What could be more traditionally Russian than the circus! Steeped in history and going back to the time of Catherine the Great, the circus is one of the most Russian forms of evening entertainment you can experience. Interestingly though it is believed that the circus in Russia actually exists thanks to an englishman Charles Hughes, who took his troupe of circus performers to Russia to perform for Catherine the Great in St Petersburg. She was so impressed with their performance she immediately commissioned a circus for Russia and its people.
The old Moscow Circus was founded in 1880 and was the beginning of a great tradition and love for theatrical circus entertainment throughout Russia. Now when visiting Moscow you have the choice of two grand circus theatres, The Yuri Nikulin Circus or Old Circus (founded 1880), named after Russia's most famous clown and the former longtime director of the circus (who's very grand resting place can now be visited in Novodovichy cemetery) and the New Moscow State Circus on Prospect Vernadskovo (founded 1971). Although the circus is a very traditional past time for Russian people it can divide tourist opinion due to the use of performance animals, including, lions, bears and monkeys!