History, culture and entertainment - St.Petersburg has it all! This vibrant and bustling city has culture, history and famous sights around every corner. Our guided tours will give you the opportunity to investigate the most preferable ones. Our managers will help you to find accommodation close to the Language Centre and your places of interest.
Ivan Aivazovsky was a Russian – Armenian Romantic painter. He was born in Crimea in 1817 and became one of the great artists of the 19th century and the most renowned artist of seascapes in history. His deft use of the paintbrush was recognized early in his life and he painted tirelessly, producing around 6,000 paintings.
Although his primary subject was the sea in all its splendid variation, his works also displayed an affinity for his heritage: a scene of Armenians being baptized, views of Mt. Ararat and a painting of the great Armenian Catholicos Khrimyan Hayrig formed a part of his repertoire. But nothing matched his copious production of paintings that involved the sea, his true love.
His works have been exhibited or currently reside in the Louvre Museum in Paris, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Many of his pieces remain in private collections around the world.
Samovars and tea-drinking are an indispensable element of Russian culture. A samovar is a device traditionally used to heat and boil water for tea. The word samovar in Russian is derived from "сам" meaning self and "варить" meaning to boil. The name can be loosely translated into English as "self-boiler".
Russian people believed that the samovar has a soul. This belief was mainly based on the fact that samovars were producing different sounds when being heated with fuel. The shape of the samovar's body accounts for amazing acoustics and water makes peculiar noises when it is being brought to the boil. It was common to say that "a samovar is singing"
Samovars were one of the earliest home appliances in Russia. Families and guests would sit at a large dinner table to have a leisurely talk and discuss the latest events while drinking hot tea.
The ‘Valenki’, meaning ‘made of felting’, sits alongside the Russian doll as one of the greatest symbols in folk Russian culture. Valenki were the footwear of choice for many key personas in Russian history. Peter the First wore Valenki in bare feet after his trips to the sauna. To this day, one can visit a Valenki Museum situated only in two places - Mishkin and Moscow. For a while, valenki fell out of fashion and were associated with rural life in Russia or purely utilitarian wear for the police or the military. Lately valenki are making a comeback. Decorated with beeds, lace, fur and embroidery and in variation of colours, with a rubber sole or slippers of various height. Valenki now can be found in stylish boutiques, market stalls and as a part of winter collection of top fashion gurus.
Tvorozhniki, also known as syrniki, are delicious thick pancakes made of cottage cheese – a traditional Russian desert. The easiest way to cook them is to mix 250 grams of cottage cheese with a tiny bit of salt, 2-3 table spoons of sugar and 2-3 table spoons of flour, and then pour it into small circles onto the frying pan with a little bit of preheated oil. Fry them normally until they get golden and crispy on the outside, and eat them hot or cold, both yummy! Serve with sour cream, jam, fruits, ice cream or even Nutella if you like. Men are rumoured to fall in love with the girls who cook tvorozhniki for breakfast for them.
The traditional Russian borsch is a delicious soup made of beetroot, potatoes, cabbage and beef or pork, often served with sour. Beetroot gives it a famous strong red color. The recipes may vary, but vegetables (mainly beetroot) and sour cream are always there as the main ingredients.
In Russian, borsch has become a symbol of happy family life. This yummy red soup is simply a must for a loving housewife. To cook a big pot of borsch for a husband is truly a great way to express love.