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Bolshoi Theatre

Cultural treasure of Russian capital
The Bolshoi Theatre is undoubtedly one of the most prominent architecture symbols of Moscow (It's so popular the building even found its way onto the Russian banknotes). And as most historical buildings in Moscow,
it was burnt to the ground at least twice.


The modern building of the Bolshoi was open

Performances were staged

Years took the last reconstruction
The theatre was first built in 1776 under Ekaterina's the Great orders, but the building acquired its modern look almost a century later in 1856 and after two fires no less. At first, it was built in the empire style, but after being rebuilt, the theatre acquired some traits of early eclectic. The theatre is undoubtedly the picture to behold. While being one of the biggest theatres of opera and ballet in Europe, the Bolshoi is very pleasant to look at in its royal classical simplicity. The elegant Greek portico of eight columns immediately catches the observer's attention only to entice them to look up – to the statuary the Apollo's Quadriga. It is the true jewel of the Bolshoi's exterior.

When you come to visit the Theatre (to enjoy some production or just to admire the view as the part of our Moscow Free Walking Tour) you will find yourself on the very spacious Theatre Square. It was designed this way to underline specifically the size of the Theatre and to let people have their view from the distance. By the way, the square and the nearby underground station got their name not only because of the Bolshoi Theatre. There are two more theatres situated on the same square –on the right hand from the Bolshoi is the Maly Drama Theatre and the Youth Drama Theatre is on the left.

The elegant fountain is located in the centre of the square. If you are visiting in summer, don't forget to check out the flowerbeds on the square. The two brands of tulips planted there were specifically produced by the Dutch botanist in the early 20th century; the first brand was named after the Bolshoi Theatre itself and the second one was named after one of its most famous ballet-dancers – Galina Ulanova.

Throughout its 200 year history, the Bolshoi Theatre has changed many times but it always remained the place to enjoy ballet and opera. A few years back the theatre has undergone some heavy reconstruction. Nowadays people visit the Bolshoi Theatre not only to watch its theatrical productions but also to look at its interior. And there is much to look at indeed!

Many traits and items from the age of Russian Empire were restored during the reconstruction, such as some of the furniture, pieces of inner decor, and, of course, the famous red velvet curtain with an embroidered double eagle for the main scene. Today visitors can enjoy the concert halls, rooms and chambers of the theatre in their original form. But that is not all which was achieved during the several-year-long reconstruction. The grand foundation pit had been dug under the theatre during the construction works. It went down 30 meters under the ground. It allowed to add to the theatre's premises the new underground concert hall and also to install some new unique theatre technologies.

The visit to the Bolshoi Theatre is a visit to the theatre and to the museum at the same time. The past in its historical interior and the future of its newest engineering technologies come into a fusion. And even if you don't have the time or desire to see one of the Bolshoi's brilliant productions, to watch the Theatre from the distance during the walk through the Theatre Square is the sightseeing event on its own.
Want to visit the Bolshoi?
Bolshoi theatre is famous worldwide for its opera and ballet performances. If you are interested in classical and modern performances, this theatre would be a perfect choice in Russia!

NOTE: be careful and plan your visit in advance. Bolshoi Theatre is one of the most popular in Russia, so sold-out is very common practice. It is highly recommended to buy your ticket before you arrive to Russia.

You can check the schedule of performances and buy the tickets on the official website of Bolshoi Theatre:

If you don't want to see the performance, you may take part in official tour inside the Historical building. They are held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (once in a day). A group of maximum 15 people is formed before the beginning of the excursion which starts at 11:15 am. The ticket office is situated in the Historical building (door number 12) and opens at 11 am (you cannot buy the ticket online). The price for the ticket is 1300 rubles. No children under the age of 14 are allowed.