On this St. Petersburg excursion, your guide will make sure you see all of the important sites representing the Jewish heritage. In 1703, Peter the Great made a move to change the course of Russia and Jews forever. He built a new city on the Gulf of Finland and then made Piotr Shafirov, who had Jewish ancestry, his vice chancellor. Your day includes visiting and reviewing the Synagogue, Columna, Jewish center and Ethnography museum to see how the history of Jewish heritage unfolded over the centuries.
Until 1917, Jews were forbidden to live in Russia. Find out how fortunes of the Jews rose and fell with the whims of the tzars and subsequent Soviet leaders. A review of the Pale of Settlement and other topics will offer an understanding and background into the Jewish history and how Russia evolved to current times. Jewish life was not as vibrant in the past as it is today. You will visit one of the organizations like Eva, Adain Lo or Yesod that run social, educational and welfare programs.
The day in St Petersburg would not be complete if you didn't go to the Europe Choral Synagogue, the heart of the city's limited religious life located in the former Jewish area known as Kolomna. This will be an up close and personal experience as you get to chat with the Rabbi, cantor or local Jews. A memorable plaque, with names of Jewish families who labored to keep the Jewish traditions alive, is mounted on the door.
Another site on your schedule is the Jewish exposition of the Ethnography museum. Here you will be awe struck by the Ashkenaz collection which signifies the Eastern European Jewish Culture. Religious artifacts that were used during ceremonies to protect the scrolls of the Torah fill the museum.
For lunch (optional) there's a visit to a kosher or vegetarian restaurants. Tour includes: English speaking guide; Air-conditioned vehicle; Entry fees as per program; Welcome gift pack; Bottle of water daily; Earpiece set (for groups larger than 6 pax); Photo permits; Visas Included visit; Port fees; Local taxes
Note that all of our St. Petersburg tours are operated by authorized guides, and you therefore do not need to secure an independent visa in order to participate in this tour. However, in order to book this tour, you must provide us with full names, dates of birth, nationality, and passport numbers for each tour participant so that our guides can secure the proper tour visas on your behalf. Note also that, if you wish to explore St. Petersburg on your own while not accompanied by one of our guides, you will need to secure an independent visa.
Please be aware that cruise lines occasionally mislead passengers by telling them that they are not allowed to disembark the ship in St. Petersburg unless they are on an excursion purchased through the cruise line. In addition, the cruise lines also sometimes tell passengers that they cannot disembark the ship until the passengers on the cruise lines' excursions have done so first. This is incorrect, and you are free to exit the ship as soon as passengers start to disembark because Russian law states that a cruise ship cannot hold passengers onboard against their will as long as they have the proper documents. In order to clear immigration, you will need to bring along: 1) Your passport; 2) A photocopy of the picture page of your passport; and 3) A copy of your tour tickets. We will provide you with your tour tickets as part of the documents we e-mail to you after you make a tour booking.