Summary of The Day: We'll take a short Moscow tour while en route to your hotel via a private car/minivan and guide.
Summary of The Day: During the morning, we'll begin the tour in the heart of the city - Red Square.
Red Square has been at the very center of Russian history since the 15th century, from Ivan the Terrible’s confession of his misdeeds to the people in 1550, to great demonstrations, executions and the great parades of the Soviet Union’s military might. Ironically, "krasny" originally meant beautiful; it came to mean "red" only in the last century! From the time of Ivan the Great, the square was used as a huge gathering place for public events, markets, fairs and festivals.
At the southern end of Red Square is the almost fairy-tale like building of St. Basil’s cathedral, commissioned in 1552 by Ivan the Terrible to celebrate his conquering of Kazan. Legend has it that the architect was later blinded so that he could never repeat such a building that is so traditionally Russian.
We'll continue to enjoy the sights of Moscow during the city tour, passing the main streets and boulevards of the ancient city that is 855 years old. We'll go to the best viewpoint on Sparrow Hills, from which you could easily see most of the city. We'll pass the refined New Maiden Convent (outside).
During the afternoon, we'll visit the Tretyakov Gallery. Here, you'll be able to see some of the best Russian art. The Tretyakov Gallery reopened in 1995 after a nine-year renovation, and houses the world’s best collection of Russian icons, as well as a fantastic collection of other pre-Revolutionary Russian art. Enjoy a tour in the halls devoted to Russian icon painting, where you will learn the painting techniques of old masters and admire medieval masterpieces.
Summary of The Day: During the morning, we'll take you on a metro ride to downtown Moscow.
The Moscow Underground is not only the fastest means of transportation in the city, but features exquisite architecture. Major stations built in the 1930s resemble palaces richly decorated with marble, mosaic and semi-precious stones.
We'll next tour the Kremlin. You might be surprised how many ancient and magnificent structures you can see within its walls: 15th century cathedrals (the coronation, wedding and burial place of Russian rulers), bell-tower, Patriach’s Palace, Grand Kremlin Palace and of course the famous Armoury Museum. The Armoury has a fantastic collection of symbols of Imperial power including clothing, equipment and carriages. Some of the priceless and luxurious items of the museum include Alexey Romanov's 17th century throne covered with a mosaic of turquoises and 900 diamonds, a phelonion of Metropolitan Platon decorated with 150,000 pearls (it took the embroiderer 2 years to work on the pattern!) and the famous Faberge eggs.
We'll then visit the 15th century cathedrals that feature fantastic interiors.
Summary of The Day: We'll depart Moscow today and head to Sergiyev Posad - the site of Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius. It's one of Russia’s most important religious and historical landmarks, and still a place of spiritual pilgrimage. Dating back to 1340, the monastery is seeped in state and religious history.
Optional activities that cost extra include a matryoshka painting class, toy factory visit and a matreshka painting master class.
Just south of St. Sergius, there is an elegantly crumbling red brick building on the hilltop that's a famous toy factory. Sergiev Posad has a long history of toy-making - the matryoshka was invented here - and today there are still two functioning toy factories and a special school to train toy craftsmen in the region. Have a tour around the museum, particularly the second floor, and stop by the gift shop near the entrance to pick up a few very affordable handmade wooden toys for friends.
During the evening, you will be transferred to Suzdal to the Pushkarskaya Sloboda hotel.
Suzdal occupies a special place among the other Russian cities. It has hardly changed in the last two and a half centuries.
Summary of The Day: During the morning, you will have a chance to admire the sights of ancient Suzdal.
The Suzdal Kremlin is the oldest part of the Russian city of Suzdal dating from the 10th century. Like other Russian kremlins, it was originally a fortress or citadel and was the religious and administrative center of the city. It is most notably the site of the Cathedral of the Nativity.
Together with several structures in the neighboring city of Vladimir, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.
Afterwards, we'll visit the Open-Air Museum of Wooden Architecture.
We'll see the Saviour Monastery of St. Euthymius, which was founded in the 14th century, and grew in importance in the 16th and 17th centuries after donations by Vasili III , Ivan V and the Pozharsky family.
During the afternoon, we'll stop in Vladimir.
Unique memorials such as Cathedral of Assumption and St. Demetrius Cathedral can be found here. Assumption Cathedral has preserved world famous frescoes of Andrei Rublev. You’ll see the famous Golden Gates (1158-1164) located close to the town center and visit one of the museums on your choice: The Old Vladimir Museum or Museum of Rock Crystal.
You will be transferred back to Moscow during the evening to catch an overnight train “Grand Express” from Moscow to St. Petersburg (1st class coach, 2 berths in a compartment).
Summary of The Day: During the morning, you'll have a chance to get acquainted with one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, St. Petersburg remains one of the most romantic cities in Russia.
St. Petersburg is often referred to as "Northern Venice" and "Northern Palmyra." The city features stunning palaces and cathedrals, beautiful bridges over Venice-like canals, spacious squares and wide streets decorated with edifices of flourished baroque and impressive classical styles.
With numerous palaces and the world famous Hermitage on the banks of the Neva river, the city is Russia’s most popular destination, drawing visitors from all over the world throughout the year.
We'll visit Peter and Paul Fortress, which was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great and is the oldest building in St. Petersburg. At the heart of the fortress is the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, with its landmark gold spire, where all of Russia’s pre-Revolutionary leaders were buried, apart from Peter, Ivan IV and Nicholas II.
Summary of The Day: Today, we'll take you to the sumptuous village of Pushkin - a summer residence of Russian Emperors. Situated in the suburbs of St. Petersburg, Pushkin has several pavilions, beautiful lakes and gardens in addition to the lovely Catherine Palace.
The summer palace was originally a gift from Peter the Great to his wife Catherine, and was rebuilt by Italian architect Rastrelli in 1756. The palace is a grand elegant building with white and gold Baroque moldings set against a blue background. It's located in a beautiful park with elaborate gardens, canals and pavilions. Some of the more beautiful rooms include the Great Hall, State Dining Room, Amber Room, Blue Drawing Room, bedroom of Alexander I’s wife Elisabeth and the Palace Church.
You have the option to have lunch at Podvorie restaurant, which is located nearby Pushkin (Catherine Palace) and Pavlovsk. Podvorye has a traditional wooden Russian decor and national cuisine. The restaurant has been visited by many important figures such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and former French President Jacques Chirac.
Unlimited Russian vodka and wine will be served. Entertainment during the meal will be Russian folklore singing.
Afterwards, you'll be able to enjoy the Russian countryside as we drive to Pavlovsk.
Pavlovsk's Great Palace was a present from Catherine the Great for her son Paul. Originally designed by Charles Cameron, it was partly redesigned at Paul’s request by several famous European architects including Quarenghi and Rossi. It was severely damaged during World War II, but has been beautifully and lavishly restored.
You'll have the chance to take a ride in a Russian Troika - or traditional Russian carriage - in Pavlovsk.
Summary of The Day: On the tour's eighth day, we'll travel to Peterhof
We'll then arrive to the splendid Peterhof, or "Peter’s Court." It dates back to 1715 and is a former summer residence of the Russian Tsars. Most famous for its stunning golden fountains, the palace grounds house several buildings and parks - the Grand Palace ("the Russian Versailles," now a vast museum of lavish rooms and galleries), Monplaisir (Peter’s outwardly more humble villa), the Grand Cascade (the centerpiece of the palace grounds with more than 140 fountains), the Lower Park (parkland along the Gulf with more fountains and pavilions), Marly Palace and Alexandria Park. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the population of St. Petersburg was invited to dine here at a great summer fete held every year.
A special early opening of Grand Palace is arranged for guests for a tour of the palace and parks.
Summary of The Day: During the morning, we'll admire the wonderful collection of the world’s largest museum - The Hermitage.
Today, the museum has more than 2 million exhibits and attracts approximately 3 million visitors a year. The exhibitions are diverse with works by Da Vinci, Raphael and Rembrandt.
An early opening of the Hermitage before the scheduled public time may be arranged for you.
Option - You can see the Royal Jewelry Room that contains stunning ancient gold items (some date back to the 2,000 BC!) as well as Russian tsar garments, weapons, decorative boxes, fans and table sets.
Summary of The Day: On the tour's last day, a guide will transport you to the airport.
|USD $2,930.04||USD $3,433.58|
|+USD $234.07||+USD $372.89|
* Prices for Single Occupancy apply when one person stays in one standard hotel room.|
* Prices for Double Occupancy apply when two people stay in one standard hotel room.
* Tour prices are based on EUR and are converted into USD. Prices will change day to day, due to the currency exchange rates. Tours booked and paid for will be charged at the current rate at which the tour price is shown. We will not refund any price differences, should prices drop for the tour. Tours will be subject to Cancellation Fees, should any changes be made for a reservation.
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