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Top 10: Tsar-Visit’s excursions

  As you know, Tsar Visit is a travel agency that sells guided-visits and tours in Moscow and St-Petersburg. We are working in 6 languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Russian. And thanks to Yulia, we are able to work with professional and accredited guides in those languages. But as Irina is doing her job far to well, you can be lost in our different offers. So here is a list of my favorites!    

 

My favourite is definitely the Bolshoi’s backstages. First because it’s a privilege of accessing it, and I like being the special and privileged person. Second, because it’s beautiful and for once you have time to admire the splendorous painting and goldish chandeliers. Third, because you can enter the Bolshoi for a much lesser price than the one of a ballet ticket in the historic stage! This is a must do!

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Because, I mean… THE Hermitage! Who never dreamt of visiting this marvelous imperial palace and dive into both History and fine art at the same time? Who never dreamt of being an heir of the Romanov finding its way through the palace? The Hermitage is a real historical pearl waiting for you on the Neva’s docks (tips: always look through the windows while visiting the museum, it worths it). But the Hermitage is also and above all the most important museum in the world. In other words, thanks to your guide, you’ll have detailed informations on both world-known masterpieces and the imperial Russia’s history.

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As for the Hermitage, the Kremlin is a must-do when visiting or living in Russia. As the political center of the country, but also as a historical keystone, the Kremlin worths the visit ! Nevertheless, the Kremlin is big, highly secured and offers to the public many historical and religious artefacts and buildings. That’s it must be visited… but never forget, with a professional and accredited guide!

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The Tretyakov Gallery is one of the most famous museum of Russia… and not for no reason. The Tretyakov Gallery is huge and exhibits masterpieces from Russian and European schools of arts. All of this is stunning and the Tretyakov is a must-do, especially for arts fan. So if you really want to know more about Russia and its artists, you should definitely book a guided-tour!

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Another feel-like-a-Royal-for-a-day visit that will bring you back in Peter the Great’s splendorous time. Peterhof is the Russian Versailles and this says all. The palace is absolutely stunning on the inside as on the outside. Special notice for the gardens and the fountains that are the icing on the cake. Thanks to a professional guide, you’ll bypass all the tourists, learn more about the imperial history and the Russian culture in a shining historic environment. Definitely one of my favorite!

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Seeing Christ the Savior on the Spilled Blood in this list, you’re probably thinking that I’m giving all Moscow’s and Petersburg’s classics. Wrong! The world-known cathedral has its path in this list because the inside is absolutely stunning (or am I only attracted by gold? Who knows…). But more than being beautiful and famous, Christ the Savior on the Spilled Blood is also full of hidden treasures, secrets and remains crucial in the Russian and Soviet history. That’s why you definitely need a guided visit!

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Did you know that the Yusupov where the richest family in the late imperial Russia, and the most powerful after the Romanov? No ? Then here is why you need to visit there palace on the Moika with a guide! The Yusupov palace hides all the secrets of this significant family. But the palace is also, and above all, crucial in the Russian history, having been Rasputin’s murder place!

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As the other places in this list (I admit I have a taste for the Imperial Russia), the Peter and Paul fortress is absolutely crucial in the Russian history. However, if you’re visiting it by yourself, you’ll find nothing else than big walls, a cathedral, graves and a garden. That’s why I advise you to do a guided-tour of it. Your guide will explain you the history of the fortress, showing you artefacts from the past, and give you details on the buried Romanov. Moreover, if (as me) you have a taste for royal families from the past and the present, the Peter and Paul fortress will serve you some delights!

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Moscow is a big city. And sometimes the best to do in order to discover a big city is to sit and enjoy a guided-tour. With Tsar Visit’s guided tour of Moscow you’ll discover, in a very comfy way, the Russian capital city and all its wonders. A must-do if you don’t have much time in Moscow!

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Basically the same as for Moscow. This tour is the best. Go for it!

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Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!

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Cultural Fact

Maslenitsa tradition for Easter

Each year, exactly a week before the Orthodox Great Lent, Russians are braving the cold to eat, dance and play in parks. Why? Because of Maslenitsa of course!

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Because Maslenitsa is a celebration during which we say bye to Winter and praise Spring to come faster. And we’re doing in a very Russian way: playing, dancing and eating!

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Maslenitsa relies indeed on two essentials go-to if you don’t want an endless winter (and seriously, who does?): burning the Lady Maslenitsa, and eating the Sun (aka a big and delicious blinis). While being an old tradition, it remains today a very popular celebration that gather Russians in parks to play traditional games, dance, and above all to eat blinis!

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If you have the opportunity, definitely go in Russia for Maslenitsa. It’s warming and delicious!

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Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!

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Top 10: Orthodox Russia

Despite the USSR’s attempt to eliminate religion, Russia can’t barely be pictured without cupolas, monasteries, icons and everything that looks more or less orthodox. Fortunately, these archiectural and artistic masterpieces offer tourists, expats and Russians some wonders of the world that everyone must visit! So being religious or not, follow this top and dive into one of the most important dimension of the Russian culture and history!

  • Sergiyev Posad (Moscow)

Sergiyev Posad is a small town, 2 hours away by train from Moscow. So why putting it first? Because Sergiyev Posad is considered to be the Russian Vatican. Built around a Lavra (aka a very important monastery), Sergiyev Posad must be visited for its spirituality and the magnificence of its cathedrals. Seriously, it’s beautiful, everything is located in the same place and very Russian.

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  • Suzdal (Moscow)

Another very important religious center, Suzdal is a bit futher from Moscow than Sergiyev Posad, but is as important and stunning. If you’re visiting only one of the Golden Ring’s cities, go for Suzdal. This city has been kept away from industrialisation and succeeded in  preserving the treasures given by the Russian Princes through centuries. So if you take a picture in the right angle, you’ll be able to pretend that you spent some days in the Russian countryside… as the true adventurer that you are.

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  • Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood (Saint-Petersburg)

While technically not being consecrated, and so not a church, Christ the Savior on the Spilled Blood is an orthodox mausoleum. Indeed, the church has been built to mourn Alexander II’s assassination on March 1881. This is a must-do in St-Petersburg, so you should visit it. First, because everyone knows this building. Second, the inside, all covered-up by golden mosaics, is absolutely stunning. Third, because you’ll appear as super knowledgeable among your coworkers when you’ll explain them that this is not St Basil’s cathedral.

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  • Peter and Paul Cathedral (Saint-Petersburg)

Very small and definitely not as impressive on the inside as others, the Peter and Paul cathedral hosts the grave of almost all the Romanovs. In a way, the cathedral is far more impressive on the outside, but it has the perks of being really important to those who celebrate the Russian Tsars. Especially because the cathedral hosts the remains of Nicholas II and his family, butchered in 1918 by the Soviets.

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  • Kolomenskoye Domain (Moscow)

While all orthodox churches and monasteries look similar, you’ll find in the Kolomenskoye domain a simple one. I mean a church WITHOUT cupolas. So why visiting it you’d say? Why visiting something that you could find in your country? Because the Church of the Ascension is classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site. And between us these guys rarely mess things up. Indeed the Church of the Ascension is the first church made of stones in an octagonal shape in Russia! Not so common isn’t?

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  • Saint Isaac’s Cathedral (Saint-Petersburg)

St Isaac’s is interesting for two things. First it has been built and decorated taking St Peter’s of the Vatican as a model. I don’t know if you ever been in St Peter, but it’s just wow! Second because St Isaac’s Cathedral has also been thought as a museum of Russian stones. As a result you have a stunning big church made of gold, icons and colored-marbles from all Russias. You definitely have to go inside, you’ll be able able to make great pics.  

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  • Christ the Savior (Moscow)

This one has to be seen for its history. Christ the Savior was an old white church in the very heart of Moscow. However, it has been destroyed in 1931 by order of Stalin, and replaced by a public swimming pool. While Muscovites got used to it and loved spending afternoons in this pool, the Russian government decided to destroy it and rebuild the Cathedral of the Christ the Savior, but this time as the largest of Russia.

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  • New Jerusalem Monastery (Moscow)

Politico-religious dream of the patriarch Nikon, the New Jerusalem Monastery intended to make Moscow the center of the orthodox world. To achieve this, the patriarch Nikon ordered in the middle of the 17th century the building of a monastery based on the Christ church of Jerusalem. But if the Istra river became the Jordan and the building are based on the same architecture, the inner decoration is fairly different. Today, the New Jerusalem Monastery hosts religious arts and must be visited!

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  • Alexander Nevsky Lavra (Saint-Petersburg)

Despite being central in the romanced history of St-Petersburg, the Alexander Nevsky Lavra is a beautiful and peaceful monastery in the heart of the Northern Capital. Maybe because of its pastel-colored buildings, its parks or simply because of its mission, the Lavra has a serene atmosphere. Enter the Lavra and dive in another world, away from the noise and the crowd.

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  • The Kremlin (Moscow)

Moscow’s Kremlin remains first and foremost known for its political dimension. But if you enter the domain, you’ll realise that it is a grouping of church behind defencing walls. Within the Kremlin, the church are older than the usual ones and still ornamented of traditional Russian arts. Plus, each church has its role and mission. Because, why building a single church when you have the space and the resources to build 3 of them?

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Want to know more about religion in Russia? Read this article!

Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!