Cultural programmes and excursions

Russian Language and Culture Institute offers its trainees not only programmes of Russian as a foreign language but various excursion and cultural programmes as well.

To study and learn in Russia at Russian language courses in RLCI is to combine Russian language lessons with vivid impressions of St Petersburg and Russia, so you may start your Russian language course in St Petersburg in the vibrant environ of Russia's cultural capital, Saint Petersburg.


Today we are glad to offer you the following excursions:

Panoramic tour of St.Petersburg

A visit to St.Petersburg is always a rewarding and unforgettable experience. By European standards, it is a young city. In May 2003 St.Petersburg celebrated the 300th anniversary of foundation.

St.Petersburg is situated on the banks of the Neva River and numerous islands of its delta.
The rich architecture and history of St.Petersburg comes alive as your coach travels along the bustling avenues and embankments of the city.

You'll view the Spit of Vasilievsky Island, flanked by two Rostral Columns, originally lighthouses. There you can enjoy the magnificent view of the Neva River, the Naval Museum - Former Exchange. In front of you is the Peter and Paul Fortress, the first structure to be built in the city.

You'll see is the Aurora cruiser, which signaled the start of the revolution in 1917 by firing a single blank shot from its bow gun.

The coach proceeds through the Field of Mars to one of the main landmarks of St.Petersburg - the church of Resurrection on Spilled Blood built on the site where Alexander II was assassinated on March1, 1881.The Church was built in the flamboyant Russian revival style, the best Russian painters, masters of stone carving, ceramic and enamel took part in the decoration of the Church. It's a riot of color and a jewel of St.Petersburg.

The most famous street is Nevsky prospect, lined with magnificent palaces and churches. It is the main shopping area of St.Petersburg and some of the best shops can be found there.

One of the main squares is St.Isaac's Square dominated by the majestic St.Isaac's Cathedral, which has one of the largest domes in the world, it took 40 years to complete this magnificent building in 1858. In the center of the Square is the monument to Nicholas the First.
In the Decembrists Square there is the magnificent equestrian statue of Peter the Great, known, as the bronze horseman.

The main square of the city is the Palace Square, beautifully balanced and proportioned around the Alexander Column, an important focal point for this architectural ensemble. On the northern site of the square stands the picturesque Baroque Winter Palace.

The whole of this glorious city is a supreme monument to its founder Peter the Great.

Duration: 3 hours

The Peter and Paul Fortress and St. Isaac's Cathedral

Peter & Paul Cathedral

The Peter and Paul Fortress is one of the most interesting monuments in St. Petersburg, a place where the city got its start. It is also a valuable monument of early 18th century architecture in which the whole system of stone and earth works has been completely preserved.

When Peter the Great re-conquered the lands along the Neva River in 1703, he decided to build a fort to protect the area from possible attack by the Swedish army and navy. The fortress was founded on a small island in the Neva delta on May 27,2023 and that day became the birthday of the city of St. Petersburg. The Swedes however were defeated before the fortress was even completed, for that reasons from 1721 the fortress housed part of the city's garrison and rather notoriously served as a high security political jail.
In fact, one of the first inmates was Peter the Great's own son, Tsarevich Alexis accused of treason by his father.

In the center of the fortress is the Peter & Paul Cathedral, designed by the first architect of St. Petersburg Domenico Tresini. This magnificent church was built between 1713-1732 and has been preserved almost unchanged to the present day. The spire of the church is 122,5 m high, topped by an angel folding a cross.

St. Isaac's Cathedral

This weather vane is one of the most prominent symbols of St. Petersburg.

The interior of the Cathedral is light and airy, with its glittering chandeliers and opulent iconostasis, which is the masterpiece of gilded woodcarving executed by Moscow craftsmen.

After Peter's death in 1725, the Cathedral became the burial place of the tsars. Here were interred the remains of several generations of rulers, their wives and children.
The guide will tell you the tragic history of the last Romanovs buried in the Cathedral in 1998.

You can visit a prison in the Trubetskoy bastion, where many prominent revolutionaries were kept, including Lenin's elder brother Alexander Ulyanov and a famous proletarian writer Maxim Gorky. It will give you an idea of the conditions in which the prisoners were kept and you'll see the documents that relate to the lives of the prisoners.

Duration: 2 hours

The Hermitage Museum

Hermitage Museum

"The Crown Jewel" on the museum list in St.Petersburg is the Hermitage. It is Russia's largest art museum, which owns an astounding collection of 2,8 mln pieces of art.

It was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764 as a private museum to which only Catherine and her courtiers had access.

The collection is housed in four buildings, the most impressive of them is the Winter Palace - official residence of the imperial family, the Small Hermitage, the Old Hermitage and the New Hermitage opened to public in 1852.

The Jordan staircase is the grand entrance to the Winter Palace. It strikes one with its splendor. You walk through superb staterooms: the Field Marshal's Hall, Small Throne Room dedicated to the memory of Peter the Great, the Armorial Hall with gilded columns, the 1812 Gallery displaying portraits of Russian military heroes of the Napoleonic war, the Hall of St. George fitted in cararra marble and gilt bronze.

In the Small Hermitage you find yourself in a Pavilion Hall with its slender marble columns supporting an elegant gallery and 28 cut-glass chandeliers, the famous Peacock Clock made in London and presented to Catherine II. When the clock strikes, all the figures in the cage come into motion.

In the Old Hermitage a visitor can see two masterpieces by Leonardo Da Vinci: the Madonna with a Flower and the Litta Madonna, an early work by Rafael-the Connestabile Madonna and a later work by him- the Holy Family. The Crouching Boy is the only work by Michelangelo in Russia.

The Venetian school dominates with Judith by Giorgione and an array of works by Titian.

The Spanish collection features all Spain's golden age heroes from El Greco through to Murillo, Zurbaran, Velasquez and Goya.

The Hermitage is proud of its vast Rembrandt collection. Within a short period of time Rembrandt produced the dramatic Abraham's Sacrifice, the gentle Flora and the brilliant Descent from the Cross. One of his last works was the Return of the Prodigal Son painted with an emotional depth unseen before.

Over 40 works by Rubens include religious subjects and scenes from classical mythology as well as landscapes.

The Hermitage boasts a superb array of impressionists and postimpressionists paintings: Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso.

Duration: 3 hours.

The Intrigue of the Yusupov Palace

This remarkable 18th century residence built on the banks of the Moika River is known today by the name of its last owner prior to the Russian Revolution. Yusupov Palace is one of the fifty palaces once owned by the wealthy Russian noble Yusupov family, patrons of art, that assembled an exceptional collection of paintings, sculpture and applied art, which vied with the court for the opulence of their receptions and received monarchs in their apartments as guests. This great ensemble is an example of noble life in its extreme, almost regal splendor.

You will tour this great palace, including the family's magnificent private theatre where nobles came to be entertained.

The Palace's notoriety and intrigue comes from the role it played in the assassination of Rasputin, one of the most contradictory figures in the nation's history. Here, in the old mansion on the Moika, a bloody drama was played out that shook Russian society. You'll be taken to the hidden basement chamber where you experience the scene as it was laid out on the fateful night of Rasputin's death.

This palace is not to be missed.

Duration: 2 hours



A one hour drive will take you to Peterhof, the town of palaces, fountains and parks- the most brilliant of all the summer residences of the Russian tsars. It is located on the coast of the Gulf of Finland. It was conceived by Peter the Great to rival Versailles in splendor and indeed, one could spend the whole day there enjoying the extravaganza of the dazzling fountain display.

Peterhof was officially opened in 1721. Crowning the hill is Peter's Grand Palace. It has a commanding view over the Lower Park and the Gulf beyond.
You will ascend the main Staircase adorned with gilded carvings that leads into a suite of staterooms.
The staterooms are sumptuously appointed, especially the opulent Throne room used in the past for great receptions and official ceremonies.
You will see Peter's Oak Study, one of the few rooms to have survived unaltered from the days of Peter the Great.

After leaving the Grand Palace, enjoy a breathtaking view of the Grand Cascade, which is justly considered the chief delight of the grounds. The Great Cascade is fed by the underground springs of the Ropsha hills about 13 miles away. It comprises 3 waterfalls, and avenue of 64 fountains and 37 gilt statues.

It is difficult to imagine a more gorgeous effect - the water from the fountains cascading in broad sheets among gilt statues and bas-reliefs. The largest fountain of Peterhof is Samson Rending the Jaws of a Lion. It is a symbolic representation of Russia's victory over Sweden in the Northern War.

A great variety of fountains concentrated in the Lower Park include Chess Board Hill cascade, Adam and Eva fountains, the Sun fountain, and lots of others. All the fountains are naturally fed by gravity.

The estate was totally occupied during the World War II and the fountains were destroyed. Since then, nearly all the damage has been repaired. What you see today is a splendid postwar restoration.

Duration: 5 hours.

St.Isaac's Cathedral

Your next stop will be at St. Isaac's Square dominated by the majestic St. Isaac's Cathedral, it's golden dome can be seen all over the city.

Built in the 19th century, St. Isaac's is one of the finest cathedrals in Europe and a unique monument to Russian architecture, art and construction.

It was built over a period of 40 years (from 1818 to1858) by the architect August Montferrand, named in honor of St. Isaac the Dalmatian- a legendary Byzantine monk, whose day (May 30) coincided with Peter the Great's birthday.

The great height of the building and its elongated main dome give the cathedral a restrained and refined appearance. It is 111.5 m long and 97.5 m wide and can easily accommodate 14 000.

Both the exterior and interior of the building are decorated with sculptural ornament, fashioned by some of the greatest sculptors of the 19th century.

Porphyry, lapis lazuli, malachite, colored marble and other stones were used in the ornamentation of the cathedral giving the whole building a beautiful multi-colored effect.

Of undoubted interest is the main iconostas, which is made of white marble with columns of malachite and lapis lazuli.

The icons in the church are of 19th century design, executed in a virtuoso mosaic technique.

14 colored marbles and 43 other types of semiprecious stones and minerals were used in St. Isaac's Cathedral.

Today the Cathedral is a historical arts museum.

Duration: 2 hours

Kazan Cathedral

The famous Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan is considered to be one of the landmarks of the city and one of the most outstanding architectural monuments. Built over the 1801-1811 period by the architect Andrei Voronikhin, who was count Stroganov's serf, the cathedral is the central element of downtown St. Petersburg. The cathedral's colonnade, which faces Nevsky Prospect, constitutes an integral entity together with the street.

The Icon of Our Lady of Kazan, which protected the house of Romanovs, was placed inside the cathedral.

The religion-history museum was opened there in 1932.

The Cathedral also reminds about the Russian victory over Napoleon's Grande Army in 1812. There is a grave of field marshal Mikhail Kutuzov, who was Russia's greatest general in the late 18-th century and early 19-th century.

In 2000 the cathedral was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church, divine liturgies being held there ever since.

Alexander Pushkin Museum Flat

The name of Russia's greatest poet Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) is known throughout the world. The Russian people revere everything that is connected with his name, and the Pushkin memorial places are looked after with love and care.

This museum is one of the most popular, bringing to life many of the chapters of Pushkin's life.

Pushkin came here in autumn 1836 and moved into a flat on the ground floor. Its layout was typical for an 18th century aristocrats' house, the rooms being arranged one after the other in enfilade. Each room had its own individual purpose, its style and its décor.

The museum covers seven rooms- the pantry, the dining room, the drawing room, the bedroom, the nursery, the hall and the study. Here there are portraits of Pushkin including the last portrait to be painted during his lifetime by Ivan Linyov and a portrait of Pushkin's wife by Alexander Brullov as well as portraits of his friends.

Among the special relics there are the waistcoat, which Pushkin was wearing when he was shot in the duel, a medallion with a lock of his hair and a death mask of the poet.

Pushkin's study is of particular interest. It has been restored to look exactly as it did in Pushkin's lifetime. There are several items that once belonged to Pushkin including his writing desk and armchair, a bronze inkstand, a goose-quill pen, a walking stick with a button from Peter the Great's coat set into the knob, and a wooden casket edged with iron.

In the library, which contains some 4 000 volumes there are classics of world literature and books on geography, history, astronomy, economics and chess, books in fourteen European and oriental languages.

Pushkin spent much of his time in his study, it was here that he finished his novel The Captain's Daughter and worked on his History of Peter the Great.

On the fateful day of his duel with George Dantes on January 27, 1837, in which Pushkin was mortally wounded, he was brought to his flat and two days later Russia's greatest poet died.

To visit the house of Pushkin and to see things that were part of his life is a deeply moving experience.

Fyodor Dostoevsky Museum Flat

The great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) exerted immense influence on the development not only of Russian literature but on the literature of the whole world. This museum in the house on the corner of Kuznechny Lane and Dostoevsky Street is dedicated to his life and work.

In early February 1846 Dostoevsky then 24 years old moved into lodgings in the house, which then stood here, and stayed for several months. 32 years later in 1878 he returned once more to the same house, which had by then rebuilt and there at Flat #10 spent the remaining three years of his life.

The flat consists of six rooms, a huge storeroom of books, a hall and a kitchen.

The windows of the dining room look out onto the same view as they did so many years ago. Here everything connected with Dostoevsky has been carefully preserved. There is the place in the room where he would like to sit lost in thought, and also the laurel wreath that was presented to him at a literary evening and the clock stopped at the moment of his death.

The most interesting exhibit is Dostoevsky's study. It was here that he wrote The Karamazov Brothers and part of his Writer's Diary. The portraits and paintings in the study show interests and tastes of the writer. On the walls there are portraits of his children and himself and on a bookstand portrait of his wife.

Dostoevsky's life as a writer was indissolubly linked with the city of St. Petersburg, where he spent 29 years of his life and became one of the most Petersburgian of all the 19th century Russian writers. Petersburg, the city of slums and poverty, the city of the hapless and fallen plays a great role in his immortal works.


The town of Pavlovsk, which is famous for its palace and park ensemble, is located 26 kilometers to the south of Saint Petersburg. A superb palace and park ensemble, dating from the late 18th to the 19th century, Pavlovsk was a summer residence of the Russian emperor Paul I and his family. The landscape park, one of the largest in Europe, covers an area of 600 hectares.

It was founded in 1777, at the time when empress Catherine II granted her son, Grand Prince Pavel Petrovich, court hunting grounds situated on the bank of the Slavyanka river.. Prominent architects, such as Cameron, Brenna, Quarenghi, Voronikhin, Rossi and Gonzago as well as hundreds of Russian craftsmen worked for decades to create the ensemble of parks and palaces of Pavlovsk.

The architectural center of the Pavlovsk ensemble is the Grand Pavlovsk Palace designed in the spirit of the Russian Classicism by Ch.Cameron. The main building of the palace is connected with galleries and auxiliary wings decorated with a colonnade and busts of the great Russian people. The palace is topped with a flat dome resting on 64 small columns of the Tuscan order. The palace's outline is austere and graceful at the same time. Nearly all the Palace apartments are relatively modest in scale, which lends Pavlovsk a distinct charm rather than grandeur.

The formation of the Pavlovsk Palace collections was closely connected with the journey by its owners through Europe in 1781-82. They visited workshops of well-known artists, ordering and acquiring paintings, furniture, bronze articles, silk fabrics, china sets, etc. They also brought back to Russia a large number of antique sculptures from Italy, and gifts from European royal courts. Many of these treasures are on view, together with an excellent collection of portraits by Russian artists, and a number of Pavlovsk landscape paintings and drawings.

Though the Palace and the park were destroyed in 1941-44, they have been totally restored and present the most complete picture of a Royal suburban residence.

Duration: 5 hours