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  About Russia (travel and common information) | About Russia (supplementary information)  
Russian Language Russian is a Slavic language related to Polish, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian and some others. The Cyrillic alphabet has much in common with the Greek alphabet. Foreigners who try to speak Russian will delight their Russian listeners, many of whom speak a little helpful English. Russian people are friendly and hospitable, and happy to help if assistance is needed.

Here is some essential every-day vocabulary:

Passport Control When you arrive in Russia, you will first proceed to Passport Control. There, your passport and VISA will be examined, and after stamping your visa, the officer will return your passport and visa to you. After retrieving your luggage from the baggage carousel, you will pass through customs. There are two lanes. If you have nothing to declare, you may proceed through the Green Channel. However, since you will probably have some foreign currency, you will have to pass through the Red Channel. Here, you will fill in your customs declaration form. Please keep it with you until departure.
Airport Transportation If you are with a group or have been met, transportation to your hotel will be provided. If you are travelling alone, you can take an official taxi or one of the many private cars that provide a service. The charge can vary significantly, and for reasons of personal safety, we strongly discourage our customers to use unlicensed vehicles. It will cost you less to order a car in advance.
Money Matters It is illegal to bring Russian currency into Russia. You can change your currency at approved banking facilities at your hotel, in town or at the airport. Rates can vary a little.
Hotels Hotel arrangements in Russia can been made through numerous reputable travel organisations offering considerable discounts on accommodation. In our HOTELS section you will find all necessary information about St. Petersburg hotels, their locations and services, room facilities.
The Metro The best way to avoid traffic jams in town is to use the subway, called the Metro in St. Petersburg. Street entrances to the stations are identified by a large red capital letter "M". The system is clean and very inexpensive; many of the stations themselves are architectural masterpieces. Each station has a large map of the network, as do the subway cars.

Here are several signs you will meet inside the Metro:

Here are several signs are inside the Metro
A Sightseeing Intinerary Russia is rich in history and culture. Besides the two major cities of Moscow and St.Petersburg, there are many other cities and villages with splendid architectural and cultural traditions. Cities of the "Golden Ring" close to the capital are Suzdal, Vladimir, Kostroma, Ivanovo, Sergiev Posad, Rostov Veliky, Yaroslavl and Pereslavl Zalessky. What follows is a sketch of places in Moscow and St.Petersburg that you might want to see if you are travelling on your own and designing your own sightseeing schedule.


Created by Russian Tsar Peter the Great in the 18th century as a "window to Europe", St.Petersburg became the capital and architectural showpiece of the Russian Empire. It was called Leningrad during Soviet times. Criss-crossed by many canals, it is a true "Venice of the North." St.Petersburg has a wealth of attractions: Palace Square, the Winter Palace, the Peter and Paul Cathedral - resting place of the Romanov emperors - the Peter and Paul Fortress where the writer Dostoevsky and other leading intellectuals were once imprisoned, and the Russian Mint. Don't miss the Hermitage, rivalling the Louvre in Paris for its rich collection of art. You might also visit other residences of the tsarist family - Peter the Great's country palace with its magnificent park and fountains, or the houses at Pushkino and Pavlovsk.


You might begin your visit with an excursion round a city which blends the old and the new - a combination most apparent on Red Square and in the Kremlin. The Square, with its landmark St. Basil's Cathedral, was the centre of world attention for the May Day parades and the anniversary of the Revolution on November 7. Here, too, the Lenin Mausoleum is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It's closed on Monday and Friday. The Kremlin is highlighted by magnificent cathedrals. Enjoy the famous Armoury Chamber, a museum of Russia's regal past. See the Diamond Fund Collection and the Russian Crown Jewels. Within the Kremlin walls is the seat of Russia's government. The famous Palace of Congresses is open to the public for artistic performances.

Among the most famous museums in Moscow are the Tretyakov Gallery housing collections of Russian art, and the Pushkin Fine Art Museum, with its wondrous collections of Western art. Visit the television tower at Ostankino for a splendid view of the city. Near Moscow State University overlooking the Moskva River, Sparrow Hills is favourite spot for photographs. Out in the countryside, enjoy a full day trip to Sergiev Posad, formerly Zagorsk, where the Russian Orthodox Church keeps alive centuries-old traditions at an Orthodox seminary and at the services of its cathedrals there. To see Old Russia, you might plan a trip to Suzdal, a city preserved as a museum of Russian architecture.

Entertainment No trip to Russia is complete without a visit to the theatre. Group bookings can be made as part of your schedule. If you are on your own, you can buy a ticket at one of the many ticket kiosks throughout the city - prices might be low but seats are not necessarily the best. You can order tickets through the theatre desk at your hotel, though prices might be more expensive than going through a booking agency - between US$60 and US$80 per ticket. You may also try to purchase a cancellation ticket by going to the theatre about an hour or less before the performance. Prices are in line with those at a booking agency. The most famous of Russian theatres is the Mariinsky Opera and Ballet Theatre (The Kirov).

More useful vocabulary:

The performance starting time
Nightlife For late evening entertainment, try one of the night clubs or restaurants, many featuring floorshows. You can find full information about Petersburg nightlife in the numerous advertising magazines to be found at our offices or at hotel reception desks.
Food and Drink A restaurant meal in Russia is an event to be enjoyed for the best part of an evening. You'll have the choice not only of Russian cuisine but Georgian, Armenian, Uzbek, to name just some. There are many international restaurants offering American, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Mexican menus, too. You can find information about restaurants and their addresses in advertising publications.
Tipping If a service charge is not already included in your restaurant bill, you might wish to leave the small change that is returned to you. Tips are not obligatory, but welcomed in Russia - from 5 per cent to 10 per cent of the total is normal.
Medical Care Medicines are available at pharmacies. Most are very cheap. If you need medical care, facilities are available at the American Medical Center: Serpukhovskaya Ulitsa 10, metro "Tekhnologichesky Institut". You can also contact a provider specified in your travel insurance policy.
Communications Most post offices are open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., with an hour's break for lunch. The Central Post Office (Glavpochtamt), Pochtamtskaya Ulitsa 9 is open round the clock. To mail abroad costs about US$1. You can usually place local telephone calls from your hotel room by dialing a single number for an outside line.
Souvenirs For Russian souvenirs, you might check the speciality shops. Among traditional Russian handicrafts are painted wooden dishes from the city of Khokhloma, exquisite lacquered boxes from Palekh and Mstyora. You might also want to buy linen, Gzhell porcelain dishes, "Matryoshki" painted wooden nested dolls, or even caviar and vodka.
Temperature Measures, Weather Temperature is measured in Centigrade in Russia. To calculate it from Fahrenheit, take the Fahrenheit reading, subtract 30 and divide by 2; or conversely take the Centigrade reading, multiply by 2, and add 30. Here are the average temperature ranges of the two main tourist centres:
St.Petersburg (-7,7C to 17,5 C) = 18,5 F to 63,5 F.
Moscow (-10,8C to 18,5 C) = 12,6 F to 65,3 F;

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Complete playbill of all St. Petersburg,Russia theatres, shows, concerts, etcComplete playbill of all St. Petersburg,Russia theatres, shows, concerts, etc. !
World-known music festival "The Stars of the White Nights". Artistic director - Valery Gergiev (Mariinky (Kirov) Opera and Ballet)World-known music festival "The Stars of the White Nights".
Artistic director - Valery Gergiev (Mariinky (Kirov) Opera and Ballet)

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