Russia: Treasures of the Tsars–Itinerary

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Russia–The Treasures of the Tsars
July 20-29, 2018

ITINERARY HIGHLIGHTS
• Exclusive visit to the official residence of Mr. Putin –Grand Kremlin Palace
• Enjoy a choir performance in the Gallery Cathedral in Moscow
• Meet Russian linguist, Pavel Palazhchenko, the chief English interpreter for Mikhail Gorbachev
and author of, “My Years with Gorbahev and Shevardnadze: The Memoir of a Soviet Interpreter.”
• Enter Armoury Chamber before official opening hours
• Breeze along the Neva River in St. Petersburg in a deluxe canal boat
• Marvel at an outstanding collection of the Faberge art at the newly opened Faberge Museum
• Go for the Russian caviar and vodka tasting at one of the local restaurants
• Optional: Watch the world-famous Russian ballet at one of the theatres
• Enjoy a short private classical concert at the Isaak Brodsky museum.

Thursday, July 19, 2018 Depart Canada or USA

Friday, July 20, 2018/Arrive Moscow
Upon arrival at Moscow airport, after completing passport formalities at customs control, you will be welcomed to Russia in the arrivals hall by your English-speaking assistant, who will accompany you during the private transfer to your hotel.

The contemporary luxury Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow is located in a small side street in the very heart of the Russian capital within the immediate vicinity of the Bolshoi Theatre. The hotel’s tastefully furnished 206 spacious and luxurious guest rooms and suites enjoy a rich and unique interior with custom-made furnishings. The hotel houses a wide variety of restaurants and bar lounges, amongst which are the Café Ararat, known for its Armenian specialities and the Japanese restaurant Enoki, whilst the Conservatory Lounge and Bar is the perfect place to relax and enjoy spectacular views over Moscow. The Quantum Spa and Health Club features the latest in cardio-vascular technology, a large indoor pool and spa treatments. With just a short walk from the Kremlin, Red Square and St Basil’s Cathedral, this hotel is ideal for guests seeking privacy, luxury and modern elegance.

Enjoy welcome cocktails and hors d’oeurves at the hotel

Dinner included

Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow 3 nights
Park King/Twin Room

Saturday, July 21, 2018/Moscow
Breakfast included
Your captivating full-day tour of this magnificent city begins with a visit to Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, one of Russia’s most important cathedrals, completely destroyed in Stalin’s time and restored in 1990. Complete your touring this morning with a visit to the Novodevichy convent and cemetery, the final resting place of Nikita Khrushchev, Raisa Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin amongst many other famous names. Drive through the Moscow State University campus and marvel at a panoramic view of Moscow from an observation platform on Vorobiovy (Sparrow) Hills, the highest spot in Moscow.

St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow

Lunch Included at Voronezh restaurant famous for its organic products from the local
farms.

After lunch listen to a choir performance in Moscow’s magnificent Church of St. Basil.
Following, inspirational sightseeing takes in the highlights of the world’s best collection of Russian icons and pre-Revolutionary Russian art. Your private guide will accompany you to the eye-catching Tretyakov Gallery, whose collection today consists of over 100,000 outstanding works of art. Originally the private collection of a wealthy Russian merchant, Pavel Tretyakov, this vast art collection was given to the Russian nation as a gift in 1892 and is one of Moscow’s greatest treasures.

Tonight you might wish to enjoy an optional ballet/opera performance at famous Bolshoi theatre.
Dinner on your own
Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow
Park King/Twin Room

Sunday, July 22, 2018/Moscow
Breakfast included
Commence your captivating full-day walking tour of this magnificent city with a visit to the extraordinary Kremlin Territory and its State Armoury; the oldest museum in Russia and home to a vast collection of precious stones and other priceless artefacts dating as far back as the fourteenth century. For centuries, the Kremlin has been witness to many well-known and tragic events in Russia’s past and so it is a treasure trove of Russian history. It is also home to an impressive selection of carriages from the best Russian and European masters, precious fabrics, royal gala clothes and a fine collection of Faberge eggs. Your tour also includes one of the Kremlin’s cathedrals: Assumption, the cathedral of coronations and the burial place of religious leaders, or Archangel, the royal burial church.

Following, you will enjoy an exclusive visit of the Grand Kremlin palace – the official residence of president Putin. Originally built as the royal palace in Moscow for Nicholas I, the Grand Kremlin Palace is now used by the government to entertain foreign dignitaries and is closed to the public. Rooms that can be seen by special arrangement during your visit include the private rooms of the royal family, the famous Terem Palace (the 16th-century chambers of tsarina and tsarevnas), the fifteenth-century Hall of Facetes (the famous chamber for ambassadors’ receptions), and the nineteenth-century Hall of St Catherine (the empress’s throne room). Finally, you will see the halls which were used for all Supreme Soviet meetings in the Soviet era.

(This visit is subject to cancellation at short notice in the event of State business.)

Lunch included

After lunch at Vysota restaurant continue your tour with a visit to Red Square with its famous landmarks – Lenin’s Tomb and St Basil’s cathedral, a colourful multi-domed complex whose architects were supposedly blinded by Ivan the Terrible so that they could never recreate such splendour again.

You may also wish to take a ride on the famous Moscow metro, renowned for the ornate splendour of its stations. (Walking..)

Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow
Park King/Twin Room

Monday, July 23, 2018/Moscow/SergievPosad/Suzdal
Breakfast included
This morning drive out of Moscow into the countryside to the town of SergievPossad to visit the Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius, one of Russian’s most important religious centers and a place of pilgrimage. With its glorious gilded domes and great collection of icon paintings, this was the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church until 1988 (when the headquarters transferred to new premises at the Danilovskiy Monastery). Behind the imposing walls, peace and serenity exist within a veritable complex of architectural gems, the fine domed Assumption Cathedral being the most impressive. The various buildings also contain a vast collection of ancient Russian paintings, frescoes and precious items.

After included lunch, travel to Suzdal. (Driving distance between Moscow and Suzdal is approx. 220 kilometres)

Upon arrival in Suzdal check in at Pushkarskayasloboda hotel

Dinner included at Uley restaurant

The riverside setting of the Pushkarskaya Sloboda Hotel is just one of the reasons why this traditional and historic venue makes for a charming stay in Suzdal. Composed of several 19th-century buildings and wooden log cabins, 159 rooms and suites are on offer for guests. A number of dining options are available, ranging from the cosy countryside Beehive restaurant, to Pushkar, evocative of the imperial heyday, and Na Pinaia, serving modern European cuisine. We can also take advantage of the hammam, beauty salon, and billiards room during our stay. This deluxe hotel is perfect for discovering the authenticity and folklore of the Russian countryside from a base that has all the modern facilities.

Pushkarskaya Sloboda
Superior Double / Wooden houses 2 nights


Tuesday, July 24, 2018/Suzdal

Breakfast included
This morning drive around the city with its picturesque patriarchal street and lined with wooden houses. Visit the most famous sights such as the Museum of Wooden Architecture and Peasant Life, Church of the Transfiguration, Monastery of Our Saviour, St. Euphymius, Church of the Annunciation, Church of Nativity.

Enjoy an included lunch in the home of a Russian family. Visit the typical Russian country house and meet new Russian friends. Hosts will show you around their house and garden and then you will be welcomed to try traditional home meal.

This afternoon enjoy free time for shopping or participate in an Icon painting master class to learn more about this ancient art.
Tonight enjoy another included dinner or experience the Russian steam sauna (banya) traditions.

Overnight Pushkarskaya Sloboda
Superior Double / Wooden houses

Wednesday, July 25, 2018/Suzdal/Vladimir/Mosco/St. Petersburg
Breakfast included
This morning drive to the town of Vladimir, which was founded by Vladimir Monomakh, Grande Prince of Kiev, in 1108 as a fort in the Rostov-Suzdal municipality. The most significant building made during his reign is the stunning 12th century Cathedral of the Assumption which houses frescoes by one of the greatest of old Russian painters, Andrei Rubylov, that we will see today.

Have an included light lunch at the local restaurant and depart for Moscow.

On arrival in Moscow you will be privately transferred to railway station to begin your onward journey. Here you will be shown to your pre-reserved seating and your luggage will be placed on board for you. The train departs Moscow at 7:30pm. Upon arrival at St. Petersburg railway station at 11:30pm you will be met at the door of the train and your luggage collected for you.

You will then be privately transferred to your hotel where you will be assisted with check-in.

Overnight: Hotel Astoria

A city landmark since 1912, the Rocco Forte Hotel Astoria is a luxury hotel located in St Isaac’s Square, overlooking the famous cathedral and combining modern comforts with a one-hundred-year-old history. All 188 rooms and suites feature Rocco Forte’s unique styling, including parquet flooring, comfortable furniture, marble bathrooms and Russian linen. The hotel’s Astoria Café Restaurant offers fine dining, serving French favourites with a Russian twist with the finest caviar and over 80 different flavoured vodkas! Afternoon tea in the Rotonda lounge is a St Petersburg institution where guests can savour an array of traditional sweets. Indulge at the Carita Paris Spa where a full range of beauty treatments are available, or make full use of the 24 hour gym, the sauna and Turkish steam bath. This hotel is perfect for guests looking for high-end accommodation combined with excellent dining and leisure facilities.

Hotel Astoria 4 nights
Deluxe Double/Twin

Thursday, July 26, 2018/St. Petersburg
Breakfast included
Experience one of the most famous museums in the world today with your expert guide who accompanies you to the awe-inspiring Hermitage with an early entrance, housed in the lavishly-decorated Winter Palace. The Hermitage occupies six magnificent buildings and houses 3 million pieces of artwork from the Stone Age to modern times. The main building and largest part of the museum is the rococo-style Winter Palace, residence of the Tsars from 1762 to 1917. The museum was commissioned by Catherine the Great and she and her successors built the Hermitage collection in large part with purchases from the private collections of the Western European aristocracy and monarchy. By the time Nicholas II ascended the throne in 1894, he was heir to the greatest collection of art in Europe. The whole museum complex was bombarded during the siege of Leningrad in WWII but re-opened to the public in 1945.

Included lunch at picturesque Koryushka restaurant overlooking Hermitage and Palace embankment.

After lunch walk to the fascinating Peter & Paul Fortress, which Peter the Great built in 1703 to provide protection from the Swedes. The Fortress Cathedral is the burial place of most of Russia’s Tsars and Tsarinas from the eighteenth century onwards, including Peter the Great himself, the great architect of St Petersburg.

Continue with a one-hour private journey on a canal boat. When establishing the “Venice of the North” on forty-two islands within the River Neva’s complex delta, he envisaged the river to be the main thoroughfare of the city, and until the mid-eighteenth century, there were no bridges and people crossed between islands by ferry. Your cruise allows you to gain a unique perspective of the city not observed when driving along the streets, the granite embankments appearing like peculiar pedestals for the magnificent palaces.

Evening at leisure.

Astoria Hotel, St Petersburg
Deluxe Double/Twin

Friday, July 27, 2018/St. Petersburg

Breakfast included
This morning’s sightseeing with your expert guide takes you out of the city to Peter of and the great summer estate of Peter the Great, nestled on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. After his victory over the Swedes at Poltava in 1709, Peter decided to build a palace “befitting of the very highest of monarchs” and a visit to Versailles in 1717 furthered these ambitions. Over 5000 labourers, serfs and soldiers were employed in the creation of this magnificent estate that was officially opened in 1723. The park features numerous palaces, summer houses and pavilions; a prominent highlight is the Grand Cascade, a delightful sequence of 37 gilded bronze sculptures, 64 fountains and 142 water jets descending from the terraces of the Great Palace to the Marine Canal and the sea. To avoid the crowds, the Grand Palace is opened for you before official opening hours. Afterwards you are whisked back to St Petersburg by hydrofoil (Subject to availability).

Enjoy your included lunch at Mezzanine restaurant located on the top floor of the famous Yeliseev grocery store.

Continue to the Church of the Resurrection of Christ (more familiarly known as the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood), a superb example of Russian architecture and decorative art from the end of the nineteenth century. The church was built on the spot where Alexander II was fatally wounded in 1881, hence the more commonly used name! Marvel at its stunning interior and exterior, both richly adorned with stunning mosaics, precious stones, enamel and coloured tiles.

Afterwards visit St Isaac’s Cathedral, whose gilded dome dominates the city skyline. The cathedral’s construction began in 1818 and was not completed until 1858. Sculptures and massive red granite columns ornament the façade, while the interior is even more lavishly decorated with mosaics, icons and columns of malachite and lapis lazuli.

Astoria Hotel
Deluxe Double/Twin

Saturday, July 28, 2018/Pushkin

Breakfast Included
Head south out of the city with your expert guide to Tsarskoe Selo (‘the Tsar’s village’), more commonly known as Pushkin. Peter the Great gave the estate to his wife Catherine, who started to develop the royal country residence, but it was her daughter Empress Elizabeth who was largely responsible for the construction of the beautiful Catherine’s Palace. Set in landscaped parkland, one of the baroque palace’s highlights is the famous Amber Room, a chamber decorated with amber panels backed with gold leaf and mirrors which has been restored to its original glory. There are numerous other architectural delights, such as the Hermitage Pavilion and the neoclassical Alexander Palace, the favourite residence of Tsar Nicholas II.

Included lunch at trendy Mansarda restaurant

After lunch admire the stunning treasures at the Fabergé Museum with your expert guide. Founded by entrepreneur Viktor Vekselberg, the museum opened its doors in December 2013 to display a glittering collection of Faberge eggs and objects d’art created by Peter Carl Fabergé and his contemporaries. Vekselberg’s collection of Faberge objects is rated as one of the world’s most valuable and includes items he bought from the Forbes family for $100 million in 2004.

Enjoy your afternoon at leisure before joining your fellow travellers this evening for a private visit and brief opera concert at the Isaak Brodsky House Museum, which is dedicated to an honored Russian painter and teacher, famous for portraits of revolutionary leaders and the Russian Civil War and most noted for his role in creating the Socialist Realism art movement. The museum is housed in the artist’s apartment where he lived for the last 15 years of his life and contains a large collection of the artist’s works.

Walk to a popular TSAR restaurant known for its elegant imperial atmosphere and traditional Russian dishes. Savor a tasting of Russian caviars as a fitting prelude to your farewell dinner.

Astoria Hotel
Deluxe Double/Twin

Sunday, July 29, 2018/Depart St. Petersburg
Breakfast included
Today you will be privately transferred to St. Petersburg airport.

Accommodation Summary:
• Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow in Moscow, Park King/Twin Room,
• Pushkarskaya Sloboda in , Superior Double,
• Astoria Hotel in St. Petersburg, Deluxe Double/Twin

Inclusions:
• 9 Complimentary Breakfast and 8 lunches.
• Private transport by Deluxe coach or similar.
• Business Class train tickets from Moscow to St. Petersburg.
• Expert local English-speaking guides for stated sightseeing
• Vehicles, drivers & guides available for the stated amount of sightseeing as applicable, i.e. 3-4
hours for half day tours and 8hrs for full day tours, starting from the time indicated in the
final itinerary
• Entrance fees to all sights and museums
• All taxes
• 24 hour emergency contact service
Exclusions:
• All air travel and associated costs
• 5 Dinners
• Included lunches do not include alcohol.
• Porterage
• Gratuities
• All items of a personal nature (e.g. beverages, telephone calls, laundry, personal insurance)
• Anything not specifically mentioned in the “Inclusions” list above.

Please note that due to the complex opening schedules in Russia it may be necessary to rearrange or substitute the sightseeing program on this itinerary. Scheduled sightseeing may have to be altered to accommodate changes to opening hours. We ask for your patience should such a situation occur.

*Tipping is customary in Russia, and it’s at the clients’ discretion. We will be pleased to include a list of recommended tipping guidelines in your final itinerary or suggest an all-inclusive tips package that can be included in the total cost and that will be distributed fairly to ensure the best possible service.

Land Only Based on Double Occupancy $7990.00 Includes: 9 nights 5 star accommodations (except 2 nights countryside which are best available). Meals include: 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches excluding alcohol, 4 dinners (excluding alcohol). All sightseeing, early entrances where noted, admissions, tour experts, talks, ground transportation, transfers, and an Art of Travel tour escort. Business class train tickets from Moscow to St. Petersburg. This price is based on 12 traveling.

Single Supplement $1600(If you prefer a private room without a roommate)

Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance
An $800 deposit per person is due to confirm your space. Final payment will be due 70 days prior to departure or approximately May 15, 2018.

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