Russian History and Culture – La Trobe University

Status: open

20 Nov – 9 Dec 2019


Russian History and Culture – La Trobe University
Tour Highlights

Course Overview

Institution: La Trobe University, School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Course Code: HUS2IST / HUS3STT
Course Lecturer: Associate Professor Adrian Jones
Credit Points: 30 credit points
Prerequisites: Completion of a first-year in History, Archaeology, European Languages and Cultures, International Relations, Politics or Mediterranean Studies or permission from the Head of School.
Enrolments: available for participants enrolled in an undergraduate course at La Trobe University or at another university; for participants not currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree wishing to take the subject for credit; or for those wishing to travel and attend classes but not wishing to submit essays and give talks (ie as a ‘non-assessed’ audit student). For further details see ‘How to Book’.
Assessment: For assessment details, please contact the on-line La Trobe University undergraduate handbook, searching under HUS2IST / HUS3STT.

About the Course

In this travel and study subject, you have the chance to explore a millennium of Russian history in Russia. When you travel, especially when you travel in Russia, you lose your “feeling of being at home in the world”. You encounter theatre, dining and museum and art-gallery-ing at half the prices of western Europe. You observe a different model of how to divide life into public and private spheres. In this subject, you will have lots of opportunities to choose topics and follow particular interests, whether for on-site oral presentations or follow-on essays.

In Russia, you also encounter a different engine of Modernity: particularly in Russia’s long-eighteenth-century transformation and short-twentieth-century revolutions. Think too of ballet Russe, awe-inspiring rulers, of icons, of Soviet power, and of onion domes. Think of the glories of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian literature and music. Think about how Russia, unlike Australia, is so hard to defend. Russia repelled invasion thrice: 1612, 1812, 1941, each time reiterating autocracy. There are also ironies: Mongol overlordship (1227-1480) enabled autocratic Moscow to humble republican Novgorod, and Germany’s brief hegemony (1941-43) helped re-legitimate Communism.

Russia has some of our qualities too. It is also huge. Your group leader, Adrian Jones, also has in mind Russia’s bloated (and, in one case, invented) cities which so dominate their countryside (just as in Australia). He is also thinking of Russia’s overt (and as unreal?) egalitarianism, and the same open-ness to hearty helpings of (in their case, Georgian and Armenian) exotic food.

You will also notice differences. Adrian points to Russia’s Kremlin-centrism (so lacking in Canberra or in Spring Street). Russian boulevards are dominated by state institutions. Russia’s insular nested doll (matrëshka) worlds of old Orthodoxy, and of official Communism, emphasised public displays of unity, plus a readiness to thrust it onto citizens, using rituals, but never onto visitors.

You will also treasure Russia’s hospitality. Shchi (cabbage) and Borsch (beet) soups redeem anyone, feeding you well and cheaply. The wonders of the metro in Moscow beckon; totalitarian temples that work. In Russia, your “feeling of being at home in the world” will change. Come and combine travel with study!

The cost of the subject in 2019-2020 excludes travel insurance and the usual HELP fee for a 30-credit-point subject.  This price includes all return airfares, accommodation, all breakfasts, local transport, and many other meals in “special” places. No participant may travel without travel insurance.

Course Lecturer/Academic Enquiries

Associate Professor Adrian Jones OAM
LaTrobe University, History Program, School of Humanities and Social Sciences
T: 03-94792461
E: adrian.jones@latrobe.edu.au
History Program Office: 03-9479 1352



The detailed itinerary provides an outline of the proposed daily program. Participants should note that the daily activities described in this itinerary may be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate changes in museum opening hours, flight schedules & road conditions. Meals will be taken in hotels and in restaurants, many with a historical or local flavour. At times picnic lunches may be provided. Meals included in the tour price and are indicated in the itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=evening meal.

Moscow - 8 nights

Tuesday 19 November 2019, Depart Melbourne
  • Check-in for your departure flight 2.5hrs prior to departure

Participants are requested to commence check-in procedures at Melbourne International Airport, two and half hours prior to departure of the allocated flight. (In Flight)

Day 1: Wednesday 20 November 2019, Arrive Moscow
  • Arrival Transfer to the Izmailovo Vega Hotel
  • Orientation

On arrival in Moscow we transfer to Izmailovo Vega Hotel.

Get ready by listening to the Russian nationalist-populist composition by Modest Petrovich Mussorgskii (1839-81)’s prelude (6 minutes), Dawn on the Moscow River to his opera, Khovanshchina (written, but unfinished, 1872-80). Mussorgskii’s opera explored a rebellion in 1682 by defenders of Old Russian values against new “European” influences. Mussorgskii’s score was finished by his friend and fellow member of the circle of “The Mighty Handful or The Five” of Russian nationalist composers, Nikolai Andreevich Rimskii-Korsakov (1844-1908) in 1881-82. It was revised by Dmitri Dmitr’evich Shostakovich (1906-75) in 1959, when more of Mussorgskii’s score was discovered. The opera premiered in the Mariinskii Theatre (1860) in St Petersburg in 1886. (Overnight Izmailovo Vega Hotel, Moscow) 

Day 2: Thursday 21 November, Moscow: Around Red Square
  • Introductory lecture at the hotel
  • Transport: metro Ploshchad’ Revoliutsii
  • Morning: Red Square, walk past Lenin Mausoleum and visit St Basil’s
  • Lunchtime at a third floor Stolovaia at GUM (own expense)
  • Afternoon: Visit the State Historical Museum
  • Dine together at a “legendary café”: Varenichnaia No. 1, on ulitsa Nikol’skaia

On our first full day in Moscow, we will take the metro for the first time, going from metro station Partizanskaia (Partisan) to metro station Ploshchad’ Revoliutsii (Revolution Square), but then we will not venture far from Red Square. Here is Red Square as pictured by Fedor Iakovlevich  Alekseev in 1801. Expect to sleep in… a bit, or else breakfast at leisure in the hotel, ready to depart at 10 am. We will take an orientation walk past Lenin’s Mausoleum (now closed) and then visit the extraordinary onion-domed church of St Basil’s (1555-61), built in honour of “a holy fool (iurodivyi)” and to honour the conquest in 1552 by Tsar Ivan IV (b. 1530, r. 1533-84) of the Tatar khanate centred on the middle Volga river at Kazan. You will independently explore and lunch at GUM (1893). GUM is an early department store. It was built over a far older trading row. Nationalised in 1918, the store was re-named under the “New Economic Policy (NEP, 1921-29)” as “State Universal Store (known by its acronym, or GUM in English).

After lunch we take a short walk to the State Historical Museum, in a mock-Old-Russian building opened in 1883; Tsars Alexander II (b. 1818, r. 1855-81) and Alexander III (b. 1845, r. 1881-94) wanted to pay homage to the Russia’s history. We have several hours to traverse the full spectrum of Russian history in this wonderful museum. It has a café inside too, but don’t eat to too much as we will dine together tonight at a “legendary café” offering traditional Russian fare: Varenichnaia No. 1, on ulitsa Nikol’skaia 11/13 str 2, near the museum and near metro Ploshchad’ Revoliutsii. (Overnight Izmailovo Vega Hotel, Moscow) BD

Day 3: Friday 22 November, Moscow: Old Russia
  • Morning lecture and discussion at the hotel
  • Morning: Kolomenskoe museum and church complex above the Moscow Rr
  • Walk 40 minutes, keeping apple groves to the right, mid-gardens past Peter I Domik and the Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist
  • Dvorets Alekseia Mikhailovicha – reconstruction of a late-C17th timber palace

On our second full day on Moscow, we will explore Old Russia of the Tsars: fifteenth to seventeenth centuries. We head to metro Kolomenskoe, thereafter walking for 20 minutes to the Kolomenskoe museum and church complex above the Moscow Rr. We visit the Church of the Ascension (1532), located an old monastery and fort complex guarding the southern reaches of Moscow from Tatar raiding parties. The Church of the Ascension was the major project of Grand Prince Vasilii III Ivanovich (b. 1479, r. 1503-33), the father of Ivan IV. We then to take a 40-minute through the old park complex, keeping apple groves to the right, past an example of the log-cabin (Domik) of the kind at which the restless and resourceful Tsar Peter preferred to live (b. 1672, r. 1682-1725) and past the Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist,(1547-55). We are heading to a reconstruction (2010) of a baroque timber palace built by Belarus craftsmen (1667-72, but demolished in 1768). This exuberant timber palace, the Dvorets Alekseia Mikhailovicha, was built by Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich (b. 1629, r. 1645-76). There is only one image of the original palace as at 1762, published in 1780. A commercial operation nowadays, it presents a higher level of interior opulence than may have been “real”. Tsar Peter spent many fearful younger years here, living in exile from the Kremlin while his half-sister, Sofiia Alekseevna (1657-1704) ruled as regent (1682-89), but also when she was chief counsellor to the sick and saintly Tsar Fedor III Alekseevich (b. 1661, r. 1676-82). The original house was located closer to the main gate of Kolomenskoe. (Overnight Izmailovo Vega Hotel, Moscow) B

Day 4: Saturday 23 November, Moscow: Enlightenment-era Russia and Folk Russia
  • Morning lecture and discussion at the hotel
  • Sheremet’ev Family Estate at Kuskovo: the Park, the House and the Portraits
  • Lunch at Kuskovo café or else later at metro Shchelkovskaia vicinity – own expense
  • Museum of Cosmonautics

On our third full day in Moscow, we travel by coach to Kuskovo where we will visit the Sheremet’ev Family Estate at Kuskovo, a gem of a complex built in the mid-eighteenth century by one of the wealthiest noble families in Russia. There is a modest café here, or you could consider stocking up for lunch at a shop near the hotel. After lunch (at own expense) we drive to the Museum of Cosmonautics, located within the Monument to the Conquerors of Space and dedicated to the exploration of Space. (Overnight Izmailovo Vega Hotel, Moscow) B

Day 5: Sunday 24 November, Moscow: Abramtsevo and Zagorsk. Russian Orthodox Crafts and Culture Invented and Re-invented
  • Morning lecture and discussion at the hotel
  • Full day excursion to Abramtsevo and Zagorsk

On this fourth full day in Moscow, we will travel by coach to the countryside beyond Moscow, heading out on the old road to the Volga towns of Yaroslavl, Uglich, Suzdal and Rostov-Velikii. On today’s journey, we will touch some important sites of Russian Orthodox faith, art and culture. We will pass whole realms of Muscovite’s modest weekenders (the dacha ), We will head first to a place, Abramtsevo, where mid-to-late nineteenth-century writers, craftsmen and artists thrived across two generations, where Russian arts, crafts and faith were re-invented. This was the home of the Russian writer, Sergei Timofeevich Aksakov (1791-1859), whose Family Chronicle is one of the treasures of Russian literature, and of his son, the Slavophile philosopher, Ivan Sergeevich Aksakov (1823-86)).

We then head to Zagorsk, where we have lunch at a local restaurant. This afternoon we encounter the marvellous monastery fort and walled headquarters of the Orthodox Church, known as the settlement of the Holy Trinity of St Sergius, or the Troitsk-Sergeev Posad, one of the holiest sites in Holy Rus’. This was the place where the ascetic St Sergius (born Bartholomew) of Radonezh (1314-92) founded this monastery in 1337, among many, and from where he also backed the strong existing partnership of the Orthodox Church with the state of Muscovy (and not with the other possible centres, Tver’ or Novgorod-Pskov), not to mention rival Metropolitans of Lithuanian Rus’ (1315-71) and of Kiev Rus’ (988-1596, 1620-85). Metropolitans of Rus’ decided to base themselves in Moscow since 1328; Patriarchs have also based themselves since the Russian church was upgraded in 1589. The Patriarchate was suspended between 1721 and 1917, and between 1925 and 1943. (Overnight Izmailovo Vega Hotel, Moscow) BL

Day 6: Monday 25 November, Moscow: Kremlin and Armoury
  • Morning lecture and discussion at the hotel
  • Moscow Kremlin and Armoury Museum
  • House of the Romanov Boyars
  • Evening classical concert at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall

Proceeding by metro, on this fifth full day in Moscow, we will spend all day exploring the Moscow Kremlin and Armoury Museum, and other sites in the complex, if they are open. The Kremlin dates from the very beginning of the Grand Principality of Moscow (called Muscovy), when Grand Prince Ivan I Daniilovich (b. 1288, r. 1325-40 known as “Kalita Moneybags”, for his firm support for Tatar overlordship). Ivan I chose to base himself in Moscow rather than Vladimir. This first Kremlin was surrounded by a timber palisade and ditch, and its churches were made of local white stone. The mighty brick and stucco Kremlin we will see today largely dates from the long reign of Ivan III Vasil’evich “the Great” (b. 1440, r. 1462-1505) and the suite of architects from Milan whom he employed. Ivan III united all the east Slav lands under Muscovite control, humbling Tver’ and Novgorod, and he pushed the Tatars back in 1480.

After lunch (own expense), we visit the old lesser-walled (1536-39) “middle” or “basket” city where merchants assembled next to the Kremlin. In 1382, Tatar raiders and slave traders from Kazan and Crimea were still capable of sacking Kitaigorod, this less-defended oldest part of the city. We will explore a rare survival of an old-Russian (sixteenth-century) walled house-&-garden complex (usad’ba) of the Romanov clan of senior noblemen (boyars). Romanov clan leaders lived here before their young clansman, Michael Romanov (1596-1645), became the Tsar in 1613: House of the Romanov Boyars, on ulitsa Varvarka 8.

In the evening, we will re-assemble (at a location and at a time to be announced) to attend a classical concert at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall. Dress to impress! (Overnight Izmailovo Vega Hotel, Moscow) B

Day 7: Tuesday 26 November, Moscow: Nineteenth-century Russian Art and History
  • Morning lecture and discussion at the hote
  • Morning and Lunch: Tret’iakov Gallery
  • Re-convene at 5 pm  Central State Museum in the Contemporary History of Russia, ulitsa Tverskaia 21: Halls of Reform-Era Russian history, 1861-1917, including a virtual tour.
  • Stop by Eliseev Delicatessen, ulitsa Tverskaia 14 (1901)
  • Dine at a Caucasian and Georgian Restaurant, Khachapuri

On this sixth full day in Moscow, we will proceed to metro Tret’iakovskaia and spend a great deal of time in the Tret’iakov Gallery, open between 10 am and 6 pm. There is lovely café inside, and some good bookshops too. Then we will cross the city by metro to the inner north at metro Pushkinskaia, Chekhovskaia, Tverskaia, where we will re-convene at 5 pm at , the  Central State Museum in the Contemporary History of Russia, till 7 pm. We will focus here on the Halls of Reform-Era Russian history, 1861-1917, and the civil war (1918-21) and on contemporary Russia, as the Stalin era is not as well covered here. A virtual tour is available. Since we are in the area, we will stop by the magnificent store (1901), the Eliseev Delicatessen, ulitsa Tverskaia 14. Later we will dine together at our expense at a Caucasian and Georgian Restaurant, Khachapuri. (Overnight Izmailovo Vega Hotel, Moscow) BD

Day 8: Wednesday 27 November, Moscow: Old Romantic and New Soviet Russia
  • Morning lecture and discussion at the hotel
  • State Museum of A.S. Pushkin
  • Lunch at Baba Marta Restaurant

On this seventh and final full day in Moscow, we will make our way to metro Kropotkinskaia, and spend the morning with Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin (1799-1833), Russia’s greatest poet: State Museum of A.S. Pushkin, from 10 am, ulitsa Gagarina, with a virtual tour. Lunch will be at Baba Marta restaurant near the Pushkin Musuem. You will have free time in the late afternoon and evening to re-visit a favourite Moscow site by metro and then pack up ready to move first thing tomorrow morning. (Overnight Izmailovo Vega Hotel, Moscow) BL


Yaroslavl - 3 nights

Day 9: Thursday 28 November, Moscow – Yaroslavl’
  • Train from Moscow to Yaroslavl’
  • Orientation walk of Yaroslavl’

After a final early breakfast at our hotel, we will make our way by metro to the 10.06 a.m. train 016 from Moscow (Yaroslavl’ station) to Yaroslavl’ Main Station, a journey of four hours or so. Once we have transferred to our hotel, and we have had time to settle, we will take a Volga River orientation walk in the twilight in Yaroslavl’. We dine together tonight at a local restaurant.  (Overnight Yaroslavl) BD

Day 10: Friday 29 November, A Baroque Glory: The Kremlin in Yaroslavl’
  • Morning lecture and discussion at the hotel
  • Kremlin Museum-Zapovednik
  • Traditional Russian Lunch

We will be on foot today on our first full day in Yaroslavl’. We will explore the Kremlin Museum-Zapovednik in Yaroslavl’ in and around Bogoiavlenskii Ploshchad’: observing the Transfiguration of the Saviour Cathedral (1506-16) of the Spasskii (Holy Saviour) Monastery (1617) and its library, which once held the only copy of «Тhe Lay of Igor’s Host» (late-twelfth-century, but disputed, as it was only discovered in 1792, and as it was destroyed in the fire of Moscow in 1812). Lunch is on us: we have arranged a traditional Russian lunch (at 1 pm) of boiled Russian ravioli and soup, Ulitsa Bol’shaia Okt’abrskaia 28. Options afterward: either walk the embankment tip to the old site of the demolished fortress – approximately 1 km, or walk (approximately 2 km) across the Kotorosl’ bridge and then left toward the other embankment to the Church of St John Chrysostom (1654), with its exquisite tiling: Portovaia Haberezhnaia 2.  (Overnight Yaroslavl’) BL

Day 11: Saturday 30 November, Rostov & Uglich: Baroque Russia and Russian Crafts
  • Morning lecture and discussion at the hotel
  • Holy Saviour Yakovlevskii Monastery, Rostov
  • Rostov Kremlin complex
  • Craft shops sell traditional Russian crafts
  • Uglich Kremlin complex

On our second full day in and around the Volga at Yaroslavl’, we are going to take a trip on a bus in a 60-km circle trip to Rostov-Velikii then Uglich from Yaroslavl’. Arriving at Rostov, we will start with the view of the old town to be gained from the eighteenth-century complex, actually far older, of the Holy Saviour Yakovlevskii Monastery, Ulitsa Engelsa 44, and then proceed to explore the whole Rostov Kremlin complex (open till 8 pm), with its cluster of 1670s baroque churches and frescoes. We have also pre-booked lunch in Rostov at our expense. In the afternoon, we will make some stops to some leading shops selling traditional Russian crafts, not least the local black ceramic ware and  enamel ware.

At Uglich, we can either visit the Uglich Kremlin C17th Spaso-Preobrazhenskii Sobor’ with its frescoes, and the Belltower whose bells sounded when Dmitri Ivanovich died in 1591. And/or we can make a last stop (before it closes at 6 pm) at a Shop/Museum selling  fuller range of Russian crafts. Then it’s back to the hotel and some free time in the hip provincial town of Yaroslavl’. (Overnight Yaroslavl’) BL

Overnight Train to St Petersburg - 1 night

Day 12: Sunday 1 December, A Provincial Art Gallery, Dinner by the Volga and a Sleeper Train
  • Yaroslavl’ Art Museum
  • Church of Elijah the Prophet, Yaroslavl’ (exterior)
  • Leisurely Early Dinner at Penats Restaurant

On our third and final full day in Yaroslavl’, we pack up and store our luggage in the hotel locker room, and then take a walk to the Yaroslavl’ Art Gallery, Volznskaya Naberezhnaya 23, which includes this orientation film in English. The Church of Elijah the Prophet (1647-50), with its 1680s frescoes, Sovetskaia Ploshchad’ 7, lies at rear of garden behind the art gallery. We will then lay on at our expense a late and long lunch at a Volga shore restaurant: Volzhskaia Bashia Restaurant. We will return by hire bus to the hotel and collect our luggage in store around 9 pm, ready to leave late, also using a hire bus, between 9 pm and 10.30 pm. We will then be ready to take an overnight train to St Petersburg in 4-berth (2-up, 2-down) shared sleeper compartments: departing 11.30 pm to go from Yaroslavl’ to St Petersburg. This will be a 12.5-hour journey in reserved group 2 or 3-person sleeping compartments on train 347. Meals taken on the train are at the students’ expense. (Overnight Train Yaroslavl’ to St Petersburg) BD

St Petersburg - 7 nights

Day 13: Monday 2 December, Arrive St Petersburg and take a walk along the canals
  • Arrive at St Petersburg’s Moscow Station and walk to hotel
  • Canal Walking Tour of ‘Old St Petersburg’, featuring the Griboedov Canal
  • Afternoon Tea at Singer Cafe in ‘House of Books’

You could warm to our task by listening to the 7th Symphony of Dmitri Dmitr’evich Shostakovich (1906-75) written in 1939-40 and named for Leningrad (Petrograd, St Petersburg) on its premiere in Leningrad while under German siege in 27 December 1941. We will arrive around midday in St Petersburg’s Moscow Station. We will transfer to the hotel by foot as the hotel is only 500 metres away. In the afternoon, we will walk along the canals of “Old Petersburg” including the Griboedov Canal and Moika Canal. We expect to depart at 3.30 pm from Admiralty bank. Afterwards, we will have afternoon tea at Café Singer,third floor, in House of Books Nevskij Prospekt 28, opposite Kazan Cathedral. In the evening, we can walk along the famous Nevskii Prospekt: choose your own restaurant in and around Nevskii Prospekt. (Overnight St Petersburg) B

Day 14: Tuesday 3 December, Revolutions of 1917!
  • Morning lecture and discussion at the hotel
  • Coach tour of Revolution sites, including Akhmatova Monument, Kresty Prison, Tauride Palace and Smolnyi Monastery
  • State Museum of the Political History of Russia
  • Aurora battlecruiser – exterior
  • Museum of the History of Political Police in Russia
  • Dinner at the Russian Vodkaroom no.1 Restaurant and Museum

Starting our journey on this second full day in St Petersburg, we will take a coach tour of some of the most significant sites associated with the Russian Revolution. We pass the Tauride Palace and Gardens (1783) on Kirochnaia street, then left fork at Suvorov street to Smolnyi Monastery. The Tauride was the seat of the four State Dumas (1906-16) and the site of the first meeting of the Petrograd Soviet. The Smolnyi Monastery, a requisitioned formed college for noble girls, was the permanent site of the Petrograd Soviet and it became Lenin’s HQ during the October Revolution.

We will visit the State Museum of the Political History of Russia, former Mansion of ballerina Matild Kseshinskaia, ulitsa Kuibysheva 2-4, entering from Kronverg Prospekt. We will then walk across to the mooring of the Russian Baltic Fleet battlecruiser, Aurora (1897-1903), a key actor in the October Revolution, 1917. This afternoon we visit the Museum of the History of Political Police in Russia in the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries, located near metro Admiralteiskaia. From 6.00 pm, we will have an evening three-hour four-course dinner at the Russian Vodkaroom no. 1 Restaurant and  Museum. Beer and other drinks at  extra cost. (Overnight St Petersburg) BD

Day 15: Wednesday 4 December, A Long Day in the Winter Palace
  • Morning lecture and discussion at the hotel
  • The Hermitage

After our morning discussion we will walk or take the metro to The Hermitage. This amazing Rococo, Baroque and neo-Classical palace (1750 to 1810s) was intended to function from the outset as a Winter Palace, a Reception Palace and an Art Gallery. We will have a tour in the morning then you can further explore the extensive palace and its collections at your own pace. You can take lunch and dinner inside the Hermitage, at your expense. (Overnight St Petersburg) B

Day 16: Thursday 5 December, Peter the Great’s Russia – A Walk on both sides of the Neva Embankment
  • Morning lecture and discussion at the hotel
  • Palace Bridge
  • Menshikov Palace
  • Vasileostrovskii Market
  • Peter and Paul Fortress

After a leisurely breakfast, on our fourth full day in St Peterburg, we will arrive at Vasileostrovskaia metro or else walk walk across the Palace Bridge and then explorethe Menshikov Palace on Vasil’evskii Island, near the Colleges. We will then assemble our own lunch, at your expense, as you select from stalls in Vasileostrovskii Market. We will then meet afterwards at Vasil’ostrovskaia metro to go to metro Gor’kovskaia. We will then explore Peter and Paul fortress, Prison (Trubetskoi Bastion) and Imperial Tombs since 1725 (prison and church/tombs till 7 pm, grounds open till 9 pm). The nearest metros are Gorkovskaia or Sportivnaia, and there is the option to return to hotel via metro from near Peter & Paul Fort. (Overnight St Petersburg) B

Day 17: Friday 6 December, Exploring Russian Cultures (plural) in and around the Mikhailovskii District
  • Morning lecture and discussion at the hotel
  • State Russian Museum
  • Russian Ethnographic Museum
  • Church of the Spilt Blood
  • Classical Concert at the Grand Philharmonic Hall

On our fifth full day in St Petersburg, we will explore two adjacent museums near the Mikhailovskii Castle [where Emperor Paul (b. 1762, r. 1796-1801) was murdered in 1801] and the Mikailovskii Square: the first museum is the incomparable State Russian Museum showing the greatest works of Russian art (You can pre-prepare by using their virtual tours 1 & 2 & 3). We will take a late lunch in the café in the State Russian Museum at your expense. In the mid-afternoon, we will visit the Russian Ethnographic Museum and the nearby Church of the Spilt Blood (1883-1907) commemorating the assassination by “The People’s Will” of Emperor Alexander III on this spot 1 March 1881. Dinner will be thereabouts, in any nearby café of your choice and at your expense, ready to re-assemble for a classical concert at the Grand Philharmonic Hall. (Overnight St Petersburg) B

Day 18: Saturday 7 December, Imperial Russia: Pavlovsk and Tsarskoye Selo
  • Morning lecture and discussion at the hotel
  • Coach to Pavlovsk
  • Paul’s Palace at Pavlovsk
  • Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo

On our sixth full day in St Petersburg, we will take a coach to Pavlovsk where we will visit the palace built by Scottish architect Charles Cameron between 1782 and 1786 for Catherine the Great, who presented it to her son Grand Duke Paul (Pavel, hence Pavlovsk, ‘Pavel’s place’). Cameron designed the palace in the classical style, and also laid out its extensive park, a spendid example of 18th and 19th century landscape architecture.

We drive on to Tsarskoye Selo (Royal Village) to the Catherine Palace. Catherine, wife of Peter the Great, to whom the site was given, was elevated to the position of tsaritsa. The present Baroque Catherine Palace and its magnificent park were built for Empress Elizabeth (1741-1761) and Catherine II (1762-1796). Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli, Russia’s greatest 18th-century architect, designed the sections constructed between 1752 and 1756; the interior was much altered by Charles Cameron.  When we return, you will have free time in the evening. (Overnight St Petersburg) BL

Day 19: Sunday 8 December, St Petersburg
  • Morning test session at the hotel
  • Day at Leisure
  • Farewell Dinner

After a morning test session at the hotel, the day will be at leisure to shop, revisit a favourite museum or to relax. This evening we head out together to partake in a farewell dinner to make the end of our Russian journey. (Overnight St Petersburg) BD

Day 20: Monday 9 December, Depart St Petersburg
  • Airport transfer for participants departing on the ASA ‘designated’ flight

Our course ends in St Petersburg. Passengers travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flight will transfer to the airport for the return flight to Australia. Alternatively you may wish to extend your stay in Russia. Please contact ASA if you require further assistance. B



20 days in Russia

All hotels are rated 3-star and are comfortable and conveniently situated. Further information on hotels will be provided in the ‘Tour Hotel List’ given to tour members prior to their departure.

  • Moscow (8 nights) 3-star Izmailovo Vega Hotel – a large modern hotel located close to the Partizanskaya Metro station. www.hotel-vega.ru
  • Yaroslavl (3 nights) 3-star Ibis Yaroslavl Center – a modern business-style hotel located within easy walking distance to the major sites of Yaroslavl. www.accorhotels.com
  • Overnight Train: Yaroslavl’ to St Petersburg – Sleeper compartments for 4 people (2 upper and 2 lower berths). Bathrooms (with toilet and wash basin) are located at either end of the carriage.
  • St Petersburg (7 nights) 3-star Hotel Ibis St Petersburg – a comfortable and modern hotel located close to Nevsky Prospect in the heart of St Petersburg. www.accorhotels.com

Note: Hotels are subject to change, in which case a hotel of similar standard will be provided.

How to book

How to Book

Applications & Enrolments

ASA will not accept any reservation, even if a $500.00 deposit has been paid, unless the following documentation has been received:

  1. Completed and signed ASA Course Reservation Application Form
  • You will be notified shortly afterwards whether you have been selected to participate in the subject.
  • A maximum of 20 students can enrol in the subject; first-come, first-served.
In addition to fulfilling ASA’s requirements, all participants must enrol under one of the following options:
  • Option 1 is for Participants currently enrolled in an undergraduate course at La Trobe University. If you want the subject to count as 30-credit-points towards your current La Trobe degree, you enrol in the subject before departure according to the requirements of your Faculty. Normal HELP fees apply as with any other university subject, but with the addition of the travel provider’s (Australians Studying Abroad’s) price for airfares, bus-&-local-transport, bed-&-breakfast accommodation and some meals. In the past, the La Trobe Abroad Office has offered a subsidy of at least A$500 to enrolling La Trobe University students. La Trobe students can also use OS-HELP loan to cover all costs if this 30-credit-point subject is combined with other accredited Study Abroad subjects worth another 30 credit points, making 60 credit points in total. OS-HELP loan students must also must have at least 15 credit points (the equivalent of one La Trobe subject, or 0.125 EFTSL to use the cross-institutional measure) to complete in their current course after return from exchange. To be eligible to apply for an OS-Help loan, students need to be enrolled in a secondary program at an overseas institution crediting a full time load back to your La Trobe University course. Visit: www.latrobe.edu.au/study/exchange-and-study-abroad/study-overseas – this offers a La Trobe-students’ information portal for study abroad options in general and www.latrobe.edu.au/study/exchange-and-study-abroad/study-overseas/fees offers information about La Trobe-students’ $500 mobility-grant subsidy and OS-HELP loan options.
  • Option 2 is for Participants currently enrolled in an undergraduate course at another University. If you want this La Trobe subject to count as credit towards your current degree in your University, you enrol in the subject as a cross-institutional Complementary Subject and obtain the approval of the relevant officers in both universities.  Standard (home institutional) HELP fees apply as with any of their subjects, but with the addition of the travel provider’s (Australians Studying Abroad’s) price for airfares, bus-&-local-transport, bed-&-breakfast accommodation and some meals. Students may also be able to use an OS-HELP loan to cover all costs, but it will depend on the view of their ‘home’ institution.
  • Option 3 is for Participants not currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree, wishing to take the subject for credit. With this option, you enrol as an ‘Assessed’ student taking the course as a ‘single-subject’ if you wish to complete assessment and receive a result for the subject. As an ‘Assessed’ student you will receive an official academic result, which is available for credit should you subsequently gain admission into an award course at La Trobe University. The ‘Single Subject’ fee is in addition to the travel provider’s (Australians Studying Abroad’s) price for airfares, bus-&-local-transport, bed-&-breakfast accommodation and some meals. Note that to apply for admission into a course offered by La Trobe’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences you will be required to have completed two subjects at an undergraduate level.
  • Option 4 is for Participants who wish to travel and attend classes, but who do not wish to be assessed. These Participants do not wish take the subject for credit. You enrol in the subject as a ‘non-assessed’ Audit student if you do not wish to gain an official academic result. Participants undertaking this course as a non-assessed student will be required to pay a ‘Non-Assessed Audit Fee Supplement’ of A$500, in addition to the travel provider’s (Australians Studying Abroad’s) price for airfares, bus-&-local-transport, bed-&-breakfast accommodation and some meals. You will be required to pay this fee supplement at the time of paying your balance for the subject. This will be included in the final invoice you receive from Australians Studying Abroad.
Single Supplement

Payment of the single supplement will ensure accommodation in a single room throughout the tour. The number of single rooms available is extremely limited. People wishing to take the Single Supplement are therefore advised to book well in advance and is on a request-only basis. Single berth compartments are NOT available on the Yaroslavl – St Petersburg train.

Practical Information

Practical Information

The number of flags is a guide to the degree of difficulty of ASA tours relative to each other (not to those of other tour companies). It is neither absolute nor literal. One flag is given to the least taxing tours, six to the most. Flags are allocated, above all, according to the amount of walking and standing each tour involves. Nevertheless all ASA tours require that participants have a good degree of fitness enabling 2-3 hours walking or 1-1.5 hours standing still on any given site visit or excursion. Many sites are accessed by climbing slopes or steps and have uneven terrain.

This 20-day course involves:

  • 3-star hotels with 2 changes; lifts not available in some hotels
  • Overnight train from Yaroslavl to St Petersburg in shared sleeper compartments
  • an extensive amount of walking to site visits, often up and down hills and/or flights of stairs, along cobbled streets and uneven terrain. You therefore need to be a good walker and be prepared to stand for some time on site and in front of buildings
  • minimal coach travel – all on good roads; extensive use of public transport in Moscow and St Petersburg
  • Russia will be entering winter at the time of this course; in Moscow you will experience average temperatures of 1 to -3 degrees Celsius; in St Petersburg you will experience average temperatures of -1 to -6 degrees Celsius
  • porterage is not included; participants MUST be able to carry their own luggage.

It is important to remember that ASA programs are group tours, and slow walkers affect everyone in the group. As the group must move at the speed of the slowest member, the amount of time spent at a site may be reduced if group members cannot maintain a moderate walking pace. ASA tours should not present any problem for active people who can manage day-to-day walking and stair-climbing. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to manage on a program, please ask your ASA travel consultant whether this is a suitable tour for you.

Please note: it is a condition of travel that all participants agree to accept ASA’s directions in relation to their suitability to participate in activities undertaken on the tour, and that ASA retains the sole discretion to direct a tour participant to refrain from a particular activity on part of the tour. For further information please refer to the ASA Reservation Application Form.

Practical Information

Prior to departure, tour members will receive practical notes which include information on visa requirements, health, photography, weather, clothing and what to pack, custom regulations, bank hours, currency regulations, electrical appliances and food. The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers see: www.smartraveller.gov.au

Tour Price & Inclusions

Tour Price & Inclusions

AUD $6790.00 Course Price incl. international airfare with Emirates
AUD $720.00   Single Supplement
AUD $400.00   Audit Fee Supplement (applicable to participants who are not taking this subject as part of their university degree)

Course Price (Land Content Only) includes:

  • Return airfare economy class with Emirates Airlines including taxes (19 Nov 2019: Melbourne-Dubai-Moscow; 9 Dec 2019: St Petersburg-Dubai-Melbourne)
  • Accommodation in twin-share (2 per room) rooms.
  • Breakfast daily, lunches and evening meals as outlined in the itinerary, where B = breakfast, L = lunch and D = evening meal
  • Return airport transfers if travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flights
  • Transportation by air-conditioned coach in the provinces and public transport costs within Moscow and St Petersburg
  • Academic program as outlined in the itinerary
  • Entrances to museums, galleries outlined in the itinerary
  • Local guide in Russia where applicable
  • Tips for the coach driver, Russian guide and restaurants for included meals.
  • Russian Visa

Course Price (Land Content Only) does not include:

  • Evening meals & lunches not indicated in the course itinerary
  • Personal spending money
  • Airport-hotel transfers if not travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flights
  • Luggage in excess of 20 kg (44 lbs)
  • Travel insurance
Tour Map

Tour Map

Terms & Conditions

A non-refundable deposit of $500.00 AUD per person is required to reserve a place on an ASA tour.

Confirmation of Your Booking

When we have received your ASA Course Reservation Application Form together with the deposit or full payment for the tour, and assuming there is a place available on the tour, we will send you confirmation of your booking and relevant travel details. It is from this moment that a firm contract exists between you and Australians Studying Abroad Pty Ltd (hereafter called ASA) on the basis of this itinerary, together with ASA’s general brochure, and any brochure or itinerary amendments communicated to you, these booking conditions and the travel details sent to you. If a place is not available we will return your payment. ASA does however reserve the right to refuse to accept a booking without necessarily giving a reason.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • up to and including 76 days prior $500.00 non-refundable deposit
  • 75-46 days prior 25% of total amount due
  • 45-31 days prior 50% of total amount due
  • 30-15 days prior 75% of total amount due
  • 14-0 days prior 100% of total amount due

We take the day on which you cancel as being that on which we receive written confirmation of cancellation.

Unused Portions of the Tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Will the Course Price or Itinerary Change?

If the number of participants on a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates or airfare taxes ASA reserves the right to amend the advertised price. We shall, however, do all in our power to maintain the published price. If an ASA tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all tour monies paid. Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of ASA make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes in due course.

If La Trobe University Cancels the Course

In the event the academic program be cancelled as a result of La Trobe University, in response to Federal Government travel advice, designating the locations of the program to be unsafe: participants will be charged the cancellation fees as indicated in these booking conditions (refer to the paragraph ‘Cancellation Fees’).

Travel Insurance

ASA requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. A copy of your travel insurance certificate and the reverse charge emergency contact phone number must be received by ASA no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the tour.

Passport Details

All participants must provide no later than 90 days prior to the commencement of the program a photocopy of the front page of their current passport.

Final Payment

The balance of the tour price will be due 75 days prior to the tour commencement date.

Limitation of Liability

ASA is not a carrier, event or tourist attraction host, accommodation or dining service provider. All bookings made and tickets or coupons issued by ASA for transport, event, accommodation, dining and the like are issued as an agent for various service providers and are subject to the terms and conditions and limitations of liability imposed by each service provider. ASA is not responsible for their products or services. If a service provider does not deliver the product or service for which you have contracted, your remedy lies with the service provider, not ASA. ASA will not be liable for any claim (eg. sickness, injury, death, damage or loss) arising from any change, delay, detention, breakdown, cancellation, failure, accident, act, omission or negligence of any such service provider however caused (contingencies). You must take out adequate travel insurance against such contingencies. ASA’s liability in respect of any tour will be limited to the refund of amounts received from you less all non-refundable costs and charges and the costs of any substituted event or alternate services provided. The terms and conditions of the relevant service provider from time to time comprise the sole agreement between you and that service provider. ASA reserves the sole discretion to cancel any tour or to modify itineraries in any way it considers appropriate. Tour costs may be revised, subject to unexpected price increases or exchange rate fluctuations.

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