatherland is a holiday when women congratulate their husbands and colleagues in the family or at work. It takes place on 23 February, just a few weeks before men give back to women on International Women’s Day, 8 March.
- Dancing. Russian classical ballet is known all over the world and some national troupes exist even in such remote regions as Dagestan or Yakutia. The two most famous ballet companies in Russia, both among the best in the world, are the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow and the Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg. The Lezginka is a very lively folk dance that is always performed at major Caucasian events. If you are interested in the folk style, attending a live concert by the Igor Moiseyev Ensemble is simply a must. Outside the big cities, you can easily find Irish dance, belly dance and ballroom clubs, not to mention hip-hop and all the rest.
- Film Festivals. The most important film event in Russia is the Moscow International Film Festival, which takes place for 10 days at the end of June and welcomes leading stars from all over the world. Also of interest to film lovers are Kinotavr in Sochi, the Moscow Latin American Festival and the Zerkalo International Film Festival in Ivanovo, named after Andrei Tarkovsky.
The association with Russia and its two largest metropolises, Moscow and St. Petersburg, is strongly embedded in the minds of tourists, but due to its vast expanse and low population density, Russia is also a paradise for nature lovers. Russia has a network of outstanding natural areas, including 35 national parks and 100 nature reserves (zapovednik), which together cover a larger area than Germany. You can find the list of Russian nature reserves (in Russian) here
Some Russian nature reserves on the internet:
If your papers are in order, you can visit these areas on your own. For those who want a guided tour, there are travel agencies that specialise in ecotourism in Russia, such as
- Dersu Uzala: Ecotourism Development Fund, +7 495 518-5968, fax: +7 495 692-2053, email: [email protected]