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Russia's iconic symbols. Emblematic expressions of Russia. National pride.

Traditional Symbols of Russia.

The bell chimes

Kremlin, Moscow

Why are the bell chimes so important and symbolic for Russians? They are directly associated with the Motherland and a life itself. Every day in the morning and in the evening since the early childhood till death Russians could hear the bell chimes. They sounded equally for all people despite the classes, power and wealth. The bell chimes were called the voice of Orthodoxy and the music of Russia. They have been considered a Russian national symbol since the ancient times. The bells were first and foremost a means of conveying important information, heralding news regarding tragic or joyous events.

The bell chimes are powerful and magical and are even said to have a healing effect. The studies made in 1990’s revealed that computer diagram of the sound oscillations of the bell chimes forms two ellipsoids, intercrossing, compressing and decompressing. At their moment of compression, they form the shape of a Cross…

There is no counting to belfries and bells in Russia. Some can be inconceivable size! Just the Czar-bell in the Kremlin weighs 200 tons. The oldest bells of Moscow are at the Novodevichy Convent.

The bells were treated similarly to people: during wars, incursions, coups, they were stripped of their tongues, sent off to be melted down. The bell in Cathedral of the old Believers in Moscowwas chained like a prisoner and found during the restoration in 1990’s. Russian cities like Yaroslavl, Rostov, Murom boast remarkable chimes. All of Russian music and poetry is inspired with Russian bell chimes and imbued with its mystical infusion.

Young Russian woman buys Gzhel ceramics


The modern understanding of Gzhel is Russian folk art and distinctive style of ceramics that has become one of Russia’s symbols, easily recognizable both at home and abroad. Blue-and-white color scheme, or the more colorful Maiolica, peculiar designs, and shapes are the typical features of Gzhel ceramics and porcelain.

The style takes its name from the village of Gzhel and surrounding area where rich deposits of clays suitable for the making of pottery were found in the 17th century. And thus ceramic industries grew up in the region. By the beginning of the 19th century Gzhel rose to fame as a large ceramics center that produced artistic and decorative objects. The clays were also supplied for the first in Russia Imperial porcelain plant, established in St-Petersburg by Russian empress Elizabeth Petrovna.

Nowadays Gzhel is a vast region that unites tens of villages situated 60 kilometers south east of Moscow, where the famous Gzhel ceramics is produced. This is main ceramics center of Russia that attracts tourists, collectors and retailers. The secrets of Gzhel popularity is a simple but unique painting style, a great variety of forms and items that Gzhel artists offer. The mastery that was handed down from father to son for centuries allows to create not only beautiful domestic utensils like breakfast and soup plates, dinner-services, mugs, tankards, and pitchers, but real works of art that are a part of collection of Moscow's State Museum o History.

The "Black Square" of Kazimir Malevich

The "Black Square" of Kazimir Malevich is one of the most famous creations of Russian art in the last century. Painted in 1915 it became the turning point in the development of Russian avant-garde. Malevich soon became a pioneer of geometric abstract art and the originator of the Avant-garde Suprematist movement. There are four versions of Black square in Russian now. One was donated to State Hermitage Museum collection by philanthropist Vladimir Potanin.

Vostok aka East rocket

Vostok aka East (rocket family)

Vostok (Russian Восток) was a family of rockets derived from the Soviet R-7 Semyorka ICBM designed for the human spaceflight programme. In 1980 this family of rockets launched the first artificial satellite ("sputnik") and the first manned spacecraft in human history. It was a subset of the R-7 family of rockets.

Ochi chyornye - Dark Eyes (song)

Ochi chyornye is a most known Russian romance song in the world. Although often characterized as a Russian gypsy song, the words and music were written by a Ukrainian poet Yevhen Hrebinka and a German composer Florian Hermann. The romance has been performed by lots of famous Russian singers like Feodor Chaliapin, Izabella Yurieva, Vladimir Vysotsky, Dmitry Khvorostovsky, Sergei Penkin, Iosof Kobzon. The song appearance to be highly influential. The attempts to perform it in different music styles have been made by various performers throughout the world. Virtuoso jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt performed it on guitar in gypsy jazz style, Louis Armstrong tried to turn an old Russian song into American classic by his marvelous trumpet-playing. Argentinean singer Lolita Torres combined the song with tango «La Cumparsita». French singer Patricia Kaas and Mirey Matie included the song in their repertoire under the name «Les Yeux Noirs».

Periodic table of Dmitri Mendeleev

The invention of periodic table of the chemical elements is credited to Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev, who developed a version of the now-familiar tabular presentation in 1869 to illustrate recurring ("periodic") trends in the properties of the then-known elements. One of the strengths of Mendeleev's presentation is that the original version accurately predicted some of the properties of then-undiscovered elements expected to fill gaps in his arrangement. Mendeleev’s periodic table became the iconic format and is widely used not only in chemistry and physics, but also in such diverse fields as geology, biology, materials science, engineering, agriculture, medicine, nutrition, environmental health, and astronomy. Its principles are especially important in chemical engineering.

Borodinsky bread

Borodinsky bread (Russian: бородинский хлеб) is a Rye Bread of Russian origin. According to one of the legends Borodinsky bread was named by a general's wife who sought to inspire the Russian troops before the battle of Borodino between Napoleon and Kutuzov in 1812 by baking special loaves flavoured with native coriander. The principal standard ingredients of this dark rye bread are rye flour, a sourdough leaven, yeast, salt, barley malt syrup, black treacle or molasses and coriander or caraway seeds. The square dark rye is perhaps Russia's most iconic bread. Borodinsky bread is one of the most popular bread in Russia, it is also served Russian restaurants in many countries.

Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens

Institute for Noble Maidens (Russian: Институт благородных девиц) was a type of educational institution, finishing school in late Imperial Russia. It was founded by Ivan Betskoy as a girl-only institution for girls of noble origin. The first and most famous of these was the Smolny Institute in St.Petersburg. Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens became the first in the world network of classic education institutions for girls. Its name was regarded as synonymous with high cultural standards, manners, and poise. In modern Russia the attempts to partially reconstruct the approach are made in a number of private schools at the moment.


Cossacks (Russian: Казаки́, Kazaki) are a group of predominantly East Slavic people who originally were members of democratic, semi-military communities in what is today Ukraine and Southern Russia inhabiting sparsely populated areas and islands in the lower Dnieper and Don basins. They played an important role in the historical development of those nations. The Cossacks united in the 15th century as a self-governing warrior organization that was loyal only to the Russian Czar. They settled in six different areas: the Don, the Greben in Caucasia, the Yaik, near the Ural River, the Volga, the Dnieper and the Zaporozhian, west of the Dnieper.

The governments used them for military purposes. In 16th-century Poland, the Zaporozhian Cossacks protected Poland's borders. The Russian government used the Cossacks to expand Russia's empire and protect her frontier.

The Cossacks gradually lost their power under Russian domination in the 17th and 18th centuries. They rebelled when their privileges were threatened but ultimately lost their autonomous status. The Cossacks continued to serve during revolutionary uprisings in Russia, but the Soviet government took away the Cossacks' administrative status.

Today there are hundreds of Cossack organizations across Russia which are seeking to reestablish Cossack specific customs and traditions and political structures. The Cossacks represent a group with high potential in many spheres of Russian politics, economy and military.

Andreevsky Flag (Russian Navy Ensign)

Andreevsky Flag (Russian Navy Ensign)

Andreevsky Flag was the main ship ensign of Russian Fleet. It represented the white right angled cloth crossed diagonally by two blue bands. They form a slanted cross cross which was named Andreevsky. This explained the Flag's name.

Established by Peter the Great Andreevsky Flag was the ensign of the Navy of the Russian Empire (from 1712 to 1918), the naval flag of the Russian Federation and the banner of the Navy of the Russian Federation (since 2000). Andreevsky Flag has a deep symbolism. Apostle Andrei, who Peter I considered his divine protector was a tireless traveler-preacher of Christianity. According to the Christian legend he was crucified on the oblique angle cross.

The cross joins the 4 corners of the flag that symbolize the unity of 4 European seas: the Baltic Sea, the Caspian sea, the Barents Sea And the Sea of Azov under Russian.

Icons of Russia

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