The Trans-Siberian Railway: A Multi-Part Journey with Vadim Malinovsky - Context Travel

The Trans-Siberian Railway: A Multi-Part Journey with Vadim Malinovsky


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The Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest in the world, spanning nearly 6000 miles across eight time zones from Moscow to Vladivostok in the Russian Far East. Completed in 1916, the massive trip takes a minimum of seven days.

Join a historian on this five-part virtual train journey, each lecture devoted to the architectural, historical, and natural highlights of the principal stops along this legendary route. We’ll journey from Moscow to Kazan, to examine the different ethnic groups of the Volga River, to Yekaterinburg to learn its great history and why the Urals region is called the “Heart of Russia made of Steel”. We’ll venture onwards to Siberia where we’ll spend time in its main cities including Novosibirsk, the capital of the region. Towards the final stages of our trip, we’ll head to Irkutsk and Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world. We will finish our journey in Vladivostok, Far East.

Led by historian Vadim Malinovsky–who himself has recently completed the full cross-country trip–our journey will provide an understanding of the mythical diversity of Russia’s many regions, and their historical roots. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an appetite for Russia beyond Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

We offer this journey in two formats - five 1.5-hour sessions and two 4-hour sessions (worry not, we make sure to give a couple of short breaks in that time). Both formats cover the same destinations in the same overall amount of time. 

Lecture 1. Kazan: Where Europe meets Asia

We will start off our journey with an overview of the Trans-Siberian Railway. We’ll discuss its history as well as the types of trains we can take to do this legendary route. Our first stop on the way to the Far East will be the Republic of Tatarstan (Tartaria) and Kazan, its capital. Kazan is the ideal place to see the intersection of Russia’s varying cultures and religions with its great fusion of Orthodox and Islamic architecture, and Russian and Tatar culture. The region is known as the crossroads of civilizations where Europe meets Asia.

Lecture 2. Yekaterinburg and the Urals: Heart of Russia Made of Steel

Yekaterinburg is the capital of the Ural Mountains region. It is one of the main industrial centers of the country as well as the city with a great history of two important historical characters. The first one is the emperor of the Russian Empire Nicholas the Second who was murdered there in 1918. We will see the church built on the place of his murder that became an important attraction for religious Russians. On the other hand, there is a very important museum dedicated to Boris Yeltsin, the first president of independent Russia, and his reforms.

Lecture 3. Siberia and Novosibirsk: Silicon Valley of Russia

Siberia is an enormous region of Russia with great natural highlights and reserves. Except for national parks, we will visit Omsk, the city that played an important role during the Civil War in Russia. The main destination of Siberia is Novosibirsk, the capital of the region, the city that was founded in 1893 during the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Nowadays it is the third most populated city of Russia with the largest opera house in the country and a scientific center in the middle of the taiga, we call it Russian Silicon Valley.

Lecture 4. Irkutsk and Baikal Lake: World’s Natural Wonder

Lake Baikal is the must-see highlight of the whole Trans-Siberian route. We will talk about this majestic lake that has more than 20% of the world’s freshwater. Baikal railway, islands, entertainment, and cultural difference between two sides of the lake: Russian Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude, the capital of the Republic of Buryatia that is the center of Tibetan Buddhism in Russia.

Lecture 5. Vladivostok and the Far East: The Edge of Russia

We will finish our journey traveling through the Russian Far East with its geysers, volcanos, and mystical lunar landscapes. The key city of the region is Vladivostok, the last city on the route. Vladivostok is the main city and seaport of the Russian Far East that can amaze visitors with its natural beauty, lighthouses, and bridges. The bridge leading to the Island “Russian” is the symbol of the Far East of the 21st century. We’ll finish up with a discussion on how the Trans-Siberian railway is reflected in Russian culture and mentality.

Vadim is a historian (MA) who has graduated from Lomonosov Moscow State University. His focus is on contemporary Russian history. He is working on a Ph.D. dissertation on Stalin’s national policy.

How does it work?

This is a five-part journey series held on consecutive days and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture.

How long are the lectures?

Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A. In the two-day intensive, each session is 4 hours, with 1-2 short pauses to break up the time as well as for interspersed Q&A.  

How much is the journey?

$175 for five 90-minute or two four-hour lectures.

Is a recording available?

In general, our journeys are not recorded. However, if you need to miss a lecture please let us know in advance and we can arrange for a recording for that session on an individual basis.

This course is suitable for all ages

5-day format: 90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.
2-day format: 4 hours, with 2 pauses and interspersed Q&A. 

Customer Reviews

Based on 39 reviews
82%
(32)
13%
(5)
3%
(1)
3%
(1)
0%
(0)
E
E.R.B.
I enjoyed it very much

One has a sense of getting to know the region . I thought his presentations were very well prepaired

M
M.
So Enjoyed It

8 hours is a long time to be sitting and my original thought was I will never make it. The time just flew by. It was interesting and engaging. I learned so much. Vadim is a great docent.

A
A.

Grear trip across the country; learned so much about the history, culture, and architecture along the Trans Siberian - thanks for the tour Vadim, makes me want to explore more, and in person.

R
R.P.
Incredible Five Day Trip

This Trans-Siberian Railway course was everything I had hoped for and more. The course was fascinating, informative and entertaining. The presentation photos were beautiful and our guide Vadim was personable and knowledgeable. This course was a birthday gift from my sister. Best birthday present ever!

R
R.
A Great Opportunity

Spending five consecutive days traveling west to east with Vadim Malinovsky felt like taking a realistic trip. Vadim's expertise, organization, and warmth held our interest every second. Truly a great experience.

Customer Reviews

Based on 39 reviews
82%
(32)
13%
(5)
3%
(1)
3%
(1)
0%
(0)
E
E.R.B.
I enjoyed it very much

One has a sense of getting to know the region . I thought his presentations were very well prepaired

M
M.
So Enjoyed It

8 hours is a long time to be sitting and my original thought was I will never make it. The time just flew by. It was interesting and engaging. I learned so much. Vadim is a great docent.

A
A.

Grear trip across the country; learned so much about the history, culture, and architecture along the Trans Siberian - thanks for the tour Vadim, makes me want to explore more, and in person.

R
R.P.
Incredible Five Day Trip

This Trans-Siberian Railway course was everything I had hoped for and more. The course was fascinating, informative and entertaining. The presentation photos were beautiful and our guide Vadim was personable and knowledgeable. This course was a birthday gift from my sister. Best birthday present ever!

R
R.
A Great Opportunity

Spending five consecutive days traveling west to east with Vadim Malinovsky felt like taking a realistic trip. Vadim's expertise, organization, and warmth held our interest every second. Truly a great experience.