Ancient Autographs: Graffiti of Kiev’s St. Sophia Cathedral

Ancient Autographs: Graffiti of Kiev’s St. Sophia Cathedral

Built in the early 11th century by Kiev’s first Grand Princes, Volodymr the Great and Yaroslav the Wise, St. Sophia’s imposing asymmetrical green domes, rising over white plastered walls, are tipped with gold, and golden scales cover its 94-foot central dome. Apparently, though, some early Kievans weren’t as impressed as they should have been with this magnificence. Researchers with magnifying glasses have over time discovered some 300 graffiti scratched into the walls of the cathedral; most of them are at eye-level, but a few of the graffiti artists needed ladders or scaffolds to make their marks. Read More


6 Obscure – but Vital – Aspects of the Undiscovered Countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

6 Obscure – but Vital – Aspects of the Undiscovered Countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

But besides their complicated histories and red-roofed capitals, there are other reasons to travel to the Baltics. Here are two striking elements for each of these yet-to-be-discovered countries that make them so arresting. Read More




Put a Ring on it: Our Favorite Towns in Russia’s Golden Ring

Put a Ring on it: Our Favorite Towns in Russia’s Golden Ring

One of our Western Russia travel experts shares his tips for travel through the ancient Golden Ring towns that form an elliptical circle to the north and east of Moscow. He writes: Don’t get me wrong, I love Moscow, and it’s been my home for over 19 years, but I really enjoy getting out into the regions for a change of scenery. A great way to get outside of Moscow and feel life in the more rural regions is by visiting cities on Russia’s Golden Ring. Read More


Good Manners and Good Food: A Home-Cooked Meal in Siberia

Good Manners and Good Food: A Home-Cooked Meal in Siberia

During my years of travel with MIR, I've been served a lavish birthday dinner in Uzbekistan, dined at Moscow's venerable Metropol Hotel, coped with the gooey football-shaped potato cepelinai (think Zeppelin) in Lithuania, and been seated at the damasked dining tables of the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express. But there's nothing like dining in a private Siberian home. I’ve eaten meals with Siberian families at homestays in Irkutsk and Ulan Ude, and enjoyed a feast with a family of Old Believers in the village of Tarbagatay. Each was thoughtfully prepared and graciously offered, and came replete with leisurely and engrossing conversations about our respective countries, families, kids, professions, and travels. These intimate repasts have been highlights of my travels in Siberia. Read More


Traveling Solo? Celebrate Summer on the Trans-Siberian Railway and Save!

Traveling Solo? Celebrate Summer on the Trans-Siberian Railway and Save!

Travelers on the Classic Trans-Siberian Railway Route travel from Moscow to Vladivostok, venturing to the southern tip of Lake Baikal and the charming Siberian cities of Irkutsk and Ulan Ude. From the comfort of the luxury private train, watch as the cities and industrial centers give way to little villages and miles of wilderness. For those who choose to travel the Trans-Siberian Classic Route solo, it has been made a little easier now that the cost of the single supplement has been waved (offer expires March 31, 2017). Read More


3 Reasons to Visit Georgia Now: Wine, Cuisine & Culture (VIDEO)

3 Reasons to Visit Georgia Now: Wine, Cuisine & Culture (VIDEO)

MIR Vice President Annie Lucas has traveled the world, and declares Georgia – an undiscovered travel gem of a country in the South Caucasus – her favorite place in the world. In this video, Annie shares why she designed a small group tour for MIR that highlights so many cultural and culinary treasures of gorgeous Georgia. Read More


Best in Travel: We’re not the only ones in love with the Republic of Georgia

Best in Travel: We’re not the only ones in love with the Republic of Georgia

Travel experts agree it’s a gorgeous place, boasting fabulous food, music, and mountains. Its warm Mediterranean climate, deep black soil, saw-toothed mountains and Black Sea coast combine to make Georgia a Garden of Eden, overflowing with wine and rich in culinary flair – everything you could wish for in a destination. Most recently, Vogue, Afar, and T (The New York Times style magazine) have shared their enthusiastic recommendations for travel to Georgia. Read More


Places to Go, People to See in Mongolia: 7 Favorites

Places to Go, People to See in Mongolia: 7 Favorites

Mongolia is an adventurous destination, where 4X4s navigate the dirt tracks across the steppe and through the Gobi Desert; where you can still meet nomadic people in their gers and step into their lives for a moment; and where the incredible skills of ancient armies are preserved at the remarkable Naadam Festival, a celebration of courage, strength, dexterity and marksmanship dating back to the time of Genghis Khan. The time to visit is now; huge reserves of gold, copper and coal have created deep global interest in what can be found under Mongolia’s endless grasslands. Read More