For hundreds of years Moscow has been the center of the Russian national culture. A great number of historic monuments are being reconstructed and restored. Pedestrian zones are set up, new hotels, cafes and restaurants are opened. Moscow regularly hosts major festivals, Olympiads, sports competitions and various international contests.
History of Moscow webpage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Moscow
For most of its history, Russian architecture has been predominantly religious. Churches were for centuries the only buildings to be constructed of stone, and today they are almost the only buildings that remain from its ancient past. The basic elements of Russian church design emerged fairly early, around the eleventh century. The plan is generally that of a Greek cross (all four arms are equal), and the walls are high and relatively free of openings. Sharply-sloped roofs (tent roofs) and a multitude of domes cover the structure. The characteristic onion dome first appeared in Novgorod on the Cathedral of Sancta Sophia, in the eleventh century. On the interior, the primary feature is the iconostasis, an altar screen on which the church's icons are mounted in a hierarchical fashion.
After the 1917 Revolution, the Russian Avant-Garde leapt into the service of the new Bolshevik regime. It seemed to promise just the sort of break into a new world, and sweeping away of the old, that they had been working for in art for years. They produced political posters, organized street pageants and fairs, and, most notably, carried out the design of the country's great public spaces for anniversary celebrations of the Revolution. Caught up in the new regime's emphasis on the importance of industrial power, they began to bring to composition a sense of the rationality and technological focus of industrial work and design. Constructivism, as this style is known, continued to evolve into the late 1920s, when the conservatism of the Stalinist state renounced the Avant-Garde in favor of Soviet Realism.
Russisan composers: Peter Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Serge Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky
Cyrillic alphabet (Кириллица)Origin The Cyrillic alphabet is named after St. Cyril, a missionary from Byzantium. It was invented sometime during the 10th century AD, possibly by St. Kliment of Ohrid, to write the Old Church Slavonic language. Old Church Slavonic The Cyrillic alphabet achieved its current form in 1708 during the reign of Peter the Great. Four letters were eliminated from the alphabet in a 1917/18 reform.The Cyrillic alphabet has been adapted to write over 50 different languages, mainly in Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. In many cases additional letters are used, some of which are adaptations of standard Cyrillic letters, while others are taken from the Greek or Latin alphabets.
Russian currency: the ruble 1 Russian ruble =.034793 US $
Russian writers: Vladimir Nabokov, Anton Chekov, Leo Tolstoi, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn