On Saturday, October, 12th we are getting together for a one day tour to visit the singing babushkas in one of the oldest and most authentic villages of the Urals – Koptelovo!
The village of Koptelovo was built on the Rezh river in 1663. Visit Baba Katya's izba. She was the last owner of the house built 300 years ago and was the 18th member of the family in 30 square metres. See the collection of samovars and accordions in the museum of Koptelovo. Sing Russian folk songs together with the local band of babushkas called ‘The Restless’
9.30 Meeting at Dynamo Metro Station, Yekaterinburg
We are taking a comfortable bus to get to the village of Koptelovo (135km north-west of Yekaterinburg)
12.00 – 13.00 an excursion in the village. We’ll visit the wooden house of Baba Katya to see how 18 people fitted in at once and stop at the local spring – the locals believe the water of the spring is healing.
13.00 – 14.00 in the museum of Koptelovo you will hear about the traditions of the Ural farmers. The director of the museum will tell you how young girls used to dress in order to get married ASAP. The singing babushkas will surely make you sing and dance along
14.00 – 15.00 Lunch in the village
15.00 Departure to Yekaterinburg
18.00 Arrival to the city back to Dynamo Metro
Price per person
10-20 pax: 1700rub for an adult \ 1600 for a child
21-34 pax: 1400rub for an adult \ 1300 for a child
The price includes transfer to the village and back, a guided tour in the village, museum tickets, lunch
If you wish to come by your own car, the price is 1200rub for an adult, 1100rub for a child
For more information and for booking:
Read more about a trip to Koptelovo here:
September 18th is the first day of the new season in the Yekaterinburg Philharmonic Hall (or Philharmonia in Russian).
A week before the opening my colleagues from the local travel agencies and I were invited for an excursion to the theatre. It’s true that the Philharmonic Hall of Yekaterinburg is one of the best in Russia but very few people outside the city know about it, though our orchestra has frequent performances in Europe and the USA and the concerts are always sold out.
The Art Nouveau style building on 38a, Karl Libknekht St. was completed in 1917 but after all the turmoil in Russia, the Hall was opened only in 1936. In 1973 the Phiharmonia bought a huge German pipe organ that weighs 23 tons.
Today the Philharmonic Hall gives 250 concerts a year including concerts of the world famous musicians such as Vladimir Spivakov, Dmitry Khvorostovsky, Yuri Bashmet to name a few. Therefore, it’s better to book tickets in advance. The website of the Philharmonia offers on-line booking however it’s only in the Russian language: http://www.sgaf.ru You can also watch there some concerts on-line.
I hope this post will convince some of you to visit the Philharmonia. At least the excursion by the director Alexander Kolotursky convinced me to buy a ticket to the concert of the Hong Kong Orchestra of Chinese National Instruments on October 5th. This concert is a part of the Euro-Asian Festival of Music held in Yekaterinburg for the second time. Musicians from the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Korea and India are performing on the main stage of the Philharmonic Hall from October 4th to October 16th.
Tickets are still available.
Prices range from 300 to 2000 rubles.
p.s. on the Facebook page of the Philharmonia https://www.facebook.com/sgafru I’ve found this video: One Day with the violinist Leonid Orlov. Leonid is a good friend of mine. Have a look at the working day of a violinist in Yekaterinburg.
We'll fill you in with history of the Urals, Russian drinking traditions and of course different types of vodka. You will learn Russian toasts and sing Russian drinking songs with us!
January 20 at 14.00
Meeting point: 51, Lenina, in front of the University
price: 950 rub
please, confirm that you are coming and pay in advance
When walking in the center of Yekaterinburg you can see a red line drawn in the middle of the pavement. Some locals still think it’s a divider for pedestrians or a lane for bicycles. But the truth is the red line is a guideline for tourists. Just find it on Prospect Lenina and go down the line and in three hours you’ll get back to the starting point with photos of all the main sites in your camera!
The Red Line project started in 2011 as a blog by Dmitry Kalaev. The Internet users were voting for the best sites in the center of Yekaterinburg. Eventually, 35 historic objects were chosen including the Church on the Blood, Opera Theatre, the Beatles monument, QWERTY monument, Literary Quarter etc. The Red Line was drawn on June 18 2011. Its length is 6.5 kilometers.
Book the city tour here: http://yekaterinburg4u.ru/en/tours/city-tour
This summer (2012) activists of the Red Line project are planning to draw QR codes for each site along the line, to print maps and to add full descriptions of the objects on the webpage www.ekbredline.ru
You can walk along the Red Line on your own or get a guided tour to learn more about the historical places. Sometimes there are free excursions arranged by volunteers for special events.
As a manager of the English newspaper Your Yekaterinburg, I invited the readers of the paper to take a guided tour down the Red Line when the annual Night in the Museum event took place in Yekaterinburg. It took us 2.5 hours to do the whole tour. The weather was great and so was the company! The photos for this post were taken during our tour and you can see me with a yellow scarf 🙂
Book the city tour here: http://yekaterinburg4u.ru/en/tours/city-tour
I made this video two years ago. It looks like I've put on a few kilos since that while the city hasn't changed at all. Enjoy and come for a visit this summer!
Yekaterinburg is already proud of the first monument to the Beatles in Russia (read about it: http://askural.com/2010/09/new-monuments-of-yekaterinburg/) Now the city has a sculpture of Michael Jackson too!
Local fan club of the King of Pop gathered money to erect a sculpture in the city centre. Michael, who had never been to the Urals, appeared on Vainer St. in front of Greenwich Shopping Mall on June, 25th - 2nd anniversary of Jackson’s sudden death.
Michael Jackson gave his first concert in Russia in 1993. The main difficulty for the Moscow organizers was to find 8 computers for the show. Those days few Russians could afford them. Due to high ticket prices and heavy rain the stadium was only half full and Michael refused to start the show. At the last moment the organizers had to open the gates and let passersby enter for free.
On the first day of winter Russian director Rinat Timerkaev presented his new animated film I Love You. The film shows his native city Yekaterinburg in spring and based on Marina Chengikmakher's poetry.
More info about the film on Rinat's blog (in Russian) http://timerkaev.livejournal.com/
Young Ural filmmakers made a video about Yekaterinburg. Vadim Ovchinnikov, Artur Pogosyan, Irina Tratyakova and Stepan Kukharev were inspired by the local band David Orchestra and their music theme ‘I had a dream where Davlet Giray was telling about the sky’. They just took a camera, went out and started to shoot everything around.
– We were surprised to spot so many human stories on the streets and to find out how beautiful the city was. Artur Pogosyan the director of the video confessed.
The video is called Yekaterinburg. November. Night.
This month Yekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre celebrates its 98th anniversary. The theatre is located in the city center on Lenin Avenue. It has been restored lately and looks just as in 1912 when its first season started with A Life for the Tsar - an opera by Glinka also known as Ivan Susanin. The history of Russian Ballet began in Yekaterinburg in 1914. The first ballet staged in the Urals was The Magic Flute. The ballet is on in Yekaterinburg this season.
The local theatre received international acclaim. It's especially popular in Thailand now. Every winter the theatre performs in Bangkok. The Royal Family of Thailand are huge fans of Russian culture and ballet in particular. My good friends - the violinists of Yekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre like to tell a story how they received a present from the King of Thailand - a vase that they nearly lost in a platskartny train during excessive drinking on their way home (musicians are human too, you know). The parcel kept on falling from the top bunk onto their heads and a provodnitsa in the train nearly threw it away. Only in Yekaterinburg they realised what kind of a present they had got. The jewelers failed to assess the vase stating it was priceless.
Despite the priceless gift from the King of Thailand, the life of Russian ballerinas hasn't changed much since the Soviet times when many of the dancers attempted to fleet to Europe or to the USA. The local ballerinas enjoy very modest salaries of 700 US$, saying however that the sensation of dancing on stage can't be compared to anything else. So they keep on tiptoeing and that is why Opera and Ballet Theatre in Yekaterinburg is always packed. Book your tickets in advance!
A few words about Russian traditions of going to the theatre: a night in an Opera is a festive occasion for the Russians. Theatre goers are dressed up so the foreigners are easily spotted by the jeans and sneakers. During an intermission people rush to the cafe to buy pastry and drinks. Beer is not common in the theatres but vodka and brandy is always available.
Last weekend I chatted to Rick, an Englishman in Yekaterinburg. Rick used to work in the music industry in London and now he teaches English in the Urals. Naturally, we talked about music. It turned out that Rick is a huge fan of the Ural rock bands even though they sing in Russian. So he gave me an idea to share the phenomenon of Ural rock with you. This is a story about the bands that had and still enjoy a huge following all over Russia and former Soviet territories. What's more important, they made Sverdlovsk-Yekaterinburg a leading music scene in 1980s - early 1990s
Rock music in the USSR was a protest against the regime and mainly became a prerogative of engineering intelligentsia. With a large number of technical engineering institutions in Yekaterinburg (those days Sverdlovsk) no wonder so many rock bands sprang up here before Perestroika. Nautilus Pampilius was one of the most prominent bands of that time. Though often criticised for being too pop, this band formed the core of the Soviet rock phenomenon due to their unusual unsoviet style and their lyrics targeted at social problems. A charismatic front man Vyacheslav Butusov disbanded Nautilus in 1997 when the era of Perestroika turmoils came to an end. He moved to St Petersburg and formed a new band there U-Peter. However, the piercing songs of Nautilus Pampilius are still very popular and sound very much up to date. I particularly love their hit Goodbye America. Butusov is singing about the place behind an iron curtain he will never be able to see. In 1988 it seemed a very true imposibility.
Yekaterinburg music scene of the 90s is connected with the name of Agatha Christie. The post punk band had nothing to do with English detectives though. It was formed by the Samoylovs brothers, the students of the Ural State Technical University (now named after its famous graduate Boris Yeltsin). The brothers didn't get much into politics and sang about love and deception in a gloomy murky manner so natural to the lost generation of the new Russian country. Agatha Christie proved to be a long lasting project. The Samoylovs brothers started in 1988 and broke up only this year. Here is their top hit of 1993 Kak na Voyne (Like at War)
The real dinosaurs or veterans of the Ural rock are Chaif. The name is a combination of the words chai - tea and kaif - feeling high. The thing is that during the rehearsals the Soviet rockers in the Ural Rock Club were drinking liters of ... tea (those were innocent times) Probably, that was the reason why the band formed in 1985 still works in full swing. Chaif are the best representative of the Ural rock as unlike other bands they didn't move to Moscow or St. Petersburg for better career prospects. They live in Yekaterinburg and regularly take part in charities and activities of the local community: volunteer to clean the city parks and speak against the authorities' decision to tear down wooden houses of the last centuries in the city centre, that has recently become a burning issue in Yekateriburg. Chaif plays a mix of rock and roll and blues sometimes with reggae influence as in their son Argentina - Jamaica 5:0 written after World Cup 1998. They can easily gather a crowd of 20 thousand fans as it was in Moscow at their 20th Anniversary. Chaif 1991 hit Oy-yo Nikto ne Uslyshit (Oy-yo, No one will hear) is definitely their trademark song about existential crisis of a Post-Soviet man.