Moscow – Valaam – Saint Petersburg (1,5 days)
from 1 205 €
Myshkin is an amazing city that has managed to become famous throughout the country, thanks to its name. The Assumption Cathedral stands majestically on a high hill. It has preserved an amazing painting, which could be called 3D graphics today. Columns and cornices are depicted on the walls, and pilasters and arches are depicted in the drum of the dome. At first, they seem real, and only if you look closely, it becomes clear that most of them are actually just artful drawings. Quite different wonders await guests at the museum "Russian Valenki". Here you can learn all about how to make this native Russian shoes. And the "House of Crafts" will be a godsend for fans of interactive museums. There is a blacksmith shop, a pottery workshop, and each is run by professional craftsmen.
A review tour of the city with a visit to the Memorial of the 60th Anniversary of the Victory, the Chapel of St. George the Victorious, Upper Boulevard, Dormition Cathedral, the museum "Little City in the Great War," the club-museum of retro-equipment "Crew" with the technique of war years, the art gallery-gift of the artist-frontline Hermann Tatarinov.
The harsh beauty of the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, erected on the shore of Lake Siversky, amazes tourists. The legent says that the founder of the Monastery the monk Cyril was strict and humble, independent and meek. He came to these places in 1397, dug a cave and devoted his days to work and prayer. Soon, five more monks joined him, and after 30 years, their number reached 53. Over time, the monastery became a major economic center: the trade route to the White Sea went through it. By the 16th century, the monastery had become one of the most important libraries: 210 manuscripts were stored here. The history of the monastery is closely connected with the name of Basil III, who visited it more than once. Here, in 1528, he prayed with his wife for the gift of an heir. Two years later, Ivan the Terrible was born. The stone monastery walls that you will see were built by the end of the XVII century. But on the territory of the monastery there are many more ancient structures.
A trip to the island of Valaam will be a truly unforgettable experience. The rocky island, covered with coniferous forests, with gardens where some trees are more than 150 years old, and the majestic monastery, which is called Northern Athos – is a striking unity of pristine nature and human labor. According to the legend, this island in the old days was marked by Andrew the First-Called, a disciple of Christ. While preaching the Gospel, he set up a stone cross in the mountains of Balaam, but the monastery appeared much later here. The exact date of the foundation is unknown, but it did not happen before the tenth century.
The tour will begin with a walk to the foot of Mount Tabor, where the majestic Transfiguration Cathedral stands. Tourists will have to climb up to it by an old wide staircase. The lush monastery garden is to the left of it. In such a harsh climate, it is already a miracle in itself. Travelers will also get acquainted with the marble Znamenskaya Chapel, built after a visit to the monastery of the Russian autocrat Alexander II. The highlight of the tour will be a visit to the grandiose Transfiguration Cathedral, designed for more than 3,000 people. During the tragic events of the twentieth century, it was badly damaged and only recently restored. Everything in this place attracts and excites: the shrines of the monastery, the strict monastic architecture, and the unique nature of the island.
Not far from the settlement, the Ruskeala marble quarries are located. The deposit was discovered in 1765 and has been in operation since 1769. The integrity of the massif of the marble was cracked in the 20th century due to the use of dynamite. For this reason some quarries were abandoned and inundated. Now these picturesque deep quarries and adits with limpid water serve as a popular tourist attraction. The length of the quarries from north to south is 460 meters, width - up to 100 meters. The distance from the highest point to the bottom is more than 50 meters. The transparency of the water reaches 15-18 meters.
The quarries, as well as some other marble deposits of Karelia, the Urals, and Italy, supplied various projects in St. Petersburg, including St. Isaac's Cathedral, Marble Palace, St. Michael's Castle, the interiors of the Winter Palace, New Hermitage and Kazan Cathedral, and decorations of the St. Petersburg Metro (namely the Primorskaya and Ladozhskaya stations).
Peter and Paul Cathedral is justly regarded one of the main attractions of Peter and Paul Fortress. It was built in 1712–1733 as the main cathedral of St Petersburg, new capital of the Russian Empire. Designed in Baroque style by Dominico Trezzini, it combines typical features of West-European and Italian church architecture. It is rectangular in shape, with the dome on the eastern end and a belfry with a 402 feet high spire on the western entrance.
The interior decoration of the Cathedral is foreign for the Russian religious architecture tradition as well. Peter and Paul Cathedral is a hall church, with nave and side aisles of approximately equal height, united under a single immense roof. The space of the cathedral is divided in three parts by pillars, painted to imitate marble. The vaults of the cathedral are decorated with multicolored fresco paintings and gilded moldings. The cathedral is lit though twelve large windows. It became one of the first cathedrals in Russia, decorated with paintings, along with the icons. It was by no means the influence of the European tradition.
Artists will appreciate the wooden gilded Baroque iconostasis, designed by Ivan Zarudny and carved by Moscow craftsmen in the 1720s. The iconostasis contains 43 original icons of the eighteenth century. The central part of the iconostasis is designed in the form of the triumphal arch that spans the Royal Doors and rises into the space beneath the dome to a height of almost twenty meters. Near the iconostasis are a pulpit to the left, and the Tsar's Place to the right, a special spot where the emperor stood when there was a service.
Peter and Paul Cathedral is the symbolic center of Russia because it is the burial place of many of the imperial family. For two hundred years all Russian rulers from Peter I to Nicolas II (except Peter II and Ivan VI) and their families were buried here. The locations of the graves are marked by sarcophagi made of white Carrara marble. The lids of the tombs are decorated with large bronze cross coated in pure gold, tombs of the rulers have four bronze emblems of the Russian Empire at four corners. Sarcophagi of Emperor Alexander II and his wife Maria Alexandrovna were replaced by those made of green Altai jasper and pink Urals rhodonite in 1906. The remains of the last Russian Emperor Nicolas II and members of his family, who were shot under the town of Ekaterinburg by local Bolsheviks on 17 July 1918, were buried in the Catherine’s Chapel of Peter and Paul Cathedral on 17 July 1998.
In 1908 Grand Ducal Burial Chapel, designed by David Grimm, Anton Tomishko and Leonty Benois, was added to the cathedral as a burial place for Grand Dukes and Duchesses. From 1908 to 1915 thirteen persons were interred there, eight burials were transferred from Peter and Paul Cathedral. In 1992 great-grandson of Alexander II Vladimir Kirillovich Romanov was buried in the Chapel, which opened a new page in the history of the burials in the Peter and Paul Fortress. In 1995 the remains of his parents were transferred here. On June 3, 2010 his wife Leonida Georgievna Romanova, nee Bagration-Mukhranskaya, was laid to rest here.
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