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Mountain Madness Climber

Mount Elbrus and St. Petersburg- Da!

After our debut St. Peters­burg exten­sion last year, we are excit­ed to announce an even bet­ter itin­er­ary for the 2013 sea­son! Unlike oth­er moun­taineer­ing com­pa­nies tak­ing climbers to Elbrus, Moun­tain Mad­ness rec­og­nizes the spe­cial attrac­tions that St. Peters­burg has to offer and we make your time there worth it! We have groups form­ing on both of our June 23rd and July 21st Elbrus depar­ture dates but there is plen­ty of time to join any of the dates. Check out our new itinerary:

Day 1:

Small Secrets of the Big City” Walk­ing Tour

A native St. Peters­burg­er takes you on a walk­ing tour of her home­town and shows you things it might take years to dis­cov­er on your own, includ­ing the tini­est stat­ue in the city, called Chi­jik”. The guide tells lit­tle-known sto­ries and lets you in on the mys­te­ri­ous urban leg­ends of this beau­ti­ful city. Con­tin­ue on foot to the Her­mitage and St. Isaac’s Cathedral.

Her­mitage Museum

The Win­ter Palace, part of the Her­mitage ensem­ble, was built in 1754 – 62 as the prin­ci­palnhome of the czars, and was lav­ish­ly rebuilt in 1839 after it was destroyed by fire. Orig­i­nal­ly a small pri­vate palace gallery begun by Cather­ine the Great with a pur­chase of 255 paint­ings from Berlin, the Her­mitage today hous­es one of the largest muse­um col­lec­tions in the world. The fab­u­lous rooms with their inlaid floors and gild­ed wood­work and the grand dou­ble entry stair­case are works of art in themselves.

St. Isaac’s Cathedral

St. Isaac’s Cathe­dral took 40 years to com­plete. The 48 red gran­ite columns around the low­er part of the build­ing each weigh 110 tons, and the upper columns around the rotun­da weigh 67 tons apiece. The dome is cov­ered with 220 pounds of gold, and the inte­ri­or columns faced with lapis lazuli and mala­chite. The cathe­dral is burst­ing with sculp­tures, fres­coes, stained glass works and wood­carv­ings. St. Isaac’s Cathe­dral, climb­ing to the colon­nade Climb the 262 steps to the colon­nade walk­way along the perime­ter of St. Isaac’s for a fab­u­lous view of St. Petersburg.

Day 2:

Cather­ine’s Palace

Out­side of Peters­burg, in Pushkin, is the roy­al res­i­dence Cather­ine’s Palace, orig­i­nal­ly built in 1717 by Cather­ine I. In 1752, famed archi­tect Bar­tolomeo Ras­trel­li enlarged and embell­ished the palace, extend­ing the façade to its cur­rent grandeur. The estate and palace build­ings were almost com­plete­ly destroyed by the Ger­mans dur­ing World War II, but they have been care­ful­ly and expert­ly restored into a bril­liant archi­tec­tur­al monument.

Mon­u­ment to the Defend­ers of Leningrad

At Ploschad Pobedy, or Vic­to­ry Square, the Mon­u­ment to the Hero­ic Defend­ers of Leningrad holds pride of place. The mon­u­ment is made up of a huge bro­ken ring sym­bol­iz­ing the siege of Leningrad, final­ly bro­ken after 900 days of depri­va­tion, cold and star­va­tion. Inside the ring, gas torch­es light engraved scenes of the siege, while on the out­side of the ring a frieze of sculp­tures shows the sol­diers and sailors who defend­ed the city. Beneath the memo­r­i­al is the under­ground Block­ade Muse­um ded­i­cat­ed to the his­to­ry of the siege.

Vod­ka Museum

At the Muse­um of Vod­ka, you will learn that the first true vod­ka was pro­duced in Moscow monas­ter­ies in the 15th cen­tu­ry. You will hear of bat­tles lost due to exces­sive con­sump­tion, and how impor­tant spring water is in the man­u­fac­ture of this quin­tes­sen­tial Russ­ian drink. But your new knowl­edge will not be mere­ly intel­lec­tu­al — you will have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to taste dif­fer­ent types of vod­ka and to exper­i­ment with the dif­fer­ent kinds of zakuskie, or appe­tiz­ers, that tra­di­tion­al­ly accom­pa­ny them.