Monthly Archives: May 2011

Veniki

Veniki

  Venik is a word that doesn’t translate well into English. A venik (VYE-nik) is a broom, or whisk broom. It also is a bundle of …

 

The Steam-maker

The Steam-maker

“In the banya all are equal.” “In the banya there are no generals.” “In the banya there are no epaulets.” These proverbs about the Russian steam bath – …

 

The Field Banya

The Field Banya

A friend once recounted for me a rafting trip he took one summer, with friends, among the Ural Mountains. One day, after making camp on …

 

The Black Banya

The Black Banya

More Russians have seen the yeti than have steamed in a black banya. Black banyas are nearly extinct. They just barely exist. They are the truest …

 

Gulag Banyas

Gulag Banyas

“The banya is a negative event, a burden in the convict’s life. The dream of getting clean in the banya is an impossible dream,” writes …