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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.

July 4 – July 17, 2017 (14 Days)
$5,975 (exc. international airfare)
Single supp: $700

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Tour Description

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Travel Russia’s ‘Golden Ring’ on a journey encompassing the country’s political and cultural heart, and its oldest cities
  • Discover the Kremlin, the fortified complex in the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River

  • Glide serenely past the sights and sounds of historic Yaroslavl on a boat trip along the mighty River Volga
  • Visit the enthralling metropolis of St. Petersburg, encountering high art, impressive architecture and extraordinary history

Meals: All breakfasts, 11 lunches & 7 dinners

ITINERARY

July 4 & 5:
Departures from our home cities on July 4. We arrive in Moscow in time for dinner together at our hotel.
Hotel: Marriott Tverskaya Hotel, Moscow.

July 6: MOSCOW
Following an initial lecture on Russia’s history, we venture out for a city tour of Moscow. We take in the Red Square — former setting of high-profile executions, including Peter the Great’s mutinous palace guard Streltsy in 1698; and St Basil’s Cathedral, built on the orders of Ivan the Terrible. We also visit Lenin’s Tomb and Coral Synagogue.
Hotel: Marriott Tverskaya Hotel, Moscow.

July 7: MOSCOW KREMLIN
We tour the Kremlin, 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.
Hotel: Marriott Tverskaya Hotel, Moscow.

July 8: 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 on to 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: Art Hotel Nikolaevskiy Posad, Suzdal.

July 9: 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 visit St. Ephimius, and hear the ringing of the bells. In Vladimir, we visit the magnificent Assumption Cathedral and Golden Gates.
Hotel: Art Hotel Nikolaevskiy Posad, Suzdal.

July 10: YAROSLAVL
We make our way to Yaroslavl and visit Spassky Monastery. Originally built on the site of a pagan temple in the late 12th century, it has been reconstructed over time. We also visit Ilya the Prophet Church and visit the local museum before our boat trip on the great Volga, Europe’s largest river, before continuing to Moscow for our overnight train to Novgorod.

July 11: NOVGOROD
Our first visit today is to 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. We also explore the Faceted Chamber.
Hotel: Park Inn, Novgorod.

July 12: 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. We stop at the Peter & Paul Fortress, the first structure to be built in St Petersburg.
Hotel: Kempinski Hotel Moika 22, St Petersburg.

July 13: 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. Its collections are comprised of over three million items, including the largest collection of paintings in the world. Enjoy some free time to explore independently.
Hotel: Kempinski Hotel Moika 22, St Petersburg.

July 14: PETERHOF
We discover Peterhof today, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We visit Alexander-Nevsky 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: Kempinski Hotel Moika 22, St Petersburg.

July 15: YUSUPOV PALACE
We explore Moika Palace today, site of Grigori Rasputin’s murder one early morning in December 1917. We enjoy a boat trip on the Neva, before a private tour of the Hermitage Storerooms.
Hotel: Kempinski Hotel Moika 22, St Petersburg.

July 16: THE TSAR’S VILLAGE
We visit the Tsar’s Village and recreated Amber Room at Catherine Palace, decorated with gold leaf and mirrors. Enjoy a free afternoon, before rejoining the group for a special dinner tonight.
Hotel: Kempinski Hotel Moika 22, St Petersburg.

July 17:
We depart for home.

Additional Information

Scholar

Prof Ori Z. Soltes lectures at Georgetown University. He specializes in Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and classical Greek and Roman art. His academic honors include an NEH Fellowship in Syro-Palestinian archaeology.

Calendar Year

2017

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