Bolshoi Theater in Moscow
One of Russia's most symbolic sites, the Bolshoi Theater's ("bolshoi" means "big" in Russian) turbulent history dates back to 1776, and it's a tale of fires, economic woes, bombings, revolutions and renovations. Today, it's Russia's largest and oldest theater.
The current building, which has been in use since 1856, is an example of classic Russian architecture. Outside, visitors are greeted by a statue of Apollo in his chariot atop a neoclassic portico. Inside in the main hall, red silk damask drapes cover the walls, gold leaf trims the balconies and 2,200 red velvet seats line four balconies and a top gallery. In 2005, The Bolshoi closed for a $680 million, six-year renovation, though that dollar figure is controversial as some alleged the cost was much higher amid rampant accusations of misspending.
The Bolshoi is also home to the world famous Bolshoi Ballet, one of the oldest ballet companies, and the renowned Bolshoi Ballet Academy.