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Trans-Siberian Railway from Beijing to Moscow

Program Number: 19580RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/14/2013 - 10/1/2013; 8/28/2014 - 9/14/2014; 7/8/2015 - 7/26/2015; 8/26/2015 - 9/13/2015;
Duration: 17 nights
Location: China/Mongolia/Russia
Price starting at: $9,369.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Train Treks
Meals: 45; 16 Breakfasts, 14 Lunches, 15 Dinners    

Experience the grace of old-world adventure on an epic Trans-Siberian Railway journey that carries you across the changing landscapes of China, Mongolia, Siberia and Western Russia on a private train. Begin in China’s capital, Beijing, where you walk on the Great Wall, then roll through the Gobi Desert to Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, for an introduction to nomadic steppe culture. Wind your way through Russia’s vast taiga forest, skirting great Lake Baikal, stopping to explore fascinating villages along the line, and disembarking in Moscow.




Highlights

• Witness a demonstration of traditional Mongolian wrestling, archery and horsemanship at Mongolia's Terelj National Park.
• Ride the Old Railway along UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal.
• In Moscow, meet with a former Russian Cosmonaut; then visit such classic sites as Red Square and the Kremlin’s Armory Museum.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day on uneven paths, cobblestone sidewalks and stairs. Standing in museums and walking on a moving train; no wheelchair facilities.



Depending on flight schedules it may take either one or two days for arrival into Beijing.

Participants wishing to be matched with a roommate must enroll in Category 5 or 6.

Extension: St. Petersburg: The Cultural Capital of Russia (#14601) is available as a POST-program extension.




Date Specific Information

7-8-2015

Programming for this departure starts in Beijing on July 10. Depending on your flight schedule you may be required to depart the US on either July 8 or July 9 in order to arrive for the program start on July 10.



8-26-2015

Programming for this departure starts in Beijing on August 28. Depending on your flight schedule you may be required to depart the US on either August 26 or August 27 in order to arrive for the program start on August 28.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Beijing (China), 2 nights; Chinese Luxury Train, 1 night; Tsar’s Gold Train, 1 night; UlaanBaatar, 1 night; Tsar’s Gold Train, 3 nights; Irkutsk, 1 night; Tsar’s Gold Train, 4 nights; Moscow (Russia), 3 nights; departure.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
In transit
1 night
Arrival Beijing (China)
2 nights

Celebrate the beginning of your journey at a Peking Duck banquet. Walk the Great Wall and stroll in lively Tiananmen Square, the heart of Beijing. Enjoy the brilliant costumes, stylized make-up, and stunning acrobatics of the city’s unique opera.



Chinese Train
1 night
Tsar’s Gold Train
1 night
Ulaan Baatar (Mongolia)
1 night

In the Temple of Heaven Park, join locals practicing tai chi and playing traditional Chinese musical instruments. Learn about local life at a lunch hosted by a family in ‘old Beijing.’ Then explore the Forbidden City. At the Winter Palace Museum, home of the last Mongolian ruler, Bogd Khaan, learn about his life and reign. At an evening concert, experience the eerie tones of Mongolian throat singing.



Tsar’s Gold Train
3 nights
Irkutsk (Russia)
1 night

Monks in saffron robes continue Buddhist traditions at Ulaanbaatar's ethereal Gandan Monastery. Listen to their chanting and join pilgrims rotating prayer wheels. Take lunch in a Mongolian yurt and marvel at the skill of Mongolian horse riders in a private demonstration. Continue on to the peaceful town of Ulan Ude in Russia, with brightly painted wooden houses in the middle of the Siberian steppes. Journey by train along the shores of Lake Baikal – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – enjoying a picnic by the lake’s clear waters. In Irkutsk, once called ‘the Paris of Siberia’, explore its old section with traditional wooden buildings and attend a private concert in the Decembrists’ Museum.



Tsar’s Gold Train
4 nights

Stop in Novosibirsk, Siberia’s most important city, and admire the largest Opera House in Russia. In Ekaterinburg, visit the place where the last czar, Nicholas II, and his family were put to death, and the gilded Orthodox church built over the site. In the ancient Volga city of Kazan, take a short cruise up the river, and explore the beautiful blue Qol Sharif Mosque.



Moscow
3 nights
Departure

In magnificent Moscow, explore Red Square with iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral, visiting the Kremlin and Armory Museum where Russia’s imperial treasures reside. Enjoy an exclusive meeting with a former Cosmonaut to learn about the Soviet space program. Toast the conclusion of your epic journey at a farewell dinner.




Accommodations
Beijing: Four-star hotel. Ulaan Baatar: Four-star hotel. Moscow: Four-star hotel. Train cabins with twin-berth compartments on a private train.
Meals and Lodgings
   Qianmen Jianguo Hotel
  Beijing, China 2 nights
   Chinese Train
  Chinese Train, China 1 night
   Tsar's Gold Train
  Tsar's Gold Train, Russia 1 night
   Bayangol Hotel
  UlaanBaatar, Mongolia 1 night
   Tsar's Gold Train
  Tsar's Gold Train, Russia 3 nights
   Courtyard Irkutsk City Center
  Irkutsk, Russia 1 night
   Tsar's Gold Train
  Tsar's Gold Train, Russia 4 nights
   Hotel Park Inn Sadu
  Moscow, Russia 3 nights
 Qianmen Jianguo Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Originally built in the 1950s, this modernized hotel is located in a traditional district south of Beijing's famous Chan An Avenue and short distance from many of Beijing's historic and monumental sites, including Tian'anmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, and the Forbidden City. It also maintains a well-known theater devoted to nightly performances of Beijing Opera.
  Contact info: 175 Yonggan Road, Xuanwu District
Beijing, NA 100050 China
phone: +86 -10-6301-6688
web: www.qianmenhotel.com
  Room amenities: Air-conditioning, satellite television, free room non-wifi internet access, international direct-dial telephone, safe-deposit box, mini-bar, laundry service, coffee- and tea-making facilities. All rooms are non-smoking.
  Facility amenities: Four restaurants with Western and Chinese cuisine, rooftop bar, business center, fitness center, beauty salon, Liyuan Peking Opera theater.Wi-Fi is available in the hotel lobby with free cost.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Contact CAEE for pricing Additional nights pre-program can be arranged by your Program Provider.

 Chinese Train
Type: Train
  Description: The train is furnished in a modern and practical manner.
  Contact info: xxxx
Beijing,   China
phone: +00 0000
  Room amenities: Each cabin has four-berth compartments featuring two lower and two upper berths. Beds convert to comfortable sofas for daytime travel. Travelers ride no more than two persons per a four-berth compartment. A WC is found at each end of the car. There are no shower facilities on board the Chinese train.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Bathroom: The train has shared bathrooms.

 Tsar's Gold Train
Type: Train
  Description: The Tsar's Gold train is a comfortable, though not luxurious, private train, which can accommodate up to 200 passengers. Travelers from around the world join these tours to experience the legendary rail ride. The majority of travelers aboard the Tsar’s Gold train are from German- and French-speaking European countries such as Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland, contributing to the multi-lingual onboard atmosphere. English-speaking guides are provided for English-speaking travelers from the UK, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Canada, the U.S. etc.
  Contact info: 85 South Washington St., Suite 210
Seattle, WA 98104 USA
phone: 800-424-7289
  Room amenities: Bolshoi Platinum Class: this is the most comfortable option available. Each cabin has a small private bathroom with a shower, WC, and washbasin. Cabins are equipped with 2 convertible upper/lower berths and a window-table. Bolshoi Class: cabins feature the same modern en suite amenities as Bolshioi Platinum but in a smaller space with a smaller bathroom area. Nostalgic Comfort Class: cabins are aboard new cars retrofitted with furnishings reminiscent of the special sleeping cars used by the Communist Party leaders in the 1950's. Cabins include convertible upper and lower berths, a comfortable armchair and storage space above the door. A small sink with a basic hand-held pull-out shower is shared between each two compartments and a WC is found at each end of the car. Standard Plus and Standard Plus New Classes: these cabins have twin-berth compartments featuring two lower berths. Beds convert to comfortable sofas for daytime travel. There is a storage space under the berths and above the door in each cabin. A WC is found at each end of the car and there is a separate shower room located in every other car.
  Facility amenities: Four dining cars featuring traditional Russian cuisine, two of the restaurant cars operate as a bars/lounges after dinner. Wireless internet is not available on the train. Smoking is allowed on board the Tsar's Gold train only in designated areas. These designated areas are only in the end of the carriage where the cars connect to each other. Smoking is not allowed inside the compartments, nor in corridors, nor in restaurants.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Bathroom: Nostalgic Comfort Class has a small basic hand held shower for every 2 cabins, WC is at each end of the car. Standard Plus New Class has a shower in the end of the car, Standard Plus Class has a shower in every other car. WC is at each end of the car.

 Bayangol Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The 12 storey Bayangol Hotel is situated on Chinggis Khan Avenue in the center of UlaanBaatar and a three minute walk to the main square.
  Contact info: Chinggis Khan Avenue-5
Ulaanbaatar,  210643 Mongolia
phone: +976 11 312 255
web: www.bayangolhotel.mn/#
  Room amenities: Complimentary coffee/tea service, hairdryers available at front desk, satellite TV, phone, minibar, broadband internet access, iron/ironing board on request.
  Facility amenities: 5 restaurants, business center (high speed internet access, computer use, photocopying), foreign currency exchange, ATM machine, gift, souvenir & sundry shop, hairdresser, fitness room, massage, sauna, high speed internet access, laundry service, safe at reception, room service
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Courtyard Irkutsk City Center
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Opened in late 2011, Courtyard Irkutsk City Center features a restaurant serving Russian and European cuisine, complimentary WiFi in public areas, the Cedar international bar, a fitness center and meeting rooms.
  Contact info: 15 Chkalov Street
Irkutsk,  664025 Russia
phone: +7 3952 481 000
web: www.courtyardirkutsk.com
  Room amenities: AC with individual climate control, mini fridge and minibar, color TV with cable and satellite channels, safe, iron and ironing board, bathrobe, hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: A restaurant serving Russian and international cuisine, Cedar international bar, "Sweet Corner" pastry shop, fitness center, business center, WiFi in public areas, meeting and conference facilities.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Park Inn Sadu
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Moscow's four-star Park Inn Sadu is modern and centrally located in the historic heart of Moscow within walking distance of the Kremlin and Red Square. The Polyanka metro station, Cathedral of Christ the Savior, and the Tretyakov Gallery are also just a short walk away.
  Contact info: 17 Bolshaya Polyanka Street
Moscow, NA 119180 Russia
phone: +7-495-644-4844
web: http://www.parkinn.com/hotelsadu-moscow
  Room amenities: WiFi internet, telephone, satellite TV, minibar, safe, hairdryer, A/C with individual climate control.
  Facility amenities: The hotel's restaurant, Cafe Sadu, offers international cuisine and the bar serves cocktails and coffee. Hotel offers meeting facilities and high-speed internet.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Contact MIR for prices Additional nights pre-program can be arranged by your Program Provider.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Program starts at Orientation before dinner at the program hotel in Beijing on day 2. You will be staying at Qianmen Jianguo Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast at the program hotel in Moscow on day 18. You will be staying at Hotel Park Inn Sadu the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. No Mongolian visa is required for U.S. citizens; however Canadian citizens, as well as citizens of most other countries, do require a visa for Mongolia.
  Parking availability:
Parking is not available.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Taxis are available at the Beijing Airport.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Beijing
  Nearest airport:  Beijing International Airport
  Transportation to site: A group arrival transfer is organized for all participants who purchased an air inclusive program and arrive on the group date. Program Only Participants can take the group transfer as long as their flight arrives at or around the same time as the group.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Moscow
  Nearest airport:  Sheremetyevo International Airport
  Transportation from site: A group departure transfer is organized for all participants who purchased an air inclusive program and depart on the group date. Program Only Participants can take the group transfer as long as their flight departs at or around the same time as the group. Or book a taxi from the hotel to the airport which is at least one hour one-way.
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: Overnight Flight to Beijing
(Saturday, September 14)
   
 Evening: Overnight flight to Beijing.

Day 2: Arrive Beijing
(Sunday, September 15)
   
 Afternoon: Arrive at Beijing International Airport where your Group Leader will meet you. After check-in and a short rest, get together for a Welcome Meeting at your hotel. For those making your own international travel arrangements, meet your Program Leader at 6 pm – the program starting time – in the lobby of your hotel.
 Dinner: Enjoy a Beijing specialty at a welcome banquet in a Peking Duck restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Qianmen Jianguo Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Great Wall / Tiananmen Square / Beijing Opera
(Monday, September 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Travel outside of Beijing city to a green mountain range where you can walk the Great Wall and experience spectacular views of the Wall winding its way up and down the distant mountains.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant near the Great Wall.
 Afternoon: On the way back to your hotel visit ‘the heart’ of Beijing -- Tiananmen Square. Meaning "Gate of Heavenly Peace," Tiananmen, set in the center of Beijing, serves as the location of formal celebrations and ceremonies. More commonly, this huge piazza is where families come to stroll and chat and where kites and balloons abound.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: At a theater next door, enjoy a taste of Beijing opera, a unique art form that uses brilliant costumes, mannerized make-up, acrobatics and martial arts, various types of falsetto singing, and exuberant percussionists. The performance is presented with English and modern Chinese supertitles above the stage. We arrive early so that we can observe actors painting and applying their elaborate make-up.
   
Accommodations: Qianmen Jianguo Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Temple of Heaven / Courtyard Home Lunch / Forbidden City / Board Chinese Train
(Tuesday, September 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: At the Temple of Heaven, a 15th century architectural masterpiece, walk its encircling park and enjoy the activities of local people practicing calligraphy, tai chi, musical instruments, dancing, or flying kites. Then experience the majesty of the Temple itself, built as a symbol of the relationship between heaven and earth.
 Lunch: Lunch is hosted by a courtyard family in an "old Beijing" neighborhood of hutongs (residential lanes and alleys). Though Beijing hutongs are rapidly disappearing, this neighborhood near Beihai Park still retains traditional courtyard homes and customs.
 Afternoon: Explore the Forbidden City. This 250-acre imperial compound once was the residence and seat of the Qing Emperors and forbidden to all others.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local teahouse.
 Evening: Board the Chinese train, reaching Erlian in approximately 16 hours.
   
Accommodations: Chinese Train
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Erlian Border (change trains) / Continue on Tsar's Gold Train
(Wednesday, September 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the train.
 Morning: Mid-morning the Chinese train arrives at the border where the changeover to the special Tsar’s Gold private train takes place. The rail track gauge between China and Mongolia differs in size, requiring the change of trains at this juncture. The Russians (Soviets) built their rail gauge slightly wider than the standard size gauge used in Europe and China. Luggage is transferred between trains while you explore the colorful border market in the town of Erlian.
 Lunch: Lunch is served at a local restaurant, followed by a presentation by our onboard expert: "From Genghis Khan to Modern Mongolia."
 Afternoon: Transfer across the border to Mongolia and board the Tsar’s Gold Trans-Siberian Express private train. Head for Ulaanbaatar along a route through the Gobi Desert. Settle into your comfortable cabin and enjoy the onboard services.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the train.
   
Accommodations: Tsar's Gold Train
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Arrive Ulaanbaatar / Bogd Khaan Winter Palace Museum
(Thursday, September 19)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the train.
 Morning: Arrive to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, for a two-day exploration of the city and environs. Disembark the train and transfer to the hotel for check in.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Visit the Bogd Khaan Winter Palace Museum. Mongolia’s last Bogd Khaan, or Living Buddha, lived for 20 years in this compound, built between 1893 and 1903. Unlike other old sites in Ulaanbaatar, this one escaped destruction in the 1930s Stalinist purges. Six temples remain, as does a ceremonial gate built without the use of nails.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: This evening enjoy a performance of Mongolian throat singing and traditional dances.
   
Accommodations: Bayangol Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Gandan Monastery / Mongolian Horseback Riding demonstration
(Friday, September 20)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Learn about the Buddhist traditions of Mongolia during a visit to the beautiful Gandan Monastery, originally founded in 1838. Until then Mongolia’s monasteries had been small, mobile organizations that moved with the nomads. Meaning “Great Place of Complete Joy,” the monastery was badly damaged during the 1930 Stalinist repressions, but the main temple was allowed to remain as a showcase for foreigners. Today this temple houses a 20-ton gilded statue of “the Lord Who Looks in Every Direction,” created in the 1990s to replace the one destroyed in 1937. Then, venture outside the city to get a feel for the wide-open spaces and natural beauty Mongolia is known for.
 Lunch: Lunch will be served in a traditional Mongolian-style ger.
 Afternoon: See a demonstration of Mongolian horseback riding. Return to the city.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant before reboarding the train.
 Evening: At leisure as the train makes its way to the Russian border.
   
Accommodations: Tsar's Gold Train
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Ulan Ude
(Saturday, September 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the train.
 Morning: Today the train rolls through the valley of the Selenga River, which flows into Lake Baikal. Enjoy an onboard presentation: "Siberia: Melting Pot of Cultures and Spiritual Beliefs." En route a stop is made in Ulan Ude, capital of the Buryat Republic. Formerly called Udinsk, Ulan Ude was founded in 1666 by Cossacks as a winter encampment on the Selenga River. The city later prospered as a major trading post along the tea route between China and Irkutsk.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the train.
 Afternoon: See the original merchant center of the city, with its wooden Siberian houses; the trade rows and administrative center; the city's first stone Orthodox church; and the biggest Lenin head in the world.
 Dinner: After dinner at a local restaurant, return to the train to continue the journey on to Lake Baikal.
   
Accommodations: Tsar's Gold Train
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Lake Baikal
(Sunday, September 22)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the train.
 Morning: This morning arrive to the shores of beautiful Lake Baikal and spend a day traveling by train along the shore of the lake. Called the Sacred Sea by the indigenous people who have lived along its shores, UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal is the most ancient lake in the world. Formed in a rift in the earth's surface nearly 25 million years ago, the lake basin today holds about twenty percent of the world's unfrozen fresh water. Its great age and isolation have produced one of the richest and most unusual ecosystems on earth. Enjoy a short boat ride on Lake Baikal.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the train.
 Afternoon: The Circumbaikal Railway was the original line used by the Trans-Siberian before the present day route was completed. Considered one of the most complicated rail systems in the world, the route hugs the rocky lake shore and passes through 33 tunnels along its length. Aboard the train, enjoy spectacular views of Lake Baikal.
 Dinner: Stop for dinner at one of the old rail stations and enjoy a barbecue on the beach.
   
Accommodations: Tsar's Gold Train
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Irkutsk
(Monday, September 23)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the train.
 Morning: Arrive in Irkutsk and explore the city. Stop at the Church of Our Savior, the Gagarin embankment and the restored wooden houses in the city center. Enjoy a specially arranged classical music performance at Sergei Volkonsky's mansion, now House Museum of the Decembrists.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, venture outside the city to the delightful outdoor Museum of Wooden Architecture. This outdoor museum is a 166-acre collection of authentic Russian and native Buryat, Evenki and Tafalar houses and community buildings from the 17th to the early 20th century. The wooden structures were moved here from various Siberian locations and reassembled into little hamlets and nomadic camps that demonstrate how people actually lived.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Courtyard Irkutsk City Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Siberian Taiga / Vodka Tasting
(Tuesday, September 24)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Rolling through the vast Siberian taiga, also know as a boreal forest, spend the day relaxing onboard the train. As the train passes Krasnoyarsk on the Yenisei River, balance for a moment at the geographic center of Russia.
 Lunch: Lunch on board the train.
 Afternoon: Enjoy an onboard presentation: "The Collapse of the Soviet Union and Its Effect on the Ordinary People."
 Dinner: Dinner on board the train.
 Evening: Enjoy an onboard traditional Russian vodka tasting.
   
Accommodations: Tsar's Gold Train
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Novosibirsk
(Wednesday, September 25)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the train.
 Morning: Enjoy an onboard presentation: "Being Russian: Traditions, Customs, Superstitions, and Beliefs Influencing the Russian 'National Character'"
 Lunch: Lunch on board the train
 Afternoon: The train pulls into Siberia?s largest city today. With a population of over 1.6 million people, Novosibirsk is Siberia?s industrial center. It did not exist before the Trans-Siberian railway was built and its growth is largely due to the railway. In 1900 only 15,000 people lived here. In 2008, the total solar eclipse center line ran directly through Novosibirsk. Learn about the region during a driving city tour of the central area featuring the Opera House (Russia?s largest) and Lenin Square.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the train.
   
Accommodations: Tsar's Gold Train
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Ekaterinburg
(Thursday, September 26)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the train.
 Morning: After breakfast, enjoy an onboard presentation: "A Dynasty Comes to an End: The Demise of Nicholas II and his Family."
 Lunch: Lunch on board the train
 Afternoon: Stop in Ekaterinburg. Founded in 1721 and named after Catherine I, Ekaterinburg has a fair number of pre-revolutionary buildings. It is best known as the place where the last czar, Nicholas II, and his family were imprisoned and executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918. The Church on the Blood stands over the spot where they died. The young family has been canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church, and declared martyrs, as holy passion-bearers, reverent believers who were tormented by the Soviets for their beliefs. The church was designed in the early 20th century Russian/Byzantine style that Nicholas favored. Ekaterinburg is also known as the birthplace of Boris Yeltsin. Born to peasant parents, Yeltsin studied civil engineering at Ekaterinburg Technical University before working his way up the ladder in the Communist Party. While in this city of 1.5 million, enjoy the traditional and ornately decorated wooden houses of former aristocratic citizens. Visit the Romanov execution site.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the train.
   
Accommodations: Tsar's Gold Train
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Kazan: Kremlin, Qol Sharif Mosque, Peter and Paul Cathedral
(Friday, September 27)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the train.
 Morning: Today the train pulls into Kazan. Kazan, capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, is an old city on the Volga River with a fascinating multi-ethnic history. The Tatars, who make up a majority of the population, are actually Turkic Muslims with an ethnic makeup identical to that of early Bulgarians. An exploration of Kazan includes the city's kremlin, the Qol Sharif Mosque, Peter and Paul Cathedral, and the shores of Lake Kaban. Inaugurated in 2005, the Qol Sharif Mosque stands where its original stood until it was razed by Ivan the Terrible’s conquering army in 1552. Named after Imam Seid Qol Sharif, the Tatar cleric who died defending it, the turquoise and white mosque is the largest in Russia. The mosque has become a symbol of Kazan and Tatarstan.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at a restaurant in the city.
 Afternoon: Take a free afternoon in Kazan before rejoining the train in the evening.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the train.
   
Accommodations: Tsar's Gold Train
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Arrive Moscow / Disembark Train
(Saturday, September 28)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board the train.
 Morning: Arrive in Moscow. The Soviet flag flew here for the last time on 25 December 1991, and since then central Moscow has been transformed. Beautiful pre-Revolutionary buildings that had been allowed to fall into disrepair under the Soviet system are being lovingly restored to their former glory.
 Lunch: Lunch is at a local restaurant in Moscow
 Afternoon: Begin the afternoon city tour with a drive by some of Moscow’s best-known places – Red Square, the Duma building where Russia’s governing body meets; the Bolshoi Theater; the forbidding Lubyanka prison where the KGB was headquartered; Moscow State University on the Sparrow Hills for a panoramic city view; the moving World War II Memorial and Victory Park on Farewell Hill; and a drive along the Sofiyskaya Embankment, past the 16th century Novodevichy Convent by the Moscow “White House” and to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The Cathedral of Christ the Savior has had a tumultuous history. Built from 1839-1883 to commemorate the Russian victory over Napoleon in 1812, it was destroyed by the Soviets in 1931 to make way for a Palace of Soviets. However, the soft ground could not support the huge building, and so the excavation was used for the world's largest outdoor swimming pool. In the 1990s the Moscow government meticulously rebuilt the cathedral, completing it in 1998.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Park Inn Sadu
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Red Square / The Kremlin / Armory Museum
(Sunday, September 29)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Embark on a discovery of Red Square, the Kremlin and the Armory Museum. Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral are perhaps the most recognizable symbols of Russia. The square owes it origins to Ivan III, who in the late 15th century had all buildings removed from the eastern wall of the Kremlin. For the next 400 years, this newly formed area was a trading center. In 1920 all traders were banned from the square, and in the early 1960s cars were banned as well, making Red Square a pedestrian area. St. Basil's was built to celebrate Ivan the Terrible's victory at the Tatar stronghold of Kazan in 1552. Built between 1555 and 1561, it was originally painted white. The domes were not patterned and colored as they are today until a hundred years later. St. Basil's is named after Vasily, the "holy fool" who predicted that Ivan would murder his own son. Admire the vivid exterior of St. Basil's today. The Moscow Kremlin reminds modern-day Russia of its medieval past. Built on the site of Prince Yuri's hunting lodge, the Kremlin overlooks the Moskva and Neglina rivers. In the mid-14th century, the Russian princes, ruling from the Kremlin, became so powerful that Moscow was named the center of the Russian Orthodox Church. Under the guidance of Ivan the Great, Moscow extended its influence and soon became the seat of Russian political power as well. Today, the Kremlin remains the center of Moscow and Russian politics. Inside the fortress walls are palaces, cathedrals, government buildings and the Armory Museum. Built in the 16th century as a warehouse for the Kremlin's weaponry, the Armory was transformed into an exhibition hall and museum in 1814. It now houses Russia's national treasures, such as religious icons, Faberge eggs, a bejeweled chalice belonging to Prince Yuri, and Catherine the Great's ball gowns and shoes.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon explore Arbat Street and take a ride on the Moscow Metro. In the 15th century court artisans and craftsmen lived in the Arbat Street neighborhood, and by the 19th century it had become an artists’ enclave. Today the Arbat is like a busy street fair, with small shops lining the sides of the street and tables of crafts and merchandise set out along the center. Here street artists draw portraits, musicians sing and play, and fur hats, matrioshki dolls and Russian woolen scarves are offered for sale. The first Moscow Metro station opened in 1935, and today there are more than 150 of them along the 125 miles of track. The stations in the city center are showpieces of Socialist art, furnished with statues, frescoes and mosaics, and with marbled, gilded, and bronzed walls and ceilings.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Park Inn Sadu
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 17: Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics
(Monday, September 30)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Free time to explore Moscow on your own.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: This morning, learn about the history of the Russian (Soviet) space program. The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics is housed in the base of the monument named "To the Conquerors of Space." The monument is a huge upright titanium contrail behind a rocket taking off into the sky. It was built in 1964 to commemorate the 1957 launching of Sputnik, the first-ever orbiting satellite. It was the lights of Sputnik moving across the night sky that frightened the U.S. into stepping up its own space program. The museum celebrates the Soviet Union's exploits in space, and includes artifacts like Yuri Gagarin's space suit and the first rocket engine, designed and built in 1931 by engineer F. Tsander. The small movie theater for video showings resembles the inside of a spaceship. 2011 marked the 50th anniversary of man's first space flight, a feat achieved by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961. Enjoy an exclusive opportunity to meet with a former cosmonaut to learn more about the past and present contributions the Russians have made to space exploration.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Park Inn Sadu
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 18: Departure
(Tuesday, October 1)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for flights home or continue on the extension to St. Petersburg.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
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