10 Ways to Explore Russian Culture Around Washington, D.C.

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1.  Shop for Culinary Delights

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·      At  Russian Gourmet  you'll find Russian & Eastern European groceries, including juices, deli meats, cheeses, caviar, & frozen goods.  www.RussianGourmet.com

·      Rockville's  European Delight (1488-I Rockville Pike) stocks a broad range of items.  In the Deli section, customers can purchase prepared food created by a professional chef -- meat, fish dishes, national cuisines, pastries, snacks, and desserts.  In addition, European Delight has the largest selection of wines from Moldova, Romania, Georgia, Armenia, and Ukraine, and beer from the Baltics, Poland, and Russia.

·         Taste of Europe (630 Quince Orchard Rd., Gaithersburg, MD) offers a wide selection of sausages and smoked meats, cheeses, salted and smoked fish, pastries and other delicacies. Here you'll also find audio and videos, books, magazines, and newspapers from New York, Los Angeles, Russia, and Ukraine.


2.      Treat Yourself to a Russian Meal

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·         Mari Vanna boasts a cozy interior with a country house feel where diners can enjoy a great variety of traditional Russian cuisine:  main dishes, salads, soups, desserts, fresh juices, homemade infused vodka, and cocktails.  Every Wednesday at 10pm guests can dance and sing karaoke in Russian or English.   On Fridays and Saturdays, Mari Vanna holds a discotheque with well-known local DJs.



·        Samovar opened in July 2016 in central Rockville.  Its menu focuses on Russian cuisine with Eastern European and Central Asian accents; weekends include live music. https://bethesdamagazine.com/bethesda-beat/dine/samovar-opens-in-rockville/

Update: Since the posting of this article, Samovar has closed indefinitely.

·         Russia House is decorated with Russian antiques, art work, and nesting dolls.  Classic crystal chandeliers grace the ceiling; tables are draped with white linens; colorful plates and plenty of candlelight lend a fun and romantic vibe to the dining room.  Eat, drink, and be merry as you experience true Russian hospitality. http://www.russiahouserestaurant.com

·         Russia House Restaurant and Lounge in DC  is a four-storey – four vibe -- establishment.  Whether it be an elegant dinner, cocktails in a cozy corner, or grooving to music in a vibrant atmosphere, you'll find something Russian to remember.  On the third floor, open Thursday – Saturday, live classical music can be heard several times a month.  And weekends? Come party on the top floor, where a variety of local DJs spin through the night. russiahouselounge.com


3.     Stroll through Museum and Gardens

Image from: http://www.hillwoodmuseum.org/about-hillwood/mansion/russian-porcelain-room

·          In Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, you can explore the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art, antique jewelry, and apparel outside of Russia, a distinguished 18th-century French decorative art collection, and twenty-five acres of serene landscaped gardens and natural woodlands. http://www.hillwoodmuseum.org


4.     Visit the National Gallery of Art

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·           The National Gallery of Art features work from Russian artists of the 18th and 20th centuries.  Free Russian language tours of the permanent collection are offered on the second Saturday of each month. http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb.html


5.     Discover Russian Print and Film Culture

Image from: http://blog.carolhighsmithamerica.com/2011/05/05/washington-d-c-in-the-gilded-age/

·         The Library of Congress houses an impressive collection of Russian materials that is by far the largest and most comprehensive outside Russia itself. http://www.loc.gov

·         Bookstore Russia-Online in Maryland - a great source for those interested in learning Russian and becoming familiar with its literature, its cinema, and other modes of culture.  The online bookstore offers  a wide range of books, as well as audiobooks, textbooks, movies, music, calendar, maps and board games. http://russia-on-line.com/index.php

·         Read about current cultural events in журнал «Чайка» https://www.chayka.org/

·         Listen and watch current events Голос Америки: http://www.golos-ameriki.ru/


6.     Experience the Annual Fall Festivals at Russian Churches (late October)

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·         Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church   During their festive weekend, guests can sample many foods, souvenirs, and varieties of entertainment.  Ranging from hot dishes and breads to enticing desserts, all festival food is prepared by parishioners.  Largely imported from Russia, beautiful icons fashioned by the faithful, dolls, pins, and paintings entice the annual guests, who also enjoy dance groups, choirs and music ensembles. http://www.russfest.org/index.htm   

·         St. Nicholas Cathedral is an especially beautiful Russian church, a place of daily guided tours, private prayer, meditation, and quiet reading of the Scripture. http://www.stnicholasdc.org/

·         The Cathedral Church of St. John the Baptist impresses with its 17th-century Muscovite-Yaroslav-style.  Murals, centuries-old icons, and an imposing four-tiered iconostasis make up the interior.  Here children can learn in Sunday classes about religion, Russian language, literature, and Russian history.  https://stjohndc.org/


7.    Attend Russian Theatre Productions

Image from: http://www.theaterexperiment.com/#!blank/y6vvy

·         Theater Studio Experiment includes people from a wide variety of backgrounds in the former Soviet countries. The studio is eager to widen its reach by attracting English-speaking audiences.  Super-titles in English will soon accompany Russian-language performances.  http://www.theaterexperiment.com

·         The International Festival of Russian-Speaking Children and Youth Theaters includes a book exhibition, performances by children and adult theater companies, and the Planet of Art- Washington competition.  The theatrical shows of the Sixth International Festival of Russian-Speaking Children's and Youth Theaters will take place from June 2-5, 2016.  http://russfestival.com


8.     Take in Russian Folk Culture, Music, and Dance

Image from: http://kalinkabaltimore.org/index.html

·         The Washington Balalaika Society performs the music of Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe on traditional Russian folk instruments -- the balalaika, domra, bayan, and related folk wind and percussion instruments.  The Orchestra presents more than a dozen concerts each year, including its annual Spring and Fall Concert Series, and appears at festivals, parks, museums, churches and other public and private venues throughout the year.  http://www.balalaika.org

·         Kalinka Dance Ensemble performs and teaches traditional Russian dance across the Baltimore/Washington DC area.  Looking for Russian entertainment at a wedding, a corporate party, or a community celebration? You can find them at: http://kalinkabaltimore.org/index.html


9.     See Russian Films

Image from: http://www.american.edu/cas/history/initiative-russian-culture/Messenger-Boy.cfm

·         The Carmel Institute for Russian Culture and History offers film screenings free of charge to students, generally at the Russian Embassy. Come share in a buffet dinner and sit back and enjoy the films. http://w.american.edu/carmel/


10.     Find further area Russian events!