Road Scholar : Home
Russian Heritage: Moscow, the Golden Ring and St. Petersburg

Program Number: 17051RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/22/2013 - 9/8/2013; 4/21/2015 - 5/6/2015; 8/18/2015 - 9/2/2015;
Duration: 17 nights
Location: Russia
Price starting at: $4,533.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 41; 16 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 16 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Upon being named Russia’s first tsar in 1613, 16-year-old Mikhail Romanov did what any teenager facing such dire responsibility might do: He burst into tears. However, his rough start began the 300-year Romanov Dynasty, which defined much of Russia today. Learn about this heritage and earlier eras in the cities of St. Petersburg, Moscow and the villages and towns of the Golden Ring.




Highlights

• Embrace Russia’s history and medieval architecture in the golden ring towns of Valdimir, Suzdal, Kostroma and Yaroslavl.
• Experience a comfortable overnight train ride, an old Russian tradition in the era of modern travel.
• Enjoy the excitement of Russian dancing and singing.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles daily, standing in museums; no wheelchair facilities.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Moscow, 5 nights; coach to Suzdal, 2 nights, coach to Yaroslavl,1 night, overnight train to St. Petersburg,1 night; St. Petersburg 5 nights, departure.



Overnight flight from U.S.
1 night


Arrival Moscow
5 nights
Coach to Suzdal
2 nights

After a private escorted excursion through the Armory chamber and the Kremlin compound, explore the arts of this 800-year- old city. Learn about Russian national character, the portraits in the Tretykov Picture Gallery and the art treasures of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. In the onion-domed towns of the Golden Ring, visit the official seat of the Russian Orthodox church and see old monasteries and magnificent cathedrals. Attend 2 performances.



Coach to Yaroslavl
1 night

During a coach excursion of the ancient Kostroma, a stronghold for the resistance movement during ‘the time of troubles’ in the 17th century, learn of the Ipatievsky monastery, the ‘cradle of the Romanov dynasty.” In Yaroslavl visit the 13th-century Spassky Monastery compound, represented by a group of Cathedrals. See the remnants of an ancient trading center, and the Church of Elijah the Prophet.



Overnight train to St. Petersburg
1 night
St. Petersburg
5 nights
Departure

Experience a comfortable overnight train ride to St. Petersburg. A local expert on architecture introduces this city’s built landscape with its very first stone at the Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Petersburg’s original citadel designed by Italian architect Domenico Trezzini. A local professor discusses Russia’s diverse ethnic heritage and current social and political issues, and another expert leads excursions to the Hermitage and the summer palaces of the tsars. Enjoy two performances.



Coach to St. Petersburg
5 nights
Departure

A local expert on architecture introduces this city’s built landscape with its very first stone at the Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Petersburg’s original citadel designed by Italian architect Domenico Trezzini. A local professor discusses Russia’s diverse ethnic heritage and current social and political issues, and another expert leads excursions to the Hermitage and the summer palaces of the tsars. Enjoy 2 performances.




Russia

Russia developed under the influence of intellectuals, peasants, tsars and demagogues. Byzantine origins meld with Christianity in vibrant architecture, while religion, folkways and revolution inspired artists from Stravinsky to Chagall. Oppressive regimes helped to create the Iron Curtain, but the late 20th century ushered in glasnost, perestroika and a democratic nation of billionaires, ongoing reforms and an integral role in modern geopolitics.



Accommodations
Moscow: Four-star central hotel in short walking distance to Tchaikovsky concert Hall. Suzdal: Three-star hotel ". Yaroslavl: Three star hotel on banks of Kotorosl River. Overnight train and Petersburg: First-class train 2 passenger compartments, and superior three-star modern hotel in Nevsky Prospekt.
Meals and Lodgings
   Peking Hotel
  Moscow, Russia 5 nights
   Goryachie Kluchi Hotel
  Suzdal, Russia 1 night
   Yubileynaya Hotel
  Yaroslavl, Russia 2 nights
   Overnight train
  Overnight train, Russia 1 night
   Park Inn Pulkovskaya Hotel
  St. Petersburg, Russia 1 night
   Park Inn Veliky Novgorod Hotel
  Veliky Novgorod, Russia 1 night
   Oktyabrskaya Hotel
  St. Petersburg, Russia 5 nights
 Peking Hotel
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Hotel Peking is situated in the heart of Moscow, next to the famous Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, less than 2 miles from Red Square, the Kremlin, and the Bolshoi Theater. It is a 3-star hotel and a famous Moscow architectural landmark, housed in one of the city's unique 'wedding-cake' buildings, constructed in 1956, a typical example of Soviet neogothic-style skyscrapers.
  Contact info: Bolshaya Sadovaya 5
Moscow,  123001 Russia
phone: +7 (495) 650 2215
web: www.hotelpeking.ru/en
  Room amenities: Guest rooms may differ in decor and configuration, but they have been renovated and are elegantly decorated in a traditional style. All are rather spacious, have high ceilings, large windows, and smart reproduction furniture. However, depending on room location one must be prepared to hear street noise if the windows are opened. Rooms are air-conditioned, have safes, a small refrigerator, telephone, and television with satellite and local channels. All have updated bathrooms with basic amenities and a hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: The Peking Hotel represents the architectural grandeur of the Soviet era and has elegant, renovated but somewhat old-fashioned rooms (a total of 122 rooms and suites). There are 2 restaurants, a bar, a café, a small gym, and a small business center with Internet access (a fee applies). The hotel is air conditioned, has elevators, and a newly renovated lobby with an ATM machine. There is also a currency-exchange office off of the lobby. Services at the hotel are limited, with no laundry service. The friendly hotel staff speaks English and there is 24-hour security.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: $250 for a twin room (approx) Additional hotel nights can be requested by contacting Road Scholar Travel Services. RSTS will confirm the reservation and rate and you will pay the hotel directly by credit card or by cash for the additional nights. Do note the reservation will be separate from the program reservation and it is likely that you will need to check out of the room and check back into a different room with the group.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Goryachie Kluchi Hotel
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Built in the style of traditional Russian rural architecture, the Goryachie Klyuchi, or "Hot Springs" hotel compound (3-star) features a number of guest houses on site, including the 28-guest Manor Suites, and 45 rooms in the Pinnacle tourist hotel. These 1-2 storey buildings are air conditioned. No elevators. This compound offers a very traditional Russian atmosphere from the architecture down to the numerous bathhouses perched along the bank of the hotel's private creek. The hotel has 24-hour security and a friendly staff, of whom some speak English.
  Contact info: 14, Korovniki str
Suzdal,   60100 Russia
phone: +7 492 312 4000
web: www.parilka.com
  Room amenities: Standard guest rooms are comfortable and air conditioned, clean, and have modern showers with basic amenities and hairdryers. All rooms have TVs and telephones. WiFi services are available in public areas only.
  Facility amenities: In the main building of the Goryachie Klyuchi Hotel there is a pleasant restaurant serving traditional Russian specialties; there are also conference facilities, a health facility with a sauna, basic hotel services, and more. The special pride of the compound is its own pond and creek, where the hotel guests can take a swim in the summer months, and/or enjoy fishing.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Yubileynaya Hotel
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Yubileynaya Hotel is conveniently situated on the bank of the Kotorosl River, just a few steps away from the historical center of the city. It was built in 1973 and fully renovated in 1998. The hotel is close to all museums and local historical and architectural sights. The hotel has English-speaking staff and 24-hour security.
  Contact info: Kotoroslnaya Naberezhnaya 11 a
Yaroslavl RF,  150000 Russia
phone: +7- 485-273-03-49
web: www.yubilyar.comn/eng
  Room amenities: Standard guest rooms are of good size, have standard twin beds, are tastefully furnished and comfortable, but rather small in size. They include standard amenities and modern bathrooms with hair dryers, telephones, TV, and mini bars, but they are not air conditioned.
  Facility amenities: The hotel has elevators, a pleasant lobby, a bar, 244 rooms including suites, restaurants, a beauty salon, and a small souvenir kiosk. There is also a business center with conference facilities, and a small health center. The public areas of the hotel are air conditioned, but there is no air conditioning in standard rooms. The hotel offers various services for a comfortable stay.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Overnight train
Type: Train
  Description: An German-built intercity train designed for overnight travel featuring 8-10 cars of various comfort and service levels, and a restaurant car. Each car has its own conductor. Sleeping arrangements and meal services are offered on board.
  Contact info: n/a
Yaroslavl,  RF Russia
phone: +
web: n/a
  Room amenities: 1st class, 2-passenger compartments are reserved. No single compartments. They are rather small (approx 70 sq feet) but quite comfortable for overnight travel. They all have 2 lower berths with bed linen and towels provided, a large window, a shelf for luggage (1 medium-size suitcase only is recommended for the train ride), all compartments have a lock for personal safety and adjustable light. 1st class compartments have heating and air conditioning systems.
  Facility amenities: For this program, 1st class, 2-passenger compartments are reserved. No single compartments. They are rather small (approx 70 sq feet) but quite comfortable for overnight travel. They all have 2 lower berths with bed linen and towels provided, a large window, an area for luggage (1 medium-size suitcase only is recommended for the train ride), all compartments have a lock for personal safety and adjustable light. 1st class compartments have heating and air conditioning systems. Each 1st class car is designed for 22-24 persons, and there are 2 toilets with a sink available on board each car. No shower facilities are available Travel by train in Russia is quite comfortable and provides a special experience.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: There are no baths on the train.

 Park Inn Pulkovskaya Hotel
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Park Inn Pulkovskaya Hotel is a conference-style hotel, conveniently located on, Moskovsky Prospekt famous for shopping and historical sites. The hotel is situated within a 15-minute drive to Pulkovo Airport and a short walk to a metro station bringing you to the heart of the city in 15-20 minutes.
  Contact info: 1 Pobedy Square
St Petersburg,  196240 Russia
phone: +7 812 740 3900
web: www.park-inn-st-petersburg.h-rez.com
  Room amenities: Rooms are reserved in the building adjacent to the main lobby and overlooking a quiet area. All rooms are of good size, air conditioned, have standard amenities including a hair dryer, a small refrigerator, satellite TV, and telephone.
  Facility amenities: The hotel has 841 modern air conditioned guest rooms of various categories, 27 suites, conference facilities, several restaurants, a fitness center with swimming pool ( additional charge), several shops and lobby bars. The hotel offers numerous services, has a business center with Internet access (additional charge), an ATM, and a theater desk in the lobby. The hotel employs English-speaking staff and has 24-hour security.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Park Inn Veliky Novgorod Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: This is a western-managed hotel located on the bank of the Volkhov River and offering 225 guest rooms. It is newly renovated and the city's best and largest hotel. It is situated within walking distance from the city center -- the local Kremlin and St. Sofia's Cathedral. Its architecture and furnishings are unique, representing a blend of old Novgorodian traditional architecture and modern design. The hotel offers all the modern amenities, has a friendly English-speaking staff and 24-hour security.
  Contact info: 2a Studentcheskaya Ulitsa
Velikiy Novgorod,  173014 Russia
phone: +7- 816 215 8010
web: www.parkinn.com/hotel-velikynovgorod
  Room amenities: All 225 guest rooms are spacious; standard rooms have 1 or 2 standard twin beds. All are air conditioned and have modern bathrooms equipped with basic amenities, including hair dryers. The rooms are comfortable, have direct-dial telephones, satellite TVs, and safes.
  Facility amenities: The Park Inn Veliky Novgorod is fully air conditioned, has elevators, a spacious lobby with marbled floor, a number of bars, two nice restaurants, a fitness center, and well-equipped conference facilities with Internet access.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Oktyabrskaya Hotel
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Oktyabrskaya Hotel is a superior, partially renovated, 3-star hotel in the heart of St. Petersburg. Once known as the Grand Hotel, it is housed in an impressive 19th-century building, has a spacious grand lobby, a pleasant restaurant, and a lobby bar. It is conveniently located close to major museums and theaters. The hotel has 24-hour security and employs English-speaking staff.
  Contact info: 10 Lygovsky Prospekt
St Petersburg,  RF Russia
phone: + 7 812 578-15-15
web: www.oktober-hotel.spb.ru
  Room amenities: The guest rooms are spacious, with high ceilings and large windows. They are renovated and clean and have simple, traditional furniture; renovated bathrooms with showers include basic amenities and hairdryers. All rooms have TVs and telephones. No safes in standard rooms.
  Facility amenities: The hotel has a spacious, partially renovated lobby, a small fitness center, a beauty salon, souvenir shops, an ATM, a pleasant restaurant, a lobby bar and snack rooms, and good conference facilities and meeting rooms. Free WiFi service is available in the hotel's public areas and in the hotel's business center.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: not available For additional post-program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services or consider making reservations via the Internet.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Day 2: 3 pm - Room check-in starts. 6.00 pm: All meet at hotel lobby for Road Scholar registration. You will be staying at Peking Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Day 18: 10 am - Room check-out is 12:00 noon You will be staying at Oktyabrskaya Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
n/a
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Trains are available from major European cities
To Start of Program
  Location:  Moscow
  Nearest city or town:  Moscow
  Nearest airport:  Domodedovo
  Transportation to site: A group arrival transfer is organized for all participants who purchased an air-inclusive program and arrive on the group date. Participants traveling independently are responsible for their own transportation arrangements to meet the group at the first site and to get to the airport on the last day of the program. Public transportation (bus or train) is not recommended. If you choose to hire a taxi at Domodedovo Airport (DME) or at Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) upon arrival, please consider an official taxi stand in the arrival hall and reconfirm the taxi fare in advance (expected cost: equivalent of $80-90, payable in rubles).
  From End of Program
  Location:  St. Petersburg
  Nearest city or town:  St.Petersburg
  Nearest airport:  Pulkovo
  Transportation from site: A group departure transfer is organized for all participants who purchased an air-inclusive program and depart on the group date. Participants traveling independently are responsible for their own transportation arrangements to meet the group at the first site and to get to the airport on the last day of the program.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departure
(Thursday, August 22)
   
 Depart From: Overnight trans-Atlantic flight. Meals are served in flight

Day 2: Arrival. Transfers to program hotel.
(Friday, August 23)

Note: IMPORTANT INFORMATION TO CONSIDER: expected walking up to 2 miles daily on cobblestone and uneven surfaces. No wheelchair/walker facilities are available. Luggage space on train and bus is limited to:1 pc/1 carry-on. Bottled water is included at meals and additional is available for purchase.Distilled water is not available. All Group meals are preset and cannot be changed on demand. All personal expenditures(if any) must be paid by participants on sites. Thank you for your kind cooperation.



   
 Afternoon: Upon arrival at Domodedovo (DME) or Sheremetyevo (SVO) all participants with RS airtickets must go through the passport and customs control and look for our representative with a Road Scholar sign in the Arrival hall. Participants arriving independently are welcome to join group transfers from DME or SVO as per group transfer schedule. In this case ARRIVAL FLIGHTS MUST BE INDICATED ON THE PARTICIPANTS' FORMS TO SECURE SPACE ON TRANSFER VEHICLES. Hotel check-in. All participants meet in the hotel lobby at 6 pm.
 Dinner: At hotel restaurant
   
Accommodations: Peking Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: "Moscow and its citizens today"/ Lecture/ Drive through central Moscow / the Tretyakov Picture Gallery.
(Saturday, August 24)

Note: Walking up to 2 miles in the museum.



   
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Attend a group orientation meeting. Group introductions. After the meeting participate in a discussion on Russian national character and contemporary Russia and the Russian people.
 Lunch: Lunch.
 Afternoon: Take an expert-led motor coach drive through central Moscow, then participate in an expert-led visit to the visit to the Tretyakov Picture Gallery, housing the world's finest and most extensive collection of Russian painting. Its treasures include ornate, Byzantine-influenced medieval icons and paintings by the 19th-century "Peredvizhniki" group, including Surikov, Kramskoi, Repin, and others. Learn about Russian spirituality and national values as portrayed in Russian paintings of all periods. Discover the art of Russian portrait and landscape painters.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel or city restaurant
   
Accommodations: Peking Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: History and architecture of Moscow (cont.)/ Visit the Moscow Center for Arts and Crafts / Political discussion / Evening performance
(Sunday, August 25)

Note: Be prepared to spend all day outside the hotel



   
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Continue an expert-led city overview -- stops are made at major historical and architectural landmarks.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Arrive at the Center for Arts and Crafts, have free time to explore the museum and show rooms at the center.................................. After that participate in a political discussion.
 Dinner: Dinner at the restaurant in the Arts & Crafts Center (menu includes Russian specialties).
 Evening: Attend a choir concert (Russian classical and Orthodox church music). Dress code: casual.
   
Accommodations: Peking Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Theme of the day: "Moscow as the Capital of Medieval Russia". Kremlin grounds/Armory Chamber/ Performance
(Monday, August 26)

Note: Extensive walking (up to 2 miles). Be prepared to spend all day in the city.



   
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Enjoy a presentation on medieval Russia during an expert-led visit to the Kremlin compound. This self-contained walled fortress has been the symbol of the Russian state for hundreds of years. Walk through its grounds and see the golden-domed Cathedral of the Annunciation and the majestic Cathedral of the Archangel, a harmonious mélange of Italian renaissance and traditional Russian architecture. See the exterior of the Kremlin palace and the legendary Tsar Cannon and Tsar Bell. Participate in a field trip to the Armory Chamber, housing a rich collection of royal jewels, including famous Faberge eggs and many other treasures of the Russian tsars. Spend time in the UNESCO-listed Red Square where you can admire the ancient Kremlin walls, the striking Kremlin Clock Tower, Lenin's Mausoleum, and the ornate, multi-colored architectural masterpiece of the 16th century, St. Basil's Cathedral, commemorating Russia's victory over the Tatars at Kazan.
 Lunch: Time for lunch on your own
 Afternoon: Return to hotel before going to ballet (time permitting).
 Dinner: Dinner.
 Evening: Attend a ballet performance of Sergei Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" at the National Ballet Theater. Dress code: informal.
   
Accommodations: Peking Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: The Pushkin museum of Fine Arts. / Free afternoon
(Tuesday, August 27)

Note: Expected walking up to 2 miles, standing in the museum.



   
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: On your last morning in Moscow participate in an expert-led visit to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, famous for its rich collection of Old Masters, Impressionists, and Post-Impressionists.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Free time.
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant in the city
   
Accommodations: Peking Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7: A motorcoach transfer (Moscow-Sergiev Possad-Vladimir/Suzdal area)
(Wednesday, August 28)

Note: Expected driving time: Moscow - Sergiev Possad (approx. 2.5 hours) - Vladimir (approx.3-4 hours) -Suzdal (approx.30 min.). Rest stops to be made every 2-3 hours.



   
 Breakfast: At hotel in Moscow
 Morning: Depart on a 4-day trip through the Golden Ring towns of Sergiev Possad, Vladimir-Suzdal, Kostroma, and Yaroslavl . The “Golden Ring” (Zolotoye Koltso) is a modern name for a loop of very old towns southeast and northeast of Moscow, the area which historically preceded Moscow as the cultural and political heart of the Russian state. The Golden Ring’s towns began as outposts of Kievan Rus and grew when people moved north as Kiev declined. Today these towns, churches, monasteries, and city fortresses reflect various periods of Russian history and present a well-preserved, unique environment for a study of country life as it was lived all over European Russia. During the transfer from Moscow to the first Golden Ring town of Sergiev Possad, hear a presentation on the Russian Orthodox church. Walk through the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergei, the official seat of the Russian Orthodox church, and equivalent to the Vatican (a lavra is the highest rank of Russian Orthodox monasteries).This stunning medieval architectural compound rivals the Moscow Kremlin.
 Lunch: At a restaurant in Sergiev Possad
 Afternoon: Continue your travel to the town of Vladimir, founded by Prince Vladimir in 1108 as a fort against the Tatars. At first the small town of Suzdal (founded in 1024), which is located nearby, was made the capital of the area. Then in 1158 the capital was moved to Vladimir, and the area became known as the Vladimir/Suzdal principality. The region not only thrived economically and politically, but it also became the chief inheritor of the Kiev-Byzantine artistic traditions as reflected in the spectacular local architecture and in the art of mosaics, frescoes and icon painting. Upon arrival in Vladimir have a short city excursion and see the Cathedral of the Assumption (exterior only) and the famous Golden Gate (1164).
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant in Vladimir, and then proceed to the program hotel in Suzdal for overnight (expected arrival time 8.30 pm)
   
Accommodations: Goryachie Kluchi Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Excursion of Suzdal / Transfer to Yaroslavl via Kostroma
(Thursday, August 29)

Note: Expected travel time Suzdal - Kostroma (3-4 hours) - Yaroslavl (1 hour).



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: After breakfast participate in an expert led walk in the UNESCO-listed town of Suzdal: enjoy the medieval architecture of Suzdal reflected in numerous churches, monuments, towers and domes. Walk through the grounds of the Yefimov Monastery and learn about its history.
 Lunch: In a restaurant in Suzdal
 Afternoon: After lunch, drive from Suzdal to the town of Kostroma, enjoying the beautiful countryside. Drive through Kostroma, and hear about the city's rich history. Learn about Russia's turbulent medieval era known as the 'Time of Troubles' and drive by the Ipatyev Monastery, where the Romanov dynasty of Russian tsars began in February 1613. The Romanovs ruled Russia for over 300 years.
 Dinner: At a restaurant in Kostroma
 Evening: After dinner in Kostroma, travel to the city of Yaroslavl, to arrive at the hotel by 8.30 pm.
   
Accommodations: Yubileynaya Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Yaroslavl: local history, cultural tradiitons, modern revival
(Friday, August 30)
   
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Spend a full day in Yaroslavl. Learn about the rich history, medieval architecture, and modern life of Yaroslavl during a city excursion led by a local expert. Stretching along both banks of the Volga, Yaroslavl is an important river port with a population of 600,000. It was founded in the 11th century by Prince Yaroslavl the Wise and today retains many noteworthy monuments of its rich history. Of special interest are the 13th-century Spassky Monastery compound, a group of 17th-century cathedrals, an elegant rotunda, and remnants of an ancient trading center. Loveliest of all is the Church of the Prophet Elijah in the town's central square. The frescoes on the walls and vaulting inside the church comprise a valuable collection of old Russian paintings. The second-largest city in Russia in the 17th century, Yaroslavl served as the de facto capital of Russia during the Polish occupation of Moscow in 1612 (the so-called "Time of Troubles").
 Lunch: Lunch in the city
 Afternoon: Participate in a cultural event -- attend a re-enactment of a traditional 19th-century governor's reception and dance (an interactive experience).
 Dinner: At hotel restaurant
   
Accommodations: Yubileynaya Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: A talk on Russian holidays and cultural traditions / Free time / Overnight train Yaroslavl - St. Petersburg
(Saturday, August 31)

Note: Be prepared to carry personal luggage on/off the train. Luggage space on the train is limited. Porters are not available. We strongly recommend that you not exceed 1 piece of luggage and 1 carry-on.



   
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Participate in an informal talk on Russian national holidays and cultural traditions.
 Lunch: Lunch at hotel or city restaurant.
 Afternoon: Afternoon free to rest before the overnight train trip. OR: spend time in the city center independently. Hotel check-out at 6 pm.
 Dinner: At hotel restaurant
 Evening: After dinner transfer to the train station for a comfortable overnight train from Yaroslavl to St. Petersburg (travel in 2-passenger sleeping compartments, NO single accommodations on train. Facilities on board: 2 shared toilets/sinks per train car). Travel time: 13 hours (10:30 pm-11:30 am)
   
Accommodations: Overnight train
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Arrival in St Petersburg. Transfer to hotel. Visit the Defenders of Leningrad Memorial Museum.
(Sunday, September 1)
   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast on board the train.
 Morning: Enjoy the unique experience of traveling by train in Russia. Arrive in St. Petersburg by lunch time. Transfer to the hotel.
 Lunch: Lunch.
 Afternoon: After a brief rest at the hotel, walk a short distance to the Memorial Museum, dedicated to the defenders of Leningrad during the 900-day seige during WWII. Hear the story of the seige and see the monument.
 Dinner: At hotel restaurant
   
Accommodations: Park Inn Pulkovskaya Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Transfer to Veliky Novgorod / A special visit to school/ Evening performance
(Monday, September 2)

Note: Expected travel time 3 hours.



   
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: This morning we travel by motorcoach to the town of Veliky Novgorod, arriving by lunch time. Veliky Novgorod ("Great New Town" in English), not to be confused with Nizhniy Novgorod on the Volga River, lies on the picturesque banks of the Volkhov River near Lake Ilmen, approximately 300 miles northwest of Moscow. Today it is a regional center with a population of more than 200,000. It was founded 11 centuries ago and is one of the oldest Russian towns and perhaps the richest in art treasures and historic landmarks in northwestern Russia. During the 12th-15th centuries, it was the capital of the powerful Novgorodian Feudal Republic until it lost its independence to Moscow. V. Novgorod's history and architecture mirror various stages of Russia's history and culture. The central and most striking landmark of the city is the Kremlin [city fort], which is well preserved and now houses the city's most important cultural institutions: museums, theaters, a library and a lecture hall. The city boasts numerous churches full of mosaics and rare icons. The most striking is the 11th century St. Sophia Cathedral.
 Lunch: Lunch in a city restaurant
 Afternoon: Participate in an educational visit to the Sergei Rakhmaninov Music School, named for the famous musician who comes from this region. Learn about the school and meet the pupils.
 Dinner: At hotel restaurant
 Evening: Cultural event - a concert.
   
Accommodations: Park Inn Veliky Novgorod Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: History and architectural treasures of Veliky Novgorod / Return to St. Petersburg
(Tuesday, September 3)

Note: Expected walking up to 2 miles. Transfer time V. Novgorod - St. Petersburg (approx.3 hours).



   
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Hotel check-out. Enjoy a presentation on the medieval history and architecture of the ancient town of Veliky Novgorod during an expert-led walk through the city. See the interiors of the local Kremlin and St. Sophia Cathedral.
 Lunch: In restaurant in the city
 Afternoon: Veliky Novgorod-St Petersburg transfer. Evening arrival in St. Petersburg. Check-in at the program hotel.
 Dinner: At hotel restaurant
   
Accommodations: Oktyabrskaya Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Theme of the day:The Romanov dynasty and St. Petersburg
(Wednesday, September 4)

Note: Expected walking up to 2 miles.



   
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: On the way to the summer residences, hear an expert tell the story of the Romanov tsars and St. Petersburg. Drive to Peterhof, the favorite summer retreat of Tsar Peter the Great. Walk in the park with your expert to enjoy the famous fountains. (Note: inside visits to the Grand Palace and other museums on site are not part of this visit, view the exteriors only).
 Lunch: Lunch (incl.)
 Afternoon: In the afternoon see the magnificent Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo [Pushkin], housing the famous Amber Room, recently recreated by Russian restoration artists. Enjoy a short walk in the park.
 Dinner: At hotel or local restaurant
   
Accommodations: Oktyabrskaya Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Theme of the day: "History and Architecture of St Petersburg" Peter and Paul cathedral/Evening performance
(Thursday, September 5)
   
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Explore St. Petersburg's cultural and architectural treasures during a city drive led by a local expert. Enjoy many famous historical sites and architectural landmarks: an inside visit to the Peter and Paul Cathedral and Fortress, the birthplace of the city; stop by St. Isaac's Cathedral (view the exterior), the statue of the Bronze horseman, the Summer garden and other sites.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Return to hotel.. free time.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel or city restaurant
 Evening: Attend a ballet: 'Swan lake" at the the Rimsky -Korsakov conservatoire theater .
   
Accommodations: Oktyabrskaya Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 16: Visit the Hermitage Museum / Discussion on Russian ballet / Performance
(Friday, September 6)

Note: Expected walking up to 2 miles, rest areas are available



   
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: This morning will be spent at the Hermitage Museum. Enjoy a 3-hour excursion of this world-famous museum, featuring rich art collections from all over the world, including famous paintings by Old Masters and Impressionist art treasures (the highlights of the collection to be presented by a museum expert). Enjoy viewing time on your own.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own
 Afternoon: Attend a special presentation: "The History of Russian Ballet and the Mariinsky [Kirov] Theater". Q&A. Enjoy a private recital.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel or city restaurant
   
Accommodations: Oktyabrskaya Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 17: Lecture / Free time in the city for independent exploration / Farewell Dinner
(Saturday, September 7)

Note: When walking in the city, always carry a hotel card, a copy of your passport, and a minimal amount of cash on your person. Do not carry valuables.



   
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Participate in a discussion on various aspects of 'Russia Today", led by a university staff person and followed by a Q&A session. The rest of the day is free to enjoy the city or visit a museum of your choice. We suggest a visit to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan (head cover for women is required), the famous Eliseyevsky Deli Store, and the House of Books -- a magnificent Art Nouveau building.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own (we suggest having tea at the House of Books Cafe).
 Afternoon: Afternoon free
 Dinner: Farewell Dinner
   
Accommodations: Oktyabrskaya Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 18: Departures
(Sunday, September 8)
   
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for return flights for participants holding tickets issued by Road Scholar. Independent travelers are welcome to join the group departure transfer on the program end date or to take a taxi, which can be arranged at the program hotel 24 hours in advance.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Moscow Bolshoi theater
Out of 5 included performances one performance (opera or ballet) is planned at the Bolshoi theater (in Moscow) OR Mariinsky theater (in St. Petersburg). Additional tickets for these or other theaters may be purchased at the hotel theater desk or via the Internet.(Expected ticket cost $80-$200 per ticket depending on seats. For additional information, visit www.bolshoi.ru
  Mariinsky theater
Out of 5 included performances one performance (opera or ballet) is planned at the Bolshoi theater (in Moscow) OR Mariinsky theater (in St. Petersburg). Additional tickets for these or other theaters may be purchased at the hotel theater desk or via the Internet. (Expected ticket cost $80-$200 per ticket depending on seats. For additional information, visit www.mariinsky.ru
  St. Petersburg Mariinski-Kirov Ballet
If Mariinsky(Kirov) Opera and Ballet theater company is performing during program dates then tickets and transportation for additional evening performances can be arranged at hotel theater desk. Also our staff will assist all who will desire to attend an additional performance. (Expected ticket cost $800-200 per ticket). Schedule of other theatrical performances and concerts will be available upon arrival in St. Petersburg or it can be checked on the Internet. For additional information, visit www.mariinski.ru
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Catherine the Great


Author: Robert K. Massie


Description: Eager readers of Massie's Nicholas and Alexandria or the Pulitzer Prize-wining Peter the Great will not be disappointed by this latest, an old-fashioned tale of politics, power and 18th-century Europe, drawing effectively from the ambitious Catherine's own memoirs.



Catherine the Great, A Short History


Author: Isabel De Madariaga


Description: A brief survey of the reign of Catherine the Great that nicely balances biography with descriptions of the economic, political and social life of the period.



Crime and Punishment


Author: Fyodor Dostoevsky, David McDuff (Translator)


Description: Dostoevsky's thriller of murder and redemption is redolent of St. Petersburg’s atmosphere. A cornerstone of Russian literature, and one of the greatest detective stories ever told.



Eyewitness Guide St. Petersburg


Author: Eyewitness Guides


Description: With excellent local maps and site plans, this outstanding visual guide introduces the culture, history and attractions of St. Petersburg.



Fodor's Moscow and St. Petersburg


Author: Salwa Jabado


Description: With solid practical information on sights, excursions, restaurants, hotels and nightlife, and a chapter on the cities of the Golden Ring.



Land of the Firebird, The Beauty of Old Russia


Author: Suzanne Massie


Description: Massie traces both minuscule details and larger movements in pre-revolutionary Russian art, literature and daily life in this affectionate overview of 19th-century palaces, courts and culture.



Lenin's Tomb


Author: David Remnick


Description: A gripping eyewitness tale of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Remnick, the Washington Post reporter on the scene, combines fine historical scholarship with great storytelling.



Literary St. Petersburg, A Guide to the City and Its Writers


Author: Elaine Blaire


Description: Blair shows St. Petersburg through the words, museums and haunts of 15 writers, including Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Nabokov.



Moscow Map


Author: ITMB


Description: A handy, folding map of Moscow.



Natasha's Dance, A Cultural History of Russia


Author: Orlando Figes


Description: In this lively cultural history, Figes looks at both the great works by Russian masters and longstanding folk traditions. The title is drawn from a scene of Tolstoy's War and Peace in which a European-educated countess performs a peasant dance.



Odyssey Guide Moscow, St. Petersburg & The Golden Ring


Author: Masha Nordbye, Patricia Lanza (Photographer)


Description: A comprehensive guide to the art, culture and history of two great Russian cities, filled with maps and fine color photographs.



Peter the Great, His Life and World


Author: Robert Massie


Description: In this Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, Massie portrays the giant of history who transformed Russia from backwater tsardom into a major empire.



Romanov Riches, Russian Writers and Artists Under the Tsars


Author: Solomon Volkov


Description: Volkov effortlessly unwinds the twisted relationship between art and the royal family from the rise of the Romanovs in 1613 to their downfall in 1917, including a chapter on Catherine the Great and her era.



Russia of the Tsars


Author: Peter Waldron


Description: Waldron recounts the exploits of Peter the Great and the Tsars and the splendor of their capital city, St. Petersburg, in this lively, well illustrated and compact overview of the largest and most diverse empire of its day.



Russia, A Concise History


Author: Ronald Hingley


Description: Well-known scholar Hingley sketches Russia's multiple transformations from her illiterate, pagan, Slavic roots to a multi-ethnic empire in this highly readable, well-illustrated brief history.



Russian Short Stories


Author: Robert Chandler (Editor)


Description: This fine collection of tales captures the sweep and soul of Russian literature, including works by Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Chekhov and Tolstoy along with lesser-known greats.



Speak, Memory


Author: Vladimir Nabokov


Description: Nabokov's richly imagined memoir wonderfully evokes cultural life among the well-to-do in turn-of-the-century St. Petersburg.



St. Petersburg Map


Author: Berndtson & Berndtson


Description: A detailed, laminated city plan of St. Petersburg, with street index inset. Place names are in transliterated English.



Sunlight at Midnight: St. Petersburg and the Rise of Modern Russia


Author: W. Bruce Lincoln


Description: A wonderfully written, informative portrait of St. Petersburg, focusing on the city's development in the 18th and 19th centuries as Russia's "window on the West." Highly recommended for travelers with an interest in the character and significance of the city and its monuments.



The Hermitage: A Journey in Time and Space


Author: Kultur Video


Description: This 116 minute documentary, directed Vladimir Ptashchenko and accompanied by orchestral music, showcases the extraordinary collections, Originally established as the private collection of the Russian Empress Catherine the Great.



The Ransom of Russian Art


Author: John McPhee


Description: McPhee tackles a rather unusual topic for him: the story of suppressed Russian art and the man who brought it to America.



The Routledge Atlas of Russian History


Author: Martin Gilbert


Description: A fantastically interesting, useful survey of the history of Russia in maps. This revised edition follows the fate of Russia since the demise of the Soviet Union, with 161 maps covering rebellion, famine, expansion, trade, the military, communism's collapse and myriad other topics.



The Winter Queen


Author: Boris Akunin, Andrew Bromfield (Translator)


Description: Akunin sets a suspected murder among the glitterati of late 19th-century Moscow in this first book in the series of clever detective novels starring the rascal Erast Fandorin, wildly popular in Russia. The series continues with: The Turkish Gambit (RUS263), set during the 1877 Russo-Turkish War; Murder on the Leviathan (RUS225), an homage to Christie; and The Death of Achilles (RUS291), back in Moscow. Fandorin is deputy to the governor-general of czarist Moscow in Special Assignments (RUS371), facing a serial murder and a swindler.



Tsar, The Lost World of Nicholas and Alexandra


Author: Peter Kurth, Peter Christopher (Photographer), Edvard Radzinsky (Introduction)


Description: A tribute to the last of the Romanovs, featuring a treasure trove of never-published photographs and illuminating text. It brings to life in sumptuous detail the tumultuous life and times of Nicholas and Alexandra. Masterful.





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