From the Banya to Baikal

“Respected Guests, please conserve water.” This was written on a sign hung above the sink in one of the hotels we stayed in near Lake Baikal.  It has two purposes: one is to save money on a water bill, the other is to not waste water in a world where fresh water is limited.  In […]

What is a Buuza?

On the southern and eastern shores of Lake Baikal is the Republic of Buryatia, one of the subjects of the Russian Federation.  The Buryat people are closely related to Mongolians, so much so that Mongolians refer to Buryats as Russian-Mongolians.  Buryatia has its own distinct language, culture, and history, distinct from other nearby tribes and […]

A Not So Gentle Man in Moscow Part 2 – In the Kremlin

“The Kremlin released a statement today…” “Sources close to the Kremlin…” The Kremlin.  It’s a dominating presence overlooking the Moskva River and Red Square, housing the upper house of the Russian parliament, a presidential residence, and numerous cathedrals and museums.  In American news, the above statements are quite frequent when referring to the Russian government […]

Khramy – Places of Worship and Museums

Everywhere you go in Russia, there are khramy.  In Russian, this word means “place of worship” and is differentiated from the word for church or cathedral because one khram can contain multiple chapels or churches, as St. Basil’s on Red Square does.  Many have onion domes and bell towers to distinguish them, others are behind […]

A Return To Lefortovo

If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to read Ma’ila’s earlier post about our first trip there.  It focuses mainly on the Vvedenskoye cemetery, and it’s a good read.  Our second trip back did not take us back to the cemetery, much to my relief.  I found the cemetery crowded, the graves almost piled on […]

Saint Petersburg – Not a European City

If you recall from my first post, this is my first experience abroad.  However, this inexperience did not stop me from having a preconception of St Petersburg as a European city separate from the rest of Russia—which is not definitively European.  And, to some degree, I was right.  The canals evoke ideas of Venice, there […]