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Russian Culture 101 in Photos

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Russian Banya
Russian Banya

Russian Banya

© Ariadna De Raadt
The Russian banya (or steam bath or sauna) is still very popular at Russian dachas. Sometimes accompanied by bouts of drinking, sometimes accompanied by birchbark "whisking" (the process of whipping the limbs with birchbark branches to improve circulation), the banya experience is a social one usually followed by the participants jumping into cold water. As with other elements of Russian culture, the banya centers around tradition, the wisdom of generations past, and the practicality of life in Russia. Though individuals don't usually go to the banya in place of taking a shower at home, going to the banya is still considered healthful and a well-established Russian custom.

Sometimes banyas are used when the hot water is shut off for summertime maintenance in Russian cities.

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