Palaces and Parks of theTzars


If Moscow grew naturally out of a frontier town, Saint Petersburg was from the very beginning conceived and planned as one of the great European capitals. Its name given after Saint Peter the heavenly patron of the man who ordered its construction in the very beginning of XVIII century – Tzar Peter the Great. Some believe he was a visionary, some curse his name, but undoubtedly he was a man of outstanding energy and vigour. Trying to win back the ancient Russian lands on the shores of the Baltic sea he established his new capital at the mouth of Neva River. The best European and Russian architects designed the city from the scratch. Tens of thousands peasants worked on its construction day and night, many died due to severe climate and bad working conditions.

For two hundred years Saint Petersburg remained the capital of the Tzars, each of them beautifying the city. In the summer the whole royal court would move out of the city to the green beautiful parks of the suburbs. Each of the emperors had own favorite summer residence with the best Russian and foreign architects and designers working on their palaces and parks. The most outstanding of such palaces are situated in Peterhof and Pushkin (Tzarskoe selo). In 2010 the city is going to celebrate 300-years of two of these residences Oranienbaum and Tzarskoe Selo. The first of them was originally built for Peter the Great\'s associate Count Menshikov and later acquired for the royal family. The place is closely connected to the history of the German community in Russia.

Tzarskoe Selo is famous for its Catherine\'s Palace housing the Amber Room – the masterpiece of the interior design. In the time of the Second World War the palace was stripped off and ruined by the Nazi troops and the Amber Room taken to Germany where its trace had been lost. After the war the Amber Room was painstakingly restored by the best Russian restorers at the cost of lot of money and time. Nowadays you can admire it as in the old days.

In the long cold winters the tzars lived in the Winter Palace, that is nowadays known as The Hermitage Museum. It is not only one of the biggest and most famous art-museums of the world but also a marvelous building featuring majestic state rooms and exquisite cabinets. Nowadays St. Petresburg is one of the world\'s most beautiful cities, the whole central part of tit is an open air museum of various architectural styles. Especially majestic is the city in the summer at so called White Nights, when the sun just briefly goes down for a few hours and silver twilight replaces the day. The city is crossed by numerous rivers and canals, hence the nickname given to it “The Venice of the North”. A river boat trip along one of those canals gives you a completely different prospective of the city from the water.

Many world famous writers, artists, composers lived in St.Petersburg, walked its streets. The city was home of the Russian Imperial Ballet, the cultural tradition that is still well preserved nowadays. Saint Petersburg is justly called the cultural capital of Russia. Excellent theatres, including renown Mariinsky (Kirov) opera and ballet teatre, classical and jazz music concerts and festivals, world class museums (like the Hermitage) attract many visitors from all over Russia and abroad.

The program of the tour: 6 Days/ 5 Nights

Day 1  

 Arrival, transfer to “Petropalace” hotel. Welcome dinner in the hotel.

Day 2

Breakfast. City tour with a visit to Peter and Paul fortress. St. Petersburg is called sometimes \'an open air museum of architecture\' with the whole central part of the city declared to be a UNESCO World Heritage site. The most outstanding examples of this rich architectural feast are St. Isaak\'s and Kazan Cathedras and the Church on the Spilled Blood, numerous palaces, including the Winter Palace – the main residence of the Tzars, the spit of the Basil\'s Island. In the afternoon the guide take the group to Peter and Paul fortress. It is here where St. Petersburg was started you can see the tombs of most of the members of Romanov royal dynasty buried in the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, the tallest building in the downtown with its golden spire towering in St. Petersburg\'s sky. Group visits the first house of Peter the Great greeted by an actor dressed as the tzar. Visit to the palace of Count Menshikov the associate of Peter I. Optional theatre or concert in the evening.

Day 3

After the breakfast the group take a hydrofoil to Peterhof, the palace and garden complex of Peter the Great. Referred sometimes as the \"Russian Versailles\", Peterhof is an amazing example of the Russian garden design and listed as a UNESCO site. The centerpiece of it is the Grand Cascade with its golden sculptured fountains. In the middle of the ensemble is the sculpture of Samson tearing open the jaws of a lion. A number of palaces and pavilions are scattered around the gardens, featuring exquisite interiors and exteriors.

After a dinner in the “Standard” restaurant, the group continues to Oranienbaum, another Russian royal residence. Originally belonging to Count Menshikov the park and palace were later acquired by the royal family, enlarged and reconstructed. Oranienbaum had reached its golden age in the reign of the emperor Peter III by second half of XVIII century. Most of the work on planning the royal residence was done by famous architect Rinaldi. Further development Oranienbaum received in the reign of Catherine the Great.  Overnight back in St.Petersburg.

Day 4

In the morning guided tour of the Hermitage – the Winter Palace of the Russian Emperors. Nowadays the Hermitage is famous as a world class art gallery. Apart of the masterpieces of European art you can also see Egyptian and Oriental collections, superb temporary exhibitions. Even if you are not an art connoisseur, the interiors, including majestic state rooms are must see. In the afternoon the group goes for a river boat cruise of St.Petersburg, with a complimentary stand up party on the boat. In the evening transfer to Pushkin (Tzarskoe Selo). Check in, hotel Catherine. Dinner in a restaurant.

Day 5

After the breakfast a guided tour of Catherine\'s and Alexander\'s palaces and parks. Catherine\'s palace and park were originally presented by Peter the Great to his wife late becoming empress Catherine I and further extended and beautified by the empress Catherine the Great. Catherine\'s palace is known as the place of the Amber Room, interior design masterpiece, marauded by the Nazi troops at the time of WW2 and painstakingly restored after the war. In the evening farewell dinner in “Tzarskoselsky present”.

Day 6

Breakfast. Transfer to the airport. Departure.

The price of the tour is quoted by request.