The Great Moscow State Circus
The Great Moscow State Circus

So we managed to get some tickets to The Great Moscow State Circus – and I must say it was quite an experience. I hate circuses to be quite honest – I’ve never really seen the point of them, but having the chance to visit The Great Moscow State Circus I was hoping to see some awesome eastern european animal cruelty (I do NOT condone animal cruelty! but seeing a bear on a motorbike is pretty fucking awesome).

There are several circuses which use the name Great Moscow Circus but the 2 most famous ones are the Circus Nikulin and the Bolshoi Circus. The former is famous for its animal acts, while the latter is known for its acrobatics. 

Going to The Great Moscow State Circus – The Bolshoi Circus is serious Business. Tickets can be really hard to come by as the shows are really popular. Tickets aren’t that expensive, that is unless you aren’t Russian. Like with all state institutions in Russia, there are 2 different price categories, one for russians and one for foreigners. It’s not racist if you hate all foreigners.

Line inside the Bolshoi Circus - Moscow State circus
Line inside the Bolshoi Circus – Moscow State circus

Check out the rest of the blurry pictures in this Flickr Album – The Great Moscow State Circus

 Unlike European circuses which travel the with collapsible tents, The Great Moscow Circus is a Fixed Event. They are open all year around and housed in a massive Arena. The Bolshoi Circus is located at the Vernadsky Prospekt, and the auditorium can seat up to 3400 people. 

Inside the Great Moscow State Circus
Theres Space for 3400 People inside

Photography was strictly forbidden  inside the circus, and they had what seemed like former KGB agents policing the arena to stop people from taking pictures. The show must be awesome if they wont allow you take pictures of it. I did manage to snap a few sneaky pics with a cheap point and shoot camera without Olga or Boris catching me, but quality of them wasnt too great.

  The Circus theme/show revolved around a group of people getting on a magical train and experiencing some weird adventure – I didn’t really understand what the hell was going on to be quite frank. There was an interesting mixture of acrobatics and a really awesome magic show, but the real highlight was when the animals came out. There was a small dog show going on, and some monkey balancing on a (very low) tightrope…

a monkey on a tightrope at great moscow state circus
Monkeys are always funny – even when theyre blurry

– when all of a sudden a full-grown Bear waltzed out. Bear in mind (sorry for the pun) that there is no fence or barrier surrounding the ring – so if the bear decided to slash poor Mikhails face off, there’s little anyone could do about it. So this bear hopped on a steel ring and started balancing on it and walking around the ring. Pretty impressive I must say.

A Bear balancing on a steel drum at the moscow state circus
A Bear Balancing on a steel drum – like a Boss

It got better though – after that bear did its job, out came its bigger brother ridding a motorcycle! I so wish I would have gotten a better picture of it, but the one down below will have to do.

A Bear driving a Motorcycle at the Bolshoi Circus
A Bear Driving a Motorcycle – Like a Boss

Halfway through the show, they put on a break so everyone could stretch their legs, get something to drink and eat and take some awkward family photos with depressed animals. Just to clarify, those foxes are alive. I’m not sure if they have been de-clawed or anything, but im pretty sure they could still bite your face. They had some other small animals chained up as well, like rabbits and cats and ferrets, but the Foxes were by far the most popular.

refreshment truck outside the great moscow state circus
Dont think your beer can get any cooler than this…
Children posing with foxes at the Great Moscow State Circus
Well thats one awkward family photo
chained up cat at the great moscow state circus
In Russian: Please don’t touch the animals.
chained up fox at the great moscow state circus
Thats one depressed Fox.

Id say everything that came after this was a bit of a let down,that is until they brought out 7 lions and made them perform all sort of humiliating tricks. The pinnacle of this was probably making them stack up on a giant pyramid. The came the clowns, which were probably more amusing than they should have been solely for the reason that it was all in russian.

lion tamers head inside a lion at the bolshoi circus
Sticking your head into a pissed off Lions mouth is always a good idea
lyon pyramid at the bolshoi circus
A Lion Pyramid

So after a good 3 hours or so I must say I still hate circuses, but magic shows and bears ridding motorcycles are awesome.

Here are 3 thing that I learned at the Great Moscow State Circus:

1) Russian children don’t laugh 

2) All russians clap in sync 

3) Animal cruelty is alive and well


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  2. Shut down this animal cruelty masked as an entertaining circus! This is disgusting and I can’t believe it’s still allowed in this modern world!!

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