LEISURE Newsletter, April 2016

Today we celebrate the 55th anniversary of first man flight into space - in remote 1961 with Yuriy Gagarin flight the new era for mankind began - the era of space conquest. Now the flights are already so regular and common for us that we don't even know the names of all the cosmonauts but the name of the first man in space Yuriy Gagarin is knowsn to everybody in Russia.!

Helen Isaeva

Cosmonautics Day in Russia: 55 Years Anniversary of the First Human Flight into Space

On April 12, 2016 Russia will celebrate the Cosmonautics Day. This year Russia celebrates the 55 years anniversary of the first flight of man to space. On April 12, 1961 the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to fly into outer space.
Scientists from different countries of the world have been working at spaceship construction and other issues of consmonautics for a long time. In 1961 USSR demonstrated unprecedented sucess: in March the take-off complex had been completed at Baikonur Cosmodrome (Kazakhstan). On April 12 spacecraft Vostok 8К72К, operated by Yury Gagarin, completed an orbit of the Earth. It was the historical flight which proved that a piloted spacecraft was not a fantasy any more - it was turned into reality by geniuses of engineering.

People from all over the world were following this courageous flight of the first human in the outer space, which lasted 1 hour 48 minutes.

Since 1961 the Cosmonautics Day has been celebrated in Russia annually. This year, due to the 55 years anniversary, many events will take place in Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as in other cities of Russia.

If you are interested in the mysterious cosmic world, we have a wonderful offer for you. One of our highlights which can be included into any program is a visit to the Star City - Yu. A. Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonsut Training Center, which was built to support manned space programs, space exploration activities, space engineering, cosmonauts' training, as well as ensuring cosmonauts' safety in space and providing post-flight rehabilitation program for cosmonauts. The Star City offers many options for visitors: an excursion with a professional guide, a conversation with a real cosmonaut and of course you can try to be a cosmonaut on training for a day.

New in St. Petersburg

The high season in St. Petersburg is coming closer. The city awakens from winter time and many cultural events already attract tourists from over the world.

Probably you will be intersted to know that no entry visa is needed for foreign sitizens arriving to St. Petersburg by overnight ferry Helsinki - St Petersburg "Princess Anasatsia" or "Pincess Maria" and staying no longer than 72 hours (3 days). Compared to all other international cruises if you travel by this ferry you don't need to stay at the ship overnight - you can stay at a hotel you like in the city centre. So if you have your European tour finishing in Scandinavia - why not to take ferry for 3 day extension to St Petersburg?

An exhibition of works of Tony Cragg. Sculptures and drawings will be exhibited at the General Staff Building of the Hermitage. The exhibition started on March 2, 2016 and will last until May 7, 2016. Tony Cragg (1949) is one of the most famous contemporary sculptors. Born in Liverpool, in 1977 he moved to Wuppertal, Germany, where he currently lives and works. In his works Tony Cragg embarks on an intricate exploration of the existence of sculpture - beyond design, vicissitudes of the museum world and art market. The exhibition that was specifically designed by the artist for the State Hermitage Museum features 55 sculptures and drawings from last two decades, including iconic Minster and Complete Omnivore as well as new glass works.

An exhibition of works of Leon Bakst at the Russian Museum started on February 24 and will continue till May 16, 2016. Leon Bakst (1866-1924) is a world-known master of painting and drawing, whose impact on the flourishing of Russian theatrical and decorative art is hard to overestimate. The art of Bakst largely influenced theatrical art all over the world. It became an outstanding example of a thoughtful combination of experiments with form and interest to the artistic tradition of the Ancient East and antiquity. The exhibition dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the master presents around 100 works from the Russian museum collection and other museums.

Legendary Metropol Hotel Moscow 5* Celebrates 110 Years Anniversary

Metropol Hotel Moscow 5* is one of the oldest hotels in Moscow. In the second half of the 19th century (1850), the very popular Moscow baths were situated in this building. The other part of the building was used as a hotel. In 1898 St. Petersburg Insurance Association purchased the building of Chelyshy and rented it out to the North Homebuilding Society whose head was Savva Mamontov. Savva Mamontov, being a patron of the arts, decided to create not just a hotel, but a cultural center, with a theatre, exhibition halls, restaurants and hotel rooms. Mamontov engaged the best architects, painters and sculptors in the Metropol project.

In January of 1899, a tender for the best project to construct a first-class hotel was announced. Russian and foreign architects were invited to participate. The project of the famous Russian architect L. Kekushev won the tender. Nevertheless, the forth-place project of architect William Walcott was accepted. In the same year of 1899, the construction of the Metropol building began.

In March of 1905 the Metropol Hotel and the restaurant opened. The luxury hotel was extremely popular among travellers, business people, cultural and political elite. In late October - early November of 1917, clashes for the proclamation of the Soviet regime broke out in Moscow. Metropol was one of the points of resistance of the Bolsheviks.When the Soviet government moved to Moscow in 1917, Metropol became the residence of the leaders of the Bolshevik Party and the Soviet state. The central restaurant, which was turned into a meeting room, witnessed the speeches of Lenin, Trotsky, Sverdlov.

In 1931 - Metropol regains the hotel status. This was the place where important foreign guests and well-known foreign immigrants were accommodated.

At various times, the hotel hosted Bernard Shaw, Bertolt Brecht, housed Sergei Prokofiev, Alexander Vertinsky and his family. Within the period of 1950-1970, Mao Tse-tung, Marcello Mastroianni, Marlene Dietrich, John Steinbeck, Jean Marais, Paul Mauriat stayed in the hotel. 1986-1991 - the period of restoration and reconstruction of the hotel. Large-scale reconstruction and restoration of the building began in 1986. The works lasted five years. On December 5, 1991 the grand opening of the renovated hotel took place. The presentation was made in New York, Washington and Paris. The international commission gave a five-star rating to the hotel. as accepted. Metropol was one of the first five-star hotels in Russia. Nowadays Metropol Hotel Moscow 5* remains one of the best hotels ini Moscow.