While the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia piqued the interest of many tourists around the world to visit the vast European nation, the agreement last year waiving visa requirements between Russian and UAE citizens—not to mention direct flights to many Russian cities from Dubai and Abu Dhabi—opened many doors for explorers based in the Middle East. Continuing to shift perceptions and honor the rich heritage of the Emirati and Russian cultures, the Matrëshka Festival will be returning to Dubai for its fourth edition this March.
Launched in 2014, the festival was co-founded by Russian model and influencer Victoria Lopyreva with the goal to bridge the two nations in an elaborate celebration of arts, fashion, music, and cuisine through a packed schedule of live entertainment and fair-style vendors.
“The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia was one of the most exciting projects of my life,” explained Lopyreva, who was an official ambassador of the iconic sporting event. “For 4 years, I was proudly part of the strongest marketing team in the world—and together we achieved phenomenal goals! Through hard and intensive work, we created a huge wave and surge of interest for Russian culture around the world, an achievement we hold close to our hearts.”
Hoping to translate her life-changing experience with FIFA across various cultural experiences in destinations around the world, the Lopyreva helped to create and organize the Matrëshka Festival in the UAE. “I see my mission as building dialogue further between our countries, creating new opportunities for the development of small and medium-sized businesses in Russia and abroad, and welcoming more international tourists and travelers to the regions of the Russian Federation,” said the former Miss Russia.
Lopyreva may be well on her way of achieving this personal goal, with previous years of the festival attracting more than 100,000 visitors and sometimes more than 5,000 visitors per day, including Lebanese-Australian humanitarian and model Jessica Kahawaty and Dubai-based designer Rami Al Ali.
Supported by the Dubai Sports Council, the Russian Consulate in Dubai, the Russian Business Attache, and Emaar, this year’s event will feature a showcase of Emirati artists and attempt to be the largest gathering for International Women’s Day in the UAE. Festivalgoers can also shop designers from the high streets of Moscow, indulge in a menu of Russian delicacies, and watch a special curation of performances throughout the multi-day event. While last year the festival occurred at City Walk, Lopyreva took to social media a few weeks ago to ask her 3.4 million followers for their help in deciding its 2020 destination: City Walk, The Palm, The Dubai Mall, or Dubai Design District.
As per Lopyreva’s announcement, royalty, dignitaries, and esteemed personalities from the region are invited to the festival’s exclusive gala dinner on March 7 for a red-carpet evening under the glimmering lights of the world’s tallest building in the Armani Hotel. Boasting unparalleled views of the Burj Khalifa, the Armani Pavillion is the prime location to view the tower’s facade reflecting the colors of the Russian flag alongside a personalized presentation of Dubai’s legendary dancing fountains. Gala guests will enter an interactive garden blossoming with thematic installations and 3D technology for a digitally-enhanced Russian fairytale brought to life with opera singers, classical pianists, and ballet dancers hailing from the infamous St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater. Stay tuned for more updates on the cultural event of the season.
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