Jewish Russia tour.
The mystique of Russia unveils itself as you explore two of the world’s most fascinating cities: St. Petersburg and Moscow. Home of the unrivaled Hermitage, St. Petersburg evokes the legendary age of the Tsars. Rich with sumptuous palaces, this beautiful city also attests French taste of its founder,Peter the Great, In the grand capital city in Moscow, experience standing in the Red Square with its onion-domed cathedral of St. Basil, as well gaining an insider’s view of the once-unbreachable Kremlin. In both cities, you will find rich Jewish life – thriving day schools and popular new Jewish Communty Centers. Truly a journey that attains the heights of sophisticated Jewish Russia tour.
Day 1 Thursday Departure USA.
Departure from the USA to Moscow.
Day 2 Friday Moscow.
Welcome to Russia! Upon arrival, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel in the center of Moscow. En route, enjoy a brief orientation to this grand Russian capital. Check in at Hotel. Welcome Dinner. Hotel.
Day 3 Saturday Moscow.
Breakfast. Depart on a guided walking tour of the Kremlin, whose foundation in the 12th century heralded the birth of the great city of Moscow. At the center of the Kremlin’s architectural layout is Cathedral Square, where the four main Cathedrals are located. Next, visit the adjacent Armory. Russia’s most venerable museum possesses a priceless collection of Imperial treasures. These include ancient state regalia (including the Czar’s coronation dress), the largest collection of gold and silver by Russian craftsmen, a vast array of ceremonial weapons, and glorious carriages. In the afternoon, walk along Red Square, with its spectacular, onion-domed Cathedral of St. Basil. Drop in for a visit at the bustling GUM Mall (Russia’s biggest). Remainder of the day at leisure so you can comfortably continue exploring the city from your centrally located hotel. Hotel.
Day 4 Sunday Moscow.
Breakfast. The morning is dedicated to Jewish Moscow. Visit the Jewish Cultural Center on Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street, followed by a drive to the Berl Lazar Center in Marina Roscha. In the 19th century, this “wooden area” of Moscow was predominantly Jewish. A new Moscow Jewish Community Center, designed by a famous Israeli architect, was built here in 2000, restoring the area to its former prominence. This Jewish center has, in fact, become a second home for Moscow’s 100,000 Jews. Lunch at a local restaurant. Afterwards, enjoy a visit to the Tretyakov Art Gallery. This teeming museum houses the world’s largest collection of Russian art, boasting more than 50,000 items. Later, return to the hotel.
Day 5 Monday Moscow – St. Petersburg.
Breakfast. After check-out, board the bus for a classic vista of Red Square, then ascend into the Vorobjov Hills, where you will enjoy another glorious view of the capital. Visit the moving Poklonnaya Gora World War II Memorial, commemorating Russia’s valiant, and ultimately triumphant, struggle against the Nazi onslaught. Lunch at a local restaurant. Next, proceed to the airport for the short flight to St. Petersburg. Upon arrival in this elegant, French-inspired city, transfer to your hotel located in the center of the city. Hotel.
Day 6 Tuesday St. Petersburg.
Breakfast. This morning, enjoy a peek into the world of Jewish St. Petersburg. Visit the Grand Choral Synagogue, consecrated in 1893. Thanks to the gracious patronage of Lily and Edmond Safra, this Moorish-style masterpiece of architecture has recently been restored to its former glory, and now contains a thriving Jewish day school. Enjoy a light lunch with the students. Next, a visit to the world-renowned Hermitage Museum. This collection, begun by Catherine the Great, includes more than two and a half million works of art, representing different ages, cultures and peoples. Admire the masterpieces of Leonardo Da Vinci, Titian, Raphael, and Rembrandt, works of the French Impressionists, and the magnificent interiors of the Winter Palace. A special visit to the Gold Room is included. Here, you will find the famed snuff-boxes crafted by Carl Faberge, whose name is strongly associated with the golden age of St. Petersburg jewelry. A short walk takes you back to your hotel.
Day 7 Wednesday St. Petersburg.
Breakfast. Today, you will enjoy a walking tour of St. Petersburg, highlighted by a beautiful canal cruise on the Moika River. You will pass under many scenic bridges and sail past grand, pastel-colored French architectural facades which border the riverfront (as ever, the rich loved to live alongside the water). Next, stroll along the Moika embankment to Yusupov Palace, once privately owned by one of Russia’s richest aristocrats. See the grand reception and private halls of the Yusupovs. Later, descend to the ground floor dining room – and stand on the very site where Gregory Rasputin was assassinated in 1916 by aristocratic plotters (with young prince Yusupov at the head). Stroll back along the Moika river, stopping in for Lunch at a local restaurant. Afterwards, drive to the Peterhof Palace, the magnificent summer residence of the Russian royal family. Located on the gorgeous Gulf of Finland, Peterhof demonstrates the Czars’ love of French-style palaces and gardens. Enjoy the Lower Park, famous for its lavish fountains and waterfalls. Hotel.
Day 8 Thursday St. Petersburg.
Breakfast. Begin the day with a tour of Pushkin, the Czar’s village, and home of the Russian Imperial family. Visit the 18th century Baroque-style Catherine’s Palace, the largest Royal summer residence (designed by famed Italian architect Rastrelli). Admire the Cameron Gallery, designed for Catherine the Great’s special dinner parties, and stroll the French and English gardens. Next, see the “Formula of Sorrow” memorial in Pushkin. This memorial was created in 1991 to commemorate the deaths of 10,000 local Jews during the Nazi occupation. Afterwards, a short drive takes you to the nearby town of Pavlovsk, summer residence of Paul I. Lunch at Pavlovsk Palace restaurant followed by a visit to the late 18th century Classic style Grand Palace of Paul I, built by European architects in style of a grand Italian palazzo. Hotel.
Day 9 Friday St. Petersburg.
Breakfast. This morning, a real treat – and a moment in modern Russian Jewish history. Driving along Nevsky Prospect, past the Square of Arts and the Field of Mars, you will stop at the new YESOD building. (The word “Yesod” means “foundation” in Hebrew.) This major Jewish center has just opened in September, 2005; it houses programs for all ages, and boasts an auditorium and a cafe. Enjoy Lunch before you continue with a visit to the Peter and Paul Fortress, resting place of the Czars. Walk along the Summer Gardens, the first historic park of the city, and originally the summer residence of Peter the Great in town. The park is beautifully adorned by 18th century Italian marble statues. Stop by the most famous statue of Peter the Great – the Bronze Horseman. Return to your hotel.
Day 10 Saturday St. Petersburg.
Breakfast. A full day at leisure. Join the morning service at the Choral Synagogue, and/ or simply stroll around this lovely city on your own. In the evening, depart for a Farewell Dinner. Hotel.
Day 11 Sunday St. Petersburg – USA.
Breakfast. After breakfast, depart for the airport for your return flight to the USA.