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Overview Delve into Russian culture, history and art on this comprehensive 17-day tour. Spend three nights in Suzdal, with visits to the Golden Ring towns of Sergiev Posad and Vladimir. Immerse yourself in Moscow’s Red Square, visit the Kremlin’s cathedrals and Armoury Collection and the Tretyakov Gallery. Spend six nights in St Petersburg exploring the city’s famous landmarks, art museums, churches and palaces, with a day trip to Catherine the Great’s palaces. Experience A rich and tumultuous history stretching back hundreds of years Vast repositories of art and culture in Russia’s incredible array of museums and galleries Sumptuous palaces built for the tsars and designed by architects to rival the best in Western Europe The resilience of a people who have survived catastrophic wars and revolution Ancient wooden towns of the Golden Ring around Moscow HIGHLIGHTS Six nights in St Petersburg visiting the Hermitage, the Fabergé Museum, Yusupov Palace and cathedrals Full-day excursion to the magnificent palaces of Catherine the Great Red Square and the treasures of the State Armoury in Moscow A visit to the Kremlin, seat of the Tsars, headquarters of the USSR and residence of Vladimir Putin Masterpieces of Russian art at the Tretyakov Gallery Sergiev Posad, home of the Russian Orthodox Church Three nights in Suzdal exploring the wooden architecture and churches of the Golden RingReturn international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
Day 1 : Arrive Moscow - Domodedovo Airport
The tour begins at the Airhotel Domodedovo Airport. There is a light dinner available in the hotel this evening.
Day 2 : Sergiev Posad
We depart Moscow by coach for Sergiev Posad, Russia’s holiest of holies, the beautiful Trinity Monastery of St Sergius. Founded by St Sergius, Russia’s patron saint, it is a glorious ensemble of blue and golden cupolas. It was closed by the Bolsheviks after the 1917 Revolution but re-opened after World War II as a museum, working monastery and the residence of the patriarch. From Sergiev Posad we travel to Suzdal, our base for the next three nights.
Day 3 : Suzdal
Suzdal is one of the best-preserved towns of the Golden Ring, a group of ancient towns that preceded Moscow as the political and cultural heart of Russia. With its clusters of 17th- and 18th-century whitewashed churches and its streets of low wooden houses with traditional carved eaves and windows, Suzdal is a living museum protected against any industrial development. We explore it at leisure today and enjoy lunch prepared by a local in their home.
Day 4 : Vladimir
Today we visit Vladimir, founded by Vladimir Monomakh in 1108; it became the capital of all Kievan Rus after Kiev was sacked in 1169. Although Vladimir eventually gave way to Moscow as the capital of Russia, the Tsars continued to be crowned here until the 15th century. We visit the Golden Gate of Vladimir, the Crystal Museum and enjoy a master class in matryoshka doll painting. On our way back to Suzdal we visit the Church of Intercession of Nerl, a symbol of medieval Russia situated on a lake in an isolated meadow. This evening we gather for dinner and a folk performance.
Day 5 : To Moscow
We depart Suzdal this morning by coach to Moscow, a journey of approximately five hours arriving in the afternoon. After settling into our accommodation, Matthew will lead a brief orientation walk around the vicinity of the hotel. Dinner will be in a local restaurant specialising in Georgian cuisine this evening.
Day 6 : Touring Moscow
Our tour commences with a visit to the iconic Red Square, a vast cobbled area flanked by some of Moscow’s most famous sites, including St Basil’s Cathedral with its brightly coloured onion domes. Also in Red Square is Lenin’s Mausoleum, where the former leader’s body remains on display to the public, and GUM department store with its elaborate façade – designer stores having replaced the queues of the Soviet era. This afternoon we visit the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on the Moskva River for wonderful views to the Kremlin.
Day 7 : The Tretyakov Gallery
No visit to Moscow is complete without a ride on the metro, and this morning we see some of the elegant stations decorated in frescoes and lined with marble. Stalin declared that ‘the whole country will build the metro’ and employed some of the Soviet Union’s finest artists to decorate the stations. We visit the Tretyakov Gallery, home of the world’s greatest collection of Russian art. Among the exhibits are The Trinity by Andrei Rublev and Russia’s most revered icon, the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God. This afternoon there is an optional visit to the Tolstoy Estate Museum dedicated to the writer’s home life.
Day 8 : The Kremlin
Today we visit the Kremlin, seat of the Tsars, headquarters of the Soviet Union and now the residence of President Vladimir Putin. Since its foundation in 1156, the Kremlin has been a symbol of power of the State. We visit the churches in Cathedral Square, among them the most important church in Moscow, the Cathedral of the Assumption. Also in the Kremlin complex is the State Armoury, which showcases the wealth accumulated by Russian tsars over many centuries and the Diamond Fund, which boasts among its jewels the famous Orlov diamond presented to Catherine the Great by her lover Count Grigory Orlov.
Day 9 : Pushkin Fine Arts Museum
This morning we enjoy a tour of the iconic Bolshoi Theatre and discover the theatre’s history, view the 19th century interiors and learn about the advance technologies employed in the productions today. In the afternoon we visit the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, which houses a large collection of works by 19th and 20th century masters and impressionists. Dinner this evening is in the restaurant at the stylish Sanduny Bath House.
Day 10 : Central Armed Forces Museum
This morning we visit the Central Armed Forces Museum featuring important military paraphernalia from the Soviet period. On our return we stop at the Wall of Sorry, a memorial to the victims of Stalin’s repression recently opened by Vladimir Putin. The afternoon is at leisure or you may join Matthew in a walking tour of the Sretensky Monastery. This evening we attend an evening of one-act ballets set to music by Bizet, Britten and Czerny.
Venue: Bolshoi Theatre, small stage
Carmen Suite: music by Bizet/Shchedrin
Forgotten Land: music by Benjamin Britten
Etudes: music by Carl Czerny
Day 11 : To St Petersburg
After check out we make our way to Leningradsky railway station to board the fast train for the journey to St Petersburg. After settling into our accommodation and dinner in a local restaurant, Matthew will lead us on a walk to view some of the sights in the local area.
Day 12 : Touring St Petersburg
This morning we depart by coach on a city tour of St Petersburg commencing at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Several buildings are contained within the fortress, the Peter and Paul Cathedral being the most notable as it contains the tombs of almost all the Russian rulers since Peter the Great. We visit the Cabin of Peter the Great the first residential building in St Petersburg still containing the Tsar’s original belongings. This afternoon we visit St Isaac’s Cathedral, whose gilded dome dominates the St Petersburg skyline while its facades are decorated in sculpture and red granite columns.
Day 13 : The Hermitage Museum
For most people St Petersburg is inexorably connected with its great art museum, the Hermitage, housed in the former residence of the Tsars, the Winter Palace. In July 1917, the Provisional Government took over the palace as its headquarters, and this led in turn to its storming by the Bolsheviks who nationalised the collection. Our day is spent uncovering the many galleries and exploring the amazing collection housed in the museum. This evening we attend a concert by the legendary St Petersburg Philharmonia.
Venue: Grand Hall, St Petersburg Philharmonia
Program: Sibelius Violin Concerto, Shostakovich Symphony no.13
Performers: St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Petr Migunov Violin, Yuri Temirkanov, conductor.
Day 14 : A tale of two murders
Today we visit Yusupov Palace one of the most beautiful palaces in St Petersburg, which contains a series of sumptuously decorated rooms. It was here that Rasputin was murdered in 1916 in disputed circumstances by Prince Felix Yusupov. Shortly after Rasputin’s murder, the Soviets came to power and confiscated the palace from the nobles. This afternoon we explore the canals of St Petersburg’s by boat before visiting the distinctive Church of the Spilled Blood. The elaborately decorated church was erected on the site where Alexander II was mortally wounded in 1881. The interior is covered with an outstanding array of mosaics depicting scenes from Holy Scripture and the patron saints of the Romanovs.
Day 15 : Catherine’s Palace
We depart for the Leningrad Blockade Memorial which poignantly evokes the 900-day siege of Leningrad (1941-1944) and acts as an important reminder of great hardships endured by its people during World War II. We continue to Tsarskoe Selo, formerly Pushkin, where we visit the magnificent Catherine Palace. Built for Tsarina Elizabeth by Rastrelli in 1752, it was named Catherine in honour of her mother, Catherine l, wife of Peter the Great. The palace was badly damaged during the German occupation of World War ll, leaving only a hollow shell behind, but it has since been restored. Inside the palace, our tour takes us through the gentlemen-in-waiting’s dining room, the Great Hall, State Dining Room, Crimson and Green Pilaster rooms and the portrait room. We also visit the legendary Amber Room which was restored largely with German funds and re-opened in 2004. After a picnic lunch, we explore Palace gardens designed by Charles Cameron as a classic English landscaped garden, and one of the most beautiful park ensembles in Europe. This afternoon we take tea in the elegant Rotonda Lounge at the historic Astoria Hotel. (AT)
Day 16 : Fabergé
Our day commences at the Carl Fabergé museum. Located in the Shuvalov Palace, the museum houses the world’s largest collection of works by Fabergé including nine of his famous imperial Easter eggs. This afternoon is at leisure with no shortage of attractions in St Petersburg to explore at your own pace. This evening we gather for our farewell dinner including a vodka tasting.
Day 17 : Departure
A late check out is available for passengers departing on flights leaving later tonight. Matthew will be happy to advise on optional activities during the day including an excursion to Peterhof with a local guide.
Payment Terms & Methods :
* Some Advance Percentage of total booking amount
* Airfare/Transport fare to be paid full at one time in advance.
Cancellation & Refund Policy :
* Upon cancellation, refund will be made after deducting the Retention Amount.
* Retention Amount varies as per the number of days left before your package start date.
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