For Russian students, learning poetry is the first introduction to literature – anyone schooled in Russia will remember having to learn challenging verses by heart. Poets have not just reflected on the history of the country, but at times created it themselves. Here’s our list of the top ten.
Vasily Zhukovsky (1783-1852)
An illegitimate child of his father, Zhukovsky was adopted and raised by a family friend. His literary talent became evident during his studies, when he published translations of poetic works. Zhukovsky was one of the founders of the romantic movement in Russian literature, especially with the publication of the ballad Ludmila. Alongside writing poetry, Zhukovksy also worked as an editor of the magazine ‘Herald of Europe’ and was a talented painter.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837)
Pushkin tops any list of Russian poets and writers. His works are akin to national treasure – some would even venture to say that before Pushkin, Russian poetry was basically non-existent. A man of noble descent, he completed his education in an elite lyceum for boys, where he gained a lot of inspiration for his works. He later joined literary associations and despite his post at the ministry of foreign affairs, continued writing. His often critical writing became the reason for his being sent into exile, to the Russian countryside. Despite this, Pushkin produced volumes of work, and would have done more if not for a duel that untimely ended his life at the age of 37.
Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841)
Lermontov showed a literary talent in the very early stages of his life. His works became recognised when he wrote the poem Death of a Poet, commemorating the death of Pushkin. The poem wasn’t accepted by censors and he was punished with exile to the Caucasus. During his time in exile, his writing only flourished. Eventually he returned to Saint Petersburg only to be sent away again for participating in a duel. Many of his works are set in the Caucasus and tell stories leaning towards the romantic genres of literature. Lermontov’s life also abruptly ended in a duel.
Nikolai Nekrasov (1821-1878)
Nikolai Nekrasov grew up in a family with many children and his father had a firm hand with them all. When he disobeyed his father’s will to pursue a military career, he was cut off from any material support. As a stranded university student, Nekrasov started writing as a means of survival. In time, he experimented with different writing styles, turning from poetry to prose. His famous work Who is Happy in Russia? explores in depth the social issues that affect all parts of society. At the height of his career he also worked as an editor of the revolutionary magazines ‘Sovremennik’ and ‘Otechestvennye Zapiski’.
Alexander Blok (1880-1921)
Alexander Blok was born into a literati family, receiving the best of education in his hometown Saint Petersburg. As a young man he decided to pursue acting and later started composing poetry. Throughout his career the poet explored different styles: he began writing in the genre of symbolism, exploring topics of love and romance. During the 1917 revolution he chose to stay in Russia and work in a publishing house of the then renamed Petrograd. The focus of his work shifted to social issues. Among his notable work of the time is the poem The Twelve. Towards the end of his life, he became very sick and wasn’t granted permission to leave the country for treatment. Blok died from heart failure in near-poverty and solitude.
Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966)
The life of Anna Akhmatova was a tragic one and her misfortunes found reflection in her poetry. Both her marriages were unsuccessful and ended in divorce. Her first husband and son fell victim to political repressions and were arrested. Despite her best efforts to bring them home, her ex-husband was executed and son sentenced to work in colonies. Akhmatova’s poetry touches on tragic tones, filled with thoughts on her own suffering and of the people undergoing a historic transition through revolution and war.
Sergey Esenin (1895-1925)
Esenin was born into a simple serf family. He received his education at a church-run school and later continued to study at university in Moscow. Despite the move to a big city, the rural upbringing he received influenced his works. He was close to the group of ‘new peasant’ poets, writing about the life of simple people in Russia, depicting scenes from the countryside. He became a very famous poet in his time, but nonetheless his life was not a happy one. Depression, alcohol abuse and treatment in a psychiatric ward forced the poet to end his life in the Angleterre hotel in Saint Petersburg.
Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941)
Tsvetaeva had a happy upbringing, she received a solid education and studied overseas. She wrote her first poetry very early – at the age of six. In the years to come her work was soon recognised by other noteworthy poets and she had a successful career. Following the revolution she and her family moved overseas, but her work was not well received abroad. They returned to the Soviet Union in 1939, forced by poverty. Her husband and daughter were both arrested and her husband was later shot. Tsvetaeva ended her life in the midst of World War II leaving behind a legacy of poetic works.
Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930)
Mayakovsky was born and raised in Georgia. After he completed part of his schooling, he moved to Moscow with his mother. Amidst the revolutionary events, they became unable to pay for school, and he was expelled. As he began writing, Mayakovsky became involved in the futurist movement. His early works also supported the revolutionary movement, for example writing slogans for propaganda posters. His work was well-received in the country and Mayakovsky’s career flourished. Towards the end of his life his career went downhill. His exhibition wasn’t well received and his plays were not successful. As a result Vladimir Mayakovsky shot himself.
Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996)
Joseph Brodsky was born and grew up in Leningrad, and the early part of his life was closely connected to the city. In search of his calling he tried various professions, but ended up with his true passion – writing. Throughout his career, Brodsky was arrested a number of times for dissident writing. Eventually, in 1972 he was forced to emigrate and moved to the United States. He continued working in the University of Michigan and in 1991 was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.