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On 18 January 2017, Lazarski University Foreign Language Centre organised the "Meeting with Lake Baikal" as part of the "Understand Other Cultures" National Days project.

It was an extraordinary event. And it could not have been otherwise, for Lake Baikal is one of the most beautiful and fascinating places on Earth. It is a place where nature shows its true might. It is magical, full of spirits and mysteries. The hallway was the first step in the atmosphere of mystery and mysticism. It was decorated with trees covered in colourful ribbons and rags that referred to the spirits of nature that Buryats (the native people of the Lake Baikal region) believe in. The hallway also featured an exhibition of unique nesting dolls with scenes from Russian fairy tales as well as photos of Lake Baikal by Kuba Rybicki.

After a Buryat ceremony of offering a sacrifice to the Great Spirit of Baikal, meeting participants listened to “Cinderella”, performed with touching beauty on a balalaika by our student Anton. Kuba Rybicki (who cycled along Lake Baikal in winter) talked about his fascination with that monumental lake, illustrating his story with magnificent photos and films. 

The event was attended also by a great Siberian bard Evgen Malinovskiy who sung the songs by Vysotsky and Rozenbaum. Respective songs were preceded by reflexions about the strength of such values as love, friendship and freedom. Evgen Malinovski’s performance proved that music indeed forms a connection between people, allowing us to learn about and understand one another even when we speak different languages and come from different cultural backgrounds, as the event participants did.

An ever-present element of our meetings, refreshments comprised the delicacies of the Siberian cuisine. While no Arctic ciscos were available, instead we feasted on delicious pelmeni, blintzes, a herring salad, cakes, samovar tea and boubliks. With the exception of pelmeni, all the dishes were prepared by the Centre’s students and staff. You have our greatest gratitude! If you did not make it to the meeting, you should really regret it. Have a look for yourselves…

A short film from the event can be found at HERE.