International Women’s Day Eve in Kyiv

Pre Women’s Day Festivities in Kyiv, Ukraine Every March 8th, but really March 7th, too.  Perhaps no one in the world takes the celebration of the 8th of March, International Women’s Day, as seriously as...

Heavenly Hundred Mourners In Kyiv

Anniversary of the Shooting of 100 Protesters in Kyiv Remembrance Event Independence Square, Kyiv February 18, 2017 Photojournalism by Rebekah Welch Hundreds of people came to Kyiv’s Independence Square, or, in Ukrainian, Maidan Nazeleznosti for...

Remembrance of WWII in St. Petersburg

Throughout my program in Russia these past few months, the toll of the Second World War, has often been present and palpable. During World War II and the Great Fatherland War, the name Russians give...

Home Sweet Yurt

Yurts are felt-covered, portable housing that have long been used throughout Central Asia. Although the region is urbanizing, the Kyrgyz still know and follow the traditional customs that surround the traditional yurt. Hospitality is revered...

Victory Day in Vladivostok

Behind New Year’s, May 9th is the largest holiday in Russia. Victory Day celebrates the Soviet victory in World War II over the German Reich. This year marked 71 years since hostilities ceased in that...

Russian Greetings Through the Ages

The following information originally appeared as part of a larger article on Russkaya Semyorka, a Russian-language history and culture site. The information has been translated and adapted here by SRAS. According to one legend, the...

Icy Pastimes in Vladivostok

After a nice winter break and going home for the holidays, I have arrived back in Vladivostok. Unfortunately, I missed the big snowstorm here by a week or so, but there is still plenty of...

A History of Sayings and Expressions about Moscow

Russian has many sayings and expressions that revolve around Moscow and places within or near Moscow. The most famous for foreigners is probably “Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears,” but there are many others such...

Exploring Russian Traditions in Vladivostok

The international department at VGUES has, throughout the semester, taken us on various excursions around Vladivostok. This week, we ventured back into time to explore some of the old Russian traditions. At a rather nondescript...

Global Village Festival in Bishkek

AIESEC “Global Village” Cultural Festival Bishkek Park Shopping Center Free Globalvillage.aiesec.kg and on Facebook The Global Village festival is put on every year by the exchange program AIESEC based at the American University of Central...

Kyrgyz Horse Games – a Day Trip from Bishkek

National Kyrgyz Horse Games / Националные конно-спортивные игры Address: Ипподром near Cholpon-Ata on Issyk-Kul Free This year elections for the Issyk-Kul region were coming. This does not affect life much as a temporary student in Kyrgyzstan...

Supara Ethno-Complex, Bishkek

Supara Ethno-Complex/Супара Этно-Комплекс Supara.kg 1a Karagul Akmata Str., Kok-Jar village Meals from 340 som Супара Этно-Комплекс (Supara Ethno-Complex) on the scenic outskirts of Bishkek, was developed over the past several years by Tabyldy Egemberdiev, president...

Jewish Bishkek: A Brief History and Guide

My experience with the Jewish community in Bishkek began on a weekday evening in September. I did not really expect to find a synagogue on Suyumbayev Street. I had been following the gradually narrowing road...

New Year in Vladivostok

Without having given it much thought up until the end of the semester, as decorations began to go up around town and talk of the holidays began, I realized that this would be my first...

Happy New Year from Bishkek!

Жаңы жылыңыздар менен! С Новым годом! Happy New Year! Жаңы жылыңыздар менен! С Новым годом! In Bishkek, Новый год (New Year’s) is not just a holiday but a season, culminating in a celebration that begins...

10 Ways to Enjoy Moscow’s Winter Parks

Russia is famous for miserably cold winters. This means that, in winter, Russians must stay at home being miserable, right? Not at all! For Russians, winters are part of their national heritage and there is...

5 Ways To Experience Buryat Culture in Irkutsk

Today there are approximately 500,000 people that identify with the largest indigenous group living in Siberia, the Buryats.  The Buryats are a group of people descendent of various Siberian and Mongolian people that inhabited the...

Happy Nooruz from Bishkek!

Happy Nooruz! As soon as I knew I’d be spending time in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, I asked Google about the national holidays that would happen during my stay. Google gave me a neat little list of...

Honey Market – Kyrgyz Museum of Fine Arts in Bishkek

Honey Market Kyrgyz Museum of Fine Arts 196. Советская Museum hours are 10:00-13:00 or 14:00-18:00 depending on the day. The honey market is a seasonal event. It doesn’t run all day, usually starting late morning...

An Oral Account of Yurt Making in Kyzyl-Too, Kyrgyzstan

Text By: Gabrielle Randall, SRAS Graduate Russian as a Second Language, Bishkek, Fall 2012 NGO, Cultural Internship, Bishkek, Spring 2013 Information Translated By: Gabrielle Randall; Nurzat Beishembaeyva; and Elnura Kairbekova Pictures Taken By: Gabrielle Randall;...

What Bishkek Eats for Ramadan

Well, Bishkek, it’s the beginning of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting from sunrise to sunset. This year, the holy month starts July 9th, coinciding with watermelon season in Kyrgyzstan. Ramadan also coincides with the...

A Weekend at the Dacha

During my Russian studies at Indiana University over the past two years, the concept of a “dacha” or Soviet-era summer home always intrigued me. While my family has taken multiple vacations during which we stayed...

Beer in Ukraine

Mention alcohol in connection with any of the post-Soviet states, particularly Russia or Ukraine, and Westerners usually envision copious amounts of vodka being consumed by raucous and sweaty men. Like all stereotypes, the typical Western...

“Special Beshbarmak” in Bishkek

Ozgocho Beshbarmak Café Address: Hекрасова 9А (south side of Osh Bazaar) Hours: 7:30am-11:00pm Prices: 165-195 som for beshbarmak This past weekend, I checked out a restaurant that offers 12 variations of one of Kyrgyzstan’s most...

Fortune Telling in Bishkek

Recently, a colleague and I went to a yasnovidyashi, a Kyrgyz fortuneteller (the name actually translates to “Clear Seer”), for the first time. Why? We’ve never done it before, we were looking for a new...

Banya in Bishkek

Zhirgal Banya Hours of Operation: Mon, Tues, Thurs: 9am-11pm, Wed: 12pm-11pm, Fri: 7am-11pm, Sat, Sun: 7am-11pm Address: Corner of Ibraimov and Toktogul Price: Adults: 250 Som, Kids (1-12 years old): 150 Som Desperate times call...

Up Close and Personal with a Manaschi

A Performance and Interview with Nazarkyl Seydrakmanov This past week, SRAS students met with one of Kyrgyzstan’s most famous manaschis, Nazarkyl Seydrakmanov. Manaschis are Kyrgyz professional storytellers of the Manas epic poem, the longest epic...

Mad for Manas in Talas

Manas Ordo Address: 10km east of Talas, at the foot of the Manastyn-Chokusu Mountain, on the bank of the Kenkol mountain river Price: Adults – 20 som; Children – 5 som, Guided Tour – 300...

VSUES Maslenitsa in Vladivostok

Maslenitsa at VSUES/Масленица во ВГУЕСе Ул. Гоголя, д. 41 (VSUES dorms) Dates change each year Free and open to VSUES students, faculty and staff If you happen to be in Russia during the spring, one...

Birthday Parties in Vladivostok

The Golden Century/Золотой Век (or anywhere there are banquets!) Ул. Кирова, д. 60 10 am – 12 am Daily Free (paid for by celebrant)! Besides the New Year, Victory Day and perhaps the 8th of...

Tengeri Shaman Center in Irkutsk

“Tengeri” Local Religious Organization of Shamans / «Тэнгэри» Местная Религиозная Организация Шаманов Ул. Седова 68 Hours by appointment Telephone: 99-81-54, 8-952-622-9185, Email: baltaev_va@mail.ru Shamanism is the common name for the traditional religions of a number...