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.