Discover the Russia capitals and Tatarstan. Everyone knows Moscou and St-Petersburg but did you know anything about Tatarstan? What a strange name! Tatarstan is home to Tatar people and Kazan its capital. Tatars are the second largest ethnic population in Russia among 160 other nationalities. Fierce Turkish-speaking people which dominated Russia for centuries collecting taxes for the Mongol Great Khans, they were ultimately defeated by the tsar Ivan the Terrible and integrated into Russia in the 16th century. This trip will not only take you to the crown jewels of Russia, Moscow and St-Petersburg leading you to Peterhof, Zarskoye Selo, the Peter-Paul fortress, the Winter Palace, Red Square, the Bolshoi Theater but also to the scenic Tartarstan located 800 km east of Moscow. Enjoy this trip to the crown jewels of Russia and let your horse led you to Tatarstan to get a wonderful experience leaving you everlasting impressions!
Day 1 Tuesday: Arrival in St. Petersburg Arrival in St. Petersburg, optional transfer to Hotel Sokos Vasilievsky**** or similar, check-in, welcome meeting.
Day 2 Wednesday: St. Petersburg St. Petersburg is an amazing city. Its imperial palaces and museums enjoy worldwide fame, while the Neva River and the many canals have deservedly given the city the title of Venice of the North. During the morning sightseeing tour we get acquainted with all the splendours of the city: the Peter-Paul Fortress, the Winter Palace, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Church of the Bleeding Savior, the Nevsky Convent and much more. The afternoon offers an optional excursion to Zarskoye Selo with the impressive Catherine’s Palace and the Amber Room, which vanished during World War II and was restored for St. Petersburg’s tri-centennial celebrations. In the evening enjoy an optional visit to the Nikolaevsky Palace with an exciting Russian folklore show and Russian „champagne” and snacks.
Day 3 Thursday: St. Petersburg The morning is reserved for an optional visit to Peterhof, an uncontested masterpiece of the time of Peter the Great, with the impressive Grand Palace, Grand Cascade and Water Avenue and its wonderful parks. In the afternoon, an optional visit to the world-famous Hermitage Art Museum is offered. In the evening enjoy an optional Russian dinner at Restaurant Pryanosti & Radosti.
Day 4 Friday: St. Petersburg - Moscow The early morning is reserved for an optional St. Petersburg channel cruise. Around noon we go to the Moscow Railway Station and board the Sapsan high-speed train bound for Moscow. The train ride takes us through endless Russian landscapes along the River Volga. In the late afternoon we arrive to Moscow and check in at Hotel Azimut Smolenskaya**** or similar.
Day 5 Saturday: Moscow Moscow, The Mother of Russia, is a genuine Russian city with the Kremlin and its onion domed cathedrals. The dramatic changes over the last decade have made the city to one of the most dynamic metropolis in the world. The morning sightseeing tour includes the highlights of the vast city: Red Square with St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Theatre Square with Bolshoi Theatre and Sparrow Hills with Moscow University and we visit the Kremlin grounds and one of the cathedrals. In the afternoon is offered an optional visit to the Moscow Metro including the historical stations on the Ring-Line and a guided stroll along the famous pedestrian Arbat Street. The evening offers an optional Moscow-by-night tour including an unforgettable river cruise with the White Flotilla.
Day 6 Sunday: Moscow The day offers an optional full day excursion to the quaint town of Sergiev Posad, where we visit the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, the most important Russian monastery and the spiritual heart of the Russian Orthodox Church. The whole Lavra has been beautifully restored for the 700-years celebrations of the birth of St. Sergius of Radonezh. In the evening, transfer to the Kazanskaya Railway Station and departure with the Tatarstan Premium overnight train bound for Kazan.
Day 7 Monday: Kazan In the morning, we arrive to Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan. Located at the mighty Volga River, Kazan is a beautiful thousand-year-old city, where Christianity and Islam have co- existed peacefully through the centuries. Upon arrival we are transferred to Hotel Park Inn Kazan**** or similar, where breakfast is served. The morning and early afternoon sightseeing tour allows us to explore Kazan’s rich past and takes us to the old Tatar Quarter, where we visit the city’s oldest stone mosque and Kazan Kremlin, a stone fortress of the 16th century with a perfect panoramic view. We also visit the Kul-Sharif Mosque, one of the largest in Europe, and the Catholic Church of Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
Day 8 Tuesday: Kazan This morning offers an optional visit to the Admiralteyskaya Quarter and the Raifa Monastery. The monastery, located on the bank of a beautiful lake and surrounded by virgin forests, and is one of the most beautiful sites in Tatarstan. The monastery has an intriguing history dating back to the 17th century and it is still a functioning monastery today. In the afternoon an optional visit is offered to Iske-Kazan (Old Kazan), a fascinating open-air museum located where the capital of the medieval Khanate of Kazan once stood. We visit the museum dominated by a modern reconstruction of the large wooden fortress from time of the khanate, while an interactive theatrical show with the medieval ruler of the city, the Kazan Khan, and his entourage gives us a further impression of the lives of the people of medieval Kazan.
Day 9 Wednesday: Kazan This morning an optional visit to Sviyazhsk is on our program. This scenic little town located an hour’s drive from Kazan at the confluence of the Volga and Sviyaga Rivers has served as a fortress and military base since the 16th century. We visit the Holy Domitian Monastery of Sviyazhsk and the Temple of St. Sergius of Radonezh and enjoy the magnificent panoramic views of the town and the rivers before we return to Kazan. In the evening an optional national cuisine dinner is offered at Restaurant Tatar Cuisine House.
Day 10 Thursday: Kazan departure Optional transfer to the airport.