Jewels of Russia

11 days

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Art and human treasures of the two of Russia’s great cities are the attractions of this tour featuring Moscow and St Petersburg – former Leningrad. An exciting tale of two cities, with an alluring array of highlights: the unique Kremlin, Moscow metro, Tretyakov and Hermitage Museums, exquisite palaces as Petrodvorets, with an added bonus of a boat ride on the Neva River.

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Day 1: Sunday, New York
Evening flight to Moscow, the sprawling Capital of Russia.

Day 2: Monday, Moscow
Late morning arrival in Moscow, where you’ll be welcomed by your Tour Escort. After a short rest, we take an orientation tour of the central sector of this fascinating city. Drive to Sparrow hills to stand where Napoleon first looked down on Moscow in 1812. Pass near the Red Square for a quick view of the exquisite St Basil’s cathedral built by Ivan the Terrible in 1560, and Lenin’s Mausoleum. See the perfectly the renowned Bolshoi Theatre, and massive Moscow University, a reminder of the Stalinist architectonic style. Overnight Moscow.

Day 3: Tuesday, Moscow
We start our in-depths acquaintance with this more than 800 year old city. The sightseeing continues with a visit of the WWII Museum and the City Memorial Park. Then we will visit Borodino Panorama Museum .
In honour of the 200th anniversary of the battle, the museum opened a new two-room exhibit dedicated to ‘Man & War’. It displays more than 400 items – paintings, weapons, uniforms and more. In addition we will visit The Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center opened in Moscow in November 2012 It is thought to be the largest Jewish museum in the world. This evening, why not join the optional ‘Moscow by night’ tour to see the city’s beautiful illuminations. Overnight Moscow.

Day 4: Wednesday, Moscow
A walking tour within the walls of the Kremlin – a-city-within-a city, the symbol of Russia’s greatness, reveals us the center of Russian government, politics and culture. Walk around the cobble stoned Square of the Tsars and see the Kremlin’s highest structure, the white stone Bell-Tower of Ivan the Great. Stand in Cathedral Square, home of many Russian style churches. Rulers of Russia were crowned here and many lie buried here. See the impressive Palace of Congresses and the Grand Palace. At the Armory Museum admire the Imperial Russia treasuries, such as the Throne of Ivan the Terrible and the famous Fabergé eggs. Then, ride the subways to marvel at the art gallery-like stations – Moscow’s famous Metro. It is the most grandiose in Europe.

Day 5: Thursday, Moscow
This morning is dedicated to the spectacular Tretyakov Gallery, the foremost depository of Russian fine art in the world, one of the greatest museums in the world. The delight begins with the façade of the gallery building designed in a peculiar Russian fairy-tale style. The collection contains more than 130,000 exhibits. Of special interest to see is the fine collection of early modern art – including works of the world – known artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Mark Chagall- (“Wedding”, 1918), and Kazimir Malevich ( “Black Square”, 1913).
Balance of the day at leisure.
We’ll pay a visit to the Moscow Choral Synagogue, the main Synagogue in Russia. The Synagogue opened in 1906. It operated throughout the Soviet period, although authorities had annexed some parts of the original building for secular purposes (in 1923 and 1960). In September, 1948, Golda Meir, the first ambassador from Israel to the Soviet Union, paid an unauthorized visit to the Synagogue, enraging the Soviet government. The exterior of the Choral Synagogue features a large silver dome, yellow-and-white walls and a Neo-Classical façade. The recently-restored interior is a fine example of the Moorish Style that can be seen in Synagogues across Eastern Europe, with Arabesque moldings and murals. Maybe you’ll prefer to take a stroll on the Arbat pedestrian promenade, or visit one of the numerous museums of the city. Tonight you can attend the Russian National dance show “Kostroma” (optional). Overnight Moscow.

Day 6: Friday, St. Petersburg
Transfer to Moscow airport for a flight to St. Petersburg, Russia’s most elegant and European city, crowded with splendid palaces, impressive historical monuments, tree-lined avenues and beautiful bridges. Founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, it was the capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years (1713–1728, 1732–1918). It rivals many great European cities in magnificence and tradition. Our sightseeing of St Petersburg includes a drive through the city to see the Majestic “Bronze Horseman” – the famed Equestrian Statue of Peter the Great, one of the symbols of Saint Petersburg, Neva river quays, the imposing St. Isaac’s Cathedral whose dome dominates the skyline of the city, and broad Nevsky Prospect, the city’s main boulevard of former palaces and embassies during the 18th and 19th centuries, now serving as galleries, theaters, and offices. A visit of the Peter and Paul will reveal the beginnings of the city. The fortress was founded on a small island in the Neva Delta on May 27, 1703 and that day became the birthday of St Petersburg. It housed part of the city’s garrison and rather notoriously served as a high security political jail. Among the first inmates was Peter’s own rebellious son Alexei. Later, the list of famous residents included Dostoyevsky, Gorky, Trotsky and Lenin’s older brother, Alexander. We’ll end our tour with a visit at the Great Choral Synagogue, the second largest synagogue in Europe, consecrated in 1893. It was modeled in part after Berlin’s Oranienburger Strasse Synagogue with its mélange of Moorish and Byzantine motifs. Today it is a landmark and an architectural monument of federal Russian importance. Evening service followed by Shabbat dinner. Overnight St Petersburg.

Day 6: Shabbat, St. Petersburg
Following Shabbat service and lunch, enjoy a walking tour of the area surrounding the hotel. Overnight St Petersburg.

Day 7: Sunday, Tsarskoye Selo
Fifteen miles from St. Petersburg, and easily reached, is Tsarskoye Selo (“Tsar’s Village”) now part of the town of Pushkin, one of the summer homes of the imperial family. Catharine II loved this place especially, and spent enormous sums upon its embellishment. Its lovely park is eighteen miles in circumference. It is our first place to visit today. Currently, there are two Imperial Palaces: the baroque Catherine Palace (1754) with the adjacent Garden à la Française and the neoclassical Alexander Palace with the adjacent English landscape garden. These gardens of Tsarskoye Selo are of the most beautifully kept enclosures in the world. The interiors of the Catherine Palace are spectacular: we enter via the State Staircase. With its ornate banisters and reclining marble cupids, it gives a taste of what is to come. The Hall of Light measures nearly 1,000 square meters, and occupies the full width of the Palace so that there are superb views on either side. The large arched windows provide enough light to relieve the vast quantity of gilded stucco decorating the walls, and the entire ceiling is covered by a monumental fresco entitled The Triumph of Russia. White Dining Room is equally luxurious but, like many of the rooms in the Palace, its grandeur is softened by the presence of a beautiful traditional blue-and-white tiled stove in the corner. More flamboyant but equally charming, the Chinese Blue Drawing Room also boasts exquisite painted-silk wallpaper featuring intricate Chinese landscapes. After this extraordinary visit we return to St Petersburg continue with a visit at Yusupov Palace.
The Moika Palace or Yusupov palace was once the primary residence in St. Petersburg, Russia of the House of Yusupov. The building was the site of Grigori Rasputin’s murder in the early morning of December 17, 1916.
The Russian Revolution followed shortly after Rasputin’s death and once the Soviets came to power, they confiscated the property of the nobles. In 1925, the palace was handed over to the city’s Education Commissariat. While most nobles’ palaces were converted to mundane use, the Education Commissariat decided to preserve the mansion as a public museum. Today the palace serves as a “Palace of Culture for Educators”. Second floor reception areas and that part of the building associated with Rasputin’s murder, are maintained as a museum open to public tours. The courtyard where Rasputin attempted to flee from his killers is now occupied by a kindergarten playground adjacent to the main building. In the evening drive through Magical and magnificent illuminated Saint-Petersburg (optional). Overnight St. Petersburg.

Day 9: Monday, St. Petersburg
This morning take a tour through the numerous halls of the Hermitage Museum housing one of the richest art collections in the world. The main architectural ensemble of the Hermitage situated in the centre of St Petersburg is the Baroque Winter Palace, the former state residence of the Russian Emperors. Enjoy the sumptuous interiors of the Palace while reviewing the paintings, statues and various objects of art. The museum was founded in 1764 when Catherine the Great purchased a collection of 255 paintings from the German city of Berlin. Today, the Hermitage boasts over 2.7 million exhibits and displays a diverse range of art and artifacts from all over the world throughout history (from Ancient Egypt to the early 20th century Europe). Pride of the collection is works by the great masters of the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Giorgione, Titian and Michelangelo. Worth seeing is also the unique collection of French Impressionist works by Renoir, Cezanne, Manet, Monet and Pissarro, as well as numerous canvasses by Van Gogh, Matisse, Gaugin and several sculptures by Rodin.
In the afternoon we’ll join a breathtaking boat cruise on the Neva River and some of the man-made canals of the city. St Petersburg is beautiful from many points of view and one of the most interesting is from the water. Many of the grand homes faced the canals allowing for water access by visitors and staff. So comes that St. Petersburg was often called “The Venice of the North”. Tonight you have an opportunity to attend an unforgettable performance at Royal Mariinsky Theatre (optional). Overnight St. Petersburg.

Day 10: Tuesday, St. Petersburg
If any proof is needed for the extravagance of Russia’s Imperial rulers, then it can be found in the fact that, in less than two centuries, the Romanov Tsars established not one but two suburban summer estates – at Tsarskoe Selo (which we visited) and Peterhof – that, in terms of grandeur and excess, outstrip even Versailles. Today is dedicated to the visit of the most spectacular palace in Russia – Peterhof (or in Russian Petrodvorets) on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. The Grand Palace at Peterhof was designed to be the centerpiece of Peter the Great’s “Russian Versailles”. Entering the Palace we are confronted by the incredibly ornate Ceremonial Staircase, which sets the tone for what is to come with a magnificent fresco of Aurora and Genius and multitude of gilded statues. Highlights include the richly gilded Ballroom and Felten’s splendid white-and-turquoise Throne Room. The Drawing Room of the Imperial Suite is equally influenced by Chinoiserie, with particularly fine silk wall hangings. Also of interest is Peter the Great’s charmingly simple Oak Study, and the adjacent Crown Room, which was in fact the Imperial Bedchamber. The spectacular parkland at Peterhof is remarkable for the sheer variety of styles encompassed in its layout and features, the elegant formal Upper Garden, and to the fascinating Grand Cascade and plenty of fountains. We return to St Petersburg by Hydrofoil. Balance of the day free for last moment arrangements and shopping. Overnight St. Petersburg.

Day 11: Wednesday, New York
Transfer to the Airport for your flight home.

Dates & Prices
Tour Code Departure Return  
Tour Code Departure date Air + Land * Land only * Single Room**

* Price per person in USD double or twin room

** Supplement Price for single room

* Price of tour is subject to change due to change in air fare.

Need to Know

Price Includes:

  • Round trip air fare from New York as per itinerary.
  • First Class hotels.
  • Kosher Meals daily. (For details see General Conditions).
  • Transportation by air conditioned coaches.
  • Sightseeing, transfers and entrance fees as per Itinerary.
  • Experienced English speaking Tour Escort.

Price Excludes:

  • Airport and security tax.
  • Travel Insurance (For details see General Conditions).
  • Personal expenses.
  • Gratuities to local service providers and Tour Escort.
  • Optional tours.
  • Individual transfers.
  • Any item not mentioned under “Price Includes”.

Kashrut on Tours

Only strictly kosher food is provided to our travelers on all our tours. On some of our tours we are able to provide glatt meals. Kashrut is of utmost importance to us and we take special measures to ensure that everything served is kosher.

The meals:
Breakfast is prepared using our utensils. We use local fresh fruits and vegetables, and we use milk products when they are permitted. We use kosher cereals, and bread. We usually serve hard boiled eggs and sometimes scrambled eggs or omelets. At breakfast, we prepare our lunches so that people have their choice as to what they eat for lunch. We bring food from Israel to supplement what is served in the hotel such as cheeses, peanut butter, tuna, etc.
For dinners, we serve either fish or meat (usually chicken) as our main course. In areas where meat is not available nor readily acquired, we will have fish. When possible, we acquire the meat locally from Chabad or other reliable kosher source, and in some cases we fly the meat in from Israel. We try to provide as many meat meals as possible. The main course at dinner is preceded by soup and salad and accompanied by freshly prepared vegetables. Dessert typically consists of fresh fruits.
We do not guarantee Pat Israel and Chalav Israel for all destinations.
In many destinations we have our own dishes and silverware. Where we don’t, we provide disposables at the meals. When we cook in hotel kitchens, we use our own knives, cutting boards, pots and pans, cooking implements and disposable metal trays. All food preparation is done on covered surfaces under the strict supervision of our trained staff/guides who function as our mashgichim.

We make great efforts to assure that our travelers will experience local foods first-hand, while maintaining stringent observance of Kashrut laws on all occasions.

On most of our tours, you will be accompanied by two of our staff members- one a guide for the tour who is knowledgeable about the places you are visiting and will accompany you throughout the day and the second, a person who will deal with the logistics of the tour and provide kashrut supervision in the kitchen.

It is our aim to provide the finest hotel possible in each area we visit. We require our hotels to allow us to work in the kitchen and to supervise the cooking and there are many hotels that are not willing to cooperate. They simply have no desire for us to be “meddling” in their cooking process nor are they happy about our bringing our equipment into their kitchens. We work very hard to find the best hotel in the area that will meet our requirements. Because we are not ready to compromise on kashrut, we may not always be able to use a five star hotel.

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