Visit Moscow and St. Petersburg the two cities that define Russia’s past, present, and future.
Moscow, on the Moskva River in western Russia, is the nation’s cosmopolitan capital. Home to the Kremlin, a complex that houses the president and tsarist treasures in the Armory. Outside its walls is Red Square, Russia’s symbolic center. Lenin’s Mausoleum, the State Historical Museum’s comprehensive collection, and St. Basil’s Cathedral, known for its colorful, onion-shaped domes are just some of its famous sites. Observe the juxtaposition of traditional Russian architecture and newer Soviet style. Moscow is an adventure waiting to happen!
St. Petersburg is a Russian port city on the Baltic Sea, one of the world’s most beautiful cities. It was the imperial capital for 2 centuries, having been founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, subject of the city’s iconic “Bronze Horseman” statue. It remains Russia’s cultural center, with venues hosting opera and ballet, and the State Russian Museum displaying Russian art, from Orthodox icon paintings to Kandinsky works. Lavish architecture, wild nightlife, an extraordinary history, and rich cultural traditions. St. Petersburg charms and entices everybody.
DAY 1, Monday August 24: Israel/Moscow Early departure from Ben Gurion by Aeroflot flight at 01:05 am arrival in Moscow 05:10 am
Welcome to Moscow: Our tour starts with Tefillah at the lovely Maryina Roscha Jewish Community Center. Then tour the complex followed by a delicious brunch.
We will proceed to the Museum of Russian Jewish History, the first Jewish museum in Moscow. On display are rare documents, photographs, and pictures dating back to the 18th century. You will learn about traditional Jewish professions and crafts, and about their relationship with the government before and after the Revolution. Several rooms are devoted to the life of the Jewish community during Soviet times. The museum was founded by Sergey Ustinov, vice-president of the Russian Jewish Congress. Unfortunately, the museum doesn’t have enough room to accommodate all its exhibits.
En route to the hotel, enjoy a brief introduction to the city by bus.
Check in the hotel.
Kosher dinner and Overnight in Moscow
DAY 2, Tuesday, August 25: Moscow Our first stop is inside the Kremlin Walls. After an extensive tour of Moscow’s highlights and spending time in the middle of the world-famous Red Square, we will proceed to the St. Basil’s Cathedral (the colorful church that stands along the Red Square) and then on to the Kremlin.
A visitor un-steeped in Russian history would not guess that the beautiful basilicas and edifices comprising the Kremlin were once part of a royal fortress shielding Moscow from centuries of fierce Mongol invasions. The Kremlin is so beautiful that Stalin himself did not dare to disturb this crowning treasure, which astounds with an eclectic mixture of playful colors, architectural bravado and eerier sternness of structure and function in the form of Lenin’s Mausoleum.
After strolling inside the Kremlin walls we will proceed to the highlight of the Kremlin grounds – the Armory Chamber museum exhibiting the most unique and precious artifacts from different times in Russian history such as the famous Faberge Eggs and Catherine the Great’s Imperial dresses
In the afternoon, we will visit one of the most exciting sites in Moscow, located deep beneath the surface. On Stalin’s order, the Moscow Subway was built to display the advantages of socialism. Today the Soviet Union is gone, but the beautiful underground city is still active and transports millions of passengers each day.
The Moscow Subway was constructed not only to streamline the city’s transportation but also to celebrate the accomplishments of the Soviets. The entire subway comprises works of socialist realism, making passengers feel as though they are entering various underground palaces, not merely riding the subway to work. Apart from its immense cultural value, Moscow’s subway is a highly efficient transportation system that carries three million passengers daily and spans the entire city in a star-like fashion. Interestingly, the subway can also serve as a nuclear shelter in case of war
After dinner, enjoy a Night city tour of Moscow. Kosher dinner and overnight in Moscow
DAY 3, Wednesday, August 26: Moscow Moscow’s most famous collection of art and one of the world’s top galleries is the Tretyakovskya Picture Gallery. It began as the private collection of a wealthy Muscovite merchant, Tretyakov, who lived in the 19th century and donated his collection to the city. The State Tretyakov Gallery possesses a unique collection of Russian art, which includes masterpieces, which span a period of a thousand years. End the day with a visit to the ground fairs called the VDNH. We will learn many interesting facts about the “Soviet Versailles” and admire the famous fountains, the fantastic pavilions, the authentic vases, mosaics, and murals.
After dinner, we will see the Kostroma dance show. Kosher dinner and Overnight in Moscow.
DAY 4, Thursday, August 27: Moscow We start the day with a visit to Victory Park and Museum, which was completed in the mid-nineties, and is something of a last gasp for the Soviet tradition of monumental triumphal art. Located on and around the Poklonnaya Gora, the hill where Napoleon waited in vain to be given the keys to the city when his troops surrounded Moscow in 1812. The park is set in an area steeped in Russian military history. The majority of the museum is dedicated to the Great Patriotic War better known to us as WW2. The Great Patriotic war is the seminal event in Russian History that still reverberates today.
Onto the Synagogue and Holocaust Memorial complex. The memorial site was built in 1998 by architect Moshe Zarhy from Israel and it is located on Poklonnaya Gora in Moscow. The synagogue was built to complement an Orthodox church and a mosque that are also part of the outdoor museum dedicated to Russia’s victory in World War II. Spend the early afternoon on the most prestigious street of Moscow to see how the upper-class lived-Arbat Street. En route to the hotel, we will stop at the Muzeon-a beautiful outdoor sculpture park.
Kosher dinner and Overnight in Moscow.
DAY 5, Friday, August 28: Moscow/St. Petersburg Morning transfer to the airport for flight to St. Petersburg. Upon arrival, we will have a short introductory tour. Check into the hotel to prepare for Shabbat
Shabbat dinner and Overnight in St Petersburg.
DAY 6, Shabbat, August 29: St. Petersburg On Shabbat, if you wish, you can attend services at the lovely Choral Synagogue. After Shabbat lunch, we offer an optional walking tour of the area.
Enjoy Seudah Shlishit and Maariv. In the evening enjoy a night city tour
Overnight in St Petersburg
DAY 7, Sunday, August 30: St. Petersburg Today we have our first guided excursion to the Hermitage. The collection of the State Hermitage includes more than three million works of art and artifacts of world culture. Among them are paintings, graphic works, sculptures and works of applied art, archaeological finds and numismatic material.
The main architectural ensemble of the Hermitage, situated in the center of St Petersburg, consists of the Winter Palace, the former state residence of the Russian emperors, the buildings of the Small, Old (Great) and New Hermitages, the Hermitage Theater and the Auxiliary House. The museum complex also includes the Menshikov Palace and the Eastern Wing of the General Staff building, the Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Center and the Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory.
Continue to the Yusupov Palace. Located on Moika Embankment, it is one of the most beautiful examples of classicism style constructions in St. Petersburg. Decorated with a six-column portico, the Palace delights with a harmony of proportions and silhouette elegancy. It is best known as the Palace on the Moika River where Grigory Rasputin was murdered in 1916. Grigory Rasputin was one of the most controversial figures in Russian history. After the demise of the royal family to which he himself had greatly contributed, he was on the run. Prince Felix Yusupov lured Rasputin to the Palace and poisoned him. Nowadays, the cellar where the dramatic events took place houses the exhibition “Grigory Rasputin: Pages of Life and Death”. Visitors can see the wax figures of Rasputin and the plotters, as well as other interesting exhibits.
In the afternoon visit Pushkin, Catherine’s Palace was a gift from Peter the Great to his wife Catherine, whom he loved very much; ironically he built the palace on the other side of the city. Catherine’s Palace is located in the town of Pushkin (also known as Tsarskoe Selo). We will experience the wonder of the Summer Palace, where gold and marble statutes adorn the beaming sea entrance from the cold stormy waters of the Baltic to this sun-drenched gold-dripped masterpiece. Enter the Amber Room, a beautiful room built of pure amber that disappeared during the German occupation in World War II but is now restored to its original magnificence.
Kosher dinner and overnight in St Petersburg.
DAY 8, Monday, August 31: St. Petersburg Today is dedicated to all the city has to offer. Start with the Peter and Paul Fortress, The first structure to be built in St. Petersburg, and thus the birthplace of the city, it never served its intended defensive function. Instead, it has had a rich, hugely varied, and sometimes sinister history as a military base, a home of government departments, the burial ground of the Russian Imperial family, the site of groundbreaking scientific experiments, and a forbidding jail that held some of Russia’s most prominent political prisoners.
Continue Venice style on a canal cruise to see the city from the waterways.
End our amazing day with a visit to the stately and beautiful Choral Synagogue
DAY 9, Tuesday, September 1: St. Petersburg Today we enjoy our second excursion to the Hermitage. So many more works of art to see!
We cannot be in St. Petersburg without visiting the world Famous Faberge Egg Museum – The museum’s collection contains the world’s largest collection of works by Carl Fabergé, including nine of the famous Imperial Easter Eggs, regarded not only as the finest jeweled works of art but also as unique historical artifacts. The museum’s collection also includes decorative and applied works made by the Russian masters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The museum is located in the Shuvalov Palace on the Fontanka River – one of the most beautiful palaces in St. Petersburg; and to continue we will visit the most interesting Museum of Political History – The museum exposition devoted to the history of the Russian revolution of the period from 1917 to 1922 depicts the circumstances, which led to the fall of the monarchic power in Russia in March 1917, and describes the attempt to form a new democratic state system.
Kosher dinner and overnight in St Petersburg.
DAY 10, Wednesday, September 2: St. Petersburg Today we will venture to the outskirts of St. Petersburg via hydrofoil to visit Peterhof Palace, the summer residence of Russia’s royalty. Stroll in the vast Lower Park with 176 glorious fountains of various forms and styles, numerous gilded statues of ancient gods and heroes, including the famous Samson Fountain. Visit the magnificent, beige and white Grand Summer Palace, lavishly decorated with two white pavilions with gilded cupolas. While walking through its lavish parks and elegant rooms, you can easily imagine that you have been transported to Versailles. Return to St Petersburg to stroll around the Nevsky Preospket, the main high street.
In the evening after a farewell dinner, we will enjoy a folk show and the Nikolevsky palace.
DAY 11, St. Petersburg In the morning we bid Russia farewell and transfer to the airport for our return flight home with Aeroflot at 07:55 in the morning arriving in Israel at 12:45.
Price: AACI members $4,720 per person in a double room Currency Converter Non– AACI members$4,795 per person in a double room Single supplement $1000 / Credit if not taking flights (Land only) $450
Flights on Aeroflot airlinesfrom and return to Israel
Domestic flight Moscow-St. Petersburg
4 nights deluxe hotel in Moscow
6 nights deluxe hotel in St. Petersburg
Meals: Full board, breakfast and dinner daily with provisions for making sandwiches for lunch.
Transportation in air-conditioned coach as per itinerary
Local guides for the excursions and visits as per program including entrance fees
Tour leader from Israel
Porterage of one bag per person at hotels
AACI staff escort
Visa fee for Russia where relevant
Any item of a personal nature
Any other items not mentioned in ‘Price Includes’
Prices are subject to change due to fuel or tax increases. The itinerary may vary. A minimum number of participants needed for this tour to operate.
FINAL PAYMENT DUE BY APRIL 30th AND WILL BE CHARGED AUTOMATICALLY WITHOUT NOTICE.
Deposit of $400 per person due at time of registration.