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How to Celebrate Russia Day in St. Petersburg

Published: June 12, 2014 (Issue # 1815)



  • The Admiralty, left, and nearby Palace Square will be the location of many events celebrating Russia Day.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

As Petersburgers look for ways to spend the long weekend in celebration of Russia Day on June 12, a number of cultural events offer festive entertainment for every taste, reports Fontanka.ru.

The official program includes a number of free tours dedicated to the history of St. Petersburg and Leningrad as well as the residents who contributed to the development of the city and its culture. To participate in the tours simply arrive at one of the following starting points between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The excursions cover a wide range of themes including, the 70th anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad (gather at Gostiny Dvor metro station); the 310th anniversary of the Summer Garden (Summer Gardens); the 180th anniversary of the opening the Hermitage and the Alexander Column (meet under the arch of the General Staff building); Lermontov and St. Petersburg (the Griboyedov Canal entrance to the Nevsky Prospekt metro station); the 215th anniversary of Pushkin's birth (Gostiny Dvor metro station); the 285th anniversary of the birth of Catherine the Great (Ploshchad Ostrovskogo); the Mariinsky Theatre and the Conservatory (Teatralnaya Ploshchad); the 125th anniversary of the birth of Anna Akhmatova (Gostiny Dvor metro station); and the founding of St. Petersburg (Peter and Paul Fortress).

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., anyone interested in trying their hand at a bit of plein-air drawing can join artists who are waiting on the spit of Vasilievsky Island in the shadow of the Rostral columns and the spit of Zayachy Island next to the Peter and Paul Fortress to help participants capture iconic views of the city.

And what would a citywide celebration in St. Petersburg be without a few concerts? June 12 is no exception and from noon to 3 p.m. dancers will perform on special stages set up across the city center, to be followed by musical performances. Russian folk dances from the pre-Petrine era will be followed by a naval orchestra in the Alexandrovsky Gardens (near the Admiralty). Ploshchad Isskustv will feature dancing from the court of Peter the Great and the military orchestra of the Preobrazhensky Regiment. Malaya Konushennaya Ulitsa will be awash in ballroom dancing from the late 19th century followed by an orchestra dressed in period costume. In front of Dom Radio on Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa, folk dances from across Russia will be performed followed by a concert by an orchestra in period costume. Alexandrovsky Park (Gorkovskaya metro station) will host an orchestra dressed in WWI uniforms, while on Ploshchad Ostrovskogo an orchestra will entertain audiences in modern military uniform.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in “Downton Abbey” if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russia’s best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russia’s most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkin’s, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontov’s short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library System’s website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Club’s weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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