Original Tour Description

Baltic Capitals and St. Petersburg

September 2002 - 14 days

The Baltic States of Latvia and Estonia have retained their unique cultures throughout a long history of domination by others from the Germanic Teutonic Knights to Poles, Danes, Swedes and Russians. As citadels of the Teutonic Knights and as members of the Hanseatic League, the capitals Riga and Tallinn have ancient "Old Towns", replete with beautifully restored architectural gems from their rich and varied history.

Once capital of the Russian Empire, St. Petersburg, founded only in the early 18th Century by Peter the Great is the newest capital and the least affected by the 20th Century. Gilded baroque pastel palaces along the canals and River Neva include The Hermitage, holding one of the world's greatest collections of fine and decorative arts, a collection begun by Catherine the Great

Latvia's capital Riga, known as the "Paris of the East" is cosmopolitan, with a lively liberal arts culture, fascinating museums and stunning art nouveau (Jungendstil) buildings along the broad boulevards. Enjoy this culturally rich atmosphere as we explore leisurely. A very special excursion through the lovely Latvian countryside to Bauska, whose 16th Century Old Town holds old wooden houses then to Rundales Palace, considered the most beautiful building in the Baltic States. Designed by Rastrelli, architect of St. Petersburg's Winter Palace, with a lavish interior designed under the patronage of Catherine The Great, the Palace served as a summer retreat for Baltic, Russian and German nobility.

Estonia's capital Tallinn, founded as a free city in 1157, is the best preserved medieval "Old Town" in Europe. Step back to the time of Guildhalls, twisty cobbled ways, fortified towers, magnificent gothic and baroque churches as well as the richly decorated Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral overlook charming squares. From the castle on the heights of Toompea, enjoy a magnificent vista of this historic seaport and the intriguing roofs of All-linn, the Lower Town. Visits will include the Museums of Estonian and Medieval Art.

Russia's St. Petersburg, a visually spectacular capital of monumental buildings, from baroque to classic, designed by the greatest architects of Europe. Equally impressive are the richly decorated interiors of the many palaces now serving as Museums. Rastrelli's Winter Palace, part of The Hermitage is spectacular as are the immensely rich collections of paintings, sculpture, antiquities and decorative arts. Unique to our Canadian Friends of the Hermitage is a Private guided full day tour of The Hermitage, when it is closed to the general public. Enjoy special guided tours to the splendid country palaces of Catherine the Great and Peter the Great as well as the attractions of St. Petersburg.

Born and raised in Tallinn, Doris Smith, President of the Canadian Friends of the Hermitage will add immeasurably to your enjoyment of our visit to the three capitals. The tour,in planning, will include return air from Ottawa, 3 nights Riga, 3 nights Tallinn, 6 nights St. Petersburg. First class hotels with breakfasts and most dinners. Porterage for one case each. Special guides in each city with a program of sightseeing and museum visits and escorted by a Canadian Friend of the Hermitage. To receive the tour information please complete the request below and mail to: Jean Sheikh, Executive Worldwide Travel, 60 Queen Street, Suite 202, Ottawa ON K1P 5Y7


We would like to remind all members of the forth-coming Friends visit to the Baltic capitals and St. Petersburg, The dates are September 21 to October 5 2002. This special tour for Canadian Friends of the Hermitage will include 3 nights in Riga, 3 nights in Tallinn, 6 nights in St. Petersburg, one night in Vienna, Return travel will be by Austrian Airlines from Ottawa, Montreal or Toronto. All stays will be at conveniently located, first-class hotels. Cost is $4,995, double occupancy.

For further information and to register, contact: Jean Sheikh, Executive Worldwide Travel, 60 Queen Street, Suite 202, Ottawa, ON, K1P 5Y7, or phone 613-236-5555 or 1-800-267-5552. Or E-mail at jsheikh@executive-trvl.com.

Please note that there will be a lecture on the relevant historical and cultural background on June 11, 2002.



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Tour Photos & Stories

There's also a nice description of the trip from Joan and John Vanduzer in the newsletter (aussi en Français).

Here's a photo of the tour group. Click on it to view the image at a larger size.

[Tour Group Photo]