Elena Martilla: Artist of the Blockade

Elena Oskarovna Martilla came of age as an artist during WWII in Leningrad. She created haunting images of the suffering the residents of that blockaded city lived through as well as proud images of their perseverance. Today, she is 98 years old and still producing art. The Russian Museum, one of the St. Petersburg’s largest […]

A Musicologist Recommends Three Russian Operas for You to Watch at the Mariinsky

I was so excited about studying abroad in St. Petersburg because I got the chance to see a lot of Russian operas that are not performed in theaters in the West. As a Russian musicologist, it was wonderful to have excess to the musical performances at the Mariinsky Theaters. Opera is one of the most […]

Six Critically Acclaimed Modern Russian Artists

The following are six modern Russian artists who have left their mark on not only modern Russian art, but who are also known beyond Russia’s borders as well. Each has gathered critical acclaim and, as is always the case in the art world, at least some critical derision. Not all are ethnic Russians – but […]

The Leningrad Zoo: Under the Tsars, during WWII, and Today

The Leningrad Zoo was first found in August of 1865 as the private collection of Sophia and Julius Gebhardt. Although a small zoo, its history has been incredibly dramatic, surviving wars, revolutions, economic and political collapse and, perhaps most notably, the 872-day siege of Leningrad, when the whole city had to survive bombing and potential […]

The Hermitage State Museum: Exploring Art and History

The following provides a short history of The Winter Palace building and The State Hermitage Museum as well as details the museum’s current programs and world-wide activities today. It also provides reviews of self exploration and guided tours of the Hermitage. Hermitage tours are included with most St. Petersburg SRAS Programs and Moscow SRAS programs. […]

Top 10 Bookstores in St. Petersburg

Bookstores in St. Petersburg are numberous and diverse. The city has a prominent literary history and bears associations with Russian literary giants such as Pushkin, Gogol, and Dostoyevsky. It makes sense, then, that it is also bursting at the seams with both hip and traditional bookstores. After spending a semester here as a literature major, […]

Peterhof: A Museum of Tsarist Splender Outside St. Petersburg

The Tsars had several summer palaces outside St Petersburg. Peterhof is perhaps the most famous now, and is one of the best maintained and oft-visited. It is one of Russia’s unqiue museum reserves, a whole estate that has been turned into a museum with protected The following are two experiences that SRAS students have had […]

Self-Guided Saint Petersburg Walking Tour

Saint Petersburg is an incredibly walkable city. Throughout any season, you will see the streets full of people strolling around, and appreciating the beauty of the city. This makes it great for a pastime of time – planning out scenic walks that highlight some of the city’s loveliest sights. The tour I describe below will […]

Peter and Paul Fortress Excursion in Saint Petersburg

As part of our SRAS program, we had a guided tour of the Peter and Paul Fortress. On a beautiful summer day, we took a tram out to the fortress. Once there, our guide started off by explaining the history of the fortress. Peter the Great established the fortress on May 16, 1703 on Hare […]

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