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Jewish Heritage in Russia Tour: Moscow - St. Petersburg

Day 1. Moscow

Poklonnaya Gora
Arrival to Moscow, meeting with a guide at the airport. Transfer to "Russia" hotel (4*). Accommodation in DBL/SINGL room for 4 nights (buffet breakfast included).

Day 2. City tour

Buffet breakfast at the hotel. Departure for Jewish city tour. City tour round the most beautiful places of Moscow - main streets, squares and places of interest, including visit to the Memorial Hill (Poklonnaya Gora) where a new Synagogue has been built. In the middle of the park a dramatic bronze sculpture evokes the Holocaust but serves here as a reminder of all the horrors of war and genocide in the twentieth century. The work depicts a line of naked men, women and children walking toward oblivion, the first woman in the line shielding the eyes of her son. You will see the building housing the synagogue and Holocaust museum.

Choral SinagogaYou will visit the Choral Synagogue on Arkhipova Street, which dates back to 1891. In Soviet times, on important holidays, Jews gathered in front of the building to express their identity. Today the synagogue is the focus of Jewish religious life in the capital. You will turn right from Tverskoy onto Malaya Bronnaya and pass a lime-green building to reach the cream stucco structure that once housed the Jewish State Theater. On the rough stone facing of the ground floor a bronze memorial bears the portrait of the director Mikhoels, who was murdered by Stalin.

Lunch at the King David Club of the Moscow Central Synagogue.

19.00-Evening performance at the Jewish Theatre.
Transfer to/from the performance.

Moscow KremlinDay 3. Kremlin, Armory

Buffet breakfast at the hotel. Meeting with a guide at the hotel lobby.
The first Jewish settlements in Moscow were near the Kremlin’s wall. The guide will tell you about the empire of Lazar Polyakov – the richest Jew in Russia in the 19-century, his bank and the private synagogue. Kitay Gorod, one of the oldest districts of Moscow—probably settled in the eleventh century—was the first place where Jews were allowed to live. It is near the Kremlin and Red Square. In Red Square, a circular stone platform near St. Basil’s Cathedral was once a place for public announcements and executions; it was on the platform that Stalin planned to conduct the executions in the Doctors’ Plot and declare the mass deportation of Jews to Siberia. The excursion includes visit to Kremlin (residence of Czars and Patriarchs), The Armory Museum (collection of Gold, silver, jewelry, Faberge eggs, carriages and Czarist thrones), Alexandrovsky Garden (the very center of Moscow and, indeed, of Russia).

Bolshoi Theatre2pm- Lunch at the city center at the restaurant Gambrinus. It was named after a famous cafe in Odessa and offers fish, grilled meat and international dishes. It is located in the French Gallery Mall near Red Square.

Choral Synagogue. Today the synagogue is being restored, though activity goes on. On a typical Shabbat morning about 80 worshipers gather for the main service while another 20 pray in a separate Sefardic minyan in a chapel off the lobby. In the main sanctuary, the wall above the Ark is decorated with painted trees of life on a gilt background, and overhead is a blue mosaic.

19.00- Optional excursion in the Bolshoi theatre

Second part of excursion: The new community center in Mariina Rosha, famous for it’s planned swimming pool and fitness Center. And many interesting facts about life of the modern Jewish community in Moscow.Pushkin Museum

Day 4. Museum of Fine Arts

Buffet breakfast at the hotel. Meeting with a guide at the hotel lobby.
Excursion (including bus transfer) to the Museum of Fine Arts. The museum is a Moscow's leading art museum and has a large collection of Impressionist art, including Chagalls and Pissaros. Among its half-dozen Rembrandts is the dramatic painting of Ahasuerus, Haman and Esther spotlighting the queen as she accuses Haman of plotting to destroy the Jews.

Afternoon: Visit to the Moscow Jewish Community Center near where the Marina Roshcha. You will see the Synagogue. Destroyed by arson, the wooden synagogue has been rebuilt in red brick. Behind it stands the new Chabad center, white stucco with gold-colored aluminum windows, its front faced in polished Jerusalem stone. Besides a sleek 1,200-seat synagogue, the seven-story building contains a gym and fitness room, a computerized auditorium, a video room, a library and offices. Russian President Vladimir Putin was present at the center’s dedication in September 2000.

TretyakovkaDay 5. Tretyakov Picture Gallery (Old and new buildings)

Buffet breakfast at the hotel. Meeting with a guide at the hotel lobby.
The Tretyakov Gallery has oils and watercolors by Isaac Levitan, the father of Russian landscape painting.

Optional lunch in the city center.

Departure to the New Tretyakov gallery.
The New Tretyakov gallery devoted to Russian art from the Revolution to the present has paintings by Chagall and sculpture by the brothers Anton and Naum (Gabo) Pevsner, who were leaders of the Constructivist movement.

Then you will walk with a guide to the Moskva River embankment. It is the Graveyard of Fallen Statues, where sculptures of Soviet leaders—including the Jewish Yakov Sverdlov—were moved after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Art with Jewish themes by contemporary artists.

Evening transfer to the railway station. Departure for St.Petersburg

Day 6. St. Petersburg, City tour

Arrival to St. Petersburg. Transfer to the hotel, 4-stars. Accommodation for 3 nights. Breakfast in the hotel. City tour by car. You will see the major sights and visit Peter & Paul’s Fortress (the oldest building in St. Petersburg, used as a political prison before 1917), Alexander Nevsky Convent (founded in 1713 by Peter the Great that became one of the country’s most revered monasteries), St. Isaac's Cathedral (one of the world’s most beautiful cathedrals built between 1818 and 1858). In St. Petersburg, Jewish history is interwoven with the general history of the city, so that in all the places that you visit you will learn about their Jewish history. You will also visit the Big Choral Synagogue, the second biggest synagogue in Europe, and the Small Synagogue, both beautiful examples of Mauritanian style and recently renovated.

Lunch at the restaurant Seven Forty
The imaginative interior at this atmospheric Jewish restaurant is really superb. Seven-Forty also has good wine and friendly service.

After lunch you will visit the Peter and Paul Fortress.
It was the first building erected in Saint Petersburg. Built as a military fortress, it was soon turned into the main political prison of the Russian Empire. Among its prisoners were Prince Alexis, son of Peter the Great, the writers Fedor Dostoevsky and Maxim Peter and PaulGorky, and the elder brother of Lenin, as well as Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady, the founder of the Chabad Lubavitch.
Transfer to the hotel. Free time.

Day 7. The Hermitage, Tsarskoe Selo

Buffet breakfast at the hotel. Excursion to the Hermitage. The Hermitage consists of five buildings - the Winter Palace, the Little Hermitage, the Old and the New Hermitage and the Hermitage Theatre. The museum contains an enormous collection of Western Art. There are also Historical, Russian and Oriental sections definitely worth visiting. Return to the hotel. Free time.

HermitageOptional Lunch.

Departure for Tsarskoe Selo (Pushkin).
There, close to the Catherine's Palace, stands a monument “Formula of Sorrow,” erected on the place where in 1941 Nazis exterminated local Jews. It is the first and the only monument to the victims of Holocaust in our city. Transfer to the hotel. Free time.

Day 8. Petergof

Buffet breakfast at the hotel.
This museum houses one of the biggest collections of Russian art, beginning from the icons to the modern works. Among its treasures there are also works by Jewish painters and sculptors — Isaac Levitan, Mark Shagal, Leon Bakst, Mark Antokolski — that became part of Russian culture without loosing their connection with Jewish traditions.

Peterhof canalOptional lunch.

Second part of excursion:
The Jewish cemetery is situated in the outskirts of the city. It is a stone manuscript of the history of the Jewish community in Saint Petersburg. In this cemetery there are tombs of many prominent personalities of the Jewish community of the city. Transfer to the hotel. Free time for shopping picture taking.

Day 9. Departure

Buffet breakfast at the hotel. Free time for sightseeing, shopping and taking pictures. Transfer to airport. Departure from St.Petersburg.

Prices- starting from $ 860

- accommodation in hotels with buffet breakfast
- registration fees
- breakfasts at the hotels
- meals as per itinerary
- airport-hotel transfers
- hotel-airport transfers
- excursions (incl. transportation, entrance fees and services of an English-speaking guide) in St.Petersburg and in Moscow
- train tickets 1st class (Moscow-St.Petersburg)
- visa support
- bank fee
- insurance

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