Two-day individual tour: The Hermitage and Saint Petersburg downtown
On the first day we are going visit the Hermitage and walk around the surrounding area. After that (if you feel like) we might visit several famous St Petersburg cathedrals.
In the Hermitage the tour usually starts from main staircase and state rooms of the Winter Palace and follow the route of the Zar's ceremonial procession toward the church. So you can compare changes of style from original baroque, typical to Empress Elisabeth's court architect Rastrelli, to classical which was Catherine's favorite style. Along the route I'll tell you about every highlight of the collection including history of its creation, acquisition and authentication. We'll see the Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Flemish, British and French sections and you'll learn about socio-economic progress of each country in conjunction with the development of its art. Along this route we talk about the history of rooms and their former royal owners.
On the second day I'd like to show you the city.
We can explore both sides of the Neva and walk in a complete loop the city center. We can start from any place, for example on Nevsky or any of those streets radiating from it. Nevsky is main thoroughfare of St. Petersburg stretched like a string between two major points on the bow of Neva river — Admiralty and Alexandr Nevsky monastery, certainly one of the must see places in the city.
We could go towards the Neva embankment along any canal that flow from Neva and empty back into it. You'll learn about the Fontanka river, the Catherine canal, the Moika river that are the channels built during the 18th-19th centuries and about major buildings on their banks and events happened in them. You'll hear the stories about St. Michael castle, Summer Garden, Field of Mars, Church on a Spilt Blood, Michael palace (Russian Museum), Marble palace and many more of those historical buildings that create unforgettable iconic image of St.Petersburg and directly connected with the Russian history for the last 300 years.
After we cross Neva river we get to the historical nucleus of the city and visit the main spots connected with its foundation such as Peter and Paul fortress and cathedral. You'll also see the Trinity square and Kshesinskaya mansion. Then we'll walk along the embankments to check out the grand Duke's magnificent palaces and spit of Vasilievskii Island (promontory of land created for former city port and latter used as official city center). We'll continue our rout along the Neva embankment, the only place where you could see first museum, first academy of science, first university, first military school, first art academy, first theater and first senate and synod (highest regulating body for Orthodox church). Impressive? All of those places are most recognizable images that gave St.Petersburg its brand name.
On the St Isaak square with impressive bulk of the cathedral you'll hear about the history of political reforms in Russia and bloody events connected with the reign of those tzars. We'll wind up at Big and Small Maritime streets that originally were the first two streets in St.Petersburg and later became the most prestigious ones in Russia. A lot of banks, insurance agencies and jewelry shops (Faberge was one of them) appeared there in the end of the 19-th century.
On our walk along the other canal we'll spot the mansions of the richest Russian families of the Usupovs, the Stroganovs, the Sheremetievs and the Demidovs. Each of them owned a land compared to any kingdom in Europe. You'll find out about their fortunes and their famous representatives influenced the history of Russia.
Along the way you'll aslo see some places connected with history of Russian literature, music and ball room dancing; nodel salons that were frequented by famous Russian writes and poets such as Pushkin and Dostoevsky, famous musicians and composers like Chaikovsky and Rubinstein, ballet dancers from Mariinsky and Bolshoi Theater. We'll finish our trip at Nevsky prospect.
So if you are interested to really dive into St Petersburg history and culture no need to look any further! I am your guide!
Regular ticket: 3000 RUB per person
Outside the city boat terminal/If you don't: please, send me a message, so we can figure out comfortable spot
Two-day individual tour: The Hermitage and Saint Petersburg downtown - customer reviews
May, 13 2017
We were fortunate to book Igor for a two day hermitage and city tour. We learned so much, covered so much ground and enjoyed the experience that we booked Igor for another day to Peterhof and Catherine’s Palace at Pushkin.
Igor is in himself a quintessential Russian experience. His passion for his craft, the history of his city and the landmarks know no bounds. As an Australian, Igor looks, sounds and acts like what we would believe a typical Russian would be, stern, forthright and a sense of humour as dry as a dead dingoes donger. Dressed partway between Sherlock Holmes and a university professor you scuttle along after him, keeping up with his long stride as he talks verbatim into a microphone connected to your own earphones. ‘We’ve got a lot to cover today’ he chimes, ‘so lets get cracking!’
I’ve always hated the wasted time that goes with group tours, Igor – not only removed any wasted time with us, but we covered more in one day (albeit we were beat!) than a two day group itinerary. All on foot.
If you are after lots of laughs, morning, afternoon tea, long lunches and commercial recommendations then Igor is not your man. If you are after a jammed packed experience, with each landmark contextualised with time and place, a story woven between them, fact based descriptions that enable your own imagination to go back to that era, and the occasional quiz to check you’ve been listening – then Igor IS your man.
We thoroughly value our travel experience with Igor and highly recommend him not only to generalist travellers like ourselves but those interested in specialty components of St Petersburg history – such is his depth he can tailor a super experience to suit. Oh and he is REALLY good value too!
Thanks Igor for making our experience in St Petersburg unforgettable!
October, 18 2016
I really enjoyed my tour to St Petersburg with Igor.
He was able to tailor my tour to include a comprehensive historical tour of Dostoevsky's St Petersburg.
The tour was very detailed, yet flexible.
St Petersburg is a great city with so much history, I plan to return again one day.