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Two Capitals of Russia: Moscow, St. Petersburg


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If this is your first visit to Russia, make sure you get the most out of it with our exciting educational tour, and get a taste of all the best that this mysterious country can offer: exciting history, cultural treasures and impressive architecture, as well as the delicious cuisine. During our 8-day journey you and your school group will experience bustling, magnificent, Moscow and the aristocratic beauty of St Petersburg, the Venice of the North, as well as learning about local traditions and gaining insight into the modern history of Russia.

This tour is bursting with action. Besides well-known tourist sites like the Kremlin and the Hermitage, you have a unique opportunity to visit formerly top-secret sites and enhance your knowledge of modern history. We also visit the culture and entertainment complex of Izmailovo, where you can broaden your understanding of Russian crafts and national traditions.
This extensive cultural and historical programme, combined with traditional entertainment (a visit to the famous Russian circus, and a folk-dance performance) will open up new horizons, and contribute to an unforgettable experience for everyone in the group.


ITINERARY
Day 1 - Moscow
Arrival in Moscow. Transfer to the hotel. After registration (if you still have energy after your flight) have your first glimpse of the Russian capital.

Day 2 - Moscow
After breakfast in the hotel, a bus tour around the city. During the city tour you will see all the major sights, including the Red Square, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Novodevichiy Convent, Tverskaya Street, Bulvarnoye Koltso (Boulevard Ring), and other attractions. Our tour guide takes you to the “Sparrow Hills” with an observation platform which provides a fantastic panoramic view of Moscow – this ancient city with the rich history and culture.

After lunch we have a brief introduction to the famous Moscow underground, visiting several stations. Then we invite you to visit a formerly secret location, Taganskiy, created out of a Soviet era secret signalling centre . After a rapid 65-metre descent by lift, you’ll discover one of the USSR’s top-secret military facilities, the Taganskiy Secured Command Post (SCP). Construction of the Taganskiy SCP started in 1951. 5 years later in 1956, construction of an enormous underground site with over 7000 square metres was approved by the authorities. The USSR National Security Department took this site under its strict control, to provide round-the-clock communication for the state leadership in case of nuclear attack. Now the Taganskiy SCP is merely a monument to the might of the former Soviet Union. The ultimate goal of the reconstruction of the Taganskiy SCP is as a reminder of the history of the confrontation between the two superpowers and to prevent any future nuclear conflict. Optional: interactive game in this secret military location (available upon request).

Transfer to hotel.

Day 3 - Moscow
We continue our discovery of Moscow, a city of great importance in Russian history and culture. Today we visit the heart of Moscow, the Kremlin former residence of Tsars and Russian Orthodox Patriarchs. Nowadays the residence of the President of the Russian Federation is situated in the Kremlin grounds. You’ll visit its uniquely beautiful Orthodox cathedrals, see the famous Tsar Cannon, one of the largest cannons ever made and never tested in battle; the Tsar Bell, the largest in the world, weighting 15 times as much as London’s Big Ben! While some of you will enjoy the beautiful St. Basils cathedral, others might be more interested in the famous Red Square, where all military parades take place. If you have time and energy left you could queue for the world-famous Lenin Mausoleum: a rare chance to see for yourself one of the few embalmed bodies in the world. It’s estimated that more than 10 million people have visited Lenin's tomb since it went on display in 1924. The preservation and public display of Lenin's body inspired the creation of Mao’s Mausoleum and similars one for Ho Chi Minhand Kim Il Sung.

In the afternoon, take a stroll along Arbat Street, famous for its souvenirs, and browse among the shops for gifts for your friends and family. Here you can buy the famous Russian fur hats (“shapkas”). Before returning to the hotel, we have a guided tour of the legendary Moscow Metro, fastest and most efficient way to get around the city. It is one of the oldest underground systems in the world, and the second busiest. The first stations were opened in 1935, although the first construction plans date back to the Russian Empire, when the Tsarist administration, impressed by their visits to other European capitals such as London, Berlin and Paris, thought to create a fast rail service that would serve Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Built at the height of the Soviet era, it represents Soviet Realism at its best: monumental mosaics and stunning frescos, symbolising the power and strength of the USSR.

In the evening you will enjoy a performance at the world-famous Moscow state circus which was initially founded in London by English entrepreneur Philip Astley - he was invited by Katherine the Great to introduce this performance entertainment in Russia

Day 4 - Moscow
After a busy few days, with a full cultural and historical programme, we take it easy today and have fun Russian style! We will go to the Kremlin located in Izmailovo settlement (part of Moscow), where we’ll be met by a real Russian Tsar and Tsaritsa, and welcomed in the traditional Russian way, with bread and salt. For those who can present their ID, a shot of vodka is also on the menu! After a short introduction we invite you to take part in various activities, depending on your age and interests, as well as the time of year: folk games such as “khoduli” walking, rope pulling, treasure hunt, troika ride... After this action-packed morning, relax and browse among the stalls of nearby Izmalovo flea market, a treasure trove of old and new. All the usual souvenirs are on sale, including Soviet memorabilia and matrioshka dolls, as well as antique silver and jewellery, samovars, icons...

In the late evening a transfer to Leningradsky railway station - here is your unique opportunity to travel on the historic, luxurious Red Arrow, often called the Russian Orient Express. This famous train has recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. Comfortable compartments, excellent service and the charming 'provodnitca' train attendants will certainly make this journey one of the highlights of your Russian experience.

Day 5 - St. Petersburg
Arrival in St. Petersburg. Transfer to the hotel. We will start our city tour of St. Petersburg, often referred as the “city hero” – name our guide will take you around the stunning “ Venice of the North”; you will see many famous sites including St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Church of Christ’s Resurrection (The Saviour of the Blood).

We will also visit Peter and Paul Fortress which is located in the historical part of St. Petersburg. The fortress, the first building of the new city, was founded in order to protect the Neva lands, regained during the Northern War, from possible attacks by Swedish troops. The fortress was used as a political prison before 1917. This doughty fortress-cum-prison has had many of its buildings converted into museums and features a splendid cathedral containing the tombs of the Romanov monarchs. 

Get on board the Aurora, the flagship of the Revolution, the legendary ship whose canon gave the signal, on the order of Lenin, for the beginning of the Great Social Revolution more than 90 years ago.

In the evening you will visit to the Folk Show “Feel yourself Russian”. The mysterious “Russian soul” - you can travel all way through Russia and still not fully realise what it’s all about – why this country between Europe and Asia is still not understood either by either East or West. But visit the folk show at Nikolaevsky Palace and you’ll probably find some clues! These are Russian artists who want to preserve the traditional folk art of all the different parts of Russia – from energetic Cossack dances to mellow songs from the north of the country and the lively sounds of the balalaika, the traditional Russian instrument. 

Day 6 - St. Petersburg
After breakfast we will visit one of the world famous museums, the Hermitage, housed in the former Winter Palace. The museum contains an enormous collection of Western Art, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Picasso and many other great masters. There are also Historical, Russian and Oriental sections which are definitely worth visiting. From the 1760s, the Winter Palace was the main residence of the Russian Tsars. Magnificently located on the bank of the river Neva, this Baroque-style palace is perhaps the major attraction of St. Petersburg. In the evening, you can enjoy a ballet or opera performance at one of the best St. Petersburg's theatres (tickets on request).

Day 7 - St. Petersburg
After breakfast we will be transferred to the most famous palace in the suburbs of St. Petersburg - Petrodvorets. Peter the Great built a number of palaces along the shore of the Gulf of Finland some 20 miles west of St. Petersburg. This ensemble is called Peterhof. Best known for its glorious fountains and Summer Gardens, the palace is often compared to France's Versailles. Free time in the evening to explore the city on your own. 

Day 8 - St. Petersburg
Breakfast in the hotel. Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK.

INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE
Accommodation: hotel DBL Moscow - 3 nights, St Petersburg – 3 nights, train - 1 night
Meals: full board except on arrival and departure days
Train: comfortable 4 berth sleepers on the Red Arrow train. Optional 2 berth 1st class rail upgrade also available.
Tour staff and support: English-speaking guide, transfer driver
Sightseeing programme: as per itinerary, all entrance fees are included
Other services: standard Russian visa processing within the UK, invitation letter to Russia, registration in Russia and permits, maps of Moscow and St. Petersburg, airport/ railway transfers within Russia

Not included
Personal travel insurance, optional excursions and services