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Will appear in Moscow street Kuindzhi and Bilibin20 December 2016Will appear in Moscow street Kuindzhi and Bilibin

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Call one of the capital's squares

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Hospitality in the Capital: How to be a Good Guest


In general, Muscovites invite their close friends to their homes and prefer to meet their coworkers and colleagues somewhere outside of the home, for example, in a cafe or restaurant. With that being said, you can consider it to be a sign of sincere friendship if you are invited to the home of one of your colleagues.

Invitations can be spontaneous and may occur on the same day as the event. In this case, it's not necessary to worry much about what to wear. Visits in the home are always “open collar”. Feel free to wear what's comfortable for you.

An invitation to someone's home does not mean that they expect an invitation in return, and you are not obliged to host them in the future. You are simply there to enjoy the food and conversation.

Traditionally, hosts prepare a meal for their guests. If it is a holiday or a special occasion, the table will be filled with salads, hot dishes and desserts. Of course the food will be more modest on a usual Friday evening but, in any case, you will not leave hungry.

Be prepared to eat. If you want to please your host, come with an appetite. Older people may be seriously offended if their guests don't eat much of the food they prepared.

The tradition is still alive and well in hospitable Moscow families to invite friends, especially those who aren't familiar with Russian cuisine, to try special dishes such as “borscsh” (beet soup), “plov” (rice with meat) or “manty” (dumplings). Guests are warned in advance, which dish will be the “main attraction”. If you are not familiar with the dish's name, don't be afraid to ask about its ingredients. Such culinary occasions are the best way to get to know the local cuisine.

Be sure to bring a nice bottle of wine or alcohol for the host. For men who are visiting someone's home for the first time, it's a good idea to bring a small bouquet of flowers for the hostess.

Don't be surprised if your hosts ask you to remove your shoes. The reasons for this rule are not as relevant in the summer, however, in spring, autumn and winter it is absolutely not acceptable to wear street shoes in the house. This tradition is a tribute to Moscow's unfriendly climate with regular rainfall, snow, and puddles of rain and mud on the streets. Upon entering someone's home you will surely be offered slippers, but if you feel they won't go well with your outfit, bring a change of shoes with you.

It is not usually acceptable to stay the night even if the visit lasts quite late. If your host lives in their own detached house in the country, this may be an exception to the rule. Ask the host to help you call a taxi if you don't feel comfortable navigating the city.