Russia is a land of superlatives. Easily the world’s largest country, it covers nearly twice the territory of Canada, the second largest and it’s reach extends across the whole of northern Asia and the eastern third of Europe, incorporating 11 time zones and spanning a great range of environments and landforms, from deserts to semiarid steppes to deep forests and Arctic tundra. Our Russia: Culture, Art & History tour journeys from the current capital Moscow to the former capital St. Petersburg. The trip encompasses Moscow’s majestic domes to the magnificence of the World Heritage Site of Yaroslavl, the picturesque landscapes and world-class museums of Russia’s Golden Ring — a famous travel route in western Russia. It’s a delightful blend of Old and New World cities alike, with a boat trip on the Volga, Europe’s longest river.
St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) is one of most important cultural and financial centers in Russia and one of the most pictorial cities in the world. Home to the Mariinsky Ballet theater and the Shuvalov Palace, which houses the Fabergé Museum, and a collection of nine Imperial Easter eggs that were made to the order of the last two Romanov Tsars — the Emperors Alexander III and Nicolas II.
Amongst the city’s architectural marvels, which hark back to Imperial Russia and the Russia Tsars, is the Peterhof Palace, located in the historic center, along the shores of the Gulf of Finland. Once a formal garden built by Peter the Great, these palace grounds are home to Peter's Summer Palace - a simply designed two-story building display many of the ruler's own artifacts. The magnificent imperial gardens still contain more than 80 of the original marble statues and sculptures. The catalysis for it’s construction was his 1709 victory against then adversary, Karl XII of Sweden. In order to construct this majestic estate, Peter employed over 5,000 laborers, serfs, and soldiers and, after 9 years, the Palace officially opened in 1723. Originally intending it for country habitation, Peter the Great sought to expand the property as a result of his visit to the French royal court, the Palace of Versailles in 1717, inspiring the nickname "The Russian Versailles". Between 1714 and 1728 the architect was Domenico Trezzini, and the style he deployed became the basis for the Petrine Baroque style which subsequently became favored throughout Saint Petersburg. The stunning gardens were designed by Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond, most likely chosen due to his previous collaborations with the landscaper of Versailles, André Le Nôtre. The palace-ensemble along with the city center of St Petersburg is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Explore the extraordinary Peterhof Palace and a myriad of marvels within Russia with us in the Summer of 2020!