Advertorial – Once hidden behind the Iron Curtain, the Russia that’s been revealed remains as enigmatic as ever! Russia is warm and welcoming to intrepid travellers, and Craig Travel’s September cruise through the Russian Waterways takes place before the frigid Siberian wind rolls in. Given that it’s the world’s largest country, deciding where to start in Russia can be intimidating. That’s why this cruise focuses on the country’s two most major cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg, along with visits to quaint towns and villages as we sail downriver onboard the spacious MS Shevchenko. Prepare to be amazed by the grandeur of these two amazing cities, with their surreal architecture featuring many colourfully domed cathedrals and palaces. Also, our stop at Kizhi Island will allow us to soak in some old-country culture with its open-air museum showcasing the customs of traditional Russian life.
Russia is full of brilliant architecture. We begin our adventure in Moscow, which is Russia’s largest city and renowned for its numerous architectural wonders. A must-see site is the famous Red Square. This name was bestowed upon the plaza, also known as the “Fire Square,” in remembrance of the many times Medieval Russia was set ablaze. To this day, it remains the heart and soul of Russia and is one of her most popular tourist attractions. Red Square is often referred to as the central square of Moscow since all the major streets that connect the highways lead back to this plaza. All roads lead to Red Square! In addition, we’ll take in the colourful St. Basil’s cathedral and enjoy a guided tour of the Kremlin, which is the former residence of the Czars and the current seat of power in Russia.
From Moscow, we make our way along the Svir River to pristine Lake Onega, where we have the chance to visit the whimsical Kizhi Island. Over the centuries, the island has transitioned from being home to pagan rituals to an incredible hub for the Orthodox community. Kizhi Pogost’s structure is a feat of wooden architecture. The two wooden churches (the Church of the Intercession and the Church of the Transfiguration) along with the clock tower were built using nothing but an axe and are constructed without a single nail. This incredible architectural ensemble blends perfectly into the island’s natural landscape and is a true vision of masterful engineering. Kizhi Island is also home to an impressive open-air museum that showcases the customs of traditional Russian life. Learn about regional woodcarving, watch experts spin wool or make beaded jewellery and be transported into their handcrafted world.
As we cruise along the Volga Baltic Canal, our adventure comes to a finale in the city of St. Petersburg. Created by Peter the Great to rival Venice, St. Petersburg is built on 101 islands and has 66 canals and hundreds of bridges, making it arguably the most beautiful city in Russia. St. Petersburg is Russia’s second largest city (after Moscow) and is beautifully situated along the Neva River. It’s inscribed on the UNESCO World heritage list as a city brimming with monuments, statues and historical architectural complexes. Our city tour will take us down fashionable Nevsky Prospekt with its shops, cafés and theatres, and we’ll even venture out to Pushkin to visit the spectacular Catherine Palace with its famous Amber Room. Of course, no visit to St. Petersburg would be complete without a trip to the Hermitage museum, perhaps the most important building in all of Russia. The museum boasts an incredible and expansive collection of over three million pieces of art, ranging from the days of Ancient Greece all the way to modern times.
Make sure to experience the fairytale architecture and rich heritage along the banks of the Russian Waterways yourself next September 2, 2020. Save $200* per person if you book and deposit before February 28, 2020. Contact one of Craig Travel’s Cruise Specialists to reserve your spot, or contact us at 1-800-387-889- for more information.
Photo courtesy of Group Escort Melanie McIlroy