"This is truly one of the great travel experiences to be enjoyed, savored, and remembered for a lifetime.
Russian National Group has assembled all the elements of a mind-enriching week's journey taking in Russia's great cultural treasures. That's before we even start talking about the Tsar's New Year's Ball at Catherine's Palace featuring an 8-course meal and evening-long entertainment sampling ballet, opera, and folkloric elements...all hosted by a cast of nearly a hundred Russian 'nobility' in period dress transporting guests by their presence back to 18th century Imperial Russia. This is an evening no one forgets!"
DECEMBER 28. DAY ONE. Leave the US on your overnight flight for your journey to Russia.
DECEMBER 29. DAY TWO. Arrival in St. Petersburg. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Balance a day at leisure of rest and relaxation. Welcome dinner with cocktail.
DECEMBER 30. DAY THREE.
This morning you will have a city tour. En route, you will enjoy the sights of this gorgeous city, Tsar Peter the Greats "Window to the West." Only 300 years ago, the city was built by Tsar Peter to capture and rival the beauties of Paris and Venice. You'll love the extravagant baroque architecture of the city center, Nevsky Prospect, Palace Square, and Smolny Convent. In the afternoon, tour Peter and Paul Fortress with its famous Peter and Paul Church containing the tombs of Russian rulers from Peter the Great through Alexander III. After visiting the fortress, your tour continues to St.Isaac's Cathedral (constructed 1818-58) is the largest in the city, with its tall gilt dome, one of the many focal points of St.Petersburg. Your tour continues with a visit to Alexander Nevsky Abbey. You will visit the oldest cemetery in Russia, where many of the country's most famous historical figures are buried.
DECEMBER 31. DAY FOUR. Today enjoy the many wonders of the elegant Winter Palace that houses the Hermitage Museum, one of the largest art and cultural museums in the world. This vast collection (about 65,000 items) includes some of history's most important art. Lunch in the City. Balance of afternoon at leisure for relaxation before the New Year's Eve event in Catherine Palace. A late evening drive will take you to the lovely city of Pushkin, formerly Tsarskoe Selo, the "Tsar's Village". On the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg, you will meet in the magnificent Catherine Palace, which hosts the Ball with an authentic atmosphere of unequaled pomp. A true romance and splendor of the Imperial traditions of festivities will be felt by the guests as they are brought back to the times of a bygone era. Inside the Palace the Russian hussars, Prince and Princess, provide a lavish welcome traditionally reserved for royalty. The Ball starts in the ballroom of the Catherine Palace. The Court Ballet greets the guests with a polonaise, followed by the official announcement of the dinner by the Prince and Princess. The specially created menu features traditional Russian caviar, served in large blocks of ice, blinis, and European-style dishes complemented by carefully selected wines and champagne. A philharmonic and classical balalaika orchestra provide background music. Midnight is celebrated with pomp, a bell concert and fireworks in the park. The extravaganza continues through the morning of the New Year with a Russian Folklore and Cossack Show, as well as Gypsy songs with wild dancing and singing by the performers.
JANUARY 1. DAY FIVE. This morning enjoy the Troika Ride. Afternoon transfer to the train station for your day train trip Moscow. Arrival in Moscow. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Dinner at the hotel.
JANUARY 2. DAY SIX.
After breakfast, you will be escorted on an in-depth tour of this fascinating Russian capital. Enjoy the grandeur of Red Square and the Russian White House. See Moscow University, the former KGB headquarters, and central Moscow. Experience a deep sense of history as you trace the footsteps of the legions of princes, paupers, and poets who have passed through this ancient city. This afternoon delight in a visit to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. Here, discover an important collection of French Impressionism, as well as other major schools of Western Art dating from the Renaissance through the 20th century. After the museum, ride the amazing Moscow Metro where every station is an individual monument to Soviet art and design. Enjoy an evening performance in one of the best theatres of Moscow.
JANUARY 3. DAY SEVEN.
This morning's tour takes you to the heart of the city, the Kremlin. This former Moscow citadel, "Kremlin" means "fortress" and houses exquisite palaces, presidential buildings, lovely churches, and scores of major historical monuments. Your tour of the Kremlin will also include a visit to the fascinating State Armory, the oldest museum in Russia. As its name implies, it contains many ancient weapons and armor, as well as a treasure-trove of gorgeous crown jewels, gold-encrusted icons, bejeweled royal scepters and exquisitely carved thrones. All these lovely treasures eloquently tell the history of Imperial Russia. Visit Novodevichy Convent. Originally built as a fortress, it also functioned as a convent for women of the royal family and prison for Princess Sophia, sister of Peter the Great, after she made three aborted attempts on his life to deprive him of the throne. The convent itself is a unique example of 16th and 17th century architecture.
JANUARY 4. DAY EIGHT. Bid farewell to this exciting city, as we transfer you to the airport after your fascinating journey.
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