THE RISE AND FALL OF IMPERIAL RUSSIA

The Romanov dynasty ruled Russia for over 300 years. Over the centuries, it conquered vast territories and transformed the initially small Russian state into Imperial Russia, the biggest country in the world and one of the great powers of 18th and 19th century Europe. The dynasty amassed unprecedented wealth both for itself and for the Russian nobility, the Boyars, while leaving the political and social fabric of the empire in a backwards state. Thus, it laid the seeds for its own downfall and it eventually vanished in the maelstrom of the political and social upheavals of 1917.

The Centre of Power

The Centre of Power

The Kremlin was Moscow’s historical fortified stronghold, originally founded back in the 12th century. It is the place from which all Russian power emanates. It was here that Ivan the Terrible orchestrated his reign of terror and Napoleon watched Moscow burn. Visit the ancient onion-domed cathedrals and the magnificent armoury. Get permission for a special early entrance before the Kremlin gates open to the public.

Priatnogo Appetita!

Priatnogo Appetita!

The Russian capitals boast an abundance of new exciting restaurants. Dine at one of the many exquisite new fine-dining restaurants featuring innovative fusion cuisine or savour on a sumptuous meal fit for a Tsar at a genuine Russian restaurant. Don’t miss the traditional Russian countryside cuisine served at a traditional Russian Izba. Arrange for a special visit to the kitchen or a cocking show to learn the secrets of Russian cuisine.

Visit the Home of the Tsar

Visit the Home of the Tsar

The Hermitage is set in the lavishly decorated staterooms of the 18th century Winter Palace, from which the Romanov dynasty ruled Russia for almost two centuries. The museum fully lives up to its reputation as one of the great art galleries of the world and its enormous collection boasts masterpieces by Da Vinci, Rubens, Raphael, Rembrandt, Monet, Picasso, Matisse and many others. Arrange a special visit to see the Gold Treasure or enjoy a special themed tour with a private guide or a curator of the museum.

Cruising on the White Flotilla

Cruising on the White Flotilla

Enjoy a lunch or a dinner cruise on the Moscow River aboard one of the snow-white double-decker yachts of the White Flotilla. Board the ship and take a seat at you reserved table at the 1st class restaurant on the upper deck. Enjoy a sumptuous Russian meal with champagne in crystal glasses while you watch all the landmarks of Moscow pass slowly by. Especially recommended are the late dinner cruises to enjoy Moscow’s breath-taking illuminated centre from the river.

Russian Orthodoxy

Russian Orthodoxy

Sergiev Posad, a quaint town located 70 km northeast of Moscow, is home to the spiritual heart of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. This impressive monastery underwent a complete restoration in time for the 700-year anniversary celebrations of the birth of St. Sergius of Radonezh in 2014 and it has never been more glorious and beautiful. Come here on a Sunday and admire the stunning scenery in the Trinity Cathedral during the holy mass. Visit the Refectory Church and the Church of the Holy Spirit. Top the visit with a lavish Russian lunch at an authentic countryside tavern.

Russia’s Versailles

Russia’s Versailles

Take day-long trip to Peterhof, Peter the Great’s summer retreat and uncontested masterpiece. Be charmed by the Water Avenue and its Grand Cascade and Samson Fountain. Visit the Grand Palace with its impressive staterooms and take a stroll in the beautifully landscaped Lower and Upper Gardens dotted with many fountains, sculptures and miniature palaces. Arrange a special visit to one of the many intimate little palaces in these vast gardens.

A Night at the Opera

A Night at the Opera

No visit to Russia is complete without enjoying a spectacular performance at one of the world-famous theatres in Moscow or St. Petersburg. Visit the recently renovated Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow or the impressive Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. Enjoy a beautiful ballet at the Hermitage Theatre, the private stage of the imperial family at the Winter Place. Arrange a private back-stage visit to one of these magnificent theatres.

The Golden Ring

The Golden Ring

Visit the ancient towns of Vladimir and Suzdal, UNESCO-protected gems in the Golden Ring, a circle of historical Russian towns situated around Moscow. Visit the Golden Gate, the St. Demetrius and the Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir. Continue to Suzdal, a millennium-old town which is virtually an open-air museum. Visit the Kremlin with its Nativity of the Virgin Cathedral and the Monastery of Our Savior and St. Euthymius. Discover traditional Russian peasant life at the Museum of Wooden Architecture and head to the Maltsov Crystal Glass Museum to admire its magnificent collection.

Vodka and Caviar

Vodka and Caviar

Vodka and caviar make up an indispensable part of Russian culture. Vodka has been distilled in Russia since the time of Ivan the Terrible and it is still the most popular drink in the country. Treat yourself to a visit to the Vodka House No 1 in St. Petersburg. Discover the fascinating history of Russian vodka and try a chilled shot vodka with Russian zakuski including delicious red and black caviar. Or arrange a vodka-and- caviar tasting ceremony at one of the many fine Russian hotels that offer this unforgettable experience.