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May 15-23, 2014

Join National Trust Tours on the fascinating week-long St. Petersburg Seminar and discover the momentous history of Peter the Great’s visionary city boasting landmark Baroque and Neo-Classical architecture. Each morning, local Russian experts bring to life six core educational themes with engaging lectures and discussion, followed by pertinent site visits.


  • Stand at the graves of the Russian czars in the historic Peter and Paul Fortress
  • Enjoy an exclusive expert-led tour of Catherine’s Palace with access to some of the behind-the-scenes areas, including the Amber Room workshops
  • Glimpse St. Petersburg through Dostoevsky’s eyes during a literary walking tour through the backstreets of the city
  • Private lecture focused on a particular aspect of Russian life and explore the city in the context of these six themes: Conservation & Heritage, Russian Literature, Russian Revolution & the Siege, Peter the Great, Women’s Age of Russia, Russian Ballet & Theatre
  • Attend a memorable back-stage tour and ballet performance at the highly regarded Mariinsky Theater
  • Spend an evening at a private dacha outside the city enjoying a traditional Russian dinner with the company of local hosts

Study Leader Information
Private, engaging lectures led by local experts will present the day's theme.

Tour Itinerary
May 15/16 - Thursday/Friday
Arrive in St. Petersburg, check-in to Helvetia Hotel.
May 17 - Saturday
Lecture: Architectural Preservation of the City and its Suburbs
After a lecture on preservation efforts of the UNESCO-listed city center, head out of town to see what the Russian dacha is all about. Stop at historic artists’ and writers’ country retreats and observe some of the modern rural estates of the wealthy. Toast the journey over a traditional Russian meal in the dacha of a St. Petersburg resident, storytelling, and singing.
May 18 - Sunday
Lecture: St. Petersburg: Home of Some of Russia’s Greatest Writers
Walk the backstreets of St. Petersburg in the footsteps of Dostoevsky’s anti-hero Raskolnikov and tour the apartment where the author wrote Crime and Punishment. Have lunch at the café where Pushkin drank his last cup of tea before his fatal duel. Visit Tikhvin Cemetery, burial place of Tchaikovsky, Dostoevsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov.
May 19 - Monday
Lecture: St. Petersburg – Petrograd – Leningrad – St. Petersburg
In the calamitous 20th century, Petersburg was the focal point of two momentous events – the October Revolution in 1917 and the 900-day siege during WWII, which Russia calls the Great Patriotic War. These events come alive through visits to the Usupoff Palace, where the plot against Rasputin was carried out, the Art Nouveau Political History Museum, and the Smolny Institute, where Lenin stayed during the night of the revolution. Visit the Piskarev Memorial Cemetery where the graves of more than half a million Leningraders starved or froze to death during the 1941-44 siege lie.
May 20 - Tuesday
Lecture: Russia Before Peter the Great and Changes Under Peter’s Rule
Following the morning lecture, board a hydrofoil out onto the Gulf of Finland and to Peter the Great's summer palace, Peterhof. The emperor designed the fantastic array of cascades and fountains himself, as well as his favorite residence, Monplaisir. Back in town, stop at the Peter and Paul Fortress, one of the first structures built in St. Petersburg, and the burial place of most of the czars, including Peter himself.
May 21 - Wednesday
Lecture: Catherine I: Peter’s Wife; Elizabeth I: Peter’s Daughter; Catherine the Great: Peter’s Successor
Enjoy an overview of three of Russia’s most inspiring women and the structures most closely associated with them, including the world-class Hermitage Museum. Originally a small private palace gallery begun by Catherine the Great, the Hermitage today houses one of the largest and most brilliant museum collections in the world. After, visit Catherine’s Palace, built for Catherine I and beautifully restored after WWII.
May 22 - Thursday
Lecture: St. Petersburg: Cradle of the World’s Modern Ballet
Trace the history of St. Petersburg ballet and theater. Site visits include the Samoilov Family Museum which displays recreated homes of famed acting dynasties of the 19th- 20th centuries, and an exclusive backstage tour of the Mariinsky Theater. Return in the evening for a performance by the famed ballet troupe. Note: theater schedules may require the backstage tour and performance to occur on another day.
May 23 - Friday
Depart St. Petersburg, transfer to the airport for departure.

Special Offer!
Mention Historic Hotels of America when booking your tour and receive three $100 gift certificates, each good toward a $100 refund when you book through and stay for at least two-nights at a Historic Hotels of America hotel.*

To book a tour please contact our tour VIP desk at +1 202 772 8000 or

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*Maximum of one $100 certificate may be claimed for a refund with a minimum two night stay booked through following the return of your tour and completion of your hotel stay. The refund will be issued within 45 days of the completion of your stay upon submitting a Great Experiences & Tours $100 refund application. Refund application must be submitted with a copy of your hotel folio receipt, the original confirmation number from your booking on, and the Certificate number issued to you for booking your tour through Historic Hotels of America. Certificates issued are a promotion only valid toward future reservations made through and do not have any cash value. One certificate may be used per room per two night or longer stay at the same hotel. Eligible rates include rates publicly available at time of booking. Reduced rates, rooms included in another travel or tour package, employee rates, advance purchase rates, and certain last minute sale rates are not eligible for this promotion.