Saint Petersburg: When a fire destroyed Saint Petersburg’s Circus Theatre in 1859, a new opera house was built & named for Empress Maria Alexandrovna, wife of Alexander II. Thus the majestic Mariinsky Theater was born. In addition to operas, the theater has hosted ballets since 1886. World-famous dancers such as Anna Pavlova and Mikhail Baryshnikov have graced the stage. The Mariinsky’s mint-green exterior makes it stand out, & its golden interior is a tribute to opera’s grandeur.