Course Description

The Country of the Firebird: Architectural, Artistic and Religious Traditions of Russia

Travel to Russia for a unique opportunity to get acquainted with Russian history and culture. This fascinating journey will take us to Russia's two magnificent capitals—Moscow and St. Petersburg—as well as to some great places around them.

Moscow is called "the heart of Russia" due to its enormous cultural, economic and political role in the country's life. This city united Russian people to fight off the Mongol invaders, and since then it has grown to become the largest city in Europe with active trade, buoyant culture, fascinating architecture and expressive lifestyle. Amazing domed churches dot the skyline despite 70 years of official state atheism, and architectural designs can be found dating back hundreds of years. Our visit will include the Moscow Kremlin with its beautiful cathedrals, the Red Square, the Tretyakov Gallery, and Bolshoi Theatre.

St. Petersburg, "Venice of the North", is the second largest city of Russia and its former capital, founded by Peter the Great in 1703. Italian and French architects planned the city, giving it the classical beauty. One of the world's most brilliant cities, St. Petersburg has been a lavish scene of Russian literature, music, theatre, and ballet. We will visit historic and artistically notable sites—palaces, cathedrals, museums and parks, including the Winter Palace and the Hermitage Museum, Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Isaac's Cathedral, Russian Museum, and the Mariinsky Theatre (former Kirov Ballet).

In addition to these two great cities, we will take a short trip to The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, the most important Russian monastery and a popular tourist destination, in Sergiyev Posad near Moscow, as well as Petrodvorets and Tsarskoe Selo, beautiful suburbs of St. Petersburg with the summer residences of Russian tsars and their magnificent parks.

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Accompanying resource person: Dr. Valery Efimenko


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