The tradition to go to banya in Russia appeared centuries ago. No one knows who introduced it but every child beginning from the age of five knows what banya is. The aim of this private guided tour in Saint-Petersburg is to tell you how this tradition appeared. Russian banya is the way Russians got washed in the old times. Of course, we have modern and comfortable bathrooms in our apartments now but still having Russian banya is an existing and a very important tradition for us.
Russian banyas can be large including many rooms for bathing or simple wooden constructions. Most of them have three areas called – a steam room, a room for washing and an entrance room. The third one is used for leaving clothes in it and has benches to rest on. In the room for washing you will find a hot water tap that uses water heated in the stove of the steam room. Also, there is usually a big container or a tap with cold water here. This way, two types of water can be mixed to make the water of a comfortable temperature for washing.
There are three compartments in the heater – a tank for water on the top of it which is usually closed, the rock chamber with a small hole to throw the water onto the rocks and the fire box which is fed from the entrance room. By the stove in the steam room there is a big bucket with water which is used for pouring over the heated rocks. For people to relax there are benches here. First water is poured over the rocks and then people come into the room.
The temperature in Russian banya can come up to 93 degrees Celsius (199 °F) that is why people use special felt hats to protect heads from the heat. Very often banya is combined with different relaxing procedures, such as different types of massage. Banya lovers can hit themselves with birch brooms – dried branches and leaves of the white birch or oak – that are usually moistened before use. It is done for health to improve the blood circulation. After that people try to cool off then they reenter the banya and small amounts of hot water are splashed over the rocks again. This procedure can be repeated as many times as people would like to. During the breaks it is traditional to have tea or even beer with snacks. In the end people get washed in the washing room. The closest relative to Russian banya is Finnish sauna. It is considered Russians use wet steam and Finnish ones – dry.
We offer you a visit Russian banya as a non-standard tour in St Petersburg, Russia because we strongly believe it will be a very nice and special experience for you. Book more than one tour with us to get a great discount!
The price includes a professional guide for three hours, taxi (both ways), sauna rental, some snacks and drinks.
Group size (number of people). Price per person.