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Quite early tales turned into a source of amusement in this country. The Russian people regarded tales with a far less serious attitude than songs, for example. This difference in treating the two kinds of folk-lore is well expressed in the saying: Tale is made up, song is true.


The nesting dolls, known as matryoshki have long conquered hearts of lovers of folk toys and original souvenirs all over the world. Matryoshka brings together the art of masters and enormous love of the Russian national culture.


The first thing that crosses ones mind when speaking about Russian drinks is certainly vodka. Yet, as a matter of fact, long before vodka there were no less popular drinks in Old Rus. As for vodka, it came to Russia via Lithuania where it was brought by the Genoese from their colony in the Crimea. Actually it did not happen until the mid 14th century. So vodka is another story.


Before the revolution of 1917 Moscow alone had 765 Orthodox churches, about 350 belfries and around 3000 bells. However, in the late 1920s the majority of churches and belfries ceased existing, while bell ringing was strictly banned. Seemingly, Moscow stopped ringing forever. Bells were melted down, sold out and taken overseas. The churches which have preserved all their bells can be counted on one hand.


From ancient times church bells were perceived as living beings in Russia. Each of them was given a special name. Before raising a bell up to the chapel it was consecrated, the ritual corresponding to the sacrament of christening.


Would you like to feel the taste of Russia? Here are some authentic Russian recipes. We hope you will enjoy both cooking and eating these traditional Russian dishes.


The Russian cuisine is first of all associated all over the world with vodka, caviar, beetroot salad and pies. It should be noted, however, that vodka was brought to Russia from Italy only in the 15th century. And it was not before the 19th century that salads were borrowed from European cuisine.


The Russian love for holidays is known the world over. We adore holidays, indeed. But who does not? Perhaps our love for holidays is special for its indiscrimination anything goes, just give us a chance to break the daily working routine and indulge into the surfeits of merry-making, eating and drinking.


If you ask a Russian "How are you?" / Kak dela?", you risk to get a complete report on how he/she really is. The formalism of the Europeans or Westerners at this point can hardly be understood in Russia. Do not be surprised at the ease with which the Russians discuss their personal life.


A lot has been said and written about the inscrutable Russian soul yet, it still keeps its mystery. No wonder. Here are some of our thoughts about the common traits of the people inhabiting this multiform and contradictive country.


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