Russian studies in Moscow and St. Petersburg
Visiting the two capitals of Russia Moscow, the embodiment of Russian character and of Russian history, and St.Petersburg, the most cosmopolitan city of the country, will give you a deeper understanding of this mysterious country.
You arrive in Moscow and are transferred to your hotel. Welcome dinner is included in the hotel.
You will spend this entire day experiencing the cultural and historical highlights of Moscow. You begin with the metro ride to the Kremlin and State Armory Museum. During the tour you will see the grounds of the Kremlin, Moscow’s fortress dating from the end of the 15th century, and the famous cathedrals of the Assumption, Archangel and Annunciation, Ivan the Great Bell Tower as well as the Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon. In the Armory you will look at the treasures of the Russian tsars among which are crowns, thrones, regalia, carriages, clothing, vestments, diplomatic gifts, gold, silver, arms, and armor. Faberge jewelry including some of the celebrated Easter eggs, presents one of the highlights of the collection. After an independent lunch in Canteen # 57 in the GUM, stylized as the Soviet Period canteen, you will have a walk across Red Square, the center of Moscow life, famous for military parades and festivals, where you will see St. Basil’s Cathedral, one of the oldest buildings in Red Square, built in 1560 under the order of Ivan the Terrible, and Lenin’s Mausoleum.
This day you will continue to explore Moscow by bus. You start the day with the visit to Christ the Savior Cathedral, the main cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church, built in commemoration of Russia’s great victory over Napoleon in 1812 and rebuilt and reopened in 1999. Then you will go to New-Maiden’s Convent of the early 16th century, where you will visit the cemetery, where outstanding Russian people are buried, among them A. Chekhov, F. Chaliapin, S. Prokofiev, D. Shostakovich and others. After an independent lunch in the center of Moscow, you will have a tour of Tretyakov Gallery, the second largest collection of Russian art in the world.
You will spend this morning in Kolomenskoe, the residence of the Russian tsars since the 14th century, where you will visit the unique wooden palace of Tsar Alexei, the father of Peter the Great, and see the 16th century churches, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. In the afternoon you will take an express train to St.Petersburg, arriving there in four hours. Upon arrival you will be transferred to the hotel.
You will spend this entire day experiencing the cultural and historical highlights of St.Petersburg. You begin with an overview tour of the most important sights of the city center: Palace Square, Nevsky Prospekt, Decembrists’s Square, the Bronze Horseman and others. Your first visit is to the Cabin of Peter the Great, built by the military carpenters overnight in May 1703 where Peter the Great spent three years while supervising the construction of the city, and turned by him into a museum, as the first house of St.Petersburg. Your next visit is to Peter and Paul Fortress, the birth place of the city. The most striking building inside is Peter-and-Paul’s Cathedral, the burial place of the Russian Tsars, from Peter the Great till Nicholas II. Free time will be allowed for lunch in the city center. In the afternoon you will visit lavishly decorated St.Isaac’s Cathedral, which ranks among the largest Christian cathedrals of the world.
You start this day with a visit to Piskarev Memorial Cemetery, the world largest cemetery of the victims of World War II. The Cemetery Museum is devoted to the heroic siege of Leningrad from September 1941 till January 1944, 900 days and nights, where you will be able to learn about that tragic and heroic period. Free time will be allowed for lunch in the vicinity of the Summer Gardens. In the afternoon you will have a guided tour of the Museum of Leningrad Defense, which will give you a deeper insight into the life of people inside the besieged Leningrad.
This morning you travel outside St. Petersburg to Tsarskoe Selo to visit one of Bartolomeo Rastrelli’s crowning achievements – Catherine’s Palace, famous for the splendor of its Baroque interiors and its unique Amber Room. Following this visit you will have time for lunch at the Palace café. In the afternoon you will have a unique opportunity to see the Alma Mater of the greatest Russian poet Alexander Pushkin – the Lyceum. You return to St. Petersburg in the late afternoon.
You will start this morning with a guided visit to Dostoevsky apartment-museum, the last apartment of the writer where he wrote “Brothers Karamazov”. You will complete your morning with a walking tour following the footsteps of “Crime and Punishment” main characters, during which you will see the houses of Rodion Raskolnikov, Sonya Marmeladova, and the old pawn woman. After lunch in the vicinity of Hay Market Square, you are going to get familiarized with Russian fine and applied arts in the State Russian Museum, which boast the largest collection of Russian art in the world from the 12th to the 20th century.
You begin your day with a visit to one of the world’s greatest museums – the incomparable Hermitage. Put together throughout two centuries and a half, the Hermitage collections of works of art (over 3,000,000 items) present the development of the world culture and art from the Stone Age to the 20th century. The tour will include the reception quarters of the Winter Palace, the former official residence of the Russian Emperors, the highlights of the Old Masters’ Collection: Italian, Dutch, Flemish, French Art as well as the highlights of the famous Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections in the General Staff Building.
In the morning you will have a guided visit to Yusupov Palace, the most elegant former private palace of the Counts Yusupovs, where they lived from the beginning of the 19th century till the revolution of 1917. Luckily, it preserved its original charm and fascinating interiors. This is the place where Rasputin was murdered… The rest of the day you will spend at leisure to explore the city on your own.
You will spend this day in Peterhof, an official royal summer residence founded by Peter the Great in 1704 on the coast of the Gulf of Finland, 30 km from St.Petersburg. It is world famous for its elaborate grounds featuring over 150 fountains and numerous palaces, including the Great Palace, Mon Plaisir (the favorite palace of Peter the Great) and the Royal Bath House and Kitchen, one of which you will visit. Farewell dinner will take place in one of the local restaurants serving traditional Russian cuisine.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport.