Learn About the Russian Culture – History, Art & Architecture
The world remained cut off from Russian culture and people, helpless to do anything but wonder at the foreign world behind the Iron Curtain.
The Russian culture is centuries old, and it’s often difficult for outsiders to understand Russian life. Learning about the Russian culture is an excellent way to improve your Russian and understand Russian-speaking people. Russian culture has a rich history, strong traditions and influential arts, especially when it comes to literature, philosophy, classical music, ballet, architecture, painting, cinema and animation. These resources will help you to learn about many aspects of the Russian cultural heritage and make learning Russian more fun.
Changes have taken place in the years since the Soviet Union was disbanded, and the population has declined by two million since 1991. Still, Russia has a close-knit culture that enjoys hearty ethnic dishes, stresses education and takes great pleasure in an enjoyment of the arts. In 1997, four religions were approved by the government — Orthodoxy, Judaism, Buddhism and Islam — in a big change from life under the Communist regime.
History of Russia
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union there has been an enormous resurgence of interest in Russia’s pre-Soviet past, as well as a great deal of debate and reconsideration of the Soviet era itself. This shift has not resulted in a simple vilification of everything Soviet or a naive embrace of all that preceded it, but it has spurred an unprecedented effort to regain the ancient Russian national heritage. Churches are being restored all across the country, great Russian writers and artists whose works were banned are once again being honored, and the individual character of ancient cities and communities is once again becoming established. Next year, the city of Moscow is celebrating its 850th Anniversary, a celebration that will mark the recovery, as well as the commemoration, of its glorious past.
For most western visitors, the bulk of Russia’s history is nothing more than a compendium of hazy legends and sensationalist rumors–from scurrilous stories about Catherine the Great to tabloid television reports of the miraculous survival of the children of Nicholas II. However, the factual history of the country is no less compelling than its fabulous history, and even a brief introduction to the great and not-so-great figures of its past make a visit far more rewarding.
Russian Art & Architecture
From icons and onion domes to suprematism and the Stalin baroque, Russian art and architecture seems to many visitors to Russia to be a rather baffling array of exotic forms and alien sensibilities. Without any sense of the rich tradition of Russian culture, an appreciation of the country’s enormous artistic wealth becomes a game of historical anecdote–“the church where so-and-so took refuge from what’s-his-name”–or a meaningless collection of aesthetic baubles–“I like the blue domes the best.” In fact, Russian art and architecture are not nearly so difficult to understand as many people think, and knowing even a little bit about why they look the way they do and what they mean brings to life the culture and personality of the entire country
For most of its history, Russian architecture has been predominantly religious. Churches were for centuries the only buildings to be constructed of stone, and today they are almost the only buildings that remain from its ancient past. The basic elements of Russian church design emerged fairly early, around the eleventh century. The plan is generally that of a Greek cross (all four arms are equal), and the walls are high and relatively free of openings. Sharply-sloped roofs (tent roofs) and a multitude of domes cover the structure. The characteristic onion dome first appeared in Novgorod on the Cathedral of Sancta Sophia, in the eleventh century. On the interior, the primary feature is the iconostasis, an altar screen on which the church’s icons are mounted in a hierarchical fashion.
Russia now welcomes visitors from all over the world to experience its absorbing and unfathomable history. Treat your taste buds with their delectable cuisine including salanka, a salty and savory meat soup with tangy olives. Open your eyes and ears to a new realm of sounds as you bask in the symphonic beauty of the Russian language. Fill your camera with pictures of mind-blowing perfection when a winter unlike any you have ever seen coats the city streets. Our goal at Travel All Russia is to strengthen the world’s exposure to Russian culture by offering you a safe, relaxing, and all-around magical journey through this still-mysterious land.
The reforms removed all fetters from the stage. Despite all the problems of contemporary Russian life, the number of theatres is growing. Up to fifty new companies have appeared in 1993-1994. All told, Russia has 413 companies, with drama accounting for over half. Since 1989 local budgets have financed theatres to encourage provincial theatre. There are 31 languages of acting in our multi-ethnic country. Some ethnic companies are top-notch, and worthy rivals of Moscow theatres.
In 1974, a team of Moscow artists opposing officially encouraged practices for the first time threw a public challenge to the powers-that-be with an impromptu shaw on a strip of waste land in Belyaevo, a distant suburb. The police literally razed it to the ground with orders to bulldoze the pictures. Later, some non-conformistworks found their way abroad.
Things have now changed beyond recognition. The new Artists’ Union Charter, adopted in 1993, proclaims freedom of creativity, high professionalism and humane goals among its basic principles. The union arranges exhibitions for its 13,000 members, and helps them with Picture sales in its many salons. Private galleries are also burgeoning throughout the country. Moscow alone has over a hundred.