Iconofile: Icons and Sacred Art



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Iconofile: Icons and Sacred Art Iconofile: Icons and Sacred Art
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2006 Tour of Russian Icons Itinerary: Days 10-16

Tour of Russian Icons

July 5-20, 2006
Moscow, Pskov, Novgorod, St. Petersburg and the Golden Ring

Itinerary: Days 9¨C16: Novgorod, Pskov, St. Petersburg

Reserve the Tour of Russian Icons

Route of Tour of Russian Icons

View of Novgorod Kremlin
View of the Kremlin in Novgorod from the banks of Volkhov River

Aerial view of the Kremlin in Novgorod with the Sofia Church
Aerial view of the Kremlin in Novgorod with St. Sofia Cathedral


Day 9: Novgorod

We arrive at the train station in the early morning and proceed to our hotel in Novgorod on the bank of the Volkhov River and long time capital of the rich and influential city-state in Old Russia. Founded in 859, Novgorod is famous for its many architectural monuments, including over 40 ancient churches built between the 11th and 17th centuries. We begin our exploration of Novgorod at the city&##39;s center, the Kremlin, and within its ancient walls we visit St. Sofia Cathedral, one of Novgorod&##39;s first stone churches. Next, we visit the Novgorod State Museum and its vast collection of icons considered to be masterpieces of the Novgorod school of painting, which include The Battle of the Novgorod Troops with the Suzdalians from the Church of Nikola Kochanov (15th century), Praying Novgorod Citizens from the chapel of Varlaam of Khutyn (1467), 18 double-sided tablets from St. Sophia Cathedral (15th-16th centuries), two icons depicting the Savior by Simeon Ushakov (1674) and master Euphemy (1685). We spend that night in Novgorod.


Jurev Monastery in Novgorod
12th century Yuriev Monastery near Novgorod

Wall paintings in the St. George Cathedral
Wall paintings in the tower of the St. George Cathedral


Day 10: Novgorod

In the morning, we start our second day in Novgorod at the Yuriev Monastery and St. George Cathedral established in the 12th century on the shore of Lake Ilmen to honor the heavenly patron St. George.

After lunch we visit the church of the Transfiguration on Ilyin Street (1374) where we see frescos painted by the hand of Theophanes the Greek (1378). Next, we walk to the adjacent Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign (1682-1688) on Ilyin Street, once the home to Novgorod&##39;s most famous icon, the miraculous icon of Our Lady of the Sign.

Afterwards, we have free time for walking about in the city&##39;s center or shopping for icon books and souvenirs in the marketplace. We return to our hotel in Novgorod where we spend the night.


Pskov Kremlin and the Trinity Cathedral
Kremlin and the Trinity Cathedral marks the center of Pskov

12th Century Mirozhsky Monastery in Pskov
12th century Mirozhsky Monastery in Pskov


Day 11: Pskov

We leave Novgorod in the early morning by motor coach for Pskov, and proceed directly to our hotel to leave our luggage. From ancient times Pskov was famous for its glamour as a medieval city. The first mention of it in Russian chronicles is in 903. Later it grew in importance between the 12th and 17th centuries as a fortified city-state guarding the Russian northwest territory. More then 300 monuments of architecture of the 12th to 20th centuries have survived until the present day. We have the opportunity to admire some of the more than 30 cathedrals constructed between the 14th and 17th centuries. We begin our visit of the ancient city of Pskov at its Kremlin with the Trinity Cathedral built in 1699, attracting much interest by both its simplicity and majesty. Among the many ancient examples of architecture in Pskov we next visit the Mirozhsky Monastery of the 12th century -- famous for its Byzantine frescoes of that period. It is a gem of Russian architecture and art -- a well-preserved example of the earliest fresco painting executed in northern Russia. At the monastery we visit an icon-painting workshop and not only see his work in the early Russian tradition of icon painting, but attend liturgy in the adjacent chapel.


Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery
Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery
outside of Pskov

The church in the caves of the Pechersky Monastery outside of Pskov
The caves of the Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery


Day 12: Pskov

In the morning we leave Pskov and drive about one hour to the Pskov-Pechory Monastery. It was established in 1473 and has never ceased to function as an active monastery ever since that time. The Monastery was named after the underground sand caves that have natural air flow and permanently regulated temperature. The relics of monks and famous Russian aristocratic families are buried here, such as Kutuzov, Pushkin and Musorgsky. You will have the unique blessing of purchasing special literature, audio tapes and artifacts made by the monks of the monastery.

We leave the Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery near the Latvian and Estonian border to visit the Pskov Art Museum home to a large collection of 12th to 16th century icons, preserved in one of Pskov&##39;s oldest buildings, the Chambers of Merchant Pogankin. We return to Pskov for the night.


St. George and the Dragon at the Russian Museum
St. George and the Dragon
at the Russian Museum


Day 13: St. Petersburg

Early morning after breakfast we leave Pskov by motor coach. We arrive in St. Petersburg in the mid afternoon, have lunch and begin our excursion at the Russian State Museum -- former palace of Tsar Mikhail -- which houses one of Russia&##39;s largest collections of Russian art. There we view an extensive group of ancient Russian icons dating from the 12th century. We dine at a restaurant that features excellent Russian cuisine and folkloric show. We spend that night in St. Petersburg.


One of the world&##39;s largest collections of art: Hermitage
One of the world&##39;s largest collections of art: Hermitage

Resurrection Church in St. Petersburg
Resurrection Church
in St. Petersburg

St. Isaac&##39;s Cathedral in St. Petersburg
St. Isaac&##39;s Cathedral
in St. Petersburg


Day 14: St. Petersburg

After breakfast, we visit one of the world&##39;s largest museums of fine art -- the Hermitage. Occupying the former Winter Palace of the Tsars we find many examples of ancient Russian icon painting along with one of Europe&##39;s largest collections of paintings from the Renaissance to the 20th century.

Italian Art Salon in the Hermitage
Italian Art Salon in the Hermitage

Next, we visit the the heart of St. Petersburg at the Church of Christ&##39;s Resurrection (Hram Spasa Na Krovy). The 19th century church, built on the site of the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, has some of the most sublime mosaics in Russia.

That afternoon we go to St. Isaac¡¯s Cathedral, one of the most beautiful and tallest buildings in St. Petersburg with a cupola over 100 meters high. Built from 1818-1858 in the Russian classical style, it is interesting not only for its architecture and construction but also for its interior adorned with 150 paintings, 62 mosaics, and numerous sculptures by Russian and Italian artists. We enjoy a dinner and retire to our hotel.


Samson&##39;s Fountains and the Great Cascade at the Peterhof
Samson&##39;s Fountains and the Great Cascade at the Peterhof

View of the Parterre
View of the Parterre with its many sculptures.


Day 15: St. Petersburg

We leave St. Petersburg by boat in the early morning to visit one of Russia&##39;s greatest treasures: Peterhof. This is the resplendent palace originally built by Peter the Great after his grand tour of Europe. It is modeled after the palace in Versailles but rivals its palace garden and fountains. Nearly destroyed during the Nazi occupation of Leningrad, it has now been completely restored to its former splendor.

We return to St Petersburg and have free time for shopping and option sightseeing of the city&##39;s central district. We catch dinner before proceeding to the Moskovsky train station. There we board an overnight express train with first class accommodations to Moscow.


Day 16: St. Petersburg, Moscow and Return Flight Home

Upon arriving in Moscow in the early morning we are transferred back to Sheremetyevo II International Airport for the return flight home.


Itinerary: Days 1-8 of the Tour of Russian Icons

The tour price includes all accommodations, all meals, ground transportation in Russia, transfers, as well as admission to museums, churches and monasteries. Tours will be accompanied by English-speaking guides, and include private tours of some museums and icon workshops not available to tourists. There will be some free time for independent activities, such as shopping and other sightseeing. Iconofile will also arrange for discussions with experts while touring cities of Russia.

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