The Russian landscape, its remote communities and its diverse local customs have for decades evaded the eyes of western visitors. There were scarcely heard stories about a mythical and romantic “land of the midnight sun,” with endless deep-green forests and frozen shorelines. Today it is possible to have the experience of discovering and traveling the region, which is located beyond the Polar Arctic Circle, aboard a luxurious private train.
Headed Toward the White Lands
While the distance between Moscow and St. Petersburg is just under 700 kilometers, a distance usually covered in less than five hours aboard a regular high-speed train, Golden Eagle Luxury Trains is offering a journey between the two cities encompassing 12 days of luxurious and enriching immersion in the landscape and culture of Nordic Russia. The cost ranges between US $11,995 and US $22,295, and it comprises all services, including stays at hotels of the highest ranking and exclusive cabins aboard the train.
Moscow and Surroundings
This innovative experience of Russia’s lands begins at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton Hotel, located a short distance from Red Square and the Bolshoi Theater. Travelers will be treated to an exquisite welcoming dinner, and they will be invited to visit and get acquainted with Moscow’s traditional places: the Kremlin, the old Red Square, the fabulous treasures of the czars, and the city’s opulent and extremely deep subterranean public transport stations (something that is truly unique), embellished with statues, murals, paintings and mosaics of noteworthy artistic merit, a source of pride among Muscovites.
The Gold of Vladimir
There will be a visit to the historic city of Vladimir, founded in 990, which once was the capital of the empire and today is a world heritage site due to its notable architectural wealth. Once there, a visit to the Uspenski Cathedral, where many Russian czars were crowned, is a must. Built between the 12th and 15th centuries, it is one of Russia’s oldest white stone, golden-domed churches. Not far from there are the walls of Suzdal, a city built in 1024, representative of the grandiloquent style of czarist architecture. The day comes to a close with a performance of traditional choral music in the Monastery of Saint Euthymius before returning to Moscow to board the Golden Eagle toward Petrozavodsk. The city, located on the shores of Lake Onega very close to the border with Finland, is one of northern Russia’s cultural centers. From there you can visit the island of Kizhi and the Cathedral of the Transfiguration, built in 1714 entirely of wood without any metal elements.
Beyond the Known
The trip ventures into the white Nordic Russian lands, crossing the Polar Arctic Circle to Murmansk, a city on the shore of the Barents Sea halfway between Moscow and the North Pole. One afternoon of traveling under the incredible midnight sun and the journey turns back south, arriving in the exquisite city of Saint Petersburg. There you will rest for two nights at the exclusive Hotel Renaissance St. Petersburg Baltic, a few minutes away from the city’s main attractions: the Hermitage Museum, the Mariinsky Theater and Nevsky Prospekt.■