Russia Travel Guide

Two rival cities, each with epic egos and amazing history and culture, which will you prefer?

Russia school trip travel guide

An introduction to Russia

The 2 cities encountered on a school tour of Russia are true heavyweights of European and indeed world history. St. Petersburg (for a time Leningrad), was the capital prior to Moscow and there remains a strong rivalry between them on many levels; with just cause when you get a sense of their epic history, the power within and the cultural influence each possesses.

There is an epithet sometimes used to describe Moscow, "The Hero City". Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg as a window to Western Europe and, as a result, the city today is very much geared towards tourism and you’ll hear English more frequently here than the capital.

That said, world wonders such as Red Square, the Kremlin and St Basel’s Cathedral are jaw-to-the-floor amazing, but represent only a tiny fraction of the cross-curriculum attractions amongst the 12 million people present.

Equally, the dozens of museums of St. Petersburg including the Hermitage are a cultural and historical melange of wonderment.

All visits are covered by our externally verified Safety Management System and are pre-paid when applicable. Prices and opening times are accurate as of May 2018 and are subject to change and availability. Booking fees may apply to services provided by Voyager School Travel when paid on site.

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History - Moscow

City Tour

Meet your guide and enjoy a full day visiting the Red Square for Lenin’s Mausoleum, the Kremlin and cathedral. You will then have lunch and go on to see the famous Moscow metro for a tour, Tretyakov Gallery and onto the fallen Statues park. If time permits you will also visit  Arbat Street for shopping.

Price Contact your Voyager salesperson

Red Square

Overlooked by the Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow's Red Square is probably one of the country's most famous landmarks. Although it is now associated with political strength after thousands of mounted Russian troops trampled Nazi officials at the end of World War II, it was originally a medieval shanty-town home to vagabonds, drunkards and criminals, who were banned from dwelling within the city 'proper'.

Many people think its name comes from Russia's links with communism but the name 'Red Square' came about because red in Russian originally meant 'beautiful' and so the square was initially known as 'Beautiful square'.

The Kremlin

Despite what many may think, the Kremlin is not only the beautiful Cathedral-like building topped with golden domes, it is in fact a principality within the capital that is now the political centre of Russia, with armouries, churches and palaces.

The Arsenal, the headquarters of the Kremlin guard, was commissioned by Peter the Great to serve as a weapons depot, but after the Napoleon defeat in the C.18th, it became a museum to commemorate Russian victory.

The Senate is now the official Presidential Residence, but it was commissioned by Catherine the Great to serve as a military meeting place for an advisory council. However, it is most famously known for being Lenin's office during the post-Revolutionary era.

The Tsar Bell, might not be finished or have ever been rung, but it is nevertheless well-worth a visit, being the largest in the world at a massive 200 tons. It was built in the mid-C.17th, but was destroyed in the Moscow fire of 1701. Thirty years later Empress Anna ordered that the fragments be recast in a much larger bell, but it cracked in 1737 after falling into its casting pit. It was not until 1837 that the bell was fitted into its current location.

The Cathedral Square and Cathedral of the Assumption are probably the most iconic buildings of the Kremlin. Cathedral Square was built to be the first great public space during the ascension of the Muscovite power in the C.14th. It was the political centre until Peter the Great moved his council out to St. Petersburg in 1710. The Cathedral was built in the 1470s by Ivan the Great to be the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church. For this reason, it was always the site of any state funerals, weddings, christenings and coronations.

The famed gold-domed Cathedral of the Annunciation served as the private chapel to the Tsar family before they were deposed, and there was a secret passage from the Cathedral to the family headquarters. In 1918 the Cathedral officially closed as a place of worship and became a museum.
kreml.ru

 

Price

Free for 16 and under

Additional onsite charges apply for certain museums within

Opening times

15 May — 30 September 10.00 to 18.00

1 October — 14 May 10.00 to 17.00

Closed Thursday

St. Basil's Cathedral

Also known as 'the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat', St. Basil's Cathedral is unique in its design, but is not how it would have looked when it was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in 1552 to mark the capture of Kazan from Mongol forces.

It is made up of eight chapels built around one central cathedral, which probably reflects the medieval symbol of Christianity, the eight-pointed star. It is open every day except Tuesday from 11am-5pm. However, there are occasions when both the cathedral and the square close to the public, so you should check before you go to make sure that there will not be any planned closures during your stay.
moscow.info

Price Free
Opening times 11.00 to 17.00 daily

 

Stalin's Bunker

It is well known that Hitler kept a bunker from which he planned military missions, but it is perhaps less well-known that Stalin had one too. You can now visit his secret underground quarters, which have been transformed into a museum and kept in the same condition (with the same furniture and decoration) as it was in the 1930's when it was built.

As it turns out, Stalin preferred working in the Kremlin so the bunker was only used very occasionally. Don't forget to check out the 17 km long secret tunnel that connects the bunker to the Kremlin.

Price Contact your Voyager salesperson
Opening times

Wed to Fri 10.00 to 17.00

Sat & Sun 11.00 19.00

Mon & Tue Closed

Ulitsa Varvarka

If you’re in the Red Square, you could fit in a visit to Ulitsa Varvarka, said to be the oldest street in Moscow. Although the street is short, it boasts more churches than any other street in the city. The name of the street comes from the church which is immediately to your right as you enter the street from the Red Square, the Church of St. Barbara.

Lenin's Mausoleum

Lenin's Mausoleum, also known as Lenin's Tomb, is where you can pay homage to the father of Russian communism. The embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin has laid here since his death in 1924.

There are rumours that the actual body has been replaced by a wax model. As you queue along the Kremlin wall, remember that the wall itself is a mausoleum to the many other heroes of the communist cause such as Charles Rutenberg, the first General Secretary of the US Communist Party.
lenin.ru

Price Free
Opening times Tues, Wed, Thurs, Sat - 10.00 to 13.00

Metro Tour

Take a tour of one of the world's most beautiful and impressive underground transport systems that became a symbol of the power of socialism in Russia under Stalin.

In the 1930's the Soviet leader decided that Moscow needed a new form of transport to carry its increasing inhabitants around the city. The new metro had 260 km of track, some at depths of up to 86 metres, and 165 stations.

Stunning architecture, ornate mosaics and beautiful stained glass meant that the most elaborate stations looked like rich cathedrals and museums. The tour takes under two hours and includes visits to the most awe-inspiring stations.
moscowfreetour.com

Price Students £17, Adults £27
Opening times  15.00 daily, duration 90 minutes

 

History - St. Petersburg

The Hermitage Museum and the Winter Palace

The Hermitage Museum, connected to the Winter Palace, houses a collection of around 3 million works of art and artefacts of world culture. From art to military history, it covers a wide range of interests. Visit the armoury to see 15,000 artefacts of Russian, Western European and Oriental weaponry from the middle ages through to the C.20th.

For those of you who want to find out about Russian culture in particular, there is a specialist Russian culture section reflecting a 1000 year Russian history.
hermitagemuseum.org

Price Students free, Adults £5
Opening times

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: 10.30-18.00

Wednesday, Friday: 10.30-21.00

Closed: Mondays

Cruiser Aurora

The Cruiser Aurora was a battleship built in the years 1897-1900 that was active in the Russo-Japanese war from 1904-1905. After the war, the ship was mainly used for naval military training, but in October 1917, Cruiser Aurora took the limelight, when it fired a blank shot signalling to revolutionaries that it was time to storm the Winter Palace.

During the 900 day siege of Leningrad, the ship once again came to the rescue, when its guns were dismantled and used for front-line defence. After the war, the ship was carefully restored and opened as a free museum and training base for cadets.
navalmuseum.ru

Price Students £5, Adults £7.50
Opening times 11:00 to 18:00 - Wednesday to Sunday

Peter and Paul Fortress

The Peter and Paul Fortress was commissioned by Peter the Great after he reclaimed land along the Neva Delta from the Swedes. It was built to protect the area against future attack from Swedish forces.

Founded on a small island in the Neva Delta on May 27th 1703, which has since been recognised as St. Petersburg's birthday, it served as the city's garrison and, rather more notoriously, as a high security prison for political dissidents. One of its first inmates was Alexei (Peter the Great's rebellious son) and since then it has held such great names as Dostoyevsky and Trotsky.
spbmuseum.ru

Price

Combined Entrance Ticket (for 5 permanent displays):

Student £4.50

Adult £7.50

Opening times 06:00 to 21:00 daily

 

The Cabin of Peter the Great

The first residential building to be built in the new city of St. Petersburg was small wooden cabin built as accommodation for Peter the Great. He lived there from 1703 to 1708, and the living room, bedroom and study are still filled with his belongings. At the time, Peter wanted all the buildings to be built of stone, as per the European tradition, but he could not afford it, so he ordered the house to be painted as if it were made out of bricks. 
rusmuseum.ru

Price Student £1.50, Adult £2.50
Opening times 10.00 to 18.00 daily
Thursday 13.00 to 21.00
Tuesday closed

 

More info from the team

Recreation

GUM Shopping Centre

A visit to the heart of Moscow the Red Square is not complete without a quick glance inside GUM shopping mall - the ultimate shopping experience for consumerists. This space was briefly converted into an office space for Stalin in 1928, but today holds a breathtaking array of shops and exclusive boutiques stretching the space of a 2 and a half football fields! Students are sure to find a souvenir here!
gumrussia.com

Opening times 10.00 to 22.00 daily

                

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