Lawrence O. Goedde, Professor of Art History
$3,995 per person, double occupancy, land program
$425 single supplement
Moscow and St. Petersburg are two of the most fascinating cities in Eurasia. Steeped in history and intrigue, they are the symbols of Russia’s glorious imperial past and its position as archrival of the west for much of the last century. Relics of both are evident as you stroll through Red Square with the Kremlin on one side and the whimsical onion-domed cathedral, St. Basil’s, on the other. Visit the finest collection of historic Russian icons in the Tretyakov Gallery, and on the same day tour Stalin’s bunker with portraits of Engels, Marx and Lenin. It is delightfully paradoxical.
This program allows you to experience the highlights of these fine cities using well-located hotels as your base. Efficient touring includes the most important sights yet also provides for free time to explore and discover on your own. A leisurely train ride between the two cities reveals a rich landscape of rivers, forests, farms and villages. Tour palaces and museums that house extraordinary treasures of jewels and fine arts in ornate structures designed to challenge the finest architecture of Western Europe. Experience the rich and vibrant contemporary culture.
- Explore the Kremlin, including its elaborate 15th-century architecture and museum with a rich collection of jewels and other artifacts;
- Stroll through Red Square and visit ornate St. Basil’s Cathedral;
- Enjoy a daylight train trip through the Russian countryside from Moscow to St. Petersburg;
- Visit the Hermitage, the largest museum of the world, possessing over 3 million pieces within its four buildings.
- Tour famous palaces of the Tsars including Peterhof, Yusupov and Tsarskoe Selo;
- Cruise on the canals of St. Petersburg.
Lawrence O. Goedde, Professor of Art History
Larry Goedde is Professor of Art History at the University of Virginia where he has taught since 1981 and served for 15 years as Chair of the McIntire Department of Art. He has lectured and written extensively on the topics of seascape, landscape and still life, with publications including his book Tempest and Shipwreck in Dutch and Flemish Art: Convention, Rhetoric and Interpretation and various exhibition catalogues and essays. He has led Cavalier Travels trips to Holland and Belgium, the Danube River, a Mediterranean cruise from Rome to Lisbon and Rhine/Moselle Rivers.
U.S. / Moscow
Depart U.S. en route to Moscow.
On arrival, you will be met at the airport and assisted with Customs formalities. Transfer to the Marriott Tverskaya Hotel. Tonight, we gather for a welcome dinner.
Enjoy a morning tour of the Kremlin. Within its walls are 15th-century cathedrals (the coronation, wedding and burial place of Russian rulers), a bell tower, the Patriarch’s Palace, the Grand Kremlin Palace and the Armory with its collection of insignia of Imperial power, precious clothes and ceremonial harness and a unique collection of imperial carriages. Also see the 17th-century throne of Alexey Romanov covered with a mosaic of turquoises and 900 diamonds, a phelonion (liturgical vestment) of Metropolitan Platon decorated with 150,000 pearls, and the famous Fabergé eggs. Also visit the 15th-century cathedrals with fantastic interiors.
In the afternoon enjoy a city tour including Red Square. From the time of Ivan the Great the Red Square was used as a gathering place for public events, markets, fairs and festivals. The magnificent square encompasses an area of over 70,000 square meters and is bound by the Kremlin walls.
At the southern end of Red Square is St Basil’s Cathedral, commissioned in 1552 by Ivan the Terrible to celebrate his conquering of Kazan. Legend has it that the architect was later blinded so that he could never repeat such a building. It is built of brick and comprises many colorful asymmetrical helmet and onion domes situated over nine chapels; the interior is full of 16th- and 17th-century icons, frescoes and ceiling paintings of subtle blues and pinks.
We continue to discover the sights of Moscow on our city tour, passing the main streets and boulevards of the ancient city, over 800 years old. Go to the best viewpoint on Sparrow Hills, from which you can easily see most of the city. Pass the refined New Maiden Convent, founded in 1524. This is one of the most beautiful of the city’s collection of buildings, located to the southwest of the city center, with 16 gilded domes. Many noble women, including Peter the Great’s first wife and his sister, took vows here, spent the rest of their lives here and are buried here.
Afterwards, we take a metro ride. The Moscow underground is not only the fastest means of transportation in the city but is also a unique architectural feature. Major stations built in the 1930s look like palaces, richly decorated with marble, mosaics and semi-precious stones.
In the morning, we visit the finest collection of Russian art, the Tretyakov Gallery. The Tretyakov Gallery reopened in 1995 after a nine-year renovation and houses the world’s best collection of Russian icons, as well as a fantastic collection of other pre-Revolutionary Russian art. In the afternoon we will visit Stalin’s bunker. It is now possible to visit one of the secret shelters built on the eve of World War II and discovered during excavation work in the 1960s. See Stalin’s study furnished with replicas of the type of furniture that would have stood there in his day. Lunch can be purchased at the café with a tour of the underground complex. Continue to the nearby Izmaylovo open-air market. The complex includes streets of private booths and shops with a great variety of traditional Russian craft objects: the famous matryoshkas, wood-carving goods, porcelain, glass, birchbark items, Russian Army uniforms, badges, etc. Observe traditional crafts workshops where one can see the process of creating hand-crafted items.
This morning, visit a Cosmonaut Training Center, located about one hour’s drive from Moscow in “Space City.” This is where cosmonauts from Russia and all over the world are trained for manned space flights. As it is a highly secure working center, only the museum is usually open to the public, but select groups are allowed access for tours and programs by special permit only and it is well worth the visit. On a tour of the center, we see life-sized models of the spaceships Mir and Soyuz and we will have a unique opportunity to see the interior; a tour of these will be preceded by a detailed explanation from one of the center’s experts.
Return to the city center by day train to St. Petersburg. In the evening arrive in St. Petersburg and transfer to the Ambassador Hotel, our base for the next four nights.
Founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, St. Petersburg remains one of the most romantic cities in Russia. The fascinating palaces and cathedrals, beautiful bridges over Venice-like canals, spacious squares and wide streets decorated with edifices of flourished baroque and impressive classical styles. In 1991 the city was placed on the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage. With numerous palaces and the world-famous Hermitage on the banks of the Neva River, the city is Russia’s most popular destination, drawing visitors from all over the world throughout the year.
We begin the tour with the oldest sight of the city – Peter & Paul’s Fortress. Standing on a small island at the center of the Neva delta, the fortress was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great. Up to 1917, the fortress was mainly used for holding political prisoners, such as Dostoyevsky, Lenin’s brother Alexander, and Peter the Great’s own son Alexei. At the heart of the fortress is the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, with its landmark gold spire, where all of Russia’s pre-Revolutionary leaders were buried, apart from Peter, Ivan IV and Nicholas II.
This afternoon, we visit the Hermitage, the largest museum of the world, possessing over 3 million pieces within its four buildings. The exhibitions are diverse with works by Da Vinci, Raphael, Rembrandt, an impressive collection of impressionists and the largest collection of Titians in existence.
This morning, we visit the famous Peterhof or “Peter’s Court,” which dates back to 1715 and is a former summer residence of the Russian tsars. Most famous for its stunning golden fountains, the palace grounds house several buildings and parks: the Grand Palace, “the Russian Versailles,” now a vast museum of lavish rooms and galleries; Monplaisir, Peter’s outwardly more humble villa; the Grand Cascade, the centerpiece of the palace grounds with over 140 fountains; the Lower Park, parkland along the Gulf with more fountains and pavilions; Marly Palace and Alexandria Park. A special early opening of Grand Palace is arranged for the group.
In the afternoon enjoy the charm of 19th-century Russia in one of the most interesting and nicely preserved palaces of the city, Yusupov Palace, built in the 1740s. It was here that Prince Felix Yusupov planned and carried out the murder of Rasputin, who was lured to the palace under the pretext of meeting Felix’s beautiful wife Irina. All the rooms are beautifully restored and filled with art. The highlight is the exquisite private theatre, where such renowned artists as Anna Pavlova and Shaliapin have performed.
Enjoy a private canal boat ride through the city of St. Petersburg, situated on over 40 islands with more than 70 rivers and canals running through its territory. There is an open-air terrace on the upper deck.
In the morning we drive to the town of Pushkin and see one of the former summer residences of the Russian tsars, Tsarskoe Selo or “royal village,” with the wonderful Catherine Palace, an elaborate baroque and rococo palace.
The estate was originally given by Peter the Great to his wife Catherine, and the palace was built by Italian architect Rastrelli in 1756. It is a massive, elegant building with white and gold baroque moldings set against a blue background, in a beautiful park with elaborate gardens, canals and pavilions. Some of the more beautiful rooms include the Great Hall, the State Dining Room, the Blue Drawing Room, the bedroom of Alexander’s wife Elisabeth, the Palace Church and the famous Amber Room.
Enjoy lunch together in the restaurant Podvorye with traditional wooden Russian décor and national cuisine. The interior resembles a traditional Russian terem (wooden palace), featuring a great deal of woodcarving. The meal is accompanied by a folk singing group. Russian vodka and wine will be served.
In the afternoon return to the city. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner.
St. Petersburg / U.S.
Check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport for flights back to the U.S.
- Three nights at Marriott Tverskaya Hotel, Moscow. Centrally located near Red Square, great shopping and the Kremlin, the Tverskaya Hotel features a beautiful glass-roof atrium, event catering services and 24-hour fitness gym. Spacious accommodations include minibar, in-room safe and wireless broadband Internet access.
- Four nights at Ambassador Hotel, St. Petersburg. The Ambassador Hotel is located in the historic center of St. Petersburg, a seven-minute walk away from Sadovaya (Sennaya Ploschad’) Underground Station. St. Isaac and St. Nicholas Cathedral, the Mariinsky Theatre, and the Yusupov Gardens are all in the immediate vicinity of the hotel. Each hotel room is equipped with air conditioning, Internet access, a direct international and inter-city telephone line, interactive and satellite TV, a minibar and a safe.
Breakfast daily, one lunch and welcome and farewell dinners
$3,995 per person, double occupancy, land program. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $425 to the per-person, double occupancy rates.
- Seven nights accommodations at four-star hotels
- Breakfast daily, one lunch, and welcome and farewell dinners
- All sightseeing and activities as outlined in the itinerary, including entrance fees
- All transfers with luggage handling for those coordinating with group airport transfers and at the hotels for those traveling with the group
- Gratuities to local drivers and guides
- Transportation by air-conditioned coach, by train and by boat
- A Siemer & Hand tour manager and local guides throughout the trip
- Pre-trip service, suggested reading list and pre-departure information
Does not include: International airfare, airport and departure taxes; airport/hotel transfers for those not traveling on coordinated group transfers or program dates; meals not listed as included; charges for items of a personal nature including laundry, beverages and excess baggage charges; independent travel arrangements; travel and accident insurance; visa and passport fees.
General Terms & Conditions
Health: All participants must be in good health. This program is moderately active and involves walking over uneven surfaces and climbing stairs. All locations may not be handicapped accessible. Any condition that may require special medical attention or other accommodation must be reported at the time of your reservation.
Deposits and Final Payment: Reservations will be accepted in order of receipt if accompanied by a completed reservation form and a deposit of $500 per person. Final payment is due by June 12, 2010, and must be paid by check. A significant change in fuel costs, the value of the dollar or group size could result in a slightly higher trip price.
Tour Size: The program cost is based on a minimum of 15 participants.
Cancellations and Refunds: Refunds, less a cancellation fee of $300 per person, will be made if Siemer & Hand is notified on or before June 12, 2010. No refunds will be granted after that date. All cancellations must be in writing.
Responsibility: A detailed statement of limitations and exclusions of liability of Siemer & Hand Travel, Inc., and the University of Virginia for loss of property, injury, illness or death will be provided to passengers upon enrollment and is available to prospective travelers upon request.
SIEMER & HAND TRAVEL, INC.: Seller of fine travel programs since 1959.
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