Bolshoi Theater in Moscow: history, tickets and tours

by Alexander Popov

The Bolshoi Theater in Moscow

The Moscow Bolshoi Theater is world-famous. Ballet fans around the world are familiar with its magnificent performances of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake or Nutcracker. The theater building is located not far from the Kremlin in the heart of the Russian capital. In addition to ballet performances, there are also regular concerts and operas in the Bolshoi.

The Bolshoi Theater in Moscow

On the way to the theater you can already see the beautiful classical facade from afar. In the building itself, the chandeliers glitter above you when you walk upstairs. The walls are covered in gold and the seats are upholstered in soft red velvet. Whoever enters the main hall of the famous Bolshoi Theater for the first time will be amazed.

The current building has been standing in its traditional spot in Moscow for a good 200 years, and since 2011, the Bolshoi has been renovated it in its old glory since 2011. More than 200 dancers are on the stage at one of the famous ballet performances.

The history of the Bolshoi

As early as the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian tsars admired the performances in the Bolshoi, the hustle and bustle, the music and dancers. But even when the tsarist rule in Russia ended a hundred years ago, the theater retained its place in the center of the cultural life of the Russian metropolis. The tradition of ballet performances was maintained even in Soviet times.

At first glance, the visitor doesn’t even realize how big this theater actually is. There are a number of different buildings that make up the complex. The main house has seven floors, and there are also five floors underground. More than 3,000 employees work in the Bolshoi Theater, but only about 200 of them are ballerinas and dancers.

Where is the Bolshoi Theater located?

Just a five-minute walk from the Kremlin, right next to the Russian State Duma Parliament, the Bolshoi is located in the middle of the capital of the Russian Federation. The Moscow Metro has its own “Teatralnaya” station (Theater station) right in front of the main entrance. Arriving by underground is also recommended – there are only a few parking spaces available to guests for performances.

This map shows the location of the Bolshoi in central Moscow:

Is there a special dress code?

If you want to visit the theater, there is no need to pay attention to any specific evening wear. However, a well-groomed appearance is very important. You can also go to the theater with a pair of jeans and a sweater, but you should feel “underdressed” compared to the rest of the audience.

Men with shorts are not allowed to go to the Theater. In general, make sure that your clothes are elegant and clean. Because if you go to a performance or a concert in the Bolshoi Theater, you should know that most viewers dress up for it, because the visit is a special event for most of the guests.


In the Bolshoi Theater, as in many other public places in Russia, a lot of emphasis is placed on security. When you visit the Theater, you have to go through a security check with metal detectors. Make sure that you do not carry any sharp objects with you. If this is the case, the access will be denied. In addition, all auditoriums have a video surveillance system. Umbrellas, larger bags etc. must be left in the cloakroom.

Don’t miss the third gong!

When the break is over, all viewers are made aware of this with a gong. It is important that you are back to your seat after the third gong. If you are late, you will have to spend the next act in the upper tier. It doesn’t matter whether you have a reservation for better seats.

The Bolshoi is legendary and if you would like to experience the world-famous Theater for yourself, you first need a Russian visa. You can find out how to get this here!

Is it allowed to take photos or videos in the Bolshoi Theater?

The answer to that is clearly no! It is strictly forbidden to take videos or photos in the Bolshoi Theater. You are also not allowed to enter the room with a photo or video camera.

Are children also allowed to visit the Bolshoi Theater?

Children from 5 years of age can easily attend the day performances in the theater. However, if you want to attend an evening performance with your child, then the child must be at least 10 years old. By the way, you also have to buy an entrance ticket for children.

Where can I get tickets for the world-famous theater?

The Bolshoi Theater has a total of two stages, namely the new stage and the historic main stage. The sale of tickets for both stages begins three months before the concert. If you would like to visit the Beethoven Hall, you can purchase a ticket for a performance two months in advance.
Tickets for a performance in the theater cost between 17,000 and 110,000 rubles, which is the equivalent of between 230 and 1,500 $.

You can only buy tickets for the theater with a valid identity card. You also have to show this ID when visiting the theater. It is also important to know that tickets that have already been purchased cannot be returned unless there is a change in the program.

You can buy a ticket online on the official theater website: or at the four main ticket offices of the Theater. If you want to pre-order tickets, you can contact this email address:

Your roadmap to the ticket

With these steps you can easily and quickly purchase a ticket for a performance at the Bolshoi Theater:

  • The first thing to do is to register on the official website:
  • Fill out the form and then submit it. Immediately afterwards you will receive an email with the username and password to access your user account.
  • Then the page: shows you the entire program. On this page you can find out whether electronic tickets are available. You will also be shown whether all tickets have already been sold out (Sold Out). Some tickets are not yet released for sale (coming soon).
  • To buy an e-ticket, simply click on the desired performance and on “Buy e-Ticket”. You will then be redirected to a page that shows you where there are still tickets available. These places are marked with green.
  • Your name will be required so that you can receive the cards. You can pay either by Mastercard or VISA.
  • Then all you have to do is print out the ticket!

There are also other ways or websites to get an e-ticket:

However, you should know that the tickets on these websites are more expensive than those on the official website.


There are also guided tours in the historic building. You can learn more about the architecture and history of the theater.

Guided tours can be done on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays. There is a tour in Russian and a tour in English. The tour of the Bolshoi Theater takes about an hour. Children can take a guided tour from the age of 14.

The tours start at 11:00 am and 11:30 am. The price of a guided tour in Russian is 1500 rubles (about $ 20) and the price in English is 2,000 rubles (about $ 27).

You can buy a ticket directly at the ticket office in the building on the day of the tour.

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