Tours in Russia

Tours in Russia explore the world’s largest nation. Russia is famous for writers, classical music, choirs, ballet, theater, icons and architecture. The Byzantine, Rococo, Neoclassical  and Orthodox christianity have influenced Russian architecture over the millenia. Covering 13% of the earth’s inhabited land area. Its landscape ranges from tundra and forests to subtropical beaches. Russia’s famous writers include Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn and Dostoyevsky. The great ballet dances emanate from Moscow’s Bolshoi and St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky ballet companies.

Under Peter the Great, Russia was proclaimed an Empire in 1721 and became recognized as a world power. Ruling from 1682 to 1725, he founded St. Petersburg, with the baroque Winter Palace, now housing part of the State Hermitage Museum’s art collection. Peter’s reforms brought considerable Western European cultural influences to Russia.

 

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The late 19th century saw the rise of various socialist movements in Russia. The last Russian Emperor, Nicholas II (1894–1917), entered an unsuccessful war with Japan. There was  an uprising known as Bloody Sunday, which was put down, but he was forced to concede major reforms, including granting the freedoms of speech and assembly, the legalization of political parties, and the creation of an elected legislative body, the State Duma of the Russian Empire. In 1914 Russia entered World War I and suffered great losses. In 1917 the Russian revolution forced Tzar Nicholas to abdicate. He and his entire family were imprisoned and later executed. The Russian civil war between the Bolsheviks and anti Communists raged in 1918 killing up to 12 million people. 

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), or Soviet Union, was formed on 30 December 1922 and lasted for 69 years. During Stalin’s leadership hundreds of thousands of people were executed for various reasons. The Soviet Union entered World War II and ultimately were the demise of the German Third Reich, who lost 80% (4.3 million) of their casualties on the Eastern Front. Russia lost over 10 million soldiers and any more from starvation and cold.

In 1985, the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, introduced the policies of Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (restructuring) to end the period of economic stagnation and to democratize the government. In 1991, the USSR was dissolved into 15 post-Soviet states and Boris Yeltsin became the first directly elected President in Russian history. On 31 December 1999, President Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned, handing the post to the recently appointed Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, who then won the 2000 presidential election.  While many reforms made during the Putin presidency have been generally criticized by Western nations as undemocratic, Putin’s leadership over the return of order, stability, and progress has won him widespread admiration in Russia.

The country is split into seven districts: Far Eastern Siberian, Urals, Northwest, Central, Volga, Southern and the  North Caucasus. There are however over 160 different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples in Russia. The country’s vast cultural diversity spans ethnic Russians with their Slavic Orthodox traditions, Tatars and Bashkirs with their Turkic Muslim culture, Buddhist nomadic Buryats and Kalmyks, Shamanistic peoples of the Extreme North and Siberia, highlanders of the Northern Caucasus, and Finno-Ugric peoples of the Russian North West and Volga Region.

Traditional ethnic Russian clothes include the kaftan, kosovorotka and ushanka for men and the sarafan and kokoshnik for women. The clothes of Cossacks from Southern Russia  and the Northern Caucasus include the burka and papaha. Russia’s large number of ethnic groups have distinctive traditions regarding folk music. Typical ethnic Russian musical instruments are gusli, balalaika, zhaleika, and garmoshka. 

Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square, Moscow, one of the most popular symbols of the country. The 18th-century taste for rococo architecture led to the ornate works of Bartolomeo Rastrelli and his followers. The reigns of Catherine the Great and her grandson Alexander I saw the flourishing of Neoclassical architecture, most notably in the capital city of Saint Petersburg. The second half of the 19th century was dominated by the Neo-Byzantine and Russian Revival styles. Prevalent styles of the 20th century were the Art Nouveau, Constructivism, and the Stalin Empire style.

To find out More visit the Russia Tourism Authority Website HERE