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Sydney Harbour

Photo by DESCAMPS Simon / Hemis / Aurora Photos

Sydney Harbour

Sydney, Australia

In 1957, Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s dramatic design was chosen from more than 233 submissions from 32 countries. And while Utzon is toasted as a genius today and the opera house is the symbol of Sydney, a political battle during the building’s construction led to Utzon’s firing from the project. He left Australia, never to return, and was barely mentioned during the building’s opening ceremonies in 1973. His reputation was rehabilitated when he was asked to redesign the interior of the opera house that opened in 2004 as the Utzon Room. Take a backstage tour when you’re in town. Or here’s an idea: Attend an opera.


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San Francisco Pride

San Francisco's annual gay pride parade draws hundreds of thousands of people to downtown San Francisco to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride. The rainbow flag, designed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978, symbolizes gay pride and the LGBT community's diversity. 960 1280

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Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade

Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade

A parade goers pose prior during the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade in Australia. The March event, which includes a parade, dance parties, fair and drag races, is one of Australia's biggest events, generating about $30 million for the state of New South Wales each year. 960 1280

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EuroPride in Madrid

EuroPride in Madrid

A man holds a gay flag during the EuroPride in Madrid. EuroPride, in the Spanish capital, marks the highlight of a week of events. The first EuroPride event took place in London in 1992. Riga, Latvia, and Amsterdam are the host cities for EuroPride in 2015 and 2016 respectively. 960 1280

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NYC Pride

NYC Pride

In New York City, a spectators can expect to see the group 'Dykes on Bikes' and parade floats that commemorate the Stonewall riots, which erupted after a 1969 police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar on Christopher Street. The riots launched the gay-rights movement, and gave birth to the annual march that now includes 170 floats, thousands of marchers, supporters and spectators. 960 1280

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Amsterdam Gay Pride

Amsterdam Gay Pride

The Dutch LGBT community participates in the annual Gay Pride parade along the canals in Amsterdam. The city's Gay Pride celebration, held over the course of a week in August, includes separate parties and events for lesbians. Amsterdam's liberal reputation is one of the reasons why it's a top travel destination for thousands of gays and lesbians. 960 1280

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Pride Barcelona

Pride Barcelona

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Christopher Street Day

People in Berlin take Christopher Street Day (CSD) seriously.  Germany and Switzerland call their Gay Pride event CSD in memory of the uprising of LGBT people against police assaults on NYC's Christopher Street in the 1960s. 960 1280

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CSD Berlin

CSD Berlin

A group of men dance on top of a float during the Christopher Street Day parade in Berlin. Also known as Berlin Pride Celebration, the first CSDs took place in the city in 1979; today Berlin is the leading gay city in Europe, hosting 4 major gay festivals each year. 960 1280

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Delhi Queer Pride

Delhi Queer Pride

Members of the LGBT community and supporters march in the Delhi Queer Pride parade in New Delhi. The LGBT community demanded equal rights -- something that has slowly begun to be realized in recent years: In July 2009, the High Court of Delhi repealed Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which had previously criminalized gay rights. 960 1280

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Pride London

Pride London

Drag queens get dolled up to participate in the annual Gay Pride street march through central London. The community, as well as celebrities and performers on floats, are all part of London's Gay Pride celebration, which in recent years has attracted some 1 million people, making it the UK's largest gay and lesbian festival. 960 1280

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Pride Toronto

Pride Toronto

The camera catches a gay couple sharing a special moment at Gay Pride in Toronto. Since the 1970s, Pride Toronto has grown to attract over 1 million people over the course of the 3-day festival, held in late June. The first economic impact study in 1996 showed that Pride tourists spent more than $46 million in Toronto. 960 1280

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Tokyo Rainbow Pride

Tokyo Rainbow Pride

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Marriage Equality in France

Marriage Equality in France

People hold rainbow flags to celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage in France. After months of debate and hundreds of protests, France's National Assembly approved same-sex marriage on April 23, 2013, becoming the 14th country to do so. 960 1280

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Sao Paulo Gay Pride

Sao Paulo Gay Pride

Each year thousands of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people walk down Paulista Avenue for the annual Gay Pride parade in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Held in early June, the 17th annual parade attracted nearly 4 million people in 2013, making it the biggest gay parade in the world. 960 1280

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Puerto Rico Pride

Puerto Rico Pride

People march during the annual gay pride parade in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 2013 brought extra reason to celebrate: The Puerto Rican House of Representatives approved bills in late May that protect LGBT people in employment, housing, governmental services and public accommodations. The new measures also add sexual orientation to Puerto Rico’s domestic violence laws. 960 1280

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Bangalore Pride

Bangalore Pride

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Ice Hockey
Ice Hockey

Ice Hockey

We love the Russians for their sportsmanship and fan spirit. Here in the US, we’ve adopted their love for ice hockey, but there are other popular sports in Russia, including basketball, football, gymnastics, wrestling, boxing, rugby, skiing, rugby and bandy -- a “cheaper” version of hockey where skaters use sticks to direct a ball into the opposing team’s goal. 960 1280

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Moscow Royal Ballet

Moscow Royal Ballet

Russia is known for its excellence in fine arts. We love watching dancers from the Moscow Royal Ballet, accompanied by the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, perform to Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.” The country has also cranked out several unforgettable artists, including ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and composer Igor Stravinsky. 960 1280

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Matryoshka Dolls

Matryoshka Dolls

Visit any Russian souvenir shop and you’re sure to find matryoshka dolls, a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other. The first nested doll set was carved in 1890; today, they don’t always follow the traditional peasant girl theme. Some themes vary from fairy tale characters to Soviet leaders, yet artistry in the painting of each doll remains a constant. 960 1280

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Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837)

Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837)

We love that Russian authors and poets are honored all over the world. In Medellin, Colombia, a statue of Alexander Pushkin was donated by the Russian Writers’ Union to the University of Antioquia. Pushkin was a Russian author of the Romantic era whom many consider the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. Other popular Russian writers include Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov. 960 1280

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Caviar

Caviar

What better place to taste some of the world’s best and freshest caviar than in Russia? Sample sevruga, the least expensive caviar, or beluga, the most expensive, followed by ossetra. We recommend sampling the sevruga caviar served with buckwheat pancakes at Café Pushkin in Moscow. 960 1280

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Sochi

Sochi

We love the fact that Sochi, Russia’s largest resort town, located on the Black Sea coast near the border between Georgia and Russia, will be transformed into the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics; it will also be a host city for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. 960 1280

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Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

We admire Maria Sharapova’s stamina and competitive edge. Although the Russian pro tennis player has lived in the US since 1994, she is the top Russian player, winning 29 WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) singles titles, including 4 Grand Slam titles. And as of September 2013, WTA has ranked her the third-best woman tennis player in the world. 960 1280

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Milla Jovovich

Milla Jovovich

We love Russian actors like Yul Brenner for his Broadway performance in “The King and I.” And on the opposite end of the spectrum, we love Milla Jovovich. You may recognize Milla as the take-charge women who kicked butt in the popular sci-fi movie franchise Resident Evil. 960 1280

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Chicken Kiev

Chicken Kiev

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Alexander Ovechkin

Alexander Ovechkin

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Saint Basil's Cathedral

Saint Basil's Cathedral

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Beef Stroganoff

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The Kremlin

The Kremlin

We love sightseeing in Russia and visiting Hermitage Museum, Valley of Geysers, Lake Baikal, Red Square, St. Petersburg and the Moscow Kremlin (pictured). Overlooking the Moskva River to the south, the Kremlin is a historic complex that features 5 palaces, 4 cathedrals and the enclosing Kremlin Wall and towers. It is the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation. 960 1280

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Kizhi Island

Kizhi Island

Take a boat ride to explore Kizhi Island. Located on Lake Onega, Kizhi has become part of an open-air museum with more than 80 historic wooden structures, moved from parts of Karelia for preservation purposes. Dating back to the 17th century, Kizhi Pogost is the most famous historic site, built only of wood. It includes 2 large wooden churches and a bell tower inside a fence. Kizhi Pogost is a UNESCO World Heritage site; it’s also listed as a Russian Cultural Heritage site. 960 1280

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Vodka

Vodka

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Doctor Zhivago

Doctor Zhivago

We love the forbidden love story that unfolds in the 1965 movie Doctor Zhivago, starring actors Omar Sharif (right), Geraldine Chaplin (left) and Julie Christie. Based on the novel by Russian author Boris Pasternak, the movie follows the life of a Russian doctor/poet who, although married, falls for a political activist’s wife and experiences hardships during the Bolshevik Revolution. 960 1280

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