Riding on a Russian Troika
Winters in Russia can be very beautiful and very snowy! Thus, they often offer travelers to try an authentic Russian experience called “Russian Troika”. What a great idea to get out from the city and enjoy a ride on a traditional sleigh drawn by three horses?
Troika along with Matryoshka dolls, balalaika and vodka has become one of country’s main symbols. The name refers to an old Russian winter type of vehicle – sleigh powered by three horses harnessed abreast. It also refers to a group of three horses pulling a sleigh. It dates back to the XVIII century when troika was widely used for postal deliveries, for transportation of the upper class passengers, as well as for Russian festivities and celebrations e.g. weddings.
Training and arranging three horses in a special way allows sleigh to reach a high speed of 50 kilometers per hour. This is possible due to a particular type of harness combination in which each horse knows where to run and how to run. The central horse runs in a trot, while the others maintain gallop. Arranged in such a way this famous Russian winter transport also provides better safety for travelers than, for example, 2-horse carriages.
Troika bells singing
As fast Russian troika was getting popular, they faced the necessity to control traffic. Sound signals could tell people when sleighs were approaching. The sound was made by 100 different bells put on the bridle, saddle and inside the harness. It became an important integral part of Russian sleighs. A singing of many troika bells -both in minor and in major -warned the postal workers, for example, that the horses were nearby. Thus,they had enough time to prepare fresh ones. It was a very clear and a very beautiful sound. So that, some people even associated troika with a musical instrument.
At present riding troika in Russia is more for having fun. They use colorful sleighs in historical movies (like Doctor Zhivago), in Russian folklore. Russian troika often participates in some traditional festivities and weddings. As a part of local experience it helps foreigners to feel little Russian!
You can find troika in some picturesque parks near St Petersburg. The best and the largest is Pavlovsk park. If you like to experience this well-known Russian tradition, you are very welcome to contact us! You will get some hot tea or hot wine and Russian pancakes as compliments! We highly recommend you to combine this winter activity with a visit to Pavlovsk palace or Catherine palace in Pushkin.