Road Scholar : Home
Cultural Treasures of Moscow and St. Petersburg

Program Number: 3318RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/5/2014 - 6/15/2014;
Duration: 10 nights
Location: Russia
Price starting at: $3,795.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Arts, Misc.
Meals: 17; 9 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 7 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Thanks to modern technology, anyone with a computer can take a peek inside the vast collection of the Hermitage and see a virtual image of Mesopotamian papyrus or the snuff boxes of museum founder Catherine the Great. While the times may have changed, the treasures of Russia have not. Enjoy unique access to premier arts institutions in Moscow and St. Petersburg for a firsthand experience of the nation’s artistic past and its visionary future.


• Explore the Kremlin compound, art museums and galleries, and experience the beat of modern Moscow.
• Attend a performance at the Bolshoi or Mariinsky.
• A visit to the renowned Amber Room and a walk in the gardens of the imperial Peterhof with its world famous fountains.

Activity Particulars

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

No medically required diet can be guaranteed. However, vegetarian diet is O.K.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Moscow, 4 nights; St. Petersburg, 5 nights; departure.

Overnight flight from U.S.
1 night
Arrival Moscow
4 nights

Learn about art treasures in Moscow and Russian culture in the new political era. Participate in a discussion on Moscovites' passion for performing arts and current Moscow art scene. Learn about Russian national character reflected in national dance and paintings. Explore the Armory chamber and Kremlin cathedrals, Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, and the Tretyakov Picture Gallery. Enjoy independent time to admire the art of French Impressionists, Peredvizhniki, Russian Avangarde and Constuctivism. Attend an evening performance.

Afternoon Train to St. Petersburg
5 nights

Survey the cultural heritage of St. Petersburg as it is reflected in its history and stunning architecture. Spend a full day at the Hermitage, housed in five huge buildings, including the Romanov’s former Winter Palace. During a visit to Tsarskoye Selo enjoy the opulent summer palaces and magnificent gardens of the Russian tsars. Have ample time to explore on your own the city’s rich art treasures, unique museums and galleries. Attend an evening performance.


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.

Moscow: Four-star hotel, close to the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall and two miles from Red Square, the Kremlin, and the Bolshoi Theater. St. Petersburg: Superior three-star hotel in the heart of city facing fashionable Nevsky Prospekt.
Meals and Lodgings
   Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel
  Moscow, Russia 4 nights
   Park Inn by Radisson Nevsky Hotel
  St. Petersburg, Russia 5 nights
 Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel
Type: Five-Star Hotel
  Description: The Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel is located within the limits of medieval Moscow, on the city's major central thoroughfare, within walking distance from the Kremlin and Red Square. It offers all the comforts and services one would expect from a Marriott hotel, including a well-trained and professional English-speaking staff. The hotel boasts 390 modern and comfortably furnished guest rooms with excellent technical amenities, as well as a full range of excellent, well-equipped conference rooms and other business facilities. Conveniently located for business and leisure travelers, the hotel offers a comprehensive range of secretarial services in its Business Center and extensive conferencing facilities and meeting space.
  Contact info: Tverskaya Street 26/1
Moscow,  125009 Russia
phone: +7 495-937 0000
  Room amenities: Standard twin rooms at the Marriott Moscow Grand Hotel vary slightly in size but are all spacious and come with two double beds and a full complement of comfortable furniture. In-room features are: Modern bathrooms with all standard amenities; Air-conditioning; Complimentary drinking water; Electronic door-lock; Hairdryer; Safe; Flat screen TV.
  Facility amenities: The 9-story hotel has 372 guest rooms and 15 suites; there are also 10 meeting rooms and 855 sq m of total meeting space located on 3 levels. Built as a conference-style hotel, the Moscow Marriott Grand has a beautiful, spacious lobby and a number of bars and restaurants. It offers comforts for all guests staying there, enjoying access to the Grand's excellent health center, featuring a gym, indoor swimming pool, sauna and solarium. Dining options are also numerous, with three separate restaurants offering European and Russian specialties. The hotel has 24-hour security and English-speaking staff.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Bathroom: Standard Bath Configuration.
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: $450 and up /twin appr. Additional nights can be booked via Road Scholar Travel services or via the Internet: or similar sites.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Park Inn by Radisson Nevsky Hotel
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Park Inn is a recently opened 3-4-star hotel (269 rooms) in the heart of St Petersburg. It is housed in an impressive modern building occupying an entire city block and facing the fashionable Nevsky Prospekt and a side street. The hotel offers all the modern amenities and is conveniently located in walking or short driving distance to many tourist attractions and theaters. It is also next to a Metro stop and the Moscow train station. 24-hour security and English-speaking staff.
  Contact info: 89 Nevsky Prospekt
St. Petersburg,  193106 Russia
phone: +7-812-406-7310
  Room amenities: Newly furnished, comfortable rooms have individual climate control (including air conditioning), private showers (no bathtubs), telephones, and flat-screen TV. The rooms are tastefully furnished, although rather small, all have safes and hairdryers. Internet connection is free of charge in all guest rooms.
  Facility amenities: The Park Inn Hotel has a pleasant modern lobby, elevators, a nice restaurant, several bars, concierge service for theater tickets, a small fitness center, a well-equipped business center with Internet access, and conference facilities. The hotel offers various services including laundry, dry cleaning, room service, etc.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: USD 320 /Twin (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 in to a different room with the group. Additional nights can also be booked independently via the Internet.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Day 2: 3.00 pm - Room check-in starts. 6.00 pm - Meet at hotel lobby for Road Scholar registration. You will be staying at Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Day 11: 10.00 am - Program ends. 12.00 noon - Room checkout. You will be staying at Park Inn by Radisson Nevsky Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
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 RF
  Nearest airport:  DME Domodedovo
  Transportation to site: Public transportation (bus or train) is not recommended. If you hire a taxi at either Domodedovo (DME) or Sheremetyevo (SVO) airport upon arrival, please go to an official taxi stand in the arrival hall and reconfirm the taxi fare in advance (expected cost: equivalent of $80-90, payable in rubles). In order to obtain rubles, there are a currency exchange desk and ATMs that dispense rubles located in the airport arrival halls.
  From End of Program
  Location:  St. Petersburg
  Nearest city or town:  St. Petersburg
  Nearest airport:  Pulkino Airport LED
  Transportation from site: If you are not joining a group transfer, an independent taxi transfer can be arranged at the hotel. Public transportation (bus or train) is not recommended.
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:
(Thursday, June 5)
 In Transit: Overseas flight from the US to Moscow

Day 2: Arrival in Moscow. Group transfers to hotel. Expected number of program participants: 19.
(Friday, June 6)

Note: Participants in this Flex program including independent exploration must be prepared to walk up to 2 miles daily on uneven/unpaved surfaces and up/down stairs. The program is not suitable for participants using wheelchairs or walkers. Please be prepared to carry/roll personal luggage on occasion, as porters are not always available. Group meals are fixed and cannot be changed on demand; a vegetarian menu is available if requested in your PIF, but other dietary menus cannot be confirmed.

 Afternoon: Upon arrival at the airport, look for the agent holding a Road Scholar sign. Join arrival transfers to the program hotel pre-scheduled for all participants holding air tickets from Road Scholar. Independent travelers are welcome to join a pre-scheduled group transfers from DME as per schedule announced in the mailing. Note: transfer time to hotel from DME - 2 hours, from SVO - 1,5 hrs., no rest stops available during transfer.
 Dinner: Group dinner at the hotel restaurant.
Accommodations: Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Group introductions and Lecture / City drive - Moscow's history and architecture
(Saturday, June 7)

Note: Light walking.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Attend a group orientation meeting and introductions of group members. ***Participate in a presentation on Russian cultural heritage and traditions.*** Begin your exploration of Moscow with an expert-led city drive and learn about Moscow's history, architecture and cultural treasures.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Stop in front of the legendary Bolshoi Theater for an on-site presentation on Moscow's cultural life and Russia's theatrical traditions, Moscow theaters, and the current theatrical scene.
 Dinner: Dinner in a city restaurant.
 Evening: After dinner, (if desired only) return to the hotel via the famous Moscow metro. Led by our representative, take time to admire the magnificent underground stations decorated with colorful mosaics, beautiful crystal chandeliers, and bronze statues.
Accommodations: Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Russian art of painting: the Tretyakov Picture Gallery/ Evening Performance.
(Sunday, June 8)

Note: Expected walking up to 2 miles.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: This morning enjoy an on-site, expert-led presentation on Russian painting during a field trip to the Tretyakov Picture Gallery, housing the world's finest and most extensive collection of Russian art. Learn about Russian spirituality and national values as represented in Russian paintings of all periods. Discover the art of Russian landscape painting by Isaac Levitan and other outstanding artists. Admire the ornate, Byzantine-influenced medieval icons and paintings by the famous Peredvizhniki, who were a group of artists of the 19th century, including Surikov, Kramskoi, Repin, and others.
 Lunch: Time for lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: This afternoon is free to explore on your own, or return to the hotel to rest before the evening event. PM: Depart hotel for dinner and evening performance.
 Dinner: Early dinner at a city restaurant
 Evening: 7 pm: Evening performance: opera "La Boheme"at the Bolshoi Theater, smaller stage (dress code: dressy but not formal).
Accommodations: Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Medieval Moscow: a visit to the Kremlin compound and Armory Chamber
(Monday, June 9)

Note: Expected walking up to 2 miles. Be prepared for a full day in the city.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Today is dedicated to medieval Russian history. Enjoy an on-site presentation led by a licensed expert on medieval Russia during your visit to the legendary Kremlin compound, which for hundreds of years was the symbol of the powerful Russian state. It is a self-contained walled city (fortress), with an armory, cathedrals, and palace. See the exterior of the Kremlin palace, the legendary Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon, and examine the spectacular golden-domed Cathedral of the Annunciation and the majestic Cathedral of the Archangel, reflecting a harmonious melange of Italian Renaissance and traditional Russian architecture inside the Kremlin walls.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Continue exploring the Kremlin compound with an expert-led visit to the adjacent Armory Chamber, housing a unique collection of Faberge eggs and royal Russian jewels of all eras. ******Later enjoy free time for independent exploration of historic Red Square, where all rulers of Russia left traces of their reigns; see the ancient Kremlin wall, the striking Kremlin Clock Tower, and GUM department store, and take pictures of St. Basil's Cathedral -- a multi-colored architectural wonder of the 16th century commemorating Russia's victory over the Tatars at Kazan.
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant in the city.
 Evening: Evening free.
Accommodations: Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts / Travel to St. Petersburg
(Tuesday, June 10)

Note: Travel to St. Petersburg by high-speed train, 4 hours (facilities are available on board). Be prepared to carry your own luggage on and off the train and to possibly carry it to the hotel (ca. 100 yards).

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Hotel check out. This morning participate in an expert-led excursion to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, focusing on the museum's collection. Opened in 1912, the museum houses a collection of European art second in Russia only to St. Petersburg's Hermitage. Much of the strength of the collection is Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. Explore a special attraction in the museum -- the collection of Schliemann’s Gold of Troy, which is also exhibited here.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant or packed lunch on the train (tba).
 Afternoon: Take an afternoon high-speed train to St. Petersburg (facilities are available on board, travel time is about 4 hours). Evening arrival in St. Petersburg. Hotel check-in.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own upon arrival
 Evening: Evening to rest.
Accommodations: Park Inn by Radisson Nevsky Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Hermitage museum
(Wednesday, June 11)

Note: Extensive walking in the museum (up to 2 miles). Rest areas are available.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Begin your exploration of St. Petersburg with a short drive through the city center on the way to the Hermitage museum. Participate in an expert-led visit to this famous museum, one of the world's greatest art galleries. Enjoy the dazzling collection of Old Masters and French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, as well as numerous unique art treasures of all eras from all over the world (3 hours with an expert).
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Enjoy this afternoon on your own at the Hermitage, or in the city. Your Group Leader will make suggestions for interesting sites and visits.
 Dinner: Dinner in a city restaurant.
 Evening: Evening free.
Accommodations: Park Inn by Radisson Nevsky Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Splendid St Petersburg -- a city excursion by motor coach / Peter and Paul Fortress and Cathedral / Performance
(Thursday, June 12)

Note: Light walking, up to 1 mile.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: This morning continue exploring the history and architecture of St. Petersburg during an expert-led motor coach excursion. Enjoy this stunningly beautiful city, stopping at major architectural and historical landmarks. Have an inside visit to the Peter and Paul Fortress and Cathedral -- the birthplace of the city, and the burial place of the Romanov tsars.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own in the city.
 Afternoon: Continue the city drive: see (exterior only) golden-domed St. Isaac’s Cathedral, pass by the Bronze Horseman statue, which is a tribute to Peter the Great, the founder of the city; then drive through fashionable Nevsky Prospekt, and see numerous palaces, gardens, canals, and graceful bridges for which St. Petersburg is also called the "Venice of the North”. Return to the hotel for a short rest before transferring to dinner and a ballet performance.
 Dinner: Early Dinner in a city restaurant.
 Evening: Transfer to ballet: "Swan Lake" at the Rimsky-Korsakov Theater/Conservatory (dress code -- smart casual)
Accommodations: Park Inn by Radisson Nevsky Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 9: The Romanov Dynasty: Catherine's Palace in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin) and Peterhof park and fountains
(Friday, June 13)

Note: Be prepared for extensive walking in museums and parks (up to 2 miles). Rest areas are available. A late return is possible due to city traffic.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: A full day is dedicated to visits to the summer estates of the Romanov tsars, who ruled Russia for 300 years. Enjoy an on-site presentation on the Romanov dynasty and its ties with St. Petersburg. Travel to Peterhof -- a favorite summer residence of Tsar Peter the Great. Walk alongside an expert to admire the famous golden fountains, enjoy the palace grounds, and other constructions in the park. See the exteriors of the Grand Palace (the "Russian Versailles", now a museum), Mon Plaisir palace (Tsar Peter's more humble villa), the Grand Cascade of fountains which is the centerpiece of this architectural design, and walk in the spectacular Lower Park, located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland and featuring over 150 fountains (note: inside visits to palaces and other museums on site are not part of the visit).
 Lunch: Lunch on your own
 Afternoon: Continue on to Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin) for an inside visit to Catherine's Palace in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin) -- an elaborate baroque palace built in 1752 by Tsarina Elizabeth to honor the memory of her mother, Katarina I (not "the Great"). See the eighth wonder of the world -- the extraordinary Amber Room -- decorated with six tons of solid amber carved and framed in gold leaf. The original room was mysteriously lost during WWII, never found, and finally, meticulously reconstructed in 2003. Everything is presented by a licensed local expert.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel or city restaurant.
Accommodations: Park Inn by Radisson Nevsky Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Lecture: "Russia today" / Free time / Farewell Dinner
(Saturday, June 14)

Note: Free time in the city.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Join a discussion on "Russia today" held at the hotel, presented by a university staff member and focusing on various aspects of contemporary Russia. Q&A. The rest of the day is free to explore on your own; suggestions of interesting sites to visit will be made on site.
 Lunch: Time for lunch on your own. We suggest having a snack at the café at the 'House of Books' on Nevsky Prospekt.
 Afternoon: Free time in Nevsky Prospekt to visit the 'House of Books', a magnificent Art Nouveau building, or to explore a nearby museum of your choice, returning to the hotel on your own before driving to the farewell dinner.
 Dinner: Enjoy your Farewell Dinner and a folkloric show.
Accommodations: Park Inn by Radisson Nevsky Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11: Departure
(Sunday, June 15)

Note: Group departure transfer schedule to be announced 24 hours in advance. Independent travelers are welcome to join these group transfers.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 In Transit: Departure transfers start at 3 am. They are arranged for flights departing within 2 hour intervals. Depending on your flight(s) you may have to wait at the airport up to 2 extra hours. Independent travelers are welcome to join the pre-scheduled group transfers.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Moscow Bolshoi Theater
Out of the included performances, one performance (opera or ballet) is planned at either the Bolshoi Theater (in Moscow) OR the Mariinsky Theater (in St. Petersburg), but not in both. The exact performances and dates will be announced on the Road Scholar website 5-6 weeks prior to departure, or sooner. Additional tickets for these or other theaters may be purchased at the hotel theater desk or via the Internet.
  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater
Out of the included performances, one performance (opera or ballet) is planned at either the Mariinsky theater (in St. Petersburg) or the Bolshoi Theater (in Moscow), but not in both. The exact performances and the dates will be announced on the Road Scholar website 5-6 weeks prior to departure, or sooner. Additional tickets for these or other theaters may be purchased at the hotel theater desk or via the Internet.
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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