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St. Valentine’s Day

Have you ever wondered why every year on February 14th people celebrate St. Valentine’s Day?

Why do they send cards with messages of love, why people buy roses and chocolates and show their affection for another person on this romantic day?

Let’s talk about that today.

As you know, the Valentine’s day gets its name from a famous saint, but there are several stories of who he was.

The most popular belief about St. Valentine is that he was a priest. He lived in Rome in the third century. So it was a very long time ago.

At that time they had Emperor Claudius II of the Roman Empire.

He did not like to see people happy and was always starting wars with other countries.

Claudius did not like to see people getting married, because when a war came on, his soldiers did not want to leave their wives and children; young soldiers did not want to leave their sweethearts neither.

So the Emperor, being the cruel man that he was, banned all marriages and made it illegal for anyone to become engaged.

Valentine felt this was unfair, so he broke the rules and kept on performing marriage ceremonies in secret.

When Claudius found out, Valentine was thrown in jail and sentenced to death.

There, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and when he was taken to be killed on 14 February he sent her a love letter signed “From your Valentine».

So this is the story of St. Valentine. People used to remember him all these years. An expression «From your Valentine» was later adopted by modern Valentine letters in Britain in the 19th century. Later in the 20th century and the 21st, these customs spread to other countries.

I know that recently people have started to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Russia as well.

February is a very popular month to get engaged. It is not only because 10 percent of all proposals happen on Valentine’s Day, but it is also the month that women throughout the world have historically been given permission to pop the question: ’Will you marry me?’

Legend says that every four years, when February is extended by an extra day, women can ask men for their hand in marriage.

Interesting tradition, isn’t it?

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Moscow is the city where a lot can be seen and done

I have been to many countries.
When I visited different cities of the world, I saw a lot of interesting things there. Beautiful landscapes, monuments and statues, famous buildings and big museums. And I asked myself: what would I advise to see in Moscow to a foreigner if he decided to come? Well, I’ve got a few suggestions!
Red Square and the Kremlin are necessary to visit. If you have been to Moscow and you haven’t visited Red Square and the Kremlin, then you haven’t been to Moscow!
Red Square with the famous onion domes of St Basil’s Cathedral  is around 500 metres in length and was originally a market square for the Kremlin in the late 15th century. It has long been a place of protests and processions, but is now used more often for cultural events, fireworks and concerts. You won’t believe it, but the cathedral was built in the middle of the 16-th century!

Once the home of the Tsars and the old headquarters of the Soviet Union, the Kremlin is now the residence of the Russian President. There are several cathedrals and churches inside the Kremlin, including Ivan the Great Bell Tower, built in the 17th century. The magnificent State Armoury  or the Armoury Chamber and the State Diamond Fund are also worth visiting. The modern grey concrete Palace of Congresses stands among the ancient churches as a reminder of the Soviet era.

One of the things a foreigner can do is to pay a visit to the Lenin Mausoleum to have a look at the body of the former Soviet leader. This is extremely popular with locals, so you’ll have to queue with hundreds of them for at least 40 minutes before being let inside the Mausoleum.

Other places which I would advise to visit are the Bolshoy Theatre which was recently rebuilt and renovated, the famous picture galleries — the State Tretyakov gallery and the State Pushkin museum,

The places I’ve mentioned are always being advised by everybody. But Moscow is not only the Kremlin, the churches and the Bolshoy. It is also a city of students, musicians, people of different religions who came from all parts of Russia, office workers and football fans. Moscow is different for everybody.

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