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Welcome to Russia's two capitals - Saint Petersburg and Moscow! See all the highlights, visit all the most important sights and take hundreds of colorful photos to bring memories home! Kremlin, Red Square, Hermitage, Amber Room, Church on the Spilled Blood - see it all and so much more in the company of our fun and energetiс guide!
Sapsan is the new Russian train which travels between Moscow and St. Petersburg. The name is translated from Russian as falcon, so the slogan of this train is “Faster than falcon”. It covers the 439 miles between Moscow and St. Petersburg in only 4 hours 30 minutes. There are first, business and regular class seats on the train.
The symbol of Saint Petersburg - onion-domed cathedral that stands out from the neo-classical surroundings of the city center. The church is decorated with lots of mosaics inside and outside, and the domes are covered with colorful enamels. The church was built on the very place where Tsar Alexander II was mortally wounded in 1881.
Explore one of the most beautiful Imperial Palaces - the Grand Palace of Peterhof. Severely damaged during the Second World War, thanks to the efforts of dedicated staff, this palace was brought back to life and restored to its former beauty from photographs and maps in the 1950s. A complex combination of Baroque and NeoClassical styles, this palace is a real gem of Russian architecture, and you will surely fall in love with it the way we have. Hundreds of fountains and golden statues surround Peter's Palace - Russia's answer to Versailles. Unfortunately, in winter, the fountains are turned off, and wooden boxes cover the garden statues.
This fortress, built to deflect Swedish raids, was the city's very first structure. While the view from the fortress ramparts is fantastic, the main attraction is Trezzini's Peter and Paul Cathedral, built in 1712. Almost all Romanov tsars, including Nicholas II, are buried here. There are several other museums scattered around the fortress grounds, like the political prison museum or St. Petersburg history exhibition, and you can buy a special day ticket which enables access to all.
A relaxing walk in Peterhof Lower Gardens with a scenic view of hundreds of fountains. It's a real engineering masterpiece with no pumps, but with a unique location, selected specially to make this miracle happen. The force of gravity provides all the strength and the power of the fountains. A great photo opportunity for keen photographers. Take some time to see the surrounding gardens and Peter's villa Monplaisir. Unfortunately, in winter, the fountains are turned off, and wooden boxes cover the garden statues.
St. Isaac's Cathedral is dedicated to Peter the Great's favorite saint. It is the largest cathedral in Russia and ranks among the largest basilicas of the world. It was built between 1818 and 1858, by the French-born architect Auguste Montferrand, to be one of the most impressive landmarks of the Russian Imperial capital. It's not only the remarkable structure but also the collection of the greatest engineering innovations. One hundred and eighty years later, the gilded dome of St. Isaac's still dominates the skyline of St. Petersburg. Although the cathedral is considerably smaller than the newly rebuilt Church of Christ the Savior in Moscow, it boasts much more impressive fades and interiors.
See as many highlights as one can cover within a short period: Aurora cruiser, the first house of St. Petersburg, Nevsky Prospect, numerous rivers and bridges, Kazan Cathedral, Admiralty, Palace Square and the Hermitage museum, the Bronze Horseman monument to Peter the Great, Palace Bridge, St. Nicholas Cathedral, University Embankment with its historical buildings: Kunstkammer, the Academy of Sciences, and Saint Petersburg State University, Menshikov Palace, the Square of Arts with Michael's Palace, the Mosque, the Smolny Convent, the Taurida Palace, the Foundry Prospect with the "Big House" (the KGB headquarters) and many more!
This guided tour includes Catherine's palace tour with the world's famous Amber Room and the peaceful gardens with multiple photo opportunities. Catherine's Palace and the surrounding parks were created by Empress Elizabeth and Catherine the Great, which is why Pushkin was formerly known as 'village of the tsar's' (Tsarskoe Selo). The Palace, with its famous Amber Room, is an impressive post-WWII reconstruction. The adjoining Cameron Gallery has a magnificent view of the park and the Agate Room. The gardens of Catherine Park, which are spectacular in the snow, are dotted with unusual buildings, including a Chinese village.
The garden is named after the Russian emperor Alexander the 1st. It appeared when Moscow was rebuilt after the war with Napoleon. The garden is located on the place of the Neglinka river, currently hidden underground, which protected the fort’s walls. The most important memorial of the garden is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with the eternal flame – Russia’s most important WW2 memorial.
Arbat is a pedestrial street in the heart of Moscow, full with the old city charm. Every house has its own history and life. It’s the place full of life and energy with the street bands, playing music, coffee shops, street artists, souvenir stalls, museums and unusual memorials. Arbat is a great place to enjoy your time, full with the old Moscow spirit and atmosphere.
The Armory of Moscow Kremlin isn’t just the collection of weapons. It’s a large museum with such relics as the Golden Cap (Russian official crown before Peter the Great), wedding dress of Catherine the Great, unique double throne chair for Peter the Great and his brother, weddings gifts of Ivan the Terrible and many others.
Bolshoi means Big. And it is really one of the biggest theaters of Russia. It appeared here after the war with Napoleon on the spot of the first Moscow Theater. The best ballet and opera performances are shown here. The theater is large, so the performances are shown on the historical stage, the new stage (located on the same square), and the Beethoven concert hall, located in the main building.
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is a massive white chruch with the golden dome, built on the high hill by the Moscow river. The current church is the 1997 recionstruction of the old 1883 cathedral, turned down by the Bolsheviks after the revolution. The place was selected by Stalin as a location for the Congress palace, intended to be the tallest building in the world. The project wasn't completed, but the place was turned into the year round swimming pool with the special water heating. The contemporary church is large and impressive.
GUM is a large mall, located on the Red Square. The first high end shopping mall appeared here at the times of Catherine the Great and since than it was the place for the most luxurious shopping. The current building appeared in the end of 19th century. You can find special ice-cream stalls or the traditional Soviet sparkling water kiosks inside. The galleries of GUM are always decorated according to the season. You can find brands like Prada, Chanel, Gucci etc inside.
Kilometer Zero is a bronze mark that symbolizes the starting point of all Russian roads, placed in 1996. The actual kilometer zero, used for the measurements of distances, is located 430 meters north-west, by the Central Telegraph building. The symbolic mark is located at a more tourist friendly spot and symbolized that all Russian roads begin at the Red square.
Kremlin began as an ancient fortress, which became the historical and cultural center of the country and the office of the president of Russia. A large part of the Kremlin grounds is open for the tourists. The main attractions are the old cathedrals, where Russian tsars from Ivan the Terrible to Nicholas 2nd
were crowned (1 cathedral inside visit), as well as Russia’s largest bell and cannon.
Mauseoleum is a memorial building on the Red Square by the Kremlin wall. It's the largest memorial to the Soviet leaders cult. You can actually see the body on Lenin inside, still displayed decades after his death in 1924. Mauseoleum was one of Red square's main points of interest in the Soviet time. It is still used as a presidential observation spot during the parades on the Red square.
The mauseoleum is open for the private visitors free of charge daily 10.00 to 13.00 (except Mondays and Fridays). No large bags or cameras of any kind are allowed indide. No organized tours or pre-booked visits are possible.
Lubyanskaya square is located not far from Kremlin and the Bolshoi thater. The square is known for the ex-KGB building, located there, surrently occupied by its successor FBS. The building was the center of the political opressions in the early Soviet time. The part of the building was used as a special prison. Among the prisoners were Solzhenitsin, Bukharin, Mandelshtam and others. Solovetskiy stone, brough from one of the most famous prison camps has been put on the square as a memorial to all innocent victims.
Manezhnaya (Manege) square is large square near the Alexander’s garden named after Manege – the large structure, currently used for exhibitions. The huge underground mall was constructed here in 1990th, so now it’s a great place for the easy walk or rest. There is a long fountain complex between the square and the garden, inspired by the characters of the Russian fairy tales.
Build deep into the ground, Moscow metro is richly decorated with marble and mosaics, looking as the real palaces under the ground. The first stations date back to 1935. Each station is different and each is a piece of art, yet used daily by millions of people as a part of city complex transport network.
Moscow State University main building is an impressive edifice, located on the top of Sparrow hills - highest in Moscow. Moscow University is one of the oldest and most respected schools of the country, which currently ranks among 30 best schools of the world. It is one of Stalin's 7 sister buildings, constructed in early 1950th. The buiding houses the large lecture rooms, main meeting room, auditoriums, post office, dormitories, canteen and many more. The building of Moscow state university was the main symbol of 1980th Olympics.
It's a very large monastery in the center of Moscow, founded in 1524 by Bazil 3rd, the father of Ivan the Terrible. Bazil was also the first person in Russian history who sent his 1st wife to the monastery to obtain the right to marry for the 2nd time. It was his 2nd wife Elena Glinskaya, who became Ivan the Terrible's mother. Later the monastery became the home to many sisters and wifes of Russian tsars, including Lopuhina, Peter the Great's first wife. The monastery is colorful and beautiful. There is a large cemetery next to it, where one can find the graves of Boris Eltsin and Raisa Gorbacheva.
Red in Old Russian also stands for beautiful. So this name marks the beauty of the square, rather than the color of the Kremlin walls or the Soviet history. The Red square is beautiful by day or by night framed by the GUM building and the tall Kremlin wall.
Sparrow (Vorobyovy) Hills is the 80 meter high bank of the Moscow river, located at the spectacular river band. It is popular for the best panorama of the city of Moscow, seen from the observation point there. You can see the contemporary towers of the Moscow city business district, Stalin's 7 sister skyscrapers, Novodevichiy convent somplex, Luzhniki sport arens - the main stadium of Moscow 1980 Olympics, the red towers of Kremlin in the distance and many more. The hills are crowned by the impressive structure of Moscow University.
Beautiful and ornate St. Basils is what you think is Russia. Dating to the times of Ivan the Terrible, this church is a true decoration of the Red square, which creates the unique Russian feel there. Unlike the similar church is St. Petersburg, St. Basil’s inside is a network of the small chapels, each dedicated to the different saint or holiday.
Please note the church has numerous stairs with high steps.
7 tall skyscrapers, constructed in the different parts of Moscow in 1948-1957 are often called the 7 sisters. The buildings are different, yet similar in style with the tall towers, impressive neo-classical architecture and Soviet symbols decoration. The buildings are different in function - most famous one houses the Moscow state University, 2 are the hotels - Urkaina by Radisson and Hilton, 2 more are offices and 2 are residential buildings.
Tsar Bell is the largest bell in the world. It weights 202 tonns (445 000 pounds). The bell was created for the bell tower of Kremlin, but was damaged in fire 2 years later. The section of the bell broke off, all attempts to fix it were unseccessfull, so it was decided to put it on display as a memorial.
Tsar Cannon is the largest cannon in Russia and it can shoot the largest cannon balls (890 mm) in the worls. It's listed in the Guinness book of records. The cannon was created in 1586 in Moscow. It was originally intended for the military needs of Kremlin, but was never used in the battle, but was rather displayed to impress the visitors and it still does now.
Yeliseev store is the most known grocery shop of Russia. It's located on the Tverskaya street, few blocks from the Red square. Yeliseev family built their fortune on the imported goods, like fruit, olive oil, tea, coffee, vine. It was the first large supermarket type shop of the family, opened in what was the most luxerious part of Moscow. It was followed by no less impressive shop in St. Petersburg.
You can easily do this tour in reserve at no extra charge. Inform your tour manager or write it in the comments section. An optional free day can be added in either city. More tour days can be easily added upon your request. If you would like to include more sightseeing - please contact your manager for a quote.
If you would like help booking hotels, let us know, and we will make recommendations and book your selections.
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