I’ve had some people tell me that the Russian pavilion isn’t all that great, and others have told me they liked it. I thought it was very good. It’s one of those guided tour pavilions, with only a limited amount of people let in at one time (about 50), so be careful of long lines if you don’t have much time.
The pavilion focuses mainly on Russia’s exploration and exploitation of the Arctic Ocean. After walking through an “ice tunnel”, you’re first given an introduction on a large video screen, then you go into a large theater made out like the deck of an old research ship. There, you watch quite a good animation of Russian ocean vessels projected onto the walls of the room. The video lasts about 7 or 8 minutes.
Here’s a shot of a timeline of Russian explorers in the intro area.
The “ice tunnel.”
Pretty cool animated video of Russian icebreakers, research ships and others.
The final hall contains lots of mock-ups of ships, research vessels, and other interesting paraphernalia. At the end of the hall is a simulation that lets you be the captain of a large ocean-going ship, steering wherever you want to go, sort of like a video game.
Here’s a submersible and a diving suit.
And a scale model of a research vessel.
Here, you can try to steer a large ship around the ocean. Nice video game!
The souvenir stand is quite good, crammed with traditional nesting/babushka dolls. However, as in some of the other major pavilions, one of the highlights of the Russian Pavilion is a charming restaurant just outside of the souvenir stand, featuring a decent menu, with a variety of, what else, vodka flavored drinks.
The souvenir stand, followed by some of the many babushka dolls.
Here’s an image of the interior of the cozy restaurant.
And, here’s the menu. I had to keep it at a very large size in order to be able to read it, so give it a click or two.
So that’s the Russia Pavilion and here’s my take on it:
Time and Day Visited: Thursday, May 17th at around noon.
Interior Design: Pretty good, functional, scientific motif
Lines: None today, but I have seen some long ones here at various times.
Multimedia: Videos, animation, interactive screens and models, ship simulator
Souvenir Shop: Very nice, crammed with various items
Cultural Assets: Hmmm, not many traditional items, like balalaikas, but plenty of modern Russian scientific gear.
Restaurant/Bar: A small restaurant where you can order Russian fare and alcohol (Russian vodka!). I haven’t eaten here yet, so I can’t comment on the quality, but it looks pretty good.
Overall Rating: Go see it, but avoid any long lines. It’s a large pavilion with enough to interest most people, and it’s time well spent. Let me know how the food is if you eat at the restaurant.