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Russia

From Moscow to St Petersburg, embark upon an epic journey across Russia. Travel along the Golden Ring: a route encompassing the oldest towns that formed the political and cultural heart of Russia, and discover the many magnificent domes and architectural masterpieces set across beautiful pastoral landscapes.

September 4 – 17, 2018 (14 Days)
$6,995(exc. international airfare)
Single supp: $995
All meals included

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Tour Description

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Glide serenely paste sights and sounds of historic Yaroslavl on a boat trip along the River Volga
  • Be enthralled by the metropolis of St. Petersburg, where we discover high art, phenomenal architecture and history

  • Explore the Kremlin – the fortified complex located in the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River
  • Traverse Russia’s Golden Ring, which encompasses the country’s political and cultural heart, and oldest cities


All meals included.

LED BY

Sep 2018
Professor Alexei Leporc

2018 Itinerary

DAY 1 & 2: MOSCOW
We depart from our home cities on day 1 & we arrive in Moscow in time for dinner together at our hotel. The Marriott in Moscow is excellently-located for sightseeing, with all the amenities and comfort you would expect from an international standard hotel.
Hotel: Marriott Grand Hotel, Moscow.

DAY 3: MOSCOW
Following an initial lecture on Russia’s history, we venture out for a city tour of Moscow. We take in the Red Square — the former setting of high-profile executions, including Peter the Great’s mutinous palace guard, Streltsy,  in 1698. We continue to the famous onion domes of St Basil’s Cathedral, built on the orders of Ivan the Terrible. We also visit Lenin’s Tomb and Coral Synagogue. This afternoon we continue to the Old Tretyakov Gallery, which contains over 100,000 art works.  This evening, those who wish can join an optional visit to the Bolshoi Theatre to see a Ballet danced by the world-famous company.
Hotel: Marriott Grand Hotel, Moscow.

DAY 4: KREMLIN
We tour the Kremlin, the apex of Russian political power and former center of the Russian Orthodox Church. We explore the entire complex — its palaces, cathedrals, and walls. After lunch at a local restaurant, we visit the Moscow Museum of Archaeology and the State Historical Museum. There are millions of objects in the museum’s collection; everything from relics of prehistoric tribes to priceless artworks. This evening, we transfer to Moscow pier and board a boat to view the many landmarks on the on the Moskva river as we enjoy a dinner of traditional Russian specialties.
Hotel: Marriott Grand Hotel, Moscow.

DAY 5: SERGIEV POSAD
We begin our tour of the Golden Ring — ancient towns and cities which played a significant role in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church. The towns are often referred to as “open-air museums” and are among the most picturesque in Russia. We travel onto Sergiev Posad, a city which grew in the 15th-century around one of the great Russian monasteries, the Trinity Lavra, which we visit first. We continue to Suzdal, a former royal capital and monastic center. We explore the open-air museum of Wooden Architecture — practically a village itself.
Hotel: Nikolayevsky, Golden Ring – Suzdal.

DAY 6: SUZDAL
We continue our exploration of Suzdal this morning. We begin at Suzdal Kremlin — archaeological evidence suggests that it was settled as early as the 10th century, and the fortress itself built in the late 11th or early 12th century. We continue to Krestovaya Palata, the Cross Chamber of the Archbishop’s Palace. We also visit St. Ephimius and hear the ringing of the bells.  After lunch at a local restaurant, we travel the short distance to Vladimir, another Golden Ring town, this time overlooking the Klyazma River. The city is known for its wonderful white stone buildings, many over 700 years old, dating back to the city’s golden age. Our visits in Vladimir include the magnificent Assumption Cathedral and Golden Gates. The latter survived Mongol invasions and was later restored by none other than Catherine the Great. A museum housed inside the gates give further context and a good history of the city. We return to our hotel in Suzdal this evening.
Hotel: Nikolayevsky, Golden Ring – Suzdal.

DAY 7: YAROSLAVL
We make our way to Yaroslavl, our third Gold Ring city, said to have been founded in 1010AD, and once the second largest city in Russia. Here, we visit Spassky Monastery. Originally built on the site of a pagan temple in the late 12th century, it has been reconstructed over time. Those who wish can climb the bell-tower and will be rewarded with panoramic views over the city We continue to the Church of Ilya the Prophet with dizzyingly intricate interior frescoes and mosaics, it has sometimes been described as Russia’s answer to the Sistine Chapel. Our morning ends with lunch at a local restaurant and a boat trip on the great Volga, Europe’s largest river. This afternoon, we return to Moscow and board our overnight train to Novgorod, we have booked the highest-class of train possible: functional but comfortable with two berth sleepers.
Overnight: train to Novgorod.

DAY 8: NOVGOROD
We spend a full day exploring Novgorod, the oldest city in Russia and once a bastion of trade between East and West. It was first mentioned in written documents in 859 and flourished as an independent republic and member of the Hanseatic League throughout the middle ages. Our first visit today is to the Yuriev Monastery, before exploring Novgorod Kremlin, which stands on the left bank of the Volkhov River. It was originally the site of a pagan burial ground upon which the first bishop of Novgorod, Ioakim Korsunianin built the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom in 989. We also visit St Sophia’s Cathedral and the Monument to the Thousand Years of Russia. Our day ends at the Faceted Chamber, under whose vaulted ceiling the rules of the Novgorod republic once met. We transfer to our hotel, a Radisson owned Park Inn in a large park outside the city center with many spa facilities to help unwind and relax after our long journey and explorations.
Hotel: Park Inn, Novgorod.

DAY 9: ST PETERSBURG
We travel to St Petersburg this morning. The city was founded by Peter the Great in 1703 and functioned as the imperial capital of Russia for almost 200 years. Built on the banks of the River Neva, the city was further developed by Catherine the Great – under whom the many of the colorful riverside palaces, which are so characteristic of ‘Peter’ were built. Over the centuries the city has witnessed great Tsars, and was later the site of the October revolution, renamed Leningrad, and the subject of a terrible siege by Nazi forces during World War II. Our first stop in this great city is the Peter & Paul Fortress, the first structure to be built in St Petersburg. The fortress was built on an island in the Neva and contains the Cathedral where almost all the Russian Tsars are buried. The site was also a notorious prison, housing many famous inmates including Dostoyevsky, Trotsky and Tito.
Hotel: Astoria Hotel, St. Petersburg.

DAY 10: THE HERMITAGE
We enjoy a full day at the Hermitage Museum. Founded by Catherine the Great in 1764, this one of the largest and oldest museums in the world. We enter the building early in the morning before the Museum opens and spend our day in the company of the museum curators, who will be our guides to a few of the collections’ 3 million items! Housed the in the magnificent winter palace, the Hermitage claims to be the world’s oldest museum. Catherine the Great, who founded the museum, was a passionate collector of art and made good her ambition to bring the cultural ideals of the enlightenment to Russia. Highlights include the ‘Gold Room’, the Rembrandt collection, and the ancient Pazyryk carpet to name but a few.  After lunch, we return to the museum and enjoy some free time to explore independently.
Hotel: Astoria Hotel, St. Petersburg.

DAY 11: PETERHOF
We discover Peterhof today, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The gardens and palace here have been compared to Versailles and are laid out in beautiful geometric fashion. Peter the Great built the palace and we explore the many cascades, grottos, fountains and state-rooms it offers. After lunch at a local restaurant, we return to St Petersburg to visit the Alexander-Nevsky Monastery, which is still a working Russian Orthodox monastery. The complex is home to some of the oldest buildings in the city, and cemeteries which contain the graves of cultural giants from Tchaikovsky to Glinka.
Hotel: Astoria Hotel, St. Petersburg.

DAY 12: YUSUPOV PALACE
We enjoy a private tour of the Hermitage Storerooms this morning and then enjoy a boat trip along the Neva with its historic canals. Next we visit the golden-domed St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Built between 1818 and 1858, it was designed by French-born architect Auguste Montferrand and is an impressive building. Later, we go to Yusupov Palace – site of Grigori Rasputin’s murder in December 1917.
Hotel: Astoria Hotel, St. Petersburg.

DAY 13: ST. PETERSBURG
Today we meet up with our guide and then visit the Peter & Paul Fortress, which was the first structure to be built in the enigmatic city of St. Petersburg. We will also spend some time touring the Russian Museum and after enjoying lunch at a local restaurant, we will have the rest of the afternoon at leisure to explore the area. In the evening, we are scheduled to indulge in a farewell group dinner where we can celebrate our incredible Russian adventure together.
Hotel: Astoria Hotel, St. Petersburg.

DAY 14: HOME
Today we depart for the airport and make our way home.

Additional Information

Calendar Year

2017, 2018

Reservation Form

Visa Services

If you prefer to use a visa handling agency, we recommend CIBT visas. You can obtain a discount on your handling fees by using the following link: (www.cibtvisas.com/archaeologicaltr).

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Accommodation

Accommodation 2018

Marriott Grand Hotel, MoscowMarriott-Grand

The Grand Hotel lives up to those expectations which you will have come to love from a Marriot hotel. The well-equipped rooms are airy spaces and offer free Wi-Fi access, a flat-screen TV, a mini-bar, a coffee maker and an elegant marble bathroom, as well as the Marriot’s signature pillow-topped mattresses. The hotel is superbly located near to Moscow’s landmarks, the Red Square and Kremlin, for an after-dinner wander or instead the hotel’s lobby-bar invites you in for a selection of cocktails or a glass of Russian wine.

 

Nikolayevsky, Golden Ring, SuzdalNikolayevsky

This stylish Hotel is part of a resort with richly decorated buildings and cottages to take you back to a bygone era. Each lavishly furnished with antique and amenities to make your stay truly luxurious, each room has a TV and minibar, but why not try one of the three onsite restaurants or selection of bars. If you need to put your feet up after a day of exploring the spa and wellness center would be the perfect place to spend the evening.

 

Park Inn, NovgorodPark Inn

Situated on the Volkhov River, this hotel has views from all rooms over the park or the river and with a stylish interior, this hotel makes for a comfortable stay.  The Hotels comes highly recommend as a base to explore Novgorod, with its gorgeous Kremlin and exquisite church and with a full variety of delicious breakfast selection you’ll be refueled for your day.

 

 

Astoria Hotel, St. PetersburgAstoria Hotel

Our stay in this historic building, over the second half of our trip, is the perfect combination of Russian elegance and culture which we will have grown to love throughout our travels over the last eight days. The classic rooms have retained their characteristic charm while creating comfortable and inviting spaces. In this hotel you’re never too far away from a subtle reminder of where you are, whether it is the suitably sophisticated bar with a taste of Russian spirits or the traditional treatments in the spa, this hotel perfectly rounds up our trip.