Southern Russia: Cossacks, Kalmyks & The Caucasus
14 Jun — 29 Jun 2022 | Tour Director: Alex Koller
• Journey from Taman to the Russian Caucasus, via the architecturally important towns of Rostov-on-Don and Volgograd and the spa towns of Pyatigorsk and Kislovodsk
• Discover the history of southern Russia, from classical Greek colonisation to 19th century literature
• Take in the awe-inspiring scenery of Europe’s highest mountain, Mount Elbrus
lecturer in art history and architecture
Depart London Heathrow 1040 on Aeroflot via Moscow, arriving Anapa 2040. Two nights in Anapa.
Excursion to Taman for visits to Archaeological Museum, Lermontov Museum, Cossack Museum and Pokrov Church. Return to Anapa for optional early evening visit to the Archaeological Museum and excavations.
Morning excursion to Novorossiysk for city tour (embankment, Malaya Zemlya war memorial, Mikhail Kutuzov warship museum). Afternoon: visit to local winery for tour and tasting. Evening train to Rostov-on-Don. Three nights in Rostov-on-Don.
Excursion to Azov: fortress with 18th century powder store museum (rare example of Catherinian Era architecture in southern Russia) and monuments to 1642 Cossack siege followed by Azov History, Archaeology and Palaeontology Museum.
Morning tour of Rostov-on-Don including Nativity Cathedral, Armenian Holy Cross Church and Don State Technical University (Don Cossack Guard exhibition). Afternoon excursion to Novocherkassk: visits including Ascension Cathedral (built in New Byzantine style in the 19th century, one of Russia’s biggest cathedrals) and Museum of Cossack History.
Transfer to Starocherkasskaya for visits including Transfiguration Church, Resurrection Cathedral and Ataman’s Palace (exhibitions on the Cossacks). Continue to Volgodonsk for overnight stay.
Transfer to Kalach-on-Don (Monument to the Unification of the Fronts). Continue to Volgograd for two nights.
Visits in Volgograd: Avenue of Heroes, Victory Park, Pamyat Museum, Historical-Memorial Museum (history of the Russian Civil War), Stalingrad Panorama and boat trip on the Volga (time permitting).
Transfer to Elista (approx 5 hour journey including short stops) for two nights. Afternoon tour of Elista including visit to Kalmykia National Museum.
Morning excursion to Yashkul village for opportunity to meet Oyrat nomadic people. Return to Elista for afternoon visit to Syakyusn-Syume Khurul (Buddhist temple).
Transfer to Pyatigorsk (approx 5 hour journey including short stops) for three nights. Afternoon visit to Lermontov House.
Morning tour of Pyatigorsk: Proval, Academic Gallery, Kirov Prospekt, Park Tsvetnik and Cathedral of the Saviour. Free afternoon.
Morning excursion to Essentuki: mud clinic (built in 1915), Tsanderovsky Institute of Mechanotherapy (the first gymnasium made in the Russian Empire, with original equipment), Church of St Nicholas (built by Cossacks in 1826) and Essentuki Park (opportunity to taste local mineral waters). Afternoon excursion to Kislovodsk: 19th century fortress, St Nicholas Cathedral and Kislovodsk Park (monuments).
Transfer to Cheget village for optional ascent of Mount Cheget by cable car and mountain hike (weather permitting). Overnight in Azau.
Optional ascent of Mount Elbrus from Azau by cable car and snow cat (weather permitting). Afternoon: continue to Nalchik for meeting with master of Kabardian martial arts (demonstration of Adyg cold weapons) and Shalushka for meeting and dinner with musician and blacksmith (maker of traditional Kabardian instruments). Overnight in Nalchik.
Transfer to Mineralnye Vody for 1325 flight via Moscow, arriving London Heathrow 2125.
14 Jun — 29 Jun 2022
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"I have never encountered a tour guide as knowledgeable as Dr Koller in all my (many) years of art tours."
ACE customer on a previous tour with Alex Koller
FITNESS / PRACTICALITIES
This tour requires a good level of fitness, and participants must meet ACE’s usual fitness criteria, as found in our Booking Terms & Conditions.
This tour includes a significant amount of travel by coach, including two journeys of approximately 5 hours in duration through the steppe, with some particularly scenic stretches. We will also travel by train to Rostov-on-Don, arriving late at night.
The tour will involve a moderate amount of walking and standing. Much of the terrain is not physically challenging, but uphill walking will feature at the spa towns and there are steep steps to navigate at some sites.
We hope to include a boat trip on the Volga River. The ascents of Mount Cheget and Mount Elbrus, which are optional, will involve use of chair lifts, cable cars and a snow cat. We will reach a maximum of 4200 metres altitude on the latter. These experiences will offer fantastic views, but there are different stages and participants can decide how far they wish to go. The hike on Mount Cheget is also optional and will take place over gravel-type terrain.
Making the most of our visit to the region, this tour will feature several hotel changes, so a good level of stamina is required. Please note that whilst we hope to enjoy good climactic conditions in the Caucasus, there is always a chance of inclement weather and therefore some elements of the itinerary are weather dependent.
For customers who wish to make their own travel arrangements, ACE is pleased to be able to offer a flight reduction of £400.
Cost of £4395 includes: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, breakfast, eight lunches, dinner (one packed) with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities.
Not included: travel insurance, single room supplement £490.