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Extension: St. Petersburg: The Cultural Capital of Russia

Program Number: 14601RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/1/2013 - 10/4/2013; 8/2/2016 - 8/5/2016; 10/4/2016 - 10/7/2016;
Duration: 3 nights
Location: Russia
Price starting at: $1,868.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 7; 3 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners    

Immerse yourself in beautiful St. Petersburg, which celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2003. Marvel at the Peter and Paul Fortress, the burial place of the tsars, and the grand collections of art housed at the State Hermitage Museum. Countryside excursions introduce the glorious estates of Peter and Catherine the Great, while an expert discusses the reconstruction of the famous Amber Room, whose extraordinary decorated panels vanished during World War II, never to be seen again.


• Visit the gold-spired Peter and Paul Fortress, burial place of the czars.
• After a traditional Russian lunch, enjoy a guided excursion to the Catherine Palace and estate, restored to full glory after near destruction during World War II.
• Journey by hydrofoil to Petrodvorets, the imperial palace of Peter the Great.

Activity Particulars

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

This program is an extension to program #19580 and may only be taken in conjunction with this programs.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival St. Petersburg, 3 nights; departure.

Train to St. Petersburg
3 nights
Departure St. Petersburg

Built by Peter the Great, St. Petersburg is a thriving city full of artistic culture. Visit the Fortress of Peter and Paul, one of the city’s first structures and the burial place for almost every tsar from Peter the Great through Nicholas II. Enjoy the Hermitage, home to the largest museum collection in the world, featuring works by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso. In the nearby town of Pushkin, visit the royal residence of Catherine's Palace, originally built in 1717. Nearly destroyed during World War II, the Catherine Palace has been expertly restored, including the stunning Amber Room. On the Gulf of Finland just outside St. Petersburg, study Peterhof, the former imperial residence, surrounded by extensive parks, gilded statues and gravity-fed fountains.


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.

Lovely hotel within walking distance of Nevsky Prospect and central to city's many iconic sites
Meals and Lodgings
   Cronwell Inn Stremyannaya
  St. Petersburg, Russia 3 nights
 Cronwell Inn Stremyannaya
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The hotel is located within walking distance of Nevsky Prospect, central to many of St. Petersburg's most famous sites.
  Contact info: 18 Stremyannaya Street
St. Petersburg,  191925 Russia
phone: +7 (812) 406-0450
  Room amenities: Air-conditioning, TV, internet, telephone, safe, hairdryer
  Facility amenities: ATM, internet access, restaurant
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Bathroom: All rooms have private bathrooms. Some rooms have a bath. Other rooms only have a shower.
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBD Contact Road Scholar Travel Services for rates and bookings.
  Additional nights after: TBD Contact Road Scholar Travel Services for rates and bookings.

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Program starts after breakfast at the hotel in Moscow on day 1. You will be staying at Cronwell Inn Stremyannaya that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast at the hotel in St. Petersburg on day 4. You will be staying at Cronwell Inn Stremyannaya the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking is not available.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: All participants will be taking the train from Moscow to St. Petersburg.
To Start of Program
  Location:  St. Petersburg
  Transportation to site: All participants will get a transfer to the train station in Moscow.
  From End of Program
  Location: St. Petersburg
  Transportation from site: A group departure transfer is organized for all participants who purchased an air inclusive program and depart on the group departure date. Program Only Particpants can take the group transfer as long as their flight departs at or around the same time as the group.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
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: Moscow / Train to St. Petersburg
(Tuesday, October 1)
 Morning: Explore the Novodevichy Convent. Founded in the 16th century, it was the convent of choice for noble women forced to take the veil, such as Peter the Great’s first wife and Boris Godunov’s sister. The compound contains a spectacularly beautiful church - Smolensk Cathedral - with icons from the time of Boris Godunov, as well as exhibits featuring paintings, woodwork, metalwork, embroidery, illuminated books, and jewels. Strangely enough, the main attraction of the convent is its cemetery. Such luminaries as Gogol, Chekhov, Scriabin, Mayakovsky, Stanislavsky, Prokofiev, Eisenstein, Khrushchev, Raisa Gorbachev and Boris Yelstin are buried here, and some of the graves are quite fanciful.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Transfer to the train station for the departure to St. Petersburg by the late afternoon express train.
 Dinner: Dinner will be served at a nearby restaurant.
 Evening: On arrival in St. Petersburg, transfer to the hotel and check in.
Accommodations: Cronwell Inn Stremyannaya
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Peterhof / Catherine's Palace
(Wednesday, October 2)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Today visit the country estates of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great outside the city. Travel by hydrofoil to the site where Peter the Great built his estate, Petrodvorets (Peterhof, as it was called prior to 1944) on a ridge by the Gulf of Finland 19 miles outside St. Petersburg. The former imperial residence is surrounded with extensive parks and gardens intended to rival Versailles, complete with an array of gilded statues, magnificent palaces and gravity-fed fountains. Discover the wonderful park, fountains, and Monplaisir pavilion of the estate. Peter the Great began building Monplaisir in 1714 directly on the Gulf where he could keep an eye on ships passing by. Constructed from drawings the czar had made himself, the small palace was meant to be a retreat on the way to or from the naval base, Kronstadt. The one-storey Dutch-inspired palace has two naturally lit picture galleries, which were originally hung with paintings that Peter collected in Europe. A few of the originals survived the years in the unheated seaside building and the later Nazi occupation.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Travel by coach to the town of Pushkin, site of the royal residence Catherine's Palace, originally built in 1717 by Catherine I. Enjoy a guided tour of the estate. In 1752, famed architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli enlarged and embellished the palace, extending the facade to its current grandeur. The estate and palace buildings were almost completely destroyed by the Germans during World War II, but they have been carefully and expertly restored into a brilliant architectural monument. The fully restored Amber Room in Catherine's Palace, now open, has been years in the making. The wall coverings of amber panels, created in the time of Peter the Great, were taken by the Nazis during the Second World War and never recovered. The beautifully crafted amber panels we see today were re-created from photos and descriptions of the originals, and have become one of the highlights of Catherine's Palace.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
Accommodations: Cronwell Inn Stremyannaya
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: St. Petersburg / Nevsky Prospekt / The Hermitage
(Thursday, October 3)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Discover St. Petersburg, often described as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Its miles of canals, laced together with graceful bridges set amidst 18th century buildings, have earned it the name "Venice of the North." Conceived of by Peter the Great and designed by his favorite European architects, St. Petersburg was meant to be Peter's link to the western world. The capital of Russia from its birth in 1703 until the revolution, the city celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2003. Today explore the city, the Peter & Paul Fortress and the Hermitage Museum. A drive near the Neva River introduces you to the heart of Peter's beautiful city. Visit Vasilievsky Island with its beautiful view across the river to the Winter Palace and the Peter and Paul Fortress. Drive by enormous Palace Square, framed by the Winter Palace and the General Staff Headquarters, where Imperial parades and festivals were celebrated, and admire the facade of nearby St. Isaac's Cathedral. Discover the statue of Peter the Great, named the Bronze Horseman by Pushkin. Then explore the Hermitage. The Hermitage, also known as the Winter Palace, was built in 1754-62 as the principal home of the czars, and was lavishly rebuilt in 1839 after it was destroyed by fire. Originally a small private palace gallery begun by Catherine the Great with a purchase of 255 paintings from Berlin, the Hermitage today houses the largest museum collection in the world. It includes works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, the French Impressionists, Van Gogh, Matisse, Gauguin and Picasso. The fabulous rooms with their inlaid floors and gilded woodwork and the grand double entry staircase are works of art in themselves.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch, those who wish may stay at the Hermitage to explore the museum independently. The rest of the group will continue with the city exploration, visiting St. Isaac's Cathedral, Church of Savior on the Blood, and Peter and Paul Fortress. St. Isaac's Cathedral took 40 years to complete. The 48 red granite columns around the lower part of the building each weigh 110 tons, and the upper columns around the rotunda weigh 67 tons apiece. The dome is covered with 220 pounds of gold, and the interior columns are faced with lapis lazuli and malachite. The cathedral is bursting with sculptures, frescoes, stained glass works and woodcarvings. The Church of the Savior on the Blood was built on the spot where Czar Alexander II was killed by a bomb in 1881, and was commissioned in the style of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow by his son and successor, Alexander III. For many years closed for renovation, the church's beautiful interior is now open to visitors. Four jasper columns inside mark the spot where the czar was killed. Across the Neva River from the Hermitage on Hare Island, the Fortress of Peter and Paul was one of the first structures in St. Petersburg. Peter the Great laid the cornerstone of the earthen fortress in May 1703, intending it to be used to repel a Swedish invasion. After the Swedes capitulated, the fortress was transformed into a prison in 1718. Most importantly, it is the burial place for most of the czars beginning with Peter the Great.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant in St. Petersburg.
Accommodations: Cronwell Inn Stremyannaya
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Departure
(Friday, October 4)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for flights home.
Meals Included: Breakfast
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.

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