Intensive Summer Russian Language Program in Novgorod the Great

Novgorod Woodcut
Novgorod the Great

Plus Touring Sites of Interest in Moscow and St. Petersburg

This program offers an extraordinary first-hand experience of Russia that includes intensive Russian language and culture study at the oldest Russian city, called "the motherland of Russia," Novgorod the Great, plus cultural tours in St. Petersburg and Moscow. In Novgorod students study at Novgorod State University and live in home stays with Russian families. Course work includes phonetics, grammar, conversation, writing, and reading about Russian culture and daily life. All the classes are taught by native specialists in Russian as a foreign language. Tours and excursions in Novgorod area and longer tours to Moscow and St. Petersburg and its environs (Peterhof and Pavlovsk).

Novgorod, a beautiful city on the banks of the Volkhov River, is the first city founded in Russia (859 A.D.). For centuries it served as a river port and the mediator town on the trade route from Europe to Byzantium. Novgorod is almost three centuries older than Moscow and about five and a half centuries older than St. Petersburg. Among Russia’s many ancient cities, Novgorod is one of the greatest repositories of medieval art, with a multitude of beautiful churches and monasteries (11th-17th centuries --St. Sophia’s Cathedral is the oldest in Russia). The Kremlin of Novgorod is the heart of the town. The chronicles first mention it around 1044. It was rebuilt at the end of the 15th century, and it has a powerful medieval appearance. Many of Novgorod's most famous sites are in the Kremlin. Among them are the Monument to Russia's Millennium, a famous Museum of History, Architecture and Art, and St. Sophia Cathedral. The Cathedral is home to Russia's national relic - the miraculous 12th century icon of Our Lady of the Sign. The main entrance to the Cathedral is adorned with the 12th century bronze gates cast in Magdeburg (Germany), decorated with scenes from the Old and New Testaments. On the right bank of the Volchov river (facing the Kremlin) are located the Prince Yaroslav Estate (a fascinating series of 12th-18th century architectural monuments) and the site of the medieval Market (which was a seasonal shopping gallery with public granaries and lively warehouses). Near Novgorod is an extraordinary open-air museum of folk wooden architecture, Vitoslavlitsy, which offers an evocative image of the sorts of homes, mills, public buildings, and churches Russians lived in for many centuries.

"Moscow, how many things fuse together for a Russian heart in this sound!" said Alexander Pushkin about the largest Russian city, founded in 1147 by Yury Dolgorukij who built the fortress (Kremlin) up the hill over the Moscow River. At the end of the fifteenth century the new powerful walls and towers that we can see now were built. Students will have tours to Red Square, the Kremlin, Tretiakovsky Gallery, and have a general tour of the city by bus with brief stops at different sites of interest.

St. Petersburg is magnificent and beautiful, unlike any city in the world. Students will visit the Peter-Paul Fortress, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Russian Museum, the Hermitage Art Museum, the tsarist suburban palaces at Pavlovsk, and Peterhof with its dazzling parks with guilded statues, beautiful gardens, and countless fountains. Our visit corresponds with the magical period of 'White Nights', perhaps best appreciated during a late night boat tour of the canals.

Living arrangements: Students live in home stays, with Russian families, and have meals with their host families. Hotel stays may be arranged for anyone not wanting the home stay arrangement.

Tours and excursions: in Novgorod and in the Novgorod area and longer tours in Moscow, St. Petersburg and its environs (Peterhof and Pavlovsk).

Open to All: No previous knowledge of Russian required. Program also open to students who are not currently enrolled at Miami University. Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced levels of study.

Prerequisites:

  • Beginning students (199.B): no prerequisite.
  • Intermediate students (299.B): have taken at least one year of Russian
  • Pre-Advanced students (399.B): have taken at least two years of Russian
  • Advanced (499.B): have taken at least three years of Russian

Required Component:  RUS 105 -- "Russia and the Russians"-- is a pre-departure cultural component of the Novgorod Program for Miami University students. In addition to speaking out specific practical elements of the program it is designed to introduce students to the Russian mindset and the specific cultural treasures of three successive capitals of Russia, Novgorod the Great, St. Petersburg, and Moscow. This credit/no credit sprint course starts on February 4, 2013 right after the February 1 deadline for applications for the Novgorod Program is reached.

Credit: 6 credit hours from Miami University for undergraduates. 4 credit hours for graduate students.

Cost: Final costs to be determined. Includes all expenses in Russia (room and board, excursions, instruction, touring in Moscow and St. Petersburg). Not included are roundtrip airfare to St. Petersburg and theater tickets. Fees subject to slight changes.

Scholarships: Travel grants are available for Miami students, courtesy of the Havighurst Center and the Office of Lifelong Learning.

Provision: The program could be cancelled should it fail to reach a minimum of 10 students.

Sample Itiniery

Week 1

Thursday

Departure from the USA.

Friday

Arrival in St. Petersburg (Pulkovo-2).

Checking in to hotel “St Petersburg.” Address: 194044, St. Petersburg, Pirogovskaya emb. 5/2; Phone: 011-7(812)380-1919 (calling from the US).

Bus tour of St.Petersburg.

Dinner. Return to the hotel.

Saturday

Tour of the Hermitage Museum. The former residence of the Russian Tsars, it is largest repository of art in Russia and one of the most representative museums in the world (collections feature over 3,000,000 items that present the development of world culture and art from the Stone Age to the 20th century. Even if one stops in front of every exhibit just for a minute and spend eight hours every day in the museum, it will take one almost fifteen years to see the whole collection.

Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood (or the Cathedral of Resurrection). It was built in 1883-1907 on the site where on March 1, 1881 the Emperor Alexander II was mortally wounded by a bomb thrown by the terrorist Ignaty Grinevitsky. This Cathedral is a St. Petersburg imitation of pre-Petrine (i.e., before Peter the Great) ecclesiastical architecture with its center in Moscow (e.g., St. Basil’s Cathedral). Designed by Alfred Parland who borrowed many compositional devices and shapes from Moscow and Yaroslavl churches of the 17th century.

Dinner.

Attending a performance at Mariinski Theater. Designed by Albert Cavos and Victor Schroter in 1847-60, 1894-5. The best achievements of Russian ballet and opera are connected with the Mariinski (Kirov) Theater. Many works by the greatest composers were performed on its stage for the first time. The theater was and has remained the company incorporating superb casts of actors, directors, and conductors.

Sunday

Early morning departure from St. Petersburg by bus and arrival in Novgorod (about three hour’s drive). Meeting families and getting acquainted.

Week 2

Monday

3 hours of classes.

Exploratory excursion of Novgorod the Great.

The Kremlin. It is referred to in the Chronicles from 1044 as the religious, political, and cultural center of Russian Lands. In the 12th century it acquired the form we still see today. It is a marvelous example of medieval defense architecture Its perimeter walls are between two and four meters thick, and stretch for 1,385 meters to enclose an area of twenty hectares (about 50 acres). In the 14th-15th centuries the walls that previously were made of wood were rebuilt in stone, with brick facing. The history of Novgorod’s Kremlin is inextricably entwined with the history of the city-state itself.

The Novgorod State United Museum. Offers a unique collection of historic, cultural, and art relics excavated from the soil of Novgorod in the archaeological research that has been carried out for more than 60 years. The archaeological finds include such world famous items as a great number of birch-bark scrolls and lead seals dating back to the 12th-15th centuries, indicative of a unique and striking level for medieval times of literacy among ancient Russians and a highly organized system of state control.

Tuesday

4 hours of classes.

Wednesday

4 hours of classes.

Thursday

5 hours of classes

Friday

3 hours of classes.

Russia’s Millennium Monument. Located within Novgorod’s Kremlin, sculpted by Mikhail Mikeshin in 1862 to celebrate the millennium of Rurik's arrival in Novgorod, an event traditionally taken as the starting point of Russian history. The bell was to be encircled with several tiers of sculptures representing Russian monarchs, clerics and commanders represented side by side with sixteen eminent personalities of Russian culture: Lomonosov, Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Karl Brullov, Mikhail Glinka, etc. As for the Russian rulers, Ivan the Terrible is famously absent from the monument due to his role in the 1570 pillage and massacre of Novgorod by the Oprichnina (royal secret police). Alongside with the Muscovite princes, the mediaeval Lithuanian dynasts such as Gediminas or Vytautas the Great who reigned over the Eastern Slavs of the present-day Belarus and Ukraine are represented. In order to provide an appropriate pedestal for the huge sculpture, sixteen blocks of Sortavala granite were brought to Novgorod, each weighing in excess of 35 tons. The bronze monument itself weighs 65 tons.

St. Sophia, the Wisdom of God Cathedral. It was built in 1045 and is Russia’s oldest and most beloved church. To the right of the iconostasis (a screen before the altar with images of the saints) stands the miracle-working icon of “the Mother of God of the Sign” that according to the legend, saved Novgorod in 1170 during a siege by the Prince Andrei Bogoliubsky of Suzdal.

Saturday

Days off.

Sunday

Excursion to Jaroslav’s Court and Former Market. According to the legend, it was site where Prince Jaroslav erected his palace in the early 11th century and was considered the most splendid in Europe. This was once the busiest part of Novgorod the Great, full of bustling market rows and warehouses. It was here were the veche (a unique people’s assembly that elected governors and other high officials in the Novgorod Republic) held its meetings.

Week 3

Monday

5 hours of classes.

Tuesday

5 hours of classes

Wednesday

5 hours of classes.

Thursday

5 hours of classes.

Evening departure to Moscow by train.

Friday

Arrival in Moscow. Transfer to hotel “Ismajlovo.” Address/phone: 105187 Moscow, Ismailovskoye shosse, 71;
Telephone: 011-7 (095) 166-43-45 (calling from the USA)

Breakfast.

Red Square (in old Russian “red” meant “beautiful”) and the Kremlin. It is the holy of holies in the Russian state, where the history of the “Third Rome” began. It is most likely that the root of the word kremlin is the Slavonic word kremnik, meaning “forest.” First fortified wooden walls were built in 1156 at the order of Prince Jury Dolgoruky. This name was preserved even after the building of a new Kremlin out of red bricks in the 15-th century. It was the residence of the Russian Tsars and the Russian emperors were crowned here. After the revolution the Bolshevik government moved into the Kremlin, and it became impossible to visit its territory without a special pass. In 1955, shortly after Stalin’s death, the Kremlin was opened as a state museum.

The Armory Museum is a treasure house, a part of the Grand Kremlin Palace’s complex. The museum collections hold the precious items preserved for centuries in the Tsars’ treasury and the Patriarch’s vestry.

St. Basil’s Cathedral was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible and built on the edge of Red Square between 1555 and 1561 in honor the capture of Kazan. It was designed by architects Barma and Postnik Yakovlev. The Cathedral actually comprises nine individual churches each crowned by a unique tower. The spire of the central church (Intercession) unites the other eight churches with their onion domes as if binding them to itself. This symbolizes the supremacy and protection of the Mother of God over the whole Orthodox Church and over the Russian lands. In plan these eight towers crowned with onion domes form an eight-pointed star. The star symbolizes the Virgin, Queen of Heaven and the entire Christian Church as a guiding star showing mankind the way to the Heavenly Jerusalem. According to the legend, on completion of the church Ivan the Terrible ordered the architects to be blinded so that they could never build anything to surpass the beauty of this new building.

Free time. Dinner.

Saturday

Free time and shopping at Ismailovo Market.

Bus tour includes stops at Novodevichy (New Maiden) Convent (founded in the early 16th century, it looks like a miniature Kremlin) and Christ the Savior Cathedral (rebuilt in 1997, a monument both to the revived Orthodox faith and to Russian soldiers who died in 19th century wars).

Dinner.

Attending a performance at the Bolshoi Theater, founded in 1776 as the Moscow Public Theater. After a fire in 1805 the theater was totally destroyed and the theater was transferred to the state and became the first Russian Imperial Theater. In 1824 the majestic Bolshoi Theater was erected by architects Bove and Mikhailov.

Sunday

Lenin’s Mausoleum was built in 1924 (designed by architect A. Shchusev) to preserve Lenin’s body. Naderzda Krupskaya, Lenin’s widow, and his brother and sister protested at this blasphemous form of burial, and expressed the wish that he be laid to rest in the earth. However, Lenin’s closest political allies insisted on exploiting his body for Bolshevik propaganda. In June 1945 the Soviet troops marched in columns in the Victory Parade and 200 German banners were thrown at the foot of the Mausoleum.

The Tretiakov Gallery of Russian Visual Art was started by the Tretyakov brothers, merchant philanthropists in the 1800s. The gallery is Russia's first public art museum and holds more than 50,000 works of painting, graphic art, and sculpture.

Old Arbat Street is a symbol of old Moscow, first mentioned in 1493. It was repaved in 1986 and became the first and only pedestrian street in Moscow.

Dinner. Transfer to the train station. Evening departure to Novgorod.

Week 4

Monday

Early morning arrival in Novgorod. No classes, working on a special home assignment about your visit to Moscow.

Tuesday

5 hours of classes.

Wednesday

4 hours of classes.

Excursion to Viatoslavlitsy, the open-air Museum of Folk Wooden Architecture, a unique phenomenon of folk art, traditional customs, rites, and businesses. Opened for the public in 1964. Archeologists have been working for over 40 years to locate and preserve interesting structures in the Novgorod region. For this reason, plans were drawn up for systematically identifying, removing, and relocating these structures. Having them in one place made appropriate conservation possible.

Thursday

5 hours of classes.

Friday

5 hours of classes.

Saturday

Day off.

Sunday

Day off.

Week 5

Monday

5 hours of classes.

Tuesday

5 hours of classes.

Wednesday

5 hours of classes.

Thursday

4 hours of classes.

Friday

Awarding of Certificates.

Saturday

Day off.

Sunday

Early morning departure from Novgorod. Arrival in St. Petersburg, hotel “St. Petersburg.” Address: 194044, St. Petersburg, Pirogovskaya emb. 5/2; Phone: 011-7 (812) 380-1919.

Peter and Paul Fortress was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great near the right bank of the Neva on Hare Island. The citadel was erected to protect the areas around the Neva taken back by Russia from Sweden in the course of the Northern War. The fortress was the kernel from which the capital of the Russian Empire was growing and which gave to the city its name – St.Petersburg.

St. Isaacs Cathedral was designed by Auguste-de-Montferrand and took up much of his life (1818-58).

The Russian Museum possesses the world’s largest collection of Russian art --about 400,000 exhibits representing national art from the 11th century to the present day. It includes collections of paintings, graphic art, sculpture, decorative, and folk art. The museum was founded in 1895 and was opened for visitors in 1898 in the Mikhailovsky Palace designed by architect Carlo Rossi. The main façade of the Mikhailovsky Palace affords a view of Arts Square, the compositional center of which is the monument to Alexander Pushkin by Michail Anikushin unveiled in 1957.

Dinner.

Excursion by boat along canals that crisscross St. Petersburg and the Neva River.

Week 6

Monday

Ride by bus to Pushkin town (Tsarskoye Selo or Tzar’s Village).

Tour of Catherine's Palace. It was designed by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli ad built in1752-56. There one can see the famous Amber Room stolen by Nazis, it has been re-created and opened for public since in 2003. The Room justly regarded as the “eights wonder of the world.” The amber panels were designed and produced in Prussia In 1701-09 and sent by the Prussian king, Frederick William I to Peter the Great as a gift for the decoration of the Study in his palace in St. Petersburg. In 1755 Rastrelli designed the Amber Room in the Catherine Palace, enriching the panels with Florentine mosaics and sculpture.

Ride to Peterhof. Peter the Great founded Peterhof in 1705. The building of the celebrated palace-and-park ensemble began in the 1710s. Its compositional center is the Great Palace which towers on the natural terrace facing the Gulf of Finland. In 1745-55 the building was demolished and rebuilt by Fancesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli along the lines of Elizabethan Baroque. In 1918 the palaces of Peterhof became museums. The unique complex of fascinating water cascades and fountains, resplendent parks, palaces and pavilions turned Peterhof into real paradise, the “Russian Versailles”, as Peter the Great dreamed.

Dinner.

Tuesday

Departure from St. Petersburg: return to Pulkovo-2 airport and flying back to the USA.


For further information: Please contact group leader:

Dr. Irina Goncharenko-Rose
Irvin Hall 131
Office Telephone: (513) 529-2581
Department Telephone: (513) 529-2526

Novgorod Woodcut
Novgorod the Great