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The Culture Treasures of Russia (7 days)
Tallinn - Tartu - Pechory - Pskov - Novgorod - St Petersburg - Tallinn



Day 1   Tallinn - Tartu - Võru
Arrival in Tallinn and meeting your tour guide at the airport
Departure by coach to the University town Tartu, the second largest city in Estonia. A walking city tour includes Toome Hill Park with its monuments, bridges, gothic church ruins and Town Hall square. Lunch is provided in the unique atmosphere of the restaurant, Gunpowder Cellar.
Afternoon drive through picturesque villages and see untouched nature in South Estonia.
Accommodation in Võru.

Day 2   Võru - Pechory - Pskov
Morning departure for Russia. In Pechory we visit the Monastery, established in 1473 and has functioned without interruption to the present day. Pechory Monastery, with eight churches, the campanile, the cathedral and the Holy Spring, had been named after the local underground sand caves. It is said that at least ten thousand monks are buried in the Monastery. You can also view the bells presented by Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great.
We continue to Pskov which is one of the oldest towns in Russia (first mentioned in 903). More than 300 architectural monuments dating from the 12th -19th centuries have been saved and can all be viewed today. The Trinity Cathedral and Kremlin dominate Pskov old town. The Trinity Cathedral attracts everybody's attention by its simplicity and majesty.
Lunch and accommodation in Pskov.

Day 3   Pskov - Novgorod
We continue to Novgorod. The name of the town can be translated as "New Town" but is in fact the oldest town in Russia. In 862 a Viking chief, Rurik, founded, on the banks of the Volkhov river, a town and the Novgorod state. The town is like an open air museum with numerous churches, including St Sophia's Cathedral (constructed in 1045-1050), within Kremlin walls. In the centre of the Kremlin there is a monument called "Millenium", commemorating the 1000-year anniversary of the foundation of the Russian State. The two parts of the city on different sides of the Volkhov river have retained their mediaeval names of "Sophia in the Kremlin" and the "Market Side". We visit also the Granovitaya Chamber, where there is an exhibition of 11th to 19th century decorative and applied arts.
Accommodation and dinner in Novgorod.

Day 4   Novgorod - St Petersburg
Morning departure for St Petersburg.
On the way to St Petersburg we visit the Palace and Park of Tsarskoe Selo - a former country residence of Russian emperors. It is a fascinating monument of the world's architectural and gardening practices of the 18-19th centuries. The magnificient royal parks occupy the area of 600 ha. The centre of the park is Rastrelli's fabulous Catherine Palace, which is nowadays a museum with a fantastic collection of over 20 000 items. Included in the visit is the famous Amber Room. From 1937 to 1992 Tsarskoje Selo was called Pushkin, after the great poet who attended school here.
Lunch in Tsarskoe Selo.
Famous architects like Trezzini, Rastrelli, Michetti and so on have made the city with its own unique St Petersburg Baroque style. St Petersburg is a floating city, criss-crossed by rivers and canals, sewn together by hundreds of bridges. The principal waterway is the River Neva, leading eventually to the Gulf of Finland. During the afternoon boat tour we can admire the beauty and skyline of the city in an idyllic setting.
Accommodation in St. Petersburg

Day 5   St Petersurg
We start the full day tour with visiting the famous Fortress of St Peter and St Paul, where many of the Tsars are buried. During a bus tour around the city we can see many of its imperial and aristocratic buildings and bridges, including the cathedral of St Isaak, the Admiralty, Smolny Convent, the colossal early 19th century government buildings and the heroic statue of Peter the Great by Falconet. One of the highlights of any stay in St Petersburg is a visit to see the magnificent collection of European art in the baroque splendour of the Winter Palace and Hermitage, which were founded by Catherine the Great.
Accommodation and lunch in St. Petersburg.

Day 6   St Petersburg - Tallinn
After breakfast departure by coach to Estonia. A short tour in the Estonian border town of Narva. Lunch in the fortess of Purtse.
Accommodation and evening leisure time in Tallinn.

Day 7   Tallinn
Morning walking tour in the Old Town, the best preserved old town in Northern Europe. We visit the Dome Church (13th century), the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Alexander Nevskij and admire the view across the red roofs of Tallinn Old Town from Toompea Hill. There are still many fine examples of dwelling-houses and warehouses within the medieval main walls, many of which date back to the days of the Hanseatic merchants and their artisans. The 600 year old Town Hall is the only intact Gothic town hall in Northern Europe and is one of the most famed symbols of the city. It overlooks the main cobbled square, which is a central point for relaxing café-style al fresco eating and enjoyment in summer or the Christmas Market in winter.
Farewell lunch in the Old Town. End of the tour
Afternoon departure flight from Tallinn Airport (or optional City break in Tallinn for two further nights).

Optional in St Petersburg:
Evening folklore show with light buffet
Ballet or Opera night in the Hermitage Theatre or the Mariinskiy Theatre

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