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Cultural Treasures of Moscow and St. Petersburg

Program Number: 3318RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/10/2015 - 9/20/2015;
Duration: 10 nights
Location: Russia
Price starting at: $4,195.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Arts, Misc.
Meals: 18; 9 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 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
   Marriott Tverskaya Hotel
  Moscow, Russia 4 nights
   Novotel St. Petersburg Centre
  St. Petersburg, Russia 5 nights
 Marriott Tverskaya Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Moscow Marriott Tverskaya Hotel is housed in a beautiful, modern building in the city center; it is a rather small and comfortable hotel, recently renovated (162 non-smoking rooms and suites). It is located within walking distance to Red Square, the Kremlin, and the Bolshoi Theatre (approximately 2 miles). Public transportation (metro [subway] and trolleybus) is easily available. This is a totally non-smoking hotel.
  Ship Information: n/a
  Contact info: 34 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya St.
Moscow,  125047 Russia
phone: +7-495-258-3000
  Facility amenities: Two nice restaurants, a lobby bar, free internet connection on the ground floor and available for a fee in guest rooms, foreign exchange office, ATM machine in the lobby, small business center, concierge service, room service, laundry service, a small fitness center and health club, and safe deposit boxes at the front desk. This is a non-smoking hotel. It employs English-speaking staff and offers 24-hour security.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: approx $380 twin; $350 single. Additional hotel nights can be requested by contacting Road Scholar Travel Services. RSTS will confirm the reservation and rate, and you pay the hotel directly by credit card or by cash for the additional nights. Room rates are subject to change and can only be confirmed at time of reservation.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM

 Novotel St. Petersburg Centre
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Opened in 2005, the Novotel St. Petersburg Centre is located just off of Nevsky Prospekt, the city's main boulevard. The hotel building is sleek and modern and blends nicely with its attractive historical surroundings. Hotel interiors are bright and welcoming, and the 233 stylishly designed rooms and suites are equipped with comfortable, ergonomic furniture and excellent amenities. The hotel is located within walking distance or a short drive to major hotels, museums, and cultural venues.
  Contact info: 3-A Mayakovskogo Street
St Petersburg,  191025 Russia
phone: (+7)812/3351188
  Room amenities: All spacious air-conditioned guest rooms are decorated in the same original, modern style, with plenty of natural wood and bright, welcoming fabrics and furnishings. They are all fitted with electric locks and feature a full range of modern amenities. Standard rooms are about 200 sq. ft. in size and feature modern designer furniture and a bright, welcoming décor. The furniture includes two single beds, a writing desk, and a coffee table. Other amenities include a telephone, minibar, and a personal safe. All rooms also include free wifi internet access. The modern bathroom has upgraded toiletries and a hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel has a spacious modern air-conditioned lobby, a restaurant, lobby bar, small coffee/bakery station, a fitness center, a tour and theater desk, and a gift shop. The hotel restaurant offers an international menu for lunch and dinner. Other dining options include a snack bar/deli and 24-hour room service. There is a fitness center and spa with a Turkish bath/hammam and exercise room.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: must be confirmed upon booking Note: we reserve the right to change program hotels, therefore, we do not recommend pre-booking non-refundable accommodations

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3.00 p.m. - Room check-in starts. 6.00 p.m. - Meet in the hotel lobby for Road Scholar registration. You will be staying at Marriott Tverskaya Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
10.00 am. - Program ends. 12.00 noon - Room checkout. You will be staying at Novotel St. Petersburg Centre 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 to hotel (bus or train) is not recommended. If you arrive on your own and need to hire a taxi at your arrival airport, please go to an official taxi stand in the arrival hall and reconfirm the taxi fare in advance (expected cost: equivalent of $50-60, payable in rubles). In order to obtain rubles, please use currency exchange offices or 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:  Pulkovo Airport LED
  Transportation from site: Please arrange transportation to the airport through the hotel concierge desk.
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: In Transit to Program
(Thursday, September 10)
 In Transit: Overseas flight from the US to Moscow

Day 2: Arrival in Moscow. Transfers to hotel.
(Friday, September 11)

Note: This 'Active' Flex program is not suitable for wheelchairs, walkers, or scooters. Be prepared to walk 2 miles daily, including on uneven terrain and up/down stairs at museums without elevators. Be prepared to carry/roll personal luggage on occasion, and on/off the train. Group meals are fixed, all special diets are limited, must be indicated in your PIFs and cleared in advance. A vegetarian (not vegan) diet is available. Special needs requests must be cleared before departure.

 Afternoon: Arrival transfers to the program hotel for all participants holding air tickets from Road Scholar. Independent travelers are welcome to join the pre-scheduled group transfers. The transfer schedule is announced in this mailing. Hotel check-in: available from 3 pm.

After passport and customs formalities look for an agent holding a Road Scholar sign. He/she will escort you to the transfer vehicle. Be prepared to carry/roll your luggage on your own to the vehicle and upon arrival at the hotel. Note: Travel time from DME to hotel is 1.5-2 hours, and from SVO about 1 hour. No rest stops are available en route. All participants meet the Group Leader at 6 pm in the hotel lobby. The expected number of participants on the program is 23.
 Dinner: Group dinner at the hotel restaurant. .
 Evening: Due to late arrivals at the hotel we will have the orientation meeting and introductions the next morning.
Accommodations: Marriott Tverskaya Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Orientation-introdu/ Lecture / City drive/ Memorial Museum.
(Saturday, September 12)

Note: Light walking at stops during the city drive and in the museum. No elevators..

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: After breakfast, drive to a conference center for an orientation meeting and a lecture. After that begin your exploration of Moscow with an expert-led city drive. Stops are made at major historical and cultural city landmarks. Learn about the city's history, architecture, cultural life, and everyday life.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own in the city center.
 Afternoon: Continue the city drive: Have a visit to the Great Patriotic War Memorial Museum -- Poklonnaya Gora [Hill of Homage]. See the museum exposition on Russia's (USSR) participation in the Great Patriotic war (1941-1945) and hear an explanation from the museum host.
 Dinner: Group dinner in a city restaurant.
 Evening: After dinner, if desired, return to the hotel by the Moscow metro. Led by our representative, take time to admire the magnificent underground stations decorated with colorful mosaics, beautiful crystal chandeliers, and bronze statues (note: this ride is not part of the official program).
Accommodations: Marriott Tverskaya Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts / Performance.
(Sunday, September 13)

Note: Expected walking about 2 miles, including up/down stairs (2-3 flights).

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning participate in an expert-led excursion of the collection at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. Opened in 1912, this world-famous museum houses a collection of European art second in Russia only to St. Petersburg's Hermitage. Much of the strength of the collection is in Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. During free time explore a special attraction in the museum -- the collection of Schliemann’s Gold of Troy, which is also exhibited here. Spend time on your own admiring the museum collection.
 Lunch: Time for lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Return to the hotel for a short rest before the evening program.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel or a restaurant in the city.
 Evening: After dinner transfer to the historic Bolshoi Theater for a performance of the opera "Boris Godunov" (music by Mussorgsky). Dress: evening attire, not formal.
Accommodations: Marriott Tverskaya Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Medieval Russia: Kremlin Compound, Armory Chamber
(Monday, September 14)

Note: Expected walking 2 plus miles on cobble stone surface, up/down hills, and 2-3 flights of stairs. Be prepared for a full day in the city.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Today is dedicated to medieval Russian history. Enjoy an on-site presentation 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 have free time in Red Square, where all rulers of Russia left traces of their reign; see the ancient Kremlin wall, the striking Kremlin Clock Tower, the 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: Marriott Tverskaya Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Tretyakov Picture Gallery / Travel to St. Petersburg
(Tuesday, September 15)

Note: Travel to St. Petersburg by high-speed train

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Hotel check-out. This morning participate in an expert-led visit to the Tretyakov Picture Gallery, housing the largest collection of Russian paintings. 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, Kramskoy, Repin, and others.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant OR a packed lunch on the train (tba).
 Afternoon: Travel by high-speed train to St. Petersburg (facilities are available on board, travel time is about 4 hours). Be prepared to roll personal luggage on/off the train.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own upon arrival
 Evening: Evening arrival in St. Petersburg (8:30 pm). Short transfer to the hotel. Be prepared to carry or roll your personal luggage at the hotel.
Accommodations: Novotel St. Petersburg Centre
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: St. Petersburg: Peter & Paul Cathedral / Evening performance
(Wednesday, September 16)

Note: Light walking, including on cobble stoned surfaces at stops during the city drive.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning learn about the history and architecture of St. Petersburg during a motor coach city drive. 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. Enjoy this stunningly beautiful city, stopping at major architectural and historical landmarks. See (exterior only) the golden-domed St. Isaac’s Cathedral, pass by the Bronze Horseman statue, which is a tribute to Tsar 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”.
 Lunch: Buffet lunch at the hotel restaurant.(Russian specialties).
 Afternoon: Independent explorations or rest at hotel before the evening program.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
 Evening: Transfer to an evening ballet performance of "Swan Lake" at the historic Mikhailovsky Theater (dress: evening attire, not formal).
Accommodations: Novotel St. Petersburg Centre
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Hermitage Museum
(Thursday, September 17)

Note: Extensive walking, including up/down stairs in the museum ( 2 plus miles). Rest areas are available.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning participate in an expert-led visit to the world-famous Hermitage -- one of the world's greatest art museums (2.7 million items on display). Admire the dazzling collection of Old Masters and French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, and explore many other unique art treasures of all eras from all over the world.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own at the Hermitage Café or in town.
 Afternoon: Continue your exploration of the Hermitage collection independently or take free time in the city, returning to the hotel on your own. Suggestions of interesting sights to visit will be made by our local host.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel or a local restaurant.
 Evening: Evening free
Accommodations: Novotel St. Petersburg Centre
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Romanov Dynasty: Catherine's Palace / Peterhof Park
(Friday, September 18)

Note: Be prepared for a long day of visits and extensive walking in museums and parks (2 plus miles and up/down stairs). Rest areas are available. An evening return with possible delays due to city traffic.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: A full day is dedicated to the summer estates of the Romanov tsars, who ruled Russia for 300 years. Have an on-site presentation on the Romanovs and their ties with St. Petersburg. Drive to Peterhof -- a favorite summer retreat of Tsar Peter I (the Great). Walk in the Lower Park alongside an expert to admire the famous golden fountains, the palace grounds, and other constructions in the park. See the exterior 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 enjoy many other sights in the spectacular Lower Park on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, 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. Take an inside expert-led visit to Catherine's Palace in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin) -- an elaborate baroque palace built in 1752 for Tsarina Elizabeth to honor the memory of her mother, Catherine I (not "the Great"). Later, this palace was rebuilt and became the favorite dwelling of Tsarina Catherine II (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 lost or confiscated by the Nazis during WWII, never found, and finally meticulously reconstructed in 2003. Later in the afternoon visit the memorial museum dedicated to the defenders of the city of Leningrad during in 1941-44. See the impressive monument and a small museum featuring old documents and photographs relating the heartrending story of the city’s siege from 1941 to1944, the longest in modern history.
 Dinner: Dinner at a city restaurant.
 Evening: Free evening.
Accommodations: Novotel St. Petersburg Centre
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Lecture on 'Russia Today' / Free time / Farewell Dinner
(Saturday, September 19)

Note: Free time in the city. Independent discoveries.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Participate in a discussion on "Russia today", 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.
 Lunch: Time for lunch on your own
 Afternoon: Free time on Nevsky Prospekt to spend your last afternoon here, either in the 'House of Books', a magnificent Art Nouveau building, at the famous, upscale Yeliseyev Gourmet Deli, to enjoy a boat ride along the city's rivers and canals, or perhaps to explore a nearby museum of your choice. Return to the hotel on your own. Our local hosts are available for assistance and to offer other suggestions for independent activities.
 Dinner: Enjoy your Farewell Dinner.
Accommodations: Novotel St. Petersburg Centre
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11: Program Concludes
(Sunday, September 20)

Note: Departure transfers. Independent travelers are welcome to join the designated group transfer.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 In Transit: Departure transfers for all participants with air tickets issued by Road Scholar. Independent travelers are welcome to join the designated group transfers. Transfer schedule to be announced 24 hours in advance.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Moscow Bolshoi Theater
An included performance at the Bolshoi Theater is currently being finalized; details will be announced in the final mailing, 4-5 weeks prior to your departure. Additional tickets at Moscow theaters may be purchased at the hotel theater desk or via the Internet.
  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater
Note: the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg will not be performing during the program dates. However, a quality performance at an alternate theater is planned. The exact performance and date will be announced 4-5 weeks prior to departure. Additional tickets at various theaters may be purchased at the hotel theater desk or via the Internet.
  Faberge Museum
The newly-opened, privately-owned Fabergé Museum in St. Petersburg's Shuvalov Palace promotes Russia's cultural heritage and boasts nine priceless, imperial Fabergé eggs on display. For additional information, visit
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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