Your cruise begins in the imperial capital of Russia - St. Petersburg. You will be met at the airport or train station by one of our drivers (optional) and taken by a comfortable car to the river port where you will board your cruise ship. Your time in St. Petersburg will begin with a Panoramic City Tour. This tour is the best way to get acquainted with all of the city's major highlights. Our professional guide will take you down Nevsky Prospect, St. Petersburg's most famous and vibrant thoroughfare. There you will see some of the city's most interesting architectural monuments including the Kazan Cathedral and the Winter Palace. You will see the Peter and Paul Fortress (interior) - a symbol of St. Petersburg and also the oldest building in the city.
St. Petersburg is Russia's second largest and second most important city - the Northern capital of the country, Russia's cultural center, and considered the world's "Northern Venice" due to its extensive system of canals and islands. Walk along Nevsky Prospect and experience the grandeur of pre-revolutionary imperial Russia. Pass palaces from the past and gaze at the famous embankment of the Neva River with its numerous bridges and striking architecture. St. Petersburg is also home to Russia's largest and busiest port and with its many world class theaters and museums has a very high level of cultural life.
A stop in the village of Mandrogui. Enjoy walking around this traditional Russian village in its beautiful setting and spending a day of rest, relaxation and fun. We will have a fantastic barbeque picnic on the banks of the river featuring one of Russia's favorite specialties - shashlik (meat shish kebab prepared on an outdoor fire). You will love it!
Mandrogui is really more of a living museum than a live-in village. It features a collection of old wooden houses and is geared towards showing visitors what a traditional Russian village resembled in the past. One of the features here is the Vodka Museum, which contains thousands of different brands and types of Russia's favorite pastime.
Cruise along Europe's second largest lake, Lake Onega and arrive on the island of Kizhi. Here you will visit a fascinating open air museum containing numerous examples of elaborate Russian, wooden architecture.
Kizhi Island: Via the Volga Baltic Canal, our cruise takes us to the tiny island of Kizhi, located at the northern end of Lake Onega. The island is renowned for its open-air Museum of Architecture, which is assembled from over 80 monuments of wooden architecture from various areas of the country and restored to form a glimpse of the past. The most impressive site on the island is the Church of the Transfiguration or Preobrazhenskaya (the church of twenty-two wooden domes). This masterpiece of architecture, featuring five tiers of 22 domes, was built in 1714 without the use of a single nail, only an axe and pine trees. The church magically changes color as the day grows old, it is certainly one of the most interesting things you will see during your time in Russia.
Arrival in the ancient village of Goritsy. Tour of the St. Cyril on the White Lake Monastery and Museum of Icons.
Goritsy is a tiny settlement 7 kilometers from the St. Cyril on the White Lake Monastery. The remains of the Nunnery of the Resurrection that sits on the banks of the Sheksna River can be visited and is within a quarter of a mile of where the ship stops. Goritsy is definitely a site to see for anyone with an interest in Russian history. St. Cyril on the White Lake was founded in 1397 by Kirill Belosersky on the shore of Lake Siverskoye. The monastery had wide trade in the 15th to 17th centuries and was used as a fortress to protect Russia's nobility during the Times of Troubles.
After lunch you will return to your ship and set sail in the direction of Moscow along the Volga Baltic Canal. The Volga Baltic Canal is a series of canals and rivers that connect the Volga river to the Baltic Sea.
Arrival in Uglich. You will be taken to the walking city tour with visit to Kremlin, the Church of St. Demitrius on the Blood and the Transfiguration cathedral.
Uglich was founded in 1148 as a small princedom bordering on Muscovy, Uglich is one of the most beloved towns in Old Russia. The view of the town as you approach it from the Volga River is breathtaking with the Cathedral of the Resurrection and St. John's Church rising up on the horizon. The history of the town is fascinating; At the end of the 16th century, Maria Nagaya, seventh wife of Ivan the Terrible, lived in honorary exile at the Kremlin in Uglich. It was here in her garden that the 10 year old Prince Dmitry of the Rurik Dynasty, heir to the Russian throne was murdered by Boris Godunov who wanted to seize power for himself. On the spot of his death, the Church of St. Demitrius of the Blood was built and still stands today. The death of Prince Dmitri brought on the start of the Time of Troubles, a dynastic and political crises and one of the most tumultuous periods in Russian history which ended 15 years later after the election of a new Tsar Mikhail Romanov (the first Tsar of the Romanov Dynasty). Inside the Kremlin the oldest building in Uglich, the Palace of Tsarevich Dmitry also stands. During your time in Uglich you will learn more about the town's past and walk along the paths of Russian history.
Arrival in Moscow, your final destination. Over the next few days you will have a chance to explore Moscow and learn about its riveting history. You will be taken on a city tour where you will see Moscow's most interesting sights including the famous Red Square and learn about this amazing city's past and present. You will also have a chance to do some light shopping and there will be time to relax aboard the ship in the evening.
On the last day of your cruise you will say goodbye to Russia, your ship's crew and the many new friends we are sure you will have met during your time with us. We are sure that your memories of the trip will last a lifetime and we look forward to welcoming you to Russia sometime in the future. Our driver will meet you at the ship and take you to the airport to see you off (optional).
Moscow is Russia's political and financial capital as well as a major world class cultural center. Moscow is the largest city in Europe. It is unique in that it blends the ancient with the modern. See medieval structures among modern office buildings, walk down crooked old city streets opening up to wide busy boulevards. It is a fantastic city and truly a site that shouldn't be missed.
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