Tag: Russian culture

The Banya

The Banya

When I first envision a banya, it looks something like this. Humble. Weathered. Even ramshackle. (see extensive photo gallery – and banya-related music!)

 

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 …

 

Banya Folklore

Banya Folklore

For centuries Russian folklore has spoken of the bathhouse possessing a spirit. More to the point, the bathhouse is possessed by a spirit. For a …

 

Between Steams

Between Steams

In my chosen bathhouse in Moscow we would rest between steams, our hair wet, our skin flushed, our backs slumped against benches, our chests rising …