Religion and Ethnicities in Russia I

Religion and Ethnicities in Russia I

What to know about religions in Russia? In this article, we will talk a little about religion and ethnicities in Russia For example, there are things to know about the Russian Orthodox Church or to know about Islam in Russia; both religions are very different but interesting to learn.

What to know about religions in Russia

Something that surprises Western tourists, when the first time they enter an Orthodox church in Russia, the number of representations of saints or biblical passages seen on the walls. There are people who do not know that the Orthodox Church is very similar to the Catholic Church and they share many principles and rites. Another interesting point is a lot of temples you can see in one city and even in the same block.

The constitution declares the Russian Federation as a secular state, and also officially recognizes four main religions: The Orthodox Christian, The Muslim, The Buddhist, and Judaism.

The religions in Russia are linked to the Ethnic Groups as well. So generally, Orthodox are Slavs, Muslims are Tartars, Buddhists are Mongols. and the Jews are already an ethnic group.

Usually, in other countries when we ask someone’s nationality, we understand that their religion or ethnicity does not define this fact; but in Russia, this can be confusing. By asking someone if he or she is Russi an,he or she can respond;

No, I am Tartar, and one says again:

But you were born in Russia, right?

Yes, of course, in Kazan

So, are you Russian?

No, tartar

But, what is your nationality?

Ah, I have a Russian passport.

And the Russians in the eyes of the inhabitants are one more ethnic group. For centuries the cultures at the level of the people kept them differentiated; contrary to the Russian nobility, the people were not commonly mixed among other nations or cultures.

Religion and Ethnicities in Russia II

Religion and Ethnicity in Russia II

What to know about religions in Russia, many people are interested in this particular topic; therefore, we have prepared the following article; which speaks in part about Judaism in Russia or about Buddhism in Russia and more.

What to know about religions in Russia:

On Judaism in Russia

The records of the first Jews in the areas of current Russia date back to 11th and 12th centuries in the area of ​​Kiev (former capital of the Russian empire); previously Ukraine and Armenia had already arrived in Georgia.

It is not until the sixteenth century when the mass expulsions of the Hebrew people in England, France and Spain made them emigrate to countries of Eastern Europe, Poland, Lithuania and Hungary, opening their territories to this ethnic group.

The Jewish Class by the end of the eighteenth century during the reign of Catherine the Great had acquired economic power as a middle class. So The Empress creates a “Settlement Zone”. To restrict your operations and trade. By the beginning of the 20th century this zone was basically eliminated by the First World War and the persecution that the Germans did; then part of these settlements are mobilized during the Soviet era to the Caucasus; But taxes are imposed on education. During the Soviet era this zone also divides and part of it becomes part of Poland.

Among the places of Jewish subjects to visit in Russia are: The Jewish Museum and of Tolerance of Moscow; The Choral synagogue of Moscow; Built in the 19th century by Alexander II, it is currently the main Hebrew temple in Russia; also in the capital you can see those of Maryina Rosha and that of Bronnaya Moscow Synagogue. It is special to mention the St. Petersburg Coral Synagogue of a beautiful architecture built between 1880 and 1888.

Sobre el Judaismo en Rusia; Que saber sobre las religiones en Rusia

About Buddhism in Russia

The branch that is practiced in Russia is Mongolian Buddhism itself, is generated from Tibetan Buddhism, This ethnic group reached the eastern sides of Lake Baikal in the seventeenth century. It is interesting to see how in all the Siberian zone beautiful Buddhist temples are found where the visitors are received with great humility.

In Ivolguinski Datsan is located the capital of Russian Buddhism; Getting to this area can be a unique experience to see the sanctuary of the twelfth Khambo Lama, who died in 1957 and by explicit order asked that his body was exhumed at thirty years, the first time it was seen that the body was not only intact if not the limbs retained their mobility, this was continued every thirty years and the body remained the same. Currently a beautiful central temple where his remains rest is the core of the complex in the region.

The tourist is surprised to see people who often describe as “Chinese” and who are really from Russia who speak simply Russian, these are of Mongol origin or the Mongol area belonging to Russia.

Sobre el Budismo en Rusia

The Soviet Era

The great persecutor of religions was as it is known worldwide, Iosif Stalin; imprisoned or sent to the labor camps (GULAG) the majority of priests; He starved and deported millions of Jews and mobilized the Tartars and killed these and the Buddhists equally. But paradoxically it is said that inside the Dormition Cathedral in The Moscow Kremlin; In mid-October 1941 Stalin sent a mass to request that the city was not taken by the Nazis. Also during the Second World War he sent the priests he had captured to the front of the battle to bless the soldiers. They also say that by superstition he never ordered St. Basil to be overthrown; but the truth is that Lenin himself had ordered to restore it.

Other religious places to visit

Temple of all religions:

In Kazan is located the temple of all religions, although in reality it is not an active temple; rather a structure created for the rehabilitation of people with addictions; It is worth being visited as it is a landmark of the city of Kazan.

The Cathedrals of all the Russian Kremlin:

Actually the word Kremlin means strength and in the historical cities of Russia there was always one; Within these sites there were of course churches that are usually quite old and have very interesting stories. If we start that in the Moscow Kremlin there are 5 cathedrals; the most important is the Dormition; that it was from the 15th century until the 19th century the main church of Orthodox Christianity, the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael of Nizhny Novgorod; where the remains of Kuzma Minin are, he was liberator of Russia in 1612 of the Polish_Lithuana invasion jointly with Dmitry Pozharsky.

It is also important to highlight the monasteries fortresses such as: Novodievichy in Moscow, Solovetsky Monastery; on the white sea, The Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg; or the Island of Sviyazhsk in Kazan.

The Church of the Immaculate Conception of Moscow:

If you are in the capital, we recommend going through the most important Catholic temple in the city; It is neo-Gothic style at the beginning of the 20th century, it is a beautiful point to see

The Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord (Cathedral of the Armenian Church):

Armenia has its own way of professing Christianity; It is not common to see an Armenian Church like that, if it is in Moscow; It is also interesting to visit a temple of this style. From an ex-Soviet republic like the beautiful Armenia.

These are some of the points to mention because the list is extensive and loaded with a lot of history. Russia is a unique place to discover a meeting of cultures and religions where the East and the West mingle, live together and differ at the same time.

What to know about religions in Russia and other topics that may interest you with Free Tour Russia You will know it, Contact us for more information. We offer guided excursion services in English.

Moscow Metro History

Visit Moscow Metro

What to see in the Moscow metro, one of the most emblematic places in the capital. Visiting the Moscow metro is ideal during a guided tour to delight your eyes on its structure while you know its history. Knowing the Moscow metro has never been better.

Explore the Moscow metro

Moscow Metro History

If you plan to visit the Moscow metro, you should know its history: the Moscow metro carries up to 55-60% of all passenger traffic within the city. Historically, it became the first in the USSR, and remains the largest in the post-soviet space. On a global scale, the metro of 3 cities – Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing – is being used with greater intensity.
Moscow metro began its history from May 15, 1935, when it was opened for public use, although test trips were carried out from the beginning of the first train in October 1934 the first station built on a large scale.

The first line was only 11.6 km long, connecting 13 stations, among which there were 12 trains for 4 cars. From  Sokolniki to Okhotny station was a line, which then branched into two: Park of Culture and Smolenskaya

Beginnings of the Moscow metro

Initially, Moscow metro was named LM Kaganovich, who in 1931 presented a report in the Plenary of the Central Committee of the CPSU on the need to build the subway. But since 1955 it was renamed, and until now is Moscow metro.

During the Second World War the subway was used as a shelter for bombs. But as soon as the incursions of German aviation ceased; the subway began not only to restore but to continue building. New metro lines were carried out even during the war years; since there are commemorative plaques in 7 stations.
Postwar stations were also built with the possibility not only of turning them into an air raid shelter but in the case of a nuclear, bacteriological or chemical attack. So there were stations of high depth. However, the sealed doors are equipped at the exits of all stations and tunnels, everywhere there are diesel power plants and ventilation shafts with filters.

Now the metro has 12 metro lines, the number of stations has reached 192, there are 27 exchange nodes. Only 10 stations are on land and 5 on the ground (on bridges and overpasses), the rest is underground. The total length has already exceeded 320.9 km. Each day around 8-9 million passengers are transported. Like the rest of the transport network, the subway also has a radial ring structure. In addition to the classic subway lines, Moscow has landlines, light subway lines and a monorail of land.

What to see in the Moscow metro today

There are tickets for individual trips and more profitable reusable travel cards, there are tickets for 90 minutes. Individual tickets are suitable for all public transportation in the city.

The Moscow metro is not only a convenient and accessible component of the transport system; but also an architectural monument. Many stations are assigned with rich decoration, so there you can see examples of architecture and art belonging to the era of socialist realism. 44 stations are among the objects of cultural heritage.

In the plans of the Moscow, the government is to open 64 new stations before 2020.

Development of the Moscow metro for years

Schemes in the Moscow metro has undergone many changes, reflecting not only the relative position of the lines, but especially the fashion and design inherent in different periods of our history.

The first line scheme

The scheme is taken from the Trud editorial brochure in 1935. In the lobbies hang other schemes, which can be seen in some photos from the 1930s.

Unfortunately, it was not possible to determine exactly how to look at the general cargo scheme during the period 1937-1953.

In 1954, such the black and white diagrams were in the wagons.

Metro map 1954

Subsequently, the design of the scheme changed very slightly. The changes referred only to the launch of new sites. In 1958, the lines of the diagrams are shown in different colors. That color solution is kept unchanged to this day. All cities the meters of the former USSR, the first line is indicated by a red color, the second – blue (sometimes green), and third, accordingly, in green or blue.

Metro map 1964
Moscow metro map 1967

Cardinally the design of the scheme changes at the beginning of the 70 years. The smooth curves of the lines disappear in the past. Now in fashion, simplicity, clarity and speed. the circular line for the first time interpreted a perfect circle, and the radius – the straight lines. The image of the subway logo – the stylized letter “M” – has also changed. If the 70-year-old scheme still buffs for Violet metro line, at the end of the decade, all lines are represented by straight lines with no angles and sprains.

Metro map 1978
Metro map 1970

Since 1979, a new outline of lines appears in the carriages. Now the annular line represents two semicircles connected by vertical straight lines. The lines become softer again.

The stations in the peripheral part of the city are now being drawn near it.
This solution has allowed to increase the size and describe more clearly the central part of the circuit where the topology of the network is more complicated.

At the same time there and the current logo of the Moscow Metro – the stylized letter “M” in the red circle trimmed in blue, similar lining the tunnel contours.

Metro map 1979

However, this version of the scheme for a long time did not take root. And new scheme has appeared again. The circular line is drawn in a new circle on the right, and stations outside the central part are not pressed against each other. At the beginning, the line represented by dashed lines, but was later replaced by a more straightened one.

Metro map 1983
Metro map 1986

The extension of the Kaluga range in 1987, the design of the circuit has changed again. The Timiryazevsky and Lublin radios under construction appeared on the diagram. Now all the lines were directed strictly horizontally, vertically or at a 45 degree angle. The only exception – the line of the ring – has retained its mark in the form of a regular circle. Repeatedly changing the details; but keeping the basic principles of composition, the design up to September 2003.

Metro map 1987
Metro map 1998

In the most recent versions of this scheme, the construction works were eliminated, and all the names of the stations are duplicated in English.

Metro map 2002

Finally, in September 2003, a completely new design of the underground scheme was introduced.

In the scheme, which was known as “The scheme of the rapid transport lines of Moscow”, added light rail line in the south of Butovo and Solntsevo, monorail line from the station “Timiryazevskaya” to “Exhibition Center”. They show built areas Arbat-Pokrovskaya and Lublin-Dmitrov line. However, for some reason, it is not shown on the “mini-metro” line at MIBC Moscow-City and the southern extension of the Lublin radio.

The main task of the load scheme is to correctly transfer the topology of the network, instead of the scale. In this case, the scale distortion is a concession rather than justified in the name of the convenience of perception and ease of reading.

Metro map 200

The plan caused a lot of complaints from the passengers. The Muscovites complained that the labels are difficult to read; Due to the narrowness and the expressionless lines, it is not easy to understand the topology of the network, especially in the central part of the complex. The experiment was considered unsuccessful and at the end of 2003, a new variant of the wagon scheme was presented.
As of the previous version, the new scheme has inherited the name – “Driving of the rapid transport lines of Moscow,”. However, in general, there was a return to the traditions of the Moscow wagon schemes. The ring line is represented by a regular circle, the lines straighten and become thicker. Due to the increase in the central part of the scheme that has stopped being a large scale, but the section included between the stations in the peripheral part of the city on the left, which maintains similarity.

In addition, the diagram shows a line under construction of mini-metro, the line starts from the “Kievskaya”; although in reality the movement of mini-subway trains will be aligned with the line on the site Filevskaya “Alexandrovsky Garden” – “Kievskaya”.

Interesting design solutions for the future inclusion of the Filevskaya Arbat-Mantle of the Virgin online site. The points of the future interface are indicated by arrows.

Metro map 2003

However, the new scheme is not without deficiencies. The selected image style stations and, in particular, hubs; they make the scheme unnecessarily saturated; which causes irritation and “hurts the eyes.” It is not clear why it was necessary to renounce a successful decision; intuitive and quiet taken in a sample of 2001-2003 schemes.

What to see in the Moscow metro and other places of interest only with Free Tour Russia your excursion will be guaranteed and at the best price!

Metro circular line an accident or a myth

The secret of creation of the circular line in Moscow metro

It is said that during the development of the lines, in the first project of the Soviet era; Stalin (supreme commander of the communist party and president of the USSR) was looking for a way to make his project faster and more useful for people who wanted to use it; and they did not find how, first to remove pressure to the center of the city; to make changes to the lines, and second, that people could reach their destination faster.

The myth, or legend, is that Stalin at the time of the meeting held a cup of coffee and when leaving the room to take  a little break left on the table this cup of coffee that, being somewhat spilled, left marks on the table,giving rise to a circular line of brown color that crossed and connected with the rest of lines at two ends, thus the circular line of the Moscow metro was born. And until today this theory is maintained by its comic part and its realistic part.

What to know about Moscow metro

During the construction of Moscow metro, and although the government invested considerable amounts of money, the Soviet economy did not allow the proportional development that was needed for the project to take into consideration, for this reason those responsible for the construction of the metro had problems for its progress, one of them was cement, since it was not possible to finish some stretches of tunnels. To the point that one of the builders who had his own house rented rooms of this in exchange for cement for the construction of the metro.

His devotion was so great that he was doing everything possible to make his project move forward. That could be said to be love for his work, love for the metro.

This and many more with Free Tour Russia!!!

Kutafia tower in Moscow

Visit the Kutafia Tower in Moscow

What is Kutafia Tower in Moscow? Visiting the Kutafia Tower in Moscow is a chance to learn about the history of the Russian capital. Excursion in the Kutafia Tower in Moscow is ideal for you.

The main entrance of the Moscow Kremlin is through the Kutafia Tower. That construction is unique there is simply no other tower that is contiguous with the bridge. Its name “kutafya” (ancient word for the small and plump women) the tower received for being short (the height of the tower only 13.5 meters), with a broad structure and awkward appearance.

What to see in the Kutafia Tower in Moscow

The Kutafia Tower is the work of the Italian architect Aleviz Fryazin. But it is still not known exactly when the tower was erected, there are several versions. Most historians believe that the tower was built in the 15th century; At the same time, with the construction of the Moscow Kremlin, which began under the command of Prince Ivan III. Some researchers argue that the tower appeared later: at the beginning of the 16th century. But everyone agrees that Kutafia has become a defender of the bridge that crosses the Neglinnaya River and heads towards the Trinity Gates of the Kremlin.

At that time to enter Kutafya tower could be only through the side entrances; everywhere it was surrounded by a very deep well. With the bridge of Troitsky, the tower was connected to the narrow path by which the Kremlin could come new troops to support the defenders of the fortress. In Kutafya, the guards constantly, even in times of peace, go to the Kremlin only after meticulous control: they went down the special ditch of the wooden bridge.

When in the neighborhood of Moscow the guards or residents saw the enemies, the temporary bridge that led to the Kutafia Tower had to be burned down and the doors were closed. So the watchtower in a few minutes became an impregnable fortress. The structure of the construction was such that the archers, which were at the time of the alarm anywhere in the fortress, could climb in a matter of minutes to the upper level, from which it was convenient to shoot. At the lowest level, there were also comfortable chinks, which allowed firing backward within 180 °.

The Tower of Kutafia has been rebuilt many times during its long history. In the year 1685, its wooden roof and the teeth of two horns supporting it were completely dismantled and replaced by the arcade. The moat sometime surrounded the fortress, also disappeared. Already in the early twentieth century, the road near the tower rose almost for two meters, so it gets through the entrance of the tower.

Excursion in the Kutafia Tower in Moscow

Today, the Kutafya Tower is not a formidable guard of the Kremlin, but its good “friend” who lets in every person who wants to see the Kremlin. Most tourists come to the Kremlin territory through this tower, without even guessing its heroic past.

If you want to book an Excursion in the Kutafia Tower in Moscow accompanied by our expert guide and other places in Moscow, visit our website Free Tour Russia Moscow

Legends of Hermitage

Conocer el Hermitage en San Petersburgo; Visitar el Hermitage en San Petersburgo; Que ver en el Hermitage en San Petersburgo

Visit the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg

The Hermitage is the largest museum in Russia and has one of the largest art collections in the world. Moreover, the museum complex is located in five buildings. To see all its attractions and not get lost in the endless halls of the palace, we recommend you book a guided tour with Free Tour Russia

What to see at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg:

The Hermitage is full of treasures. Among the many paintings and historical objects, the museum keeps its secrets and myths

The bloodthirsty goddess Sekhmet

One of the most sinister exhibits of the Hermitage is the statue of the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet. They say that once a year, on a full moon on the knees of the figure, a bloody puddle appears. Only the guard of the museum can see it in the morning when the liquid normally dries up. According to another version, the puddle does not appear every year, but only on the eve of major problems and disorders. In general, Sekhmet, the goddess of blood and severity, patronized the war and the scorching sun. According to the myth, she wanted to destroy the human race, but other gods prevented her. They poured the red wine, which Sekhmet took for blood and began to drink it avidly, after which she became intoxicated and fell asleep.

Revived Mummy

In the Egyptian room of the Hermitage, there is a mummy of the Pas-de-Ist priest, a unique exposed object, which is more than three thousand years old. In 2004, an administrator said that the mummy comes alive. According to her, the mummy’s muscle suddenly began to contract in the priest’s left shoulder, and then a growth the size of a walnut appeared. A few days later the growth disappeared, and the mummy has not moved again.




The mystery of the Peacock watch

The clock “Peacock” is one of the most famous masterpieces of the Hermitage, thousands of tourists from around the world come to see it. In the year 1777, Prince Grigory Potemkin bought the watch to make a gift for Empress Catherine II. But the surprise was not successful: the watch suffered serious damage during the transport and arrived at the palace in an inoperative condition. The prince ordered the reconstruction of the clock to the ingenious Russian master Ivan Kulibin. Ivan dismantled the clock, understood its device, repaired it and put it back together, adding some details. The animated “Peacock” made a furor in the court. When the watch was winding up, the bird stretched its tail, turned its back on the audience, stood still for a moment and returned to its original position. According to one version, with this gesture, Kulibin wanted to express his attitude towards the ruling house.

Underground passages under the Hermitage

According to legend, under the Hermitage, there are many underground passages that connect the palace with other places. It is believed that one of them goes to the mansion of Matilda Kshesinskaya, the dancer of the Mariinsky Theater, known for her romantic relations with men of the royal family. Another secret passage begins behind the throne in the Small Throne Room and connects the Hermitage with the General Staff. According to legend, before death, each emperor saw the shadow of his predecessor, emerging from behind the throne.

“Niki is looking at the hussar”

This story is quite real, but still incredible. Despite the revolution, the Civil War and the terrible blockade of St. Petersburg during World War II, several windows with prerevolutionary glasses survived at the Winter Palace. In one of them, next to the Malachite room, there is an inscription: “Niki is looking at the hussar”. It was made by the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, involving Emperor Nicholas II. The “graffiti”  is quite hard to see, it is written quite high in the window and is covered by a curtain.



The ghost of the Emperor

The citizens of Petersburg like to tell stories about ghosts who live in almost every palace in the city. The Hermitage usually meet with members of the royal family, the most often you can see the Emperor Nicholas I. The hazy figure appears only at night and clearly does not want communication with “the lower class people”. However, it is not necessary for the Imperator to speak: the spirit of Nicolas I is recognized for his military and uniform bearing with epaulets. There are also stories about characters from different paintings that seem to be in our reality and are looking for a way back.

Would you like to hear some other interesting stories about hermitage and Saint Petersburg? Visit us on Free Tour Russia Saint Petersburg and choose your tour with us.

History of the city: from Tvangaste to Kaliningrad

Get to know Kaliningrad – History of the city: from Tvangaste to Kaliningrad

What to see in Kaliningrad, one of the ancient cities of Russia. Seeing Kaliningrad is a good opportunity to know about its history and how it came to be what it is today. Visiting Kaliningrad is ideal for you.

If you are going to visit Kaliningrad you should explore

Time of Tvansgaste

Before the arrival of the Knights of the Teutonic Order in Sambia; on the site of modern Kaliningrad, there was a Prussian fortress of Tuvangste (Twangste, Twangeste). The story left no reliable information about the foundation of Twangste and the descriptions of the fort itself. According to legend, the Twangste fortress was founded by Prince Zamo in the middle of the 6th century.

Time of Königsberg

The Tvangaste fortress was conquered and burned at the beginning of the year 1255. In the same year the fortress of Königsberg was founded by King Otakar II of Bohemia.

There are several versions of the origin of the name Köenigsberg. The most common version is connected to the name of the Koenigsberg fortress, with the name of King Otakar II. According to her, the fortress and the future city were named after the King of Bohemia. Other versions of the origin of the place name connect it with Vikings or Prussians. Maybe “Koenigsberg” is a form of “Konungberg”, where “king”, “cunnigs” – “prince”, “leader”, “head of the clan”, and the word “berg” High shore “. In the Russian chronicles and maps until the end of the 17th century; instead of the name Koenigsberg, the toponim Korolevets was used.

Since the sixteenth century the city has become an important center of Lithuanian culture; The first book in Lithuanian was published here, and the important figures of Lithuanian culture used to live: Martynas Mazhvidas, Kristiyonas Donelaitis, Ludvikas Reza and others lived here.

The “triple” city (Altstadt, Löbenicht and Kneiphof), which was actually a city, but consisted of three administratively independent parts (each of the three cities had its own town hall, its burgomaster, its own court, etc.).

In the year 1724, three cities, numerous towns, villages and suburbs, as well as a castle that before had not been part of any of the cities, but had a special status of government residence, were merged into the city of Koenigsberg.

During the same year in Koenigsberg, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was born, the most famous native of the city in its entire history.

In 1919, Königsberg opened the first airport in Germany and one of the first airports in Europe and the world. In 1922 the air service begins between Königsberg-Riga-Moscow.

After the rise of the Nazis during the “Night of the Crystals” in Königsberg, the New Synagogue was destroyed, built in the years 1894 – 1896.

Before the end of World War II; in August 1944 the city of Königsberg was badly damaged by British bombers during “Operation Nemesis”. It has bombed mainly the center of the city, where there was virtually no military installation. Many civilians were killed, the old city and the most important historical monuments were burned. Later, the city was assaulted by Soviet troops.


Soviet era

The assault of the city of Koenigsberg by the Soviet troops in the course of the Eastern Prussian operation began on April 6, 1945.

The most ferocious battles took place in the strong number 5 “King Frederick William III”; That kept the rights to the northwest of the city. During the assault of the Red Army under the command of Marshal Vasilevsky it was for the first time the tactics of infantry of attack before the discharge of artillery; Avoiding enemy fire in the approach to reinforce the garrison by surprise and capture the fortifications. On April 9, 1945, in the “Der Don” tower; where the Amber Museum is currently located; The red flag was raised, which marked the end of the German history of the city.

By the decision of the Potsdam Conference of 1945, the northern part of the German province of East Prussia, together with its capital Koenigsberg, moved to the Soviet Union. Later, when signing with the frontiers, the Koenigsberg region was fully recognized as the possessions of the Soviet Union.

On July 4, 1946, after the death of the Bolshevik revolutionary and Soviet politician Kalinin, in his honor the city of Königsberg by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR was renamed Kaliningrad, although Kalinin had no city

After the war, the city began to be populated at a rapid pace, production was restored. But the city had a half-closed state in a relationship with the strategic situation and the abundance of troops. For foreigners, however, the city was completely closed, an exception to the friendly visits of neighboring Poland, almost never a visit by foreigners.

The authorities do not pay attention to the heritage of the German culture. The old city was not restored, and the ruins of the castles were demolished in the last 60 years, despite the protests of the architects, historians.

Kaliningrad in the Soviet era
Kaliningrad in the Soviet era

What to see in Kaliningrad today

Major changes begin in the decade of the 90s; The collapse of the Soviet Union gave the beginning of a new stage in the development of the Kaliningrad region. In October of 1996; Elections were held for the mayor of the city and then for the governor of the Kaliningrad region.

Since 1991, the city has been opened for international cooperation with foreign countries; mainly with Germany and Poland, in the direction of business, culture and education.

Kaliningrad today
Kaliningrad today


What to see in Kaliningrad and other sites of interest only with Free Tour Russia, You will see each place in the best way !!!

History of the Moscow Kremlin

Get to know the Moscow Kremlin

What to visit in the Moscow Kremlin, one of the most emblematic places of the capital. Seeing the Moscow Kremlin is necessary if you are visiting the city. How to take an excursion in the Moscow Kremlin; With our tour services in English we guarantee your visit to this and other places.

History of the Moscow Kremlin

In the distant past, the first settlement of the future Moscow appeared at the place where the Neglinaya River flowed on the Moscow river at the Cape of Borovitsky. In the year 1147, Prince Yuri Dolgoruky threw his party here. This mention of chronicle entered history as the founding year of the capital of Russia.

Already at that time the settlement was surrounded by a wall and wooden walls. This place, Yuri Dolgoruky in the year 1156, is established the fortress, which became the famous Moscow Kremlin.

In those days the fires in Moscow were very frequent. In the year 1337, almost the entire city of Moscow burned, for this reason since 1340 the Kremlin was surrounded by new oak walls.

The next fire of 1354 destroyed the Kremlin again. The same problem happened in 10 years. The rulers of the city urgently needed a solution to this problem.

Dmitry Ivanovich decides to surround the Kremlin with stone fortifications. Works begin on the delivery of limestone, and since 1368 in a city the white walls made of stone rise.

The modern vision of the Kremlin was formed in the years 1485-1495 by the initiative of Ivan III. A large number of the best architects from all of Russia participated in the construction. Italian architects also worked in the construction of the walls and towers of the fortress in the field of the construction of defensive structures in the city. The Italians in those times built Moscow everywhere; but even so the original Russian designs were not thrown away, the foreign influence was nothing.

The first tower of the Kremlin, Taynitskaya Tower was built in the year 1485 by Anton Fryazin. The secret passages to the river and a well had been constructed here, which provided the defenders of the fort with water.

In the year 1487 the southeast corner was occupied by the round tower of Beklemishevskaya built by Marco Fryazin. A little later, all the other towers of the Kremlin were built.

What to visit in the Moscow Kremlin:

Clock of the Spasskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin

People will appreciate the main gate of the Frolovskaya tower. Through which horses and people did not pass with their heads covered. Later, the Frolovskaya tower was renamed to Spasskaya due to the icons of the spas of Smolensk and El Salvador that were placed here. According to the documents, the main clock of the state appeared in this tower in the year 1491.

The year 1625: the clock was replaced by a new one.

Another update of the clock was carried out under Peter I. With the transition to a single daily account of the time in the Spasskaya tower were placed the Dutch clocks with 12 divisions. But this clock after the fire of 1737 had to be removed from the position of honor.

The clock that we see in the tower was established in 1852 by the Butenop brothers.

The stars of the Moscow Kremlin

In 1935, on top of the Spasskaya, Nikolskaya, Borovitskaya and Troitskaya towers, stainless steel stars lined with red gold-plated brass were installed. In the center of the stars there was an emblem of two meters of a sickle and a hammer; adorned with precious stones. To install the stars they had to rebuild a small tower. Anyway, for two years, the stones of the stars vanished, and in 1937 the government decided to install ruby stars.

It is what we can admire at the top of the towers today

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What to see in the Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg

Guided tour of the Hermitage Museum

The Hermitage Art Collection, which is exhibited in the halls of the Winter Palace, is amazing and requires a lot of effort to get to know at least its outstanding specimens. Free Tour Russia offer you a guided tour of the Hermitage museum to walk through the exhibits halls and listen to exciting stories about the Russian emperors, about the history of the museum, about great Russian patrons and art collectors, about the past and present of the museum and the whole country, which are so tightly intertwined with each other.

The History of the Hermitage museum

The Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg is the largest and best-known museum in Russia and one of the greatest art museum in the world. The museum begins its history in the year 1764 from the private collection of Catherine the Great. The museum itself was opened for public visits in 1852 in a building specially built for this purpose, the New Hermitage. Today the main part of the exhibition occupies five buildings located along the Neva embankment plus some branches located in the historical part of the city.

The beginning of the history of the Hermitage

The history of the collection of the State Hermitage has its roots officially with the reign of Catherine II. But his great predecessor, Peter the Great, also contributed off the creation of the museum. During his reign, a large number of exhibits appeared in the private imperial collection. For example, the famous “Scythian gold”: precious jewelry in the form of animals, stored in the golden pantry. The jewels were bought by Prince Gagarin for Peter’s Siberian collection.

Until the reign of Catherine, the replacement of the imperial assembly was almost non-existent or happened by chance. A vivid example is the “Mughal Gold” collection. In the middle of the 18th century, the Shah of Iran conquered the Mughal empire; that was in the territory of India. With the embassy, he sent gold jewelry and other jewels decorated with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires to Russian Queen Ana Ioannovna. The gifts were delivered to St. Petersburg by elephants. However, the gifts were already received by Empress Elizaveta Petrovna; who ascended to the throne as a result of the takeover. The gifts were accepted and forgotten; They were transferred to the Hermitage after the revolution. At the end of the twentieth century, it turned out that there were almost no Mogul treasures in Iran, and the largest jewelry collection of its time is found in Russia.

Hermitage after the Cathrine the Great

The most important period in the history of the museum is inextricably linked with the name of Catherine the Great, who is rightly called its founder. According to the order of the Empress was built an extension to the Winter Palace, where her first collection was placed

During the reign of Catherine the Great the collection was replenished with paintings by Titian, Rubens, Raphael and other great masters of arts, and the only sculpture of Miguel Angelo in Russia was bought “crouching boy”. In addition to the many paintings, Hermitage has obtained to its collection more than 10,000 coins and medals, more than 10,000 drawings and books.

Paul I, Cathrine´s son, continued to collect art, mainly from Italy. However, he ordered to put the letter “P” to all the images in his collection. Thanks to that, the scientists were able to determine exactly which canvases entered the Hermitage before the beginning of the 19th century.

With the reign of Alexander I, the collection was divided into several parts, with each of them a guardian appeared. In the time of Alexander I, the collection of the Hermitage was complemented with Spanish and English paintings. But the most valuable acquisitions are connected to the central episode of his reign: the War of 1812. Like many members of the French nobility, the Countess of Beauharnais, Napoleon Bonaparte’s first wife, was concerned about the preservation of privileges after the victory of the Russian army. She decided to give Alexander I a gift, which he refused to accept for a long time, but Josephine insisted. Therefore, the famous “Gonzaga Cameo” came to the Hermitage collection.

Nicolas I, interested in military matters, left after his reign 600 paintings depicting battle scenes. He also established the famous War Gallery of the War of 1812, in the year 1826.  Thanks to Nicolás I, the New Hermitage appeared, and the set of existing buildings was reconstructed.

And in the year 1852, the museum was first opened to visitors under the name of “Imperial Hermitage”. The next half century his collection was replaced with varying degrees of intensity. One of the famous acquisitions of that time was the “Virgin of Benois” by Leonardo da Vinci, bought in 1914.

Hermitage in the 20th century

The history of the museum in the 20th century resembles a history of dramatic and action detectives, among whose heroes are the museum staff, the Soviet authorities and the Russian army. In the revolutionary period, the Hermitage collection was not surprisingly damaged. Serious leaks began in the first years of Soviet power.

In the early 20s of the twentieth century, the collection was replaced thanks to nationalized private collections. But in general the goal of the Soviet government was to sell the exhibits to the west, and obviously, the museum employees wanted to keep them as it could be possible.

Thanks to the staff of the Hermitage, during the periods of greater “sale” of the collections of the Hermitage, lost the minimum number of the most valuable exhibitions. But the payment of this was very hard. In different years, more than fifty employees of the museum were repressed.

During the Great Patriotic War, the collection was evacuated to the Ural region, but the museum buildings suffered considerably. The damage inflicted on them is indicated by the list of construction materials needed for the restoration. It included 100 tons of cement, more than 60 tons of plaster, 30 kilometers of fabrics, etc.

After the war, Hermitage started working at the fastest pace. The museum was preparing to receive captured works of art, which were exported in large quantities from Germany. Hitler was going to open the museum, collecting all the best he could in Europe. At the time of the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the museum was preparing for the inauguration. By accident, his future director was arrested and reported on the whereabouts of the warehouses. The works of art were exported from Germany in trucks and trains to Russia.

The Hermitage Museum complex 

Winter Palace

The residence of the Russian emperors built according to the project of the architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The works of the construction of the palace were begun at the time of the reign of Elizabeth Petrovna and were completed in the reign of Peter III in the year 1762.

Small Hermitage

The palace was built during the reign of Catherine II

Big Hermitage (or old)

The palace built by the architect Felten in the year 1787 to store the replenished collection of Catherine II.

The Hermitage Theather

It was built by the decree of Catherine II by the architect Giacomo Kvarnegi to show spectacles and celebrate masquerades.

The New Hermitage

The building was built under the order of Nicholas I by the architect Leo von Klenze especially to show the exhibits of the imperial collection.

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Metro 2 Moscow

Know the Metro 2 Moscow

This scouring meter before the sight of all is something more than a mystery; Many people have tried to find it, but with little success.
Of the most outstanding attempts is, an expedition in 1989, before the fall of the Soviet Union; when a group of young people proposed to enter and find this subway system for private use for the government, this cost them several years in prison for entry to private access to public property; but the group found an abandoned station that was in disuse, which encouraged the legend of Metro 2.

Only now do they allow access to some of the places that were then closed; but its existence remains a secret, which the government neither denies nor denies.

What to see at The Hermitage museum. The cats of the Hermitage

What to see at The Hermitage museum. The cats of the Hermitage

What to see in the Hermitage museum, a place of great history and majestic art collections? Yet, there is still something more. The cats of the Hermitage is one more reason to visit the museum.

The most famous Hermitage museum in Russia located in the heart of Saint Petersburg. You can spend days in its rooms and still come out wanting more. However, not everyone knows that the Hermitage museum has another special attraction: the Hermitage cats or “hermi-cats” how they are called here.

Probably, on a sunny day, you can meet them lying and relaxing in the museum square.  These cats are the guards of the largest and most important museum in Russia. Thanks to the Hemricats, the museum has not been suffering from rat attacks for the last three centuries.

In general for Hermitage museum “work” more than 60 cats. Each one has its own collar and a name. Giving the name to each cat was not that easy. Initially, the cats received the names of famous artists and sculptors from the museum collection. Then they have got the names of the countries of the world, then the nicknames of the American states and so on.

Touring the Hermitage of St. Petersburg: the history of cats

There have been cats in the Hermitage museum ever since the days of the Elizabeth Petrovna. The Empress personally signed the “Decree on the expulsion to the court cats”, prescribing “to find the best and greatest cats in the city of Kazan, suitable for the capture of mice, send them to St. Petersburg to the court of His Imperial Majesty “.

In the time of Cathrine the Great, the cats called “zimnedvorskimi” (the cats of the winter palace), and here each individual received the appropriate rank and “position in society”. First of all, top-ranking cats were “room cats”. Those were always well fed, cared for, slept in wooden baskets. Their function was to serve as an additional decoration of the imperial palace.

Another, who did not deserve such privileges were “courtiers.” These cats resided in the basements and courtyards of the Winter Palace and protected it from all types of rodents. However, it is important to note that the Hermitage museum cats lived with total freedom and took great care of them.

Unfortunately, during the blockade in The WWII, all the Hermitage cats did not survive. The city was full of rats.

Immediately after the liberation of the city, the cats from other regions of Russia were sent to Leningrad.

Hermitage Cat Day

In May, the State Hermitage museum celebrates The Day of the Hermitage cat. Always on this day, museum visitors can see the basements of the Winter Palace, where the cats live. Children participate in educational games in the museum’s halls.

No doubt cats have always played a big role in the history of the city. you can even see several monuments to cats. And of course, you can admire the fluffy creatures in the courtyards and parks of the city

Que ver en el Hermitage de San Petersburgo Recorrer el Hermitage de San Petersburgo  


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Alexander Garden Moscow

Alexander Garden Moscow, what to see there.

What to see in Alexander Garden in Moscow, one of the most emblematic places in the city. Alexander Garden, probably, is an ideal place for guided excursions. Free Tours Russia offers you the best excursion services in English.

Certainly, Alexander Gardens is an oasis in the center of Moscow. It is located just next to the Moscow Kremlin. The approximate area of the garden is 10 hectares. The closest subway station bears the same name “Aleksandrovsky sad”.

The history of Alexandr Garden in Moscow

Alexander Garden was created according to the order of the Russian Emperor Alexander II during the restoration of the city after the war with Napoleon in 1812.

At first, the garden had a name Kremlevsky. It took 3 years to finish it, from 1819 to 1822. Earlier river Neglinnaya flowed through the garden. According to the project of the architect Osip Bove, the river was hidden to the pipes underground.

Afterward, in 1856 the garden changed the name and from that year became Alexandr (Alexadrovsky) Garden

The gardens consist of three parts:

First, the upper garden is 350 meters long and located between  Arsenalnaya Tower and Kutafia tower.

Then, the medium garden is 383 meters places between the Troitskaya and Borovitskaya towers.

Finally, the lower garden is 132 meters and extends to the Kremlin waterfront

What to see in Alexander Garden: points of interest

Arriving at the gardens from the main entrance you will see the main doors made of cast iron. Through these doors, you enter the upper garden. The design of the main doors with the symbol of the Patriotic War was created by the architect Pascal. The garden has three alleys of blue and lilac firs, acacia and jasmine, amazing flower beds and a preserved oak of two hundred years old.

In the middle part of the upper garden located an artificially destroyed grotto, built under the Tower of the middle arsenal. In front of the grotto, there is a monument with a list of communist philosophers and politicians, personally approved by Lenin.

The monument replaced the original one, built in honor of the 300th anniversary of the reign of the Romanovs in 1914. The northern part of the garden is connected to a large underground shopping complex on Manezhnaya Square.

Walk through Alexander Garden in Moscow

The main attraction of the garden is the grave of the Unknown Soldier with the eternal flame. In 1997, the guard, who used to be at the Lenin’s Mausoleum, now is in the same way at the Grave. The guards are soldiers of the presidential regiment that are in the post every day from 08.00 to 20.00.


The eternal fire

Alexander Garden of Moscow – Manege

Spanish architecture Augustine de Betancourt was a designer of Moscow Manege. But it was erected in neoclassical style by architect Joseph Bove in 1825.

At first, the offices of the military academy used it for training to ride. From the middle of XIX the century, it was an exhibition venue. In the Soviet time, it was a home for an art gallery.

On March 14, 2004, the day of the reelection of President Putin; the building caught fire. As a result, the wooden structure was destroyed.

However, a year after, the Manege opened its doors for visitors again.

The Alexander Garden and Manege, as a part of it, are the popular places for walking among citizens and guests of the capital

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The Panoramic Museum of the Battle of Borodino

Visit the Panoramic Museum of the Battle of Borodino: main information

Visit the Panoramic Museum of the Battle of Borodino, one of the great museums of Moscow. Getting to know the Panoramic Museum of the Battle of Borodino is ideal for a guided tour. Tour the Panoramic Museum of the Battle of Borodino only with Free Tours Russia who offers you the best tour services in Spanish.

Tour the Panoramic Museum of the Battle of Borodino

The Panoramic Museum of the Battle of Borodino is located in the vicinity of the Parque de la Victoria, on the opposite side of the subway street of the city. This place now includes several departments and has three exhibitions. Here it is given place to the exhibition of the facts happened during the Patriotic War of 1812. As well as of the General Battle in the town of Borodino. In the “Kutusov Hut”, visitors can find details about the military council of the Russian generals, which happened in the Fili Village on September 13, 1812. This is the “Museum of the Heroes of the Soviet Union and Russia” ” Which, is dedicated to the deep traditions of Russian heroism. It is made up of collections has a long and hectic history. It is the ideal museum to know Russian history, especially 1812 in Russia.

Get to know the Panoramic Museum of the Battle of Borodino: history

If you plan to visit the Panoramic Museum of the Battle of Borodino, you should know that during the 19th century, a wooden building was built, where before it was the “Martial Council of Izba”, through which the museum was opened. This place was called “Kutuzovskaya Hut”, and it offered exhibitions about the Patriotic War of 1812, the Military Council in Fili and also about the Sovereign Prince M.I Kutuzov.

In 2006, it became a non-profit cultural institution, and included the full Cavaliers of the Order of Glory. After several years, the Moscow municipality decided to build a new building for the “Heroes of the Museum” and transfer it to the management of the “Borodino Battle” Panoramic Museum.

In front of the entrance, as it should be, there is a monument to Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov, and to be precise Golenishchev-Kutuzov-Smolensky. The last prefix to his name that he received just after the war in 1812 in Russia.

The museum has many paintings about the events of the War of 1812, which provide a special interest. Here is written the life, battles and real events that happened in the history of our country.

For example, the painting of “The feat of the soldiers Raevsky of Saltanovka”, describes the moment when the French troops occupied Mogilev, blocking the way of the Second Army to join the army of Barclay de Tolly. When Bagration sent Lieutenant General Rayevsky’s 7th Infantry Corps to the city. The general personally led one of the attacks, taking with him his children, who were 10 and 16 years old, inspired by their own example of soldiers under the strong fire of the cards.

Another picture is of the Most Serene Prince Mikhail Illarionovich Golenishchev-Kutuzov-Smolensky. In August of 1812 in Russia, the commander-in-chief of the Russian army, would unite all the forces to give a decisive battle, besides eliminating the friction within the structure of command between Bagration and Barclay de Tolly. The first pleaded for the active actions of the army, the second led a line of withdrawal and this time between them there were constant confrontations.

On the other hand, why did Kutuzov have the honor of leading the army? This site tells you. Kutuzov was one of the most experienced generals of the time, who participated in the wars against Turkey and in Catherine and Alexander I. In the war of the window they indicate that the yatagán was used as Turkish jenízaras arms and the Cross for the capture of Ismael , the fortress that was considered impregnable. They are on the left side of the store window. Kutuzov fought under the command of P.A. Rumyantsev and A.V. Suvorov, he was well educated. He graduated from the noble artillery engineering school and there he shows the type of tools he used to carry out his studies (it is believed that they belonged to him).

Know Russian history

There is a place called “The Little Gallery”. Here is a group of military portraits, which is located in the Hermitage of St. Petersburg.

There is a place called “The Little Gallery”. Here is a group of military portraits, which is located in the Hermitage of St. Petersburg.

The following exhibition is dedicated to the families of the troops of the Russian and French armies of the time. The soldiers of our army are shown on the left and the French on the right.

Know Russian history

The cuirassier is a mounted soldier, wearing a breastplate and a helmet with a feather, armed with a saber. The cuirassiers were the army’s shock unit, the strongest men were physically selected here.

Know Russian history

Exhibitions of the Panoramic Museum of the Battle of Borodino

How was 1812 in Russia? Here is the list of exhibitions to learn about Russian history:

• The cuirassier: a mounted soldier, wearing a breastplate and a helmet with a feather, armed with a saber. The cuirassiers were the army’s shock unit, the strongest men were physically selected here.

• The Cuirassier with armor and helmet of the Russian troops.

• The last soldier representing the artillery, armed with a sword.

• The infantry of the French army in 1812 (in the foreground).

• The cuirassier of the French army of 1812

• The artilleryman of the French army in 1812

• The weapons of soldiers of the French army.

• The genuine helmet and corset of the French soldiers.

• The Order of the Legion of Honor: it is the main award of the French army.

Finally, we return to the panorama of the Battle of Borodino. This is an image of 115 m long and 15 m high. This painting was written for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino in 1912. The work took 11 months. The second part of the panorama is the plan of the frontal theme, organically connected with the image. In the pictures below it is even difficult to tell where there is something. Lighting in the corridor creates the effect of sunlight. It is very similar to the brilliant day this battle took place.

Know Russian history

Now we are in Borodino camp, on the left flank of the Russian army, in the village of Semenovskoe.

Know Russian history

In itself, the whole panorama is divided into 4 sectors, showing what was happening on the Borodino battlefield.

The results of the battle are ambiguous. Although Napoleon occupied the field after it, and the Russian troops withdrew to Moscow, he did not fulfill his main task, which was to destroy the Russian army. In the Borodino field, he did not win either, the losses were huge on both sides. Therefore, the war continued.

Now we leave the battle and go to the last room of the museum. Here the images mainly show the events that happened after the battle:

• The Military Council in Fili, where it was decided to leave Moscow to the French. The plot of the image was a description of the epic novel “War and Peace.”

• The army and Russian residents leaving Moscow.

• The entry of the French army in Moscow on September 14, 1812 in Russia. Napoleon on the Poklonnaya Hill waited for him to take the symbolic keys of the city. And he was very surprised when this did not happen. The image clearly shows the height of the Poklonnaya Hill at that time, and what view was opened in Moscow.

• The projection of the burning of Moscow with a sound design.

Know Russian history

Before the withdrawal of Russian troops, the city was burned down by order of the governor of the time.

Napoleon, while in Moscow, sent letters to Alexander I three times with a proposal for peace, but never received an answer.

Napoleon leaves Moscow. He exhausted the stocks, the local peasant population refused to give his army, destroyed the food crops, and decided to move to the Smolensk war. But the road to Kaluga was blocked by the Russian army. As a result of the battle, Napoleon was forced to retreat and move in the same way that his army attacked Moscow. That is, he was again without provisions.

The way in which Napoleon’s troops went through the Berezina River was building two bridges. Some of the troops managed to cross when the Russian soldiers appeared. Napoleon’s army began to panic, one of the bridges collapsed and the second Napoleon himself ordered to be burned. In this battle, the French army decreased by several tens of thousands of people.

Know Russian history

The last image is called “Napoleon’s return from the campaign against Russia.” It shows the state in which the old great army was returning. In the snow there was the body of a man, a chest with precious jewels that fell from him, plundered in Moscow with good, that nobody needs. Of the troops pathetic crumbs remained.

Know Russian history

According to a survey conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation in 2012, almost a third of Russians do not know who fought 1812 in Russia.


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Yekaterinburg-Koltsovo Airport

Yekaterinburg-Koltsovo Airport
Official website:

The international airport of Yekaterinburg – Koltsovo, located in the district of the same name. It is located 16 kilometers southeast of the center of the city of Yekaterinburg, so it is ideal for visiting Yekaterinburg.

For 15 years (until 2015) the aeropurto was the fifth largest in terms of annual passenger traffic in Russia. In the year 2018 Koltsovo will receive the guests of the 2018 World Cup.

On March 12, 2015, Koltsovo Airport received 4 stars by experts from the authorized Skytrax research company. Therefore, Koltsovo became the twentieth airport in the world that received such a high award.

Read moreYekaterinburg-Koltsovo Airport

Great Russian Artists – Mikhail Baryshnikov


Russian ballet is one of the arts that achieved an exceptional development in Russia. The greatest dancers were born in this area. The historical theatres that serve as trainers of these great artists are located there. For example, on your tour in Moscow, you will be able to visit the famous Bolshoi Theatre, and on your trip to St. Petersburg, the Mariinsky Theatre, just to name two of them. One of the greatest representatives of Russian ballet is undoubtedly dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Read moreGreat Russian Artists – Mikhail Baryshnikov

Perfumes in the Soviet Union


Russia is one of those countries to enjoy with all the senses. Without a doubt, smell is one of the magic senses: an aroma is capable of transporting us in an instant through time and distances. A food that reminds us of our childhood, a perfume that reminds us of someone.
Generally, the typical Soviet perfumes and fragrances of a country are related to the raw materials that it is possible to obtain, either by producing them there, or by importing them from abroad.

Read morePerfumes in the Soviet Union

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