Daily Escape

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The Church on Spilt Blood

St. Petersburg, Russia

Russia's ‘Window to the West,’ St. Petersburg is the country’s second largest city, and the cultural heart of the Motherland. Spend your days admiring the city’s stunning architectural gems like the Winter Palace and the Kazan Cathedral, before viewing the world-renowned art collection of the Hermitage. At night, explore the beatnik cafes, underground clubs and nouveau dining scene that this city is famous for.


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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

We enjoy eating chicken Kiev, a breaded cutlet dish of boneless chicken breast pounded and rolled around in cold garlic butter with herbs. This popular Russian entrée can be fried or baked. 960 1280

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Alexander Ovechkin

Alexander Ovechkin

Fans of the Washington Capitals love their Russian hockey winger and captain, Alexander Ovechkin. Prior to playing in the NHL, Alexander played for the HC Dynamo Moscow of the Russian Superleague for 4 seasons. To date, he has racked up several prestigious awards, including 3 Hart Memorial trophies (Most Valuable Player), 3 Lester B. Pearson Award/Ted Lindsey Award (Most Outstanding Player), NHL Player of the Year and the Wayne Gretzky Award (MVP). 960 1280

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Saint Basil's Cathedral

Saint Basil's Cathedral

We love Russia’s unique architecture, as you’ll see when visiting Saint Basil’s Cathedral, located in Moscow’s Red Square. The cathedral, built between1555 and 1561 on the orders of Ivan the Terrible, commemorates the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan. The building was an influential precursor to the great age of Russian national architecture in the 17th century. 960 1280

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Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

We love Russian cuisine, including goulash, chicken Kiev, birsch and kvass, but beef stroganoff is yet another tasty dish we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention. This delicious dish consists of sautéed pieces of beef sometimes served over a bed of rice or noodles with sour cream. 960 1280

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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

We love vodka! We couldn’t have our tasty cocktails like a bloody Mary, screwdriver, white Russian, Moscow mule or a vodka martini without this distilled liquor and the proper mixers. According to legend, a monk named Isidore from Chudov Monastery, inside the Moscow Kremlin, made a recipe for the first Russian vodka in 1430. Some popular Russian brands of vodka include Russian standard and Stolichnaya. 960 1280

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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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Visitors to London's National History Museum can explore more than 70 million specimens. 960 1280

  

The jewel in the crown of the Boston Museum of Fine Art is without doubt the Asian galleries. 960 1280

  

Cairo's Egyptian Museum provides an opportunity to see one of mankind's greatest works, Tutankhamen's golden mask. 960 1280

  

Spending just 1 second at each piece in St. Petersburg's State Hermitage Museum would take over 3 weeks of your time. 960 1280

  

The Louvre is France's -- and some would argue, the world's -- finest cultural institution. 960 1280

Joe Rivera  

The collection at Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum is so vast, it's spread across 8 city buildings. 960 1280

  

The Hagues' Mauritshuis Museum features extraordinary pictures from the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age. 960 1280

  

New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art contains works plucked from 50,000 years of human creativity, belief and power. 960 1280

Frank Murray  

Israel's Shrine of the Book collection contains some of the most important cultural artifacts related to Christianity. 960 1280

  

The collection at the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence was cultivated by the Medici family over many centuries. 960 1280

  

Vatican City houses some of the finest Italian art ever produced, including Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes. 960 1280

  

London's British Museum is a lesson in where our culture and others have come from, and where we each look to be going. 960 1280

  

Must-See Museums  12 Photos