$ 5244

Westbound Epic Vladivostok To St Petersburg

Culture
Culture
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Route complexity
min $ 5244
Per person
Tour details
Destinations: Vladivostok, Ulan-Ude, Irkutsk, Irkutsk Oblast, Irkutsky District, Lake Baikal, Listvyanka, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Vladimir, Yaroslavl, Suzdal, Moscow, Saint Petersburg
Guide language: English
Price: min $ 5244 — max $ 8723
Group size: min 5 — max 22
Duration: 26 days
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  • Itinerary
  • Inclusions

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrive Vladivostok

Day Schedule:

➤Arrive Vladivostok

➤Meet and greet at the airport

➤Transfer to the hotel and check-in

➤Group tours: Welcome dinner

Welcome to the capital of Primorye! Vladivostok is one of the most picturesque and interesting cities in the Russian Far East. During the Soviet time, the city was the home base of the Pacific Russian military fleet and thus entrance for international travellers was not allowed. Free access was given to tourists and visitors only in 1992.


Day 2. Discover Vladivostok

Day Schedule:

➤Breakfast

➤Guided city tour: harbour, Submarine S-56, Golden Bridge, viewpoint Eagle’s Nest, Vokzalnaya Square, the monument of the Trans-Siberian Railway, Vladivostok fortress museum

➤Transfer to the train station

➤Boarding the train to Ulan-Ude

Vladivostok is a mysterious entity saturated with sea salt and wind. It is a Russian city, but is it Asian or European? Is it the centre of a new world, or is it an ambitious world’s end? It is a city that lets you go, but never lets you forget... Every traveller finds his own meaning in what connects him with Vladivostok. You need to try it all to discover your own connection.


Day 3. On board

The Russian Far East is extraordinarily far from Russia's major population centres in Europe and is usually visited separately unless... by the Trans-Siberian Railway of course. The largest city in the region, Vladivostok, is a full seven time zones away from Moscow, with 9,300 km of railroad between them. The Far East is very different from popular conceptions of Russia—it is very mountainous and has an often spectacular Pacific coastline. The people in this region have more in common with those of northern China or the Inuit than to the Slavic Russians; however, Slavs predominate in the larger cities.


Day 4. On board

Train ride continues. A long train journey is a fine opportunity to relax and calm down. Read your favourite book, talk to fellow travellers and enjoy unique landscapes.

Planning your Trans Siberian and Trans Mongolian railway holidays, we use the best Russian trains available. There is 1st class, 2-berth compartments with shower (2 showers per carriage, shared) and 2nd class, 4-berth compartment (no shower).

All passengers get a proper flat berth to sleep in, provided with all necessary bedding, convertible to a seat for day use. There are washrooms and toilets along the corridor.

And here is more. Trans Siberian is the best way to make new friends. Safe ride!


Day 5. Ulan-Ude Tour

Day Schedule:

➤Early arrival in Ulan-Ude

➤Transfer to the hotel and guaranteed early check-in

➤Breakfast

➤Atsagatski Datsan

➤Lenin’s head monument

➤Old town tour

Ulan-Ude is the capital city of the Republic of Buryatia, Russia. The first occupants of the area where Ulan-Ude now stands were the Evenks and, later, the Buryat Mongols. Ulan-Ude was settled in 1666 by the Russian Cossacks as the fortress of Udinskoye. Due to its favourable geographical position, it grew rapidly and became a large trade centre which connected Russia with China and Mongolia.

Ulan-Ude is located on the mainline (Trans-Siberian line) of the Trans-Siberian Railway between Irkutsk and Chita at the junction of the Trans-Mongolian line (the Trans-Mongolian Railway) which begins at Ulan Ude and continues south through Mongolia to Beijing in China.

The Buryats practice Tibetan Buddhism but, along with all other religions, this was suppressed under communism. All of the Datsans (monasteries) were destroyed and the monks sent off to the Gulags. Now they are being rebuilt but not on the original sites, monks from Tibet and Mongolia have visited and divined the most auspicious spots for the new temples. They are not as big and grand as those in Tibet, somehow they have a more homely, approachable feel to them. Atsagatski Datsun seems to stand in the middle of nowhere but there's a steady flow of locals through the door leaving a few coins in front of the various images.

The main sight of Ulan-Ude is Lenin's head monument. Every tourist who is interested in unusual monuments and amazing architecture should see this 7,7 meters-high bronze head of Vladimir Lenin. This monument is the largest head sculpture in the world. This fact makes the monument situated on Sovetov Square as more popular among tourists.


Day 6. Discover Ulan-Ude

Day Schedule:

➤Breakfast

➤Ivolginsky Datsan

➤Old believers village

➤Late check-out from the hotel

➤Late evening boarding the train to Irkutsk

Unique samples of old Buryat art, as thangkas, sculptures, ritual objects are gathered and preserved at the Ivolginsky datsan. Among the monastery's treasures, there is a collection of old Buddhist manuscripts written in the Tibetan language on natural silk, and a greenhouse with a sacred Bodhi tree.

As a cultural and religious monument, the Datsan is protected by the State. The Datsan Centre consists of such temples as Sockshin-Dugan, Maidrin-sume, Devazhin, and Sakhiusan-sume. There are also a library, a hotel, the Choyra (Faculty of Philosophy), Dashi Choinhorlin (building of the Buddhist University), Museum of Buryat Art, suburgans (stupas), some infrastructure buildings and lamas' houses.

Within the Datsan complex is the Korean style wooden Etigel Khambin temple which honors the 12th Khambo Lama whose body was recently exhumed.

The Old Believers are Orthodox Christians, who maintain traditional religious way of life and follow very old religious rules. They separated from the official Russian Orthodox Church as a protest against church reforms introduced between 1652 and 1666. Saving their lives, Old Believers had to run away to Siberia and the Far East. Many had to leave the country.

Another name of these people — Semeyskie or Family People — was given because they moved to Siberia with their big families. These special people keep the traditions of their ancestors, many do not recognize modern technologies, medicine and internet.


Day 7. Arrive Irkutsk & Lake Baikal

Day Schedule:

➤Arrive Irkutsk

➤Transfer to Listvyanka village

➤Optional Russian banya in the evening

Arrive Irkutsk. Welcome to Siberia, the best part of Russia! Irkutsk was founded in the middle of the XVII century. The town is famous for its wooden houses and wooden lace perfectly preserved. In fact, the Irkutsk historic centre is one huge open-air museum! Irkutsk is located on the banks of the mighty Angara river and was once used as a place of exile for revolutionary noble men from St. Petersburg and Moscow, for their participation in riots or civil disobedience.

The biggest in Irkutsk’ history new arrival happened after the famous Decemberists riot against the Tsar in December 1825 where some of the high-profile rebels ended up travelling to Siberia with wives and families.


Day 8. Lake Baikal tour & Cruise

Day Schedule:

➤Breakfast

➤Baikal Museum of Limnology & Shaman Rock

➤Chersky Stone observation point & cable car

➤St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church

➤Visit local souvenir market

➤In the evening, enjoy Lake Baikal boat cruise

➤Optional Russian banya

Visit Baikal Museum, Shaman Rock, St. Nicholas church and a Fish Market. Baikal Museum is a splendid museum where information about lake Baikal wildlife is kept, studied and exhibited: including the origins of the lake, the endemic flora and fauna from the surface of the lake to its maximum depth, an excellent model of the lake, etc. Shaman Rock is a natural boundary between the deepest lake in the world and the only river that flows out of the lake—the Angara river. Apparently, locals have thousands of legends about this place, which is believed to be the house of one of the Buryat gods.

Lake Baikal cruise is one of the most exciting trips. It is a great opportunity to get acquainted with the main attractions of Baikal. During the cruise, you will enjoy the vastness of the lake and magnificent landscapes, feel the power and energy of the Siberian land.


Day 9. Taltsy & Irkutsk Tour

Day Schedule:

➤Breakfast

➤Transfer to Irkutsk

➤Taltsy Museum

➤Matryoshka painting master class and interactive program "Tea in Russia & Great Tea Way" with tea degustation

➤Guided tour in Irkutsk: St. Epiphany Cathedral, Kirov Square

➤Transfer to the train station

➤Departure for Yekaterinburg

The open-air museum Taltsy is located 20 kilometres away from Listvyanka. The exposition features wooden buildings brought from all over Siberia. Right now, 40 landmarked buildings and 8000 artefacts dated by XVII-XIX centuries are presented as part of the exhibition.

The museum looks like an ancient village with long streets, wooden houses, water mills and even a small school. It should be noted, that in the past real village “Taltsy” was located here. However, with the construction of the Ust-Ilimskaya hydroelectric power station, a part of the village came under the threat of flooding. Authorities decided to preserve the unique village and turned it into the museum.

The Epiphany Cathedral was built in 1693. The Cathedral was burned down during the fire in 1716. In 1718 the construction of a stone Cathedral was started. The works were finished only in 1729. The Epiphany Cathedral was listed among the landmarks of federal significance in 1960.

The building’s tiered composition is crowned with a hipped bell tower. The Cathedral’s decor is incredible, bizarre, and unique. The combination of the Old Russian decor, Baroque elements, and indigenous Siberia motifs make the Cathedral look graceful. More than 300 tiles were used for the interior finish. At the night time, the Cathedral is beautifully illuminated.


Day 10. Across Siberia

Enjoy activities on board. Meals on board.


Day 11. Arrive Yekaterinburg

Day Schedule:

➤Arrive Yekaterinburg

➤Meet & greet at the train station

➤Transfer to the hotel and check-in

➤Evening free at leisure

Yekaterinburg in Russia has a feast of sights to discover. The city is a large industrial, scientific and cultural centre. It attracts travellers by rich historical heritage and truly wide selection of cultural programs. There are 30 museums in Ekaterinburg, several theatres and concert halls. The streets of the city are home to over 600 monuments and the history of each one is unforgettable and miraculous.


Day 12. Discover Yekaterinburg

Day Schedule:

➤Breakfast

➤Ganina Yama Monastery

➤Museum of Minerals

➤Cathedral on the Blood, place where the last Romanov Tsar was killed after the Revolution

➤Open-air military museum Verhkny Pyzhma

➤Europe-Asia Border

The Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land is a Russian Orthodox church built on the site of the Ipatiev House, where Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia, and his family, along with members of the household, were shot by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War. The church commemorates the Romanov sainthood.

The Ural Mountains are regarded as the border between Europe and Asia. To the west of the Urals lies European Russia, the cradle of the Russian culture. To the east lies the vast land of Siberia. The border of Europe and Asia is one of the must-visit sights in the vicinity of Yekateriburg. The monument was erected in 2004 and represents two intertwined letters A and E. There you can happily put one foot in Europe and other in Asia and take some unique photographs.


Day 13. On board to Kazan

Day Schedule:

➤Breakfast

➤Transfer to the train station & board a train to Kazan

➤Arrive Kazan

➤Meet and greet at the train station

➤Transfer to the hotel & check-in

Spend the way passing Ural mountains, relax, read a book or chat to your fellow travellers and get ready for the next adventure! The origin of the name Kazan is uncertain. The most accepted legends derive it from the Bulgar (and also modern Tatar) word qazan, which means 'boiler' or 'cauldron'. Most often appeal to the version of the boiling boiler: the sorcerer advised the Bulgars to build a city where without any fire will boil dug into the ground boiler with water. As a result, a similar place was found on the shore of Lake Kaban.

Kazan is one of the largest religious, economic, political, scientific, educational, cultural and sports centres in Russia. In April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the right to brand itself as the "Third Capital" of Russia. The city hosted the 2013 Summer Universiade, 2014 World Fencing Championships, the 2015 World Aquatics Championships, and was one of the host cities for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.


Day 14. Discover Kazan

Day Schedule:

➤Breakfast

➤Guided tour in Kazan: the Kremlin of Kazan, Kazan Arena, Millennium Bridge, Tatar Sloboda, Mardzhani Mosque, Kaban Lake, Bogoroditsky Monastery, Peter and Paul Cathedral, Bauman Street, Freedom Square

➤Master class on cooking the national Tatar food and lunch

➤Transfer to the railway station

➤Board the train to Nizhny Novgorod

Kazan is probably the most tourist-friendly city in Russia after St. Petersburg. It’s clean, safe, relaxed, rich, and has lots of beautiful sights and places to chill. The special thing about Kazan is the mix of two cultures: East and West, Muslim and Orthodox. There are not many places in the world where such a diverse population cohabits in such a peaceful manner and Kazan is a great example of that. Kazan is also one of the oldest Russian city (older than Moscow), in 2005 it celebrated its millennium birthday.


Day 15. Discover Central Russia

Day Schedule:

➤Arrive Nizhny Novgorod

➤Meet & greet at the train station

➤Transfer to the hotel and guaranteed early check-in. Time to have breakfast and refresh after the train ride

➤Gorodets full-day guided tour including Samovar museum, Pryaniki museum and of course Russian Samovar tea ceremony!

➤Overnight at the hotel (Nizhny Novgorod)

On the steeply sloping banks of the Volga, 53km upriver from Nizhny Novgorod, lies the quaint historic town of Gorodets, considered to be one of Russia's oldest settlements. The town has been linked with the semi-legendary city of Little Kitezh, supposedly destroyed by the Mongol Hordes, whilst its sister city Greater Kitezh escaped by sinking into the depths of Lake Svetloyar, leaving behind only the echoes of ghostly singing that, with a large dose of wishful thinking, can still be heard today. Today, it is a centre for the folk crafts for which the entire Nizhny Novgorod region is famed. Small, elegant nineteenth-century streets hark back to a time. Any souvenir you've bought in Russia - there's a strong chance it was made in Gorodets.

In 1341, after the death of Russin Tsar Ivan Kalita, Khan Uzbek divided the main territories of North-Eastern Russia. Part of the land, which included Nizhny Novgorod, Gorodets and Unzha, became the property of Suzdal Prince Konstantin. An independent Nizhny Novgorod-Suzdal Principality was formed, which occupied a vast territory.

In 1377, the Horde attacked Nizhny Novgorod. In the battle on Pyana River, the Russian army suffered a severe defeat from the Horde prince Arapsha. Dmitry of Suzdal, who remained without troops, fled to Suzdal, one of the Golden Ring gems which we will be visiting in a few days. The Nizhny Novgorod army fled to the neighboring Gorodets. On August 5, 1377, the Horde army conquered Nizhny Novgorod. The entire city was burnt. A year later, on July 24, 1378, the city was re-conquered.

After the Battle of Kulikovo, the Horde Khan Tokhtamysh, in 1382 with a large army went to Moscow. When the Tatar army approached Nizhny Novgorod, Prince Dmitry Konstantinovich, wishing to save his land from ruin, sent his sons Vasily and Semyon to him, who went with the army and persuaded Moscow to surrender. Today, we travel to now peaceful Gorodets settlement and tomorrow will explore Nizhny Novgorod and its cultural treasures.

As there was an abundance of woods around the town, becoming a woodcarver or carpenter was always considered the best option for a profession. Today Gorodets is known as the “town of masters” – a place where numerous crafts are plied. The famous Gorodets painting style, gold embroidery, wood carving, honey cake baking, pottery and basket weaving all still flourish here.

Gorodets was founded by the Prince Yury Dolgorukiy, the founder of Moscow, as a fortress for defending the eastern frontiers of his principality in 1152.

In a largely illiterate society, Gorodets has gained a reputation of “museum-town’. Russian Samovar tea ceremony with the town's speciality, “pryaniki” – hard honey-rich cakes, it is your quintessential Russian experience of the day!


Day 16. Discover Nizhny Novgorod

Day Schedule:

➤Breakfast

➤Nizhny Novgorod guided city tour

➤Transfer to the train station to board the train to Vladimir

➤Arrive Vladimir

➤Meet & greet at the train station

➤Transfer to the hotel and check-in

Get ready for a guided tour in Nizhny Novgorod - one of the hidden gems on the Russian touristic map. Nizhniy Novgorod is lucky to host one of the most beautiful provincial Kremlins built on high Volga river banks. Apparently, you will get the complete set of Russia's attractions: the Kremlin, the State Art Museum with a collection of icons and national crafts dated back to XIV century, wooden architecture on streets and an open-air museum of traditional architecture and cultures, beautiful churches, ancient monasteries, great traditional Russian food and heartily people.

During Polish invasion of 1621 it was Nizhny Novgorod and its citizens who assembled the people's army to fight for Moscow. In memory of it, you have seen Minin and Pozharsky monument in front of St. Basil's Cathedral at the Red Square. Since XIX century, Nizhny Novgorod was the leading Russian international trade centre.


Day 17. The Best of Golden Ring

Day Schedule:

➤Breakfast

➤Vladimir city tour: Dormition Cathedral, Cathedral of St. Dimitriy

➤Lunch

➤Drive to the most iconic of all Russian churches: "the Nerl"

➤Transfer to Yaroslavl and overnight

Once the medieval capitals of Russia, the town has significant buildings surviving from the 12th century; two cathedrals and a monastery a listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A chronicle has it that Prince Vladimir Monomakh founded the town in 1108. it became to grow quickly to protect the Rostov-Suzdal principality. Vladimir owes its heyday to Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky, who moved the capital of the principality here in 1157.

Russians borrowed its early architecture, like its icon painting, from Byzantium. One of the best-known Russian churches in the northern style is the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl (Pokrova na Nerli). Today it stands alone in the midst of green meadows, the small lake below reflecting its white walls and single dome. This church is one of the most poetic creations of early Russian architecture which ever come down to us out of the past. It was built in 1164 in memory of Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky's son who had fallen during the final battle against the Volga Bulgaria.

Several times in history, the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl was about to be destroyed, but each time it miraculously remained intact. It is no surpise it is now one of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Take a note, there is no road for cars/vans. We will drive as close as we can but need to walk the final 1.2 kilometers.


Day 18. Yaroslavl & Rostov

Day Schedule:

➤Breakfast

➤Yaroslavl city tour & the Residence of Maslenitsa

➤Transfer to Rostov the Great

➤Rostov the Great city tour: the Rostov Kremlin & master class on national crafts

➤Transfer to Suzdal and evening at leisure

➤Overnight in Suzdal

The legend has it that the future Grand Prince of Kiev Yaroslav Vladimirovich, being at that time the Prince of Rostov the Great, was inspecting his lands back in 1010 and met an unknown pagan tribe in the place where the Volga River and its tributary the Kotorosl River flow into each other. The locals were hostile towards the prince and set a ferocious she-bear on him. Yet the prince had no fear and killed the beast with a pole-axe. The pagans submitted themselves to the prince’s control and he decided to found a city with a fortress on this site in order for freight boats to sail freely across the Volga River and trades and crafts to be developed here.

Yaroslavl was the first Christian city on the Volga River. Apparently, there are plenty of decent cathedrals and churches here to visit, however, we feel it's better to skip and instead, visit the Residence of Maslenitsa. What is, or who is Maslenitsa? Sign up to our tour to find out!

We continue to explore the Golden Ring of Russia with a visit to Rostov the Great, one of the most ancient Russian cities. It was first mentioned in chronicles in 862, and the word ‘the Great' was added to the official name of the city much later, in the 12th century. We visit outstanding Rostov Kremlin, which is probably not that old by Russian standars - it dates back to 17th century only - but is a truly magnificent fairy-tale town. Its domes, covered with silvery wooden tiles, bunches of green and silver cupolas of the five-domed churches, long narrow red tent-roofs and numerous chimneys seem to float over the ground. Green four-sloped roofs with golden flags are seen above them. Tracery crosses with pendent chains beam over the churches.

Enamel in Russia has been known since the end of the 10th – beginning of the 11th centuries thanks to relations with the Byzantine Empire. As an individual type of art, finift came to Russia from France. To be more precise, it came from Limoges, where in the middle of the 17th century a pictorial enamel miniature appeared.

Thus, finift is the oldest decorative and artistic craft of Russia, one of the most interesting and vivid types of miniature painting. The exclusive nature of enamel miniatures is due to the artist's high artistic skill and extreme difficulty of production.

We shall visit great local museum, one-of-a-kind place to get acquainted with this unique Russian art. For centuries, the most outstanding artists and jewelers of these land have kept secrets of the technology. The master class will allow you to create your own enamel miniatures.


Day 19. White-Stone Suzdal

Day Schedule:

➤Breakfast

➤Take off for a guided tour in Suzdal. Visit the Kremlin, St Euthimius monastery (or Intercession Convent)

➤Museum of Wooden Architecture

➤Traditional local crafts master-class in Suzdal

➤Degustation of old Russian national drink "Medovukha" with traditional "pirozhki"

➤Transfer to Moscow

Suzdal is one of the oldest Russian towns. In the 12th century, it became the capital of the principality, with Moscow being merely one of its subordinate settlements. Nowadays Suzdal is the smallest of the Russian Golden Ring towns but is a major tourist attraction. Several of its monuments are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Today, the town operates as an important tourist center, featuring many fine examples of old Russian architecture—most of the churches and monasteries. Although having just under ten thousand residents, Suzdal still retains a rural look with streams and meadows everywhere and chicken and livestock a common sight on the streets, some of which remain unpaved. This juxtaposition of stunning medieval architecture with its pastoral setting lends Suzdal a picturesque charm, and in the summer, artists and easels are a common sight.


Day 20. Mighty Kremlin & The city

Day Schedule:

➤Breakfast

➤The Moscow metro tour

➤Guided tour to the Moscow Kremlin, including the Cathedrals and the Armory

➤Walking city tour in the downtown to see such attractions as the Red Square & St Basil's Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, GUM, the Bolshoi Theatre, KGB Headquarters and other highlights of the downtown

➤Evening free at leisure on the Old Arbat, one of the most famous streets

The name "Kremlin" means "fortress inside a city", this construction had to protect the city from enemies. The Moscow Kremlin acquired the status of a sacral symbol representing the power of the great country. A holiday to Moscow is not complete without a visit to the Kremlin. Modern walls and towers of the Kremlin were constructed of red brick at the end of the 15th century. Now behind its walls, there are government buildings and a huge museum complex where thousands of artefacts telling about the history and the culture of Russia are stored. In 1990 both Red Square and the Moscow Kremlin were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Russia is home for some of the most beautiful architecture in the world. Pokrovsky Cathedral, or St. Basil's Cathedral, is not just a church. It is a memorial temple constructed on Red Square in honour of the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan. The main fight in which the Russian troops won a victory happened in the day of the Intercession of the Theotokos. So the temple was consecrated in honour of this Christian holiday. The cathedral consists of separate churches. Each of them is also consecrated in honour of holidays in which there were decisive fights for Kazan: Trinities, the Palm Sunday and others.

Red Square is a historical symbol of Moscow. The name of the square originated from the Russian word "Krasnaya" meaning "red" because it is related to the word "krasivaya" meaning "beautiful". The red square separates the Kremlin from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-gorod. Thousands of tourists come here not only from all corners of Russia but also from around the world.

Get to know the city by taking a metro ride to the place of your first visit. Metro is the fastest ways to get anywhere in this city and to avoid traffic jams. If you want to see the Bolshoi, it’s a good idea to book your tickets in advance!

The Moscow Metro was opened in 1935 with one 11-kilometre (6.8 mi) line and 13 stations, it was the first underground railway system in the Soviet Union. As of 2018, the Moscow Metro excluding the Moscow Central Circle and Moscow Monorail has 224 stations (255 with Moscow Central Circle) and its route length is 381 km (237 mi), making it the fifth-longest in the world. The system is mostly underground, with the deepest section 84 metres (276 ft) underground at the Park Pobedy station, one of the world's deepest. It's the busiest metro system in Europe, and a tourist attraction in itself.


Day 21. Moscow Tour

Day Schedule:

➤Breakfast

➤Guided tour to the State Tretyakov Gallery, the world's leading Russian art museum

➤Panoramic driving city tour: the Novodevichy Convent with the guided tour inside, Sparrow Hills & Moscow's iconic viewpoint, Stalin's skyscrapers tour

➤Explore the Soviet legacy at the VDNKh and take a guided tour to the Museum of Cosmonautics

It is an art gallery in Moscow, Russia, the foremost depository of Russian fine art in the world. The gallery's history starts in 1856 when the Moscow merchant Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov acquired works by Russian artists of his day with the aim of creating a collection, which might later grow into a museum of national art. In 1892, Tretyakov presented his already famous collection of approximately 2,000 works (1,362 paintings, 526 drawings, and 9 sculptures) to the Russian nation. The collection contains more than 130,000 exhibits, ranging from Theotokos of Vladimir and Andrei Rublev's Trinity to the monumental Composition VII by Wassily Kandinsky and the Black Square by Kazimir Malevich.

The Seven Sisters are a group of seven skyscrapers in Moscow designed in the Stalinist style. They were built from 1947 to 1953, in an elaborate combination of Russian Baroque and Gothic styles. At the time of construction, they were the tallest buildings in Europe, and the Main building of Moscow State University remained the tallest building in Europe until 1997. There were two more skyscrapers in the same style planned that were never built: the Zaryadye Administrative Building and the Palace of the Soviets.

Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy (Vystavka Dostizheniy Narodnogo Khozyaystva, VDNKh) is a permanent general-purpose trade show and amusement park in Moscow, Russia. Cosmonauts Alley and the Worker and Kolkhoz Woman statue are situated just outside the main entrance to VDNKh. It also borders Moscow Botanical Garden and a smaller Ostankino Park, and in recent years the three parks served as a united park complex.

In 1992, VDNKh was renamed, receiving the new acronym VVC, which remained in use until 2014. It occupies 2,375,000 square metres of which 266,000 square metres are used for indoor exhibits. The territory of VDNKh is greater than that of the Principality of Monaco and has approximately 400 buildings.

Novodevichy Convent, also known as Bogoroditse-Smolensky Monastery is probably the best-known cloister of Moscow. Its name, sometimes translated as the New Maidens' Monastery, was devised to differ from the Old Maidens' Monastery within the Moscow Kremlin. Unlike other Moscow cloisters, it has remained virtually intact since the 17th century. In 2004, it was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Day 22. Arrive St. Petersburg

Day Schedule:

➤Breakfast and check out

➤Transfer to the railway station to board the bullet train for 4 hours journey to St. Petersburg

➤Meet & greet at St. Petersburg railway station

➤Transfer to your hotel in the downtown and check-in

➤Evening free at leisure

Founded by the Tsar Peter the Great, St Petersburg was planned and built as the capital of the newly emerged Russian Empire. Today, it is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Immerse yourself deep into rich Russian history, art and culture, Russian Revolution & Romanov Imperial legacy. The White Nights, luminous northern midsummer eves, are the summer weeks when St. Petersburg is sparkling like good champagne.

Your driver will be waiting to take you to the cozy hotel in the downtown.


Day 23. Discover St. Petersburg

Day Schedule:

➤Breakfast

➤The Winter Palace/Hermitage guided tour

➤The city sightseeing tour: St. Isaac's Cathedral, Kazan Cathedral, the Church of the Spilled Blood

Walking trip to the Winter Palace and the Hermitage guided tour. We insist you do it on foot. Why? Because there is no other way to understand and feel the city’s soul than to explore its secret walking trails. Let us surprise you with unusual houses, architecture, perspectives and stunning views. Today you visit one of the most important sites in Russian history and heritage, the world-famous Hermitage - the Winter Palace. Follow the centuries of sophisticated Russian history while walking through its stunning Suire of State Rooms.

You can try typical Russian food in a bistro, “stolovaya”. We will take a short walk to see the city’s iconic landmark: St. Isaac Cathedral, Kazan Cathedral, Church of the Spilled Blood. The Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood is by far one of the most powerful constructions in Russian Orthodox Christian architecture; an absolutely enthralling must-see and a place where Alexander II was fatally wounded by anarchists in 1881.

Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood, built in late XIX century in St. Petersburg, has a dramatic and twisted story. As a result, during the late Soviet era, the church permanently stood in a falsework. This was lasting for so, so long that finally St. Petersburg residents made an ironic belief that as soon as falsework was removed, the entire USSR would be removed as well.

Believe it or not, but the fact is: in 1991 the temple’s falsework was finally taken away and the same year, in August 1991, the end of the Soviet power has come. And this is just one of the dozens of legend surrounding one of St. Petersburg’s top must-sees.


Day 24. Peterhof Palace & Boat Cruise

Day Schedule:

➤Breakfast

➤Guided tour to the royal Peterhof Palace

➤Guided tour to the Peter and Paul Fortress and Cathedral

➤Optional Faberge Museum Tour

➤Boat cruise

➤Evening free at leisure

Gardens and parks in Peterhof are spread over more than four hundred hectares and include thirty-one amazing museums and beautiful Versailles-style gardens. Interiors, as always in Russia, are all made of gold. In summer, the Peterhof is especially good thanks to its famous fountains which run naturally.

We shall visit the Grand Palace - the golden must-see! - and have a tour around the estate. Facing the Gulf of Finland, the palace - rises above the Grand Cascade and the Lower Park, stretching along the upper terrace for almost three hundred yards. The original idea for the location and general appearance of the "Upper Chambers" — as the Grand Palace was first known — belonged to Peter the Great. Throughout the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries, the finest Russian and West European architects worked on the facades and the interior decor. But the greatest contribution was made by Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli, who transformed the Grand Palace into a masterpiece of Baroque art during the reign of Peter's illustrious daughter, Empress Elizabeth, in the eighteenth century.

It is the first and oldest landmark in St. Petersburg, built between 1712 and 1733 on Hare Island along the Neva River. Both the cathedral and the fortress were originally built under Peter the Great and designed by Domenico Trezzini. The cathedral's bell tower is the world's tallest Orthodox bell tower. Since the belfry is not standalone, but an integral part of the main building, the cathedral is sometimes considered the highest Orthodox Church in the world. There is another Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul Church in St. Petersburg, located in Petergof.

Enjoy a romantic cruise down the canals of St. Petersburg, and see some of the city’s monuments on the banks of the River Neva, all beautifully illuminated for the evening.


Day 25. Catherine's Palace & Amber room

Day Schedule:

➤Breakfast

➤Pushkin/Tsarskoye Selo: guided tour to Catherine's Palace and Amber Room

➤Group tour: Farewell dinner

Stunning Rococo palace is located 30 km south of St. Petersburg. The building was commissioned by Catherine I in 1717. Johann-Friedrich Braunstein was the architect charged with designing her summer residence. It was expanded in 1743 by Empress Anna, but later renovated in favor of a much grander version requested by Empress Elizabeth. This new structure built in the Rococo style was designed by her court architect, Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The 325-meter long palace took four years to build and was completed in 1756. Its facade was once again changed by Catherine the Great.

It is a reconstructed chamber decorated in amber panels backed with gold leafs and mirrors. Constructed in the 18th century in Prussia, the legendary Amber Room is thought to be most valuable piece of art stolen by the Nazis during the Second World War. Before its loss, it was considered an "Eighth Wonder of the World".


Day 26. Farewell

Take a private transfer to the airport. Congratulations! You've just completed the most amazing train journey across the full breadth of Russia, the world-famous Trans-Siberian Express!

Inclusions

Accommodation

Hand-picked centrally located hotels of the selected category (3*, 4* or 5* hotel of your choice):

➤1 night Vladivostok
➤1 night Ulan-Ude with early check-in and late check-out
➤2 nights Lake Baikal
➤2 nights Yekaterinburg
➤1 night Kazan
➤1 night Nizhny Novgorod with early check-in
➤3 nights the Golden Ring
➤3 nights Moscow
➤4 nights St. Petersburg

7 nights on board. 


Meals

➤Full breakfast in the hotels (except Day 1)
➤Lunch after master class on cooking the national Tatar food
➤Buryat lunch at Lake Baikal
➤Russian pancakes experience in the Residence of Maslenitsa (lunch) in Yaroslavl
➤Degustation of Medovukha (lunch) in Suzdal
➤1 lunch in Vladimir
➤Russian tea ceremony in Gorodets (on Day 15)
➤Group tour: Welcome dinner & Farewell dinner


Transportation

➤Train tickets of the chosen category according to the itinerary: Vladivostok - Ulan-Ude, Ulan-Ude - Irkutsk, Irkutsk - Yekaterinburg, Yekaterinburg - Kazan, Kazan - Nizhny Novgorod
➤From Nizhny Novgorod to Vladimir by bullet train, standard class, 4 hours ride
➤Superior trains on the route with a/c, heaters and dining carriage for your comfort. 1st class: one place in 2-seats compartment. 2nd class: one place in 4-seats compartment
➤Transportation on the Golden Ring on modern a/c van/minivan/bus: from Vladimir to Yaroslavl // From Yaroslavl to Suzdal // From Suzdal to Moscow
➤High-speed train Moscow to St. Petersburg, standard class, 4 hours ride. Please inquire about business or 1st class upgrade and flight options
➤Meet & greet at the airports/train stations
➤Private return airport/train station transfers
Private transportation on tours as per program in a comfortable a/c car/minivan/bus (except on walking tours)
➤Metro passes in Moscow & St. Petersburg

TRAIN CONFIGURATION:

1st class carriage: 2 seats compartments.

2nd class carriage: 4 seats compartments.

One seat at each leg of the train journey is included. Should you prefer to have extra seat/seats per person, please inquire.

NOTE:

All train tickets are subject to availability.

1st class train tickets supply is limited especially during peak season. If 1st class is not available/or not provided by the railway company at a certain leg of your journey, two seats in a 2nd class carriage will be provided per person at no extra costs.



Sightseeing

➤Vladivostok full day (8 hours) guided tour: harbour, Submarine S-56, Golden Bridge, viewpoint Eagle’s Nest, Vokzalnaya Square, the monument of the Trans-Siberian Railway, Vladivostok fortress museum
➤Ulan-Ude full day (8 hours) guided tour: Atsagatski Datsan, Lenin’s head monument, Old town
➤Ulan-Ude full day (8 hours) guided tour: Ivolginsky Datsan, Old believers village
➤Lake Baikal (Listvyanka) full day (8 hours) guided tour: Shaman rock, Baikal Museum of Limnology, Chersky Stone observation point (Cable car), St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, local souvenir market, boat cruise
➤Irkutsk half-day (4 hours) guided tour: St. Epiphany Cathedral, Kirov Square, Taltsy Museum with national folk performance
➤Yekaterinburg full day (8 hours) guided tour: Ganina Yama Monastery, Museum of Minerals, Church of All Saints, Europe-Asia Border, the UMMC military museum
➤Kazan full day (8 hours) guided tour: Kazan Arena, Millennium Bridge, Tatar Sloboda, Mardzhani Mosque, Kaban Lake, Bogoroditsky Monastery, Peter and Paul Cathedral, Bauman Street, Freedom Square
Gorodets full day (8 hours) guided tour with Russian craft master-class and Russian tea ceremony
➤Nizhny Novgorod day (6 hours) guided tour: the Kremlin, historic downtown
➤Vladimir and Bogolyubovo full day (8 hours) guided tour: Dormition Cathedral, the Cathedral of St. Dimitriy, the ruins of Prince Bogolyubsky’s castle, the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl
➤Yaroslavl half-day (4 hours) guided tour: the Residence of Maslenitsa, the main cathedrals // Rostov the Great half-day (4 hours) guided tour: the Rostov Kremlin, a master class on national crafts
➤Suzdal day (6 hours) guided tour: Kremlin and the ensemble of the Monastery of Saint Euthymius, Museum of Wooden Architecture, a master class on national crafts
➤Moscow full day (8 hours) guided tour: the Moscow Kremlin (including the Cathedrals and the Armory), the Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral (outside), Lenin’s Mausoleum (outside), GUM, the Bolshoi Theatre, KGB Headquarters, Moscow metro tour
➤Moscow full day (8 hours) guided tour: the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Novodevichy Convent with the guided tour inside, Sparrow Hills, the VDNKh and the guided tour to the Museum of Cosmonautics, Stalin's skyscrapers tour
➤St. Petersburg full day (8 hours) guided tour: the Winter Palace and the Hermitage, Isaac Cathedral, Kazan Cathedral, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
➤St Petersburg full day (8 hours) guided tour: the Royal Palace of Peterhof, the Peter & Paul Fortress and Cathedral, boat cruise
Pushkin/Tsarskoe Selo day (6 hours) guided tour: Catherine’s palace & Amber room


Entrance tickets & visas

➤Entrance tickets to all listed attractions (except optional)
➤Russian visa supporting documents (official visa invitation letter and detailed manuals on how to apply for the visa in your country of residence)


Your comfort counts

➤Russian local sim card with data
➤Discovery Russia 24/7 English-speaking support line
➤Best places to stay, to eat, to go out and have fun - safe and secure with the tour operator that specializes in Russia
➤Group tours are fully escorted by a bilingual tour director
➤Group size 22 people maximum. All our group departures are guaranteed.

All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Discovery Russia
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