A Jazz Lover’s Guide to St. Petersburg

close up of someone playing a saxophone with caption over it saying "jazz in St Petersburg"

There was a saying in the former Soviet Union: “Today he plays jazz, tomorrow he’ll sell out his motherland”. Back then, jazz was seen as Western, subversive and something not to be trusted. Fortunately, times have changed, and today St. Petersburg attracts top jazz performers from across Russia and indeed the world. Every year, the city hosts Russia’s largest jazz festival, the internationally acclaimed Triumph of Jazz. And, while we may have just missed this year’s event, that doesn’t mean the music has stopped. Here are some places where you can see jazz in St. Petersburg all year round. Jazz Philharmonic Hall Probably the first destination any serious jazz lover in St. Petersburg should head to, this large club has been going strong since 1989 when it was set up by Russian jazz legend ...

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Tea for Two: 5 Top Tea Rooms in St. Petersburg

A cup of tea with illustration of the Kremlin on the side

Tea has occupied a special place in Russian culture since the 17th century, when it was gifted to Tsar Michael I by the Mongolians. It quickly became the warming beverage of choice among Russian seeking to colonise the icy Siberian region and has been a staple in Russian kitchens ever since. Today, over 80% of Russians drink tea every day. Fancy getting a taste of Russian tea culture? Here, we round up some of St. Petersburg’s top spots for enjoying a cup of tea. From five-star afternoon teas to hipster cafés, there’s sure to be something here that you’ll love. 1. Singer Café Just around the corner from our St. Petersburg Language Centre, you’ll find the Singer Café perched on the second floor of the Dom Knigi bookstore. It has an impressive tea menu, a great selection of sweet treats and ...

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There’s an International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg!

ballet dancer next to caption reading 'Russian ballet in Saint Petersburg'

Ballet has its origins in 15th century Italy. Although the art form quickly spread to the rest of Western Europe, it wasn’t introduced to Russia until much later, as part of Peter the Great’s efforts to modernise the country in the 18th century. With the patronage of Empress Anna and, later, Catherine the Great, Russian ballet soon developed as a tour de force with an international influence and is now one of the most popular dance styles in the world. It’s hardly surprising, then, that so many modern-day visitors to Russia consider a night at the ballet an essential part of their trip. Luckily, today marks the first day of the XXVII Season of the Dance Open International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg – meaning that the next two weeks are an ideal opportunity for our students and other ...

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A Literature Lover’s Guide to St. Petersburg

Griboyedov Canal

If you love Russian literature, St. Petersburg is a dream destination. Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Gogol, Nabokov… Almost all the great Russian writers spent time in this beautiful city. Wandering along the canals beneath the grand buildings, it’s hard not to feel inspired as well. So what can you do to find out more about St. Petersburg’s artistic heritage (besides picking up a book, of course)? Luckily, in this city you’re spoiled for choice. Without further ado, here’s our literature lover’s guide to St. Petersburg. Nose Around the Apartment Museums It sometimes seems like you can’t turn a corner in St. Petersburg without finding yourself on the street where some seminary figure used to live. Many of these former residences have now been transformed into apartment museums ...

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5 Russian Easter Traditions You Can Try

Russian Easter eggs that are dyed and painted with elaborate patterns and placed in basket

Russian Easter traditions were suppressed in the Soviet era, but many have since been revived to their former glory.  Now, Easter, or Paskha (Пасха), is one of Russia’s biggest holidays. While there are many denominations in Russia that celebrate Easter, the Russian Orthodox church is the largest – and its Easter celebrations are certainly worth seeing. Even atheists tend to go to Church for the Orthodox Easter service and use the traditional greeting ““Христос Воскресе!” (Christ has risen!) and response “Воистину Воскресе!” (Risen indeed!). Aside from the religious aspect, Russian Easter is also a day devoted to spending time with your family and eating special food. Here are five Russian Easter traditions you can try your hand at this year – whether you’re in Russia or abroad. Cele ...

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