Volga Dream has been operating cruises along the Volga River system in Russia for many years now, allowing guests to see the imperial sights of Russia along with some of its lesser-known towns and cities. These Volga River cruises have experienced a resurgence in recent years and now you have the opportunity to see more than ever before in one extended trip.
With the announcement of The Russian Odyssey, setting sail on 30th September 2020, guests will travel all the way from St. Petersburg to Volgograd, close to the shores of the Caspian Sea. This epic, 18-day trip will also include two nights in Moscow, during which you can explore Red Square, step inside the Kremlin and pay your respects to famous Russian figures at the Novodevichy Cemetery.
But what else can you look forward to on this mammoth adventure down Europe’s longest river? Here are just a few experiences you can take part in along the way.
This is the first of many experiences designed to introduce you to Russian culture, as the people of Svirstroy will open up their homes and greet you with traditional tea and pirozhki. These delicious buns are made using a dough enriched with sour cream and eggs, and are stuffed with fillings like cheese, beef and cabbage. As you enjoy the handmade treats, the locals will tell you of their pride for their home town, what it means to be Russian and show you around their community.
As you cruise onto Lake Onega, you will struggle to get an understanding of its sheer size. More than 1,300 islands can be found in this expanse of water and it is fed by no less than 58 different rivers. Having said all that, though, it’s not even half the size of the biggest lake in Russia.
MS Volga Dream will stop in the town of Kizhi, one of the many places found on this body’s shores. Historically a farming community, many wooden structures stand out on the horizon, including windmills and other buildings that were moved here to be preserved. The entire area forms an open-air museum which includes the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kizhi Pogost. Inside this fenced-off area, alongside another church and a bell tower, you’ll find the Transfiguration Church, said to have been built with a single axe and without the use of any nails.
You’ll make two stops in Uglich during your Russian Odyssey, giving you plenty of time to admire the beautiful Church of St. Dmitry-on-the-Blood. The historical importance of this trading town is shown by the fact that it is included in Russia’s Golden Ring, a host of destinations with great heritage that form a themed route.
The church gets its name from the fact it was built on the spot where Dmitry, the last remaining son of Ivan the Terrible, was murdered. Or so the legend goes. A definitive cause of death was never discovered but the story of Boris Godunov carrying out cold-blooded murder has since become canon.
As you continue towards the Caspian Sea, you will venture into the Republic of Tatarstan, where the familiar Russian architecture of onion-domed churches will transform into mosques. Islam has been practised here since its teaching were brought by missionaries from Baghdad in 922, before the region was conquered by Ivan the Terrible and all mosques were destroyed.
Rebuilt in 2005, the Kul Sharif Mosque takes its name from the last Imam before the invasion. Its striking, modern design stands out on the hill above the city and it takes its position inside the Kazan Kremlin.
Named in honour of author Alexander Radishchev and established by his grandson, Alexei Bogoliubov, this was the first art museum to open outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg, and is, therefore, one of the oldest in the country. It features works by many famous Russian artists, including a big presence from Bogoliubov himself. There are two distinct sections; one displaying Russian pieces and the other showcasing paintings from around the world.
If you would like to know more about the Russian Odyssey sailing with Volga Dream, we can help you get on board. Call us on 0800 028 4272 or click here to sign up to our mailing list.
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