Program Itinerary 

   
 
 
   
 Itinerary Overview: 
 
 
 
Day 1 Sun, Jul 27 Arrive Moscow
Day 2 Mon, Jul 28 Moscow • depart on the Trans-Siberian
Day 3 Tue, Jul 29   Kazan
Day 4 Wed, Jul 30  Ekaterinburg
Day 5 Thu, Jul 31 Novosibirsk
Day 6 Fri, Aug 1 Novosibirsk • Total Eclipse Day
Day 7 Sat, Aug 2 Onboard the Trans-Siberian
Day 8 Sun, Aug 3  Irkutsk
Day 9 Mon, Aug 4  Lake Baikal
Day 10  Tue, Aug 5   Ulan Ude
Day 11 Wed, Aug 6 Onboard the Trans-Siberian
Day 12 Thu, Aug 7 Onboard the Trans-Siberian
Day 13 Fri, Aug 8 Onboard the Trans-Siberian
Day 14 Sat, Aug 9 Vladivostok
Day 15 Sun, Aug 10 Depart Vladivostok
 
   
 
 
   
 

Extend your Grand Passage Through Siberia Total Eclipse tour with one of our optional add-on tours. The details are offered here for your consideration. Just click on the button below:

 
   
 

 
   
 Day 1   Sunday, July 27, 2008                                                                     Dinner
Arrive Moscow
 
 

Upon arrival at Moscow International Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. (Optional pre-tour packages to Moscow and St. Petersburg will be offered in Fall 2007.) Your accommodations at the Hotel Metropol offer five-star luxury in a historic setting, perfectly situated across from the famous Bolshoi Theater and just a short walk from Red Square and the Kremlin. The beautiful rooms are decorated with antiques and equipped with state-of-the-art electronics and security systems. Join us this evening for a welcome dinner.

 
Overnight: Metropol Hotel 
  
Day 2   Mon, July 28          B/L/D
Moscow: Novodevichy Convent, The Kremlin, Armory Museum,
Trans-Siberian Express
 
Following breakfast we will depart on a full day orientation of Moscow, the   
 
 economic and political center of Russia. Founded in 1147 by Yuri  Dolgoruky (literally “Yuri of the Long Arms”), Moscow rose to prominence during Mongol domination and eventually became the Russian capital. Eclipsed for 200 years by St. Petersburg, Moscow was restored as the Russian political center after the October Revolution in 1917.  
   
     We’ll begin our orientation with a drive to Moscow State University to enjoy panoramic views of the city and continue on to the beautiful grounds of Novodevichy Convent, founded in 1524. We will also stop at the huge memorial complex of Victory Park, with its many fountains and monuments. Our tour will continue with a drive back to the city center, past the Bolshoi Theater and the notorious Lubyanka Prison. 
   
     Following lunch at a local restaurant, our tour will take us to the Kremlin and Armory Museum. The Moscow Kremlin reminds modern-day Russia of its medieval past. In the mid-14th century, the Russian princes, ruling from the Kremlin, became so powerful that Moscow was named the center of the Russian Orthodox Church. Today, the Kremlin remains the center of Moscow and Russian politics. Inside the fortress walls are palaces, cathedrals and government buildings and the Armory Museum, which now houses Russia's national treasures such as religious icons, Faberge eggs, a bejeweled chalice belonging to Prince Yuri, and Catherine the Great’s ball gowns and shoes. 
   
 

    This evening we will board the Trans-Siberian Express to begin our cross-country journey to the Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan. Tonight, we’ll enjoy our first sumptuous meal onboard the train.

 
 Overnight: Onboard the Trans-Siberian (12 nights) 
   
 Day 3   Tue, July 29                                                                                     B/L/D
Kazan
 
  We’ll wake this morning to the rhythm of our train rolling along the Trans-Siberian line, the longest continuous rail line in the world. Our first stop will be the 1000-year-old city of Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, with its fascinating multiethnic history. Ghenghis Khan and his successors controlled Kazan for centuries, only to be conquered by Ivan the Terrible in 1552. These cultures show themselves today in the city’s many mosque minarets and onion-domed churches. The Tatars, actually Turkic Muslims, make up a majority of the population, while most of the remaining population is Russian. 
   
     During our bus tour of this city of over one million inhabitants, we will visit Kazan’s striking Kremlin, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000. This evening, we’ll dine in style aboard the train, heading over the Ural Mountains, crossing from Europe into Asia.  
   
   
 
 
 

 Press Map for Larger Version

 
   
 Day 4   Wed, July 30                                                                                   B/L/D
Ekaterinburg
 
 This morning we’ll awaken to find ourselves arriving in Ekaterinburg. Founded in 1721 and named after Catherine I, Ekaterinburg is best known as the place where the last czar, Nicholas II, and his family were imprisoned and executed by the Bolsheviks.  
   
     The city is also where Boris Yeltsin was born and attended university, and where US pilot Gary Powers was shot down in his U2 spy plane in 1960. Known as Sverdlovsk during the Soviet era, the city is markedly different from other Siberian towns due to its rich mining industry, developed before the revolution, and because of its many defense plants, which caused Sverdlovsk to be closed to foreigners until 1990. 
   
     Our city tour will include a stop at the Soviet Army Square with its unusual Black Tulip monument, commemorating the tragic loss of life in the various Soviet military campaigns, most notably Afghanistan. We will also visit the small but interesting Mineralogical Museum, the History & Local Studies Museum and the Military History Museum, as well as the impressive Church on the Blood, which stands over the spot where Czar Nicholas II and his family were killed in 1918. 
   
 Day 5   Thu, July 31                                                                                    B/L/D
Novosibirsk
 
 With a population of 1.6 million, Novosibirsk is the largest city in Siberia, and its industrial and scientific center. Novosibirsk did not exist before the Trans-Siberian railway was built, growing up around the place chosen for the rail line’s Ob River crossing. 
   
     Today we’ll explore this thriving Siberian city with a visit to the Novosibirsk Art Museum, which displays mainly 19th and 20th-century Russian art, and includes an extensive collection of mystic/artist Nikolai Roerich's representations of the Altai Mountains south of the city. Our next stop will be the Novosibirsk State Museum of Regional Studies, whose task has been to collect original artifacts and information about Siberia’s many indigenous peoples, most of who were still living in the old ways in 1920 when the museum was founded. Today, fourteen of the Siberian indigenous nations are represented here, as well as the early Slavic settlers in the area. 
   
     After lunch at a local restaurant, we’ll continue on to Akademgorodok (Academy City), founded in 1959 by Nikita Khrushchev when he relocated the USSR’s top scientists to this special town built expressly for scientific research. Akademgorodok continues today as perhaps the most renowned world-class research campus. 
   
 Day 6   Fri, August 1                                                                                    B/L/D
Novosibirsk: Eclipse Day!
 
 Today we will have the opportunity to experience the total eclipse of the Sun as few people in the world will – from the center of the path in the middle of Siberia!  After fourth contact, we’ll return to the city for dinner and to share our eclipse experiences. 
   
 
 
 
   
 
   
 Local eclipse contact times (approx.)  
   
   
 First contact (eclipse begins): 16:41 
 Second contact (totality begins): 17:44 
 Third contact (totality ends): 17:46 
 Fourth contact (eclipse ends): 18:45 
 Duration of totality 2m20s 
   
   
 
   
 
    
 Novosibirsk Eclipse Day Weather  
 

by Eclipse Meteorologist Jay Anderson         

 
   
 

Russia’s fourth-largest city provides ready access to the eclipse track and to the most favourable area for viewing outside of China. Novosibirsk lies within a small region of south central Siberia that has a notable sunny microclimate. Lying in the midst of the world’s largest landmass, the city is well-removed from oceanic moisture sources. The immense Altai Mountains and the Gobi Desert to the south block monsoon flows that invade Asia at this time of year.

 
     
     Southern Siberia experiences the same types of weather systems typical of the northern Great Plains, with periodic low-pressure disturbances and generous thunderstorms. Temperatures are pleasantly warm and humidities typically low. Cooling associated with the eclipse will tend to dissipate smaller cloud elements and the higher angle of the Sun when compared to Chinese locations will make viewing more certain in a partly-cloudy sky. 
   
 
   
 Day 7   Sat, August 2                                                                                  B/L/D
Onboard the Trans-Siberian
 
 Visit with friends and relax onboard as the private train rolls through the endless Russian taiga, the immense forest of pine, larch, spruce and fir. There will be a few brief stops at small towns, where local folks may have snacks and homemade trinkets to sell. 
   
 Day 8   Sun, August 3                                                                                 B/L/D
Irkutsk
 
 We will pull in to Irkutsk today and disembark to explore. Irkutsk began as a wooden fortress founded by Cossacks in 1661. Fortified and armed to a greater degree than other Siberian settlements, Irkutsk became a staging area for trade convoys and exploring expeditions, and by the early 18th century, settlers had already built 13 churches.  
   
     Our city tour will include a visit to the Gagarin embankment (named after the first man in space), the Cathedral of the Epiphany, built in 1724, the Church of Our Saviour, and the Trubetskoi House and Volkonsky House, two mansions occupied by exiled Decembrists. We will tour the Museum of Wooden Architecture and an area of old wooden houses, many with the intricate fretwork surrounding brightly painted window frames typical of local Siberian architecture. We will also visit the Museum of Baikal Navigation, housed in the icebreaker Angara, which was built in England and shipped in pieces to Irkutsk by train. It was used to ferry passengers across the lake until completion of the Circumbaikal line in 1904.             
   
 Day 9   Mon, August 4                                                                                 B/L/D
Lake Baikal
 
 A spectacular part of our journey, today will be spent winding our way through tunnels and around cliffs along the shoreline of Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest and oldest freshwater lake, containing more water than North America’s Great Lakes combined. We will stop for a barbeque at the lake’s edge en route to the village of Listvyanka, where we will explore the Limnological Museum, highlighting the complex ecosystem of the lake, and will have the opportunity to see a nerpa, Baikal’s unique freshwater seal. 
   
 Day 10   Tue, August 5                                                                                B/L/D
Ulan Ude
 
 Today we will arrive in Ulan Ude, capital of the Buryat Republic. Our driving tour will take us through the city, with a stop at the world’s largest Lenin head – a photo op not to be missed. We’ll continue on to the fascinating Buddhist monastery at nearby Ivolginsk and enjoy a meal at a village of Old Believers who will also treat us to a concert featuring local dancers and musicians. 
   
 Day 11   Wed, August 6                                                                               B/L/D
Onboard the Trans-Siberian Express
 
 Our journey will continue through Siberia at its most remote and mysterious as we enter the region of permafrost, traveling through the remote city of Chita. The next few days traversing the great wilderness will be spent relaxing, enjoying in astronomical, cultural and historic presentations, or quietly watching the landscape unfold before us. 
   
 Day 12   Thu, August 7                                                                                B/L/D
Onboard the Trans-Siberian Express
 
 Following along the Shilka and Amur Rivers, we will never be far from the Chinese border as we approach the Russian Far East. 
   
 Day 13   Fri, August 8                                                                                  B/L/D
Onboard the Trans-Siberian Express
 
 This will be our last full day on board the Trans-Siberian Express. Today we will reach the most easterly point of the journey passing through Khabarovsk, where we will cross the mighty Amur River and head south, hugging the Manchurian border, to our final destination. Tonight we will enjoy our final dinner on board the train. 
   
 Day 14   Sat, August 9                                                                                 B/L/D
Vladivostok
 
 As we arrive in Vladivostok, we will spot the obelisk marking the official end of the Trans-Siberian line. Over the years, Vladivostok, capital of the Russian Far East, has grown from a naval outpost to a thriving city. Due to its importance as a border zone city, Vladivostok was declared off-limits to foreigners and most Russians following WWII. On January 1, 1992, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the city was declared officially open, and began to welcome travelers. We’ll disembark the train to begin our city tour which will include the principal military attractions of this once ‘closed’ Russian town. 
   
     After lunch, we’ll check into our hotel where our luggage will be awaiting us. Join us this evening for a farewell dinner. 
 Overnight: Hyundai Hotel 
   
 Day 15   Sun, August 10                                                                              B
Depart Vladivostok
 
 After breakfast at the hotel, we will transfer to the airport according to our flight schedules for international flight departures. 
   
 
 
   
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