Client Photo Spotlight: The Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to Vladivostok

Client Photo Spotlight: The Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to Vladivostok

MIR traveler and blogger Lynn Lewis rode the Trans-Siberian rails on the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express private train. She took the “Classic Route,” rolling from across Russia from Moscow to Vladivostok via Mongolia, and she snapped dozens of photos along the way.

Here’s a selection of her pictures with some information we’ve added about each stop of the Trans-Siberian Classic Route. You can see more about her trip at her blog, “Two Girls from Texas in a Car.”


The journey started in Moscow and included stops at the classic sights of this 850-year-old capital city, including expansive UNESCO-listed Red Square with its imaginatively decorated St. Basil’s Cathedral and the venerable Kremlin with its imperial palaces.

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Sergiev Posad

Sergiev Posad grew around the Trinity St. Sergius Lavra (meaning “exalted monastery”) founded in the 1340s by St. Sergius of Radonezh, now the patron saint of Russia. The town was a center of woodcarving and toy-making for centuries, but today, of the 332 workshops formerly making wooden items, only a few remain, and only one of them still makes wooden toys.

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All Aboard

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First Stop: Kazan

A stop Kazan, the beautiful capital of Tatarstan on the Volga. Leo Tolstoy spent five or six years here in Kazan, where Orthodox churches and Muslim mosques are both found. The UNESCO-listed Kazan Kremlin is the highlight of the city tour considered by UNESCO to be the only surviving Tatar fortress in Russia.

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Beautiful Baikal

A spectacular part of the journey today is spent winding through tunnels and around cliffs along the shoreline of Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest and oldest freshwater lake. Baikal’s great age and isolation have produced one of the richest and most unusual ecosystems on earth. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Baikal holds twenty percent of the world’s unfrozen fresh water.

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Irkutsk, Siberia’s Cultural Capital

A tour of Irkutsk encompasses the major sights and museums of this cultured little city, including examples of the classic wooden architecture for which the area is known.

A highlight is a tour of the Decembrist House Museum. The Decembrists were a group of young officers who had served abroad during the War of 1812 and become advocates of democratic reform. In December 1825, they tried to force the Senate to sign a manifesto abolishing serfdom and instituting reforms. Their rebellion was quickly put down, and five of the leaders hanged. The rest were sentenced to forced labor in Siberia. Many of them, with their wives, settled in Irkutsk after their terms were over, and brought with them education and culture. The House Museum of the Decembrists is in the former home of Sergei Volkonsky and his wife, Maria.

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On the Border

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Ulaanbaatar, Capital of Mongolia

Dipping down onto the steppe of Mongolia, this rail journey by private train makes a stop in Ulaanbaatar, the country’s capital. Visit the Gandan Monastery, with its 20-ton gilded statue of “the Lord Who Looks in Every Direction,” created in the 1990s to replace the one destroyed in 1937. Have lunch in a traditional Mongolian-style ger restaurant.

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Ulan Ude, Siberia

A stop in Ulan Ude, capital of the Buryat Republic features a visit a village of Old Believers, who share a meal and treat travelers to a concert featuring local singers and musicians. Rebelling against Patriarch Nikon’s 1652 reforms of the Orthodox liturgy and ritual, the Old Believers fled or were exiled to Eastern Europe and then to Siberia.

In their isolated Siberian villages, these groups have been able to preserve their 17th century traditions, clothing, architecture, language and style of singing. In 2001, UNESCO included the culture and unique choral music of the Trans-Baikal Semeiskie – as they are called in Siberia – on its “Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.”

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Khabarovsk on the Amur River

Founded in 1858 by Cossacks of the 13th Siberian Battalion, Khabarovsk was originally a military outpost guarding the Chinese border.

Built on three hills overlooking the Amur River just beyond its confluence with the Ussuri, the city has a long and pleasant waterfront. Its main streets are wide tree-lined boulevards projecting outward from the riverbank. Khabarovsk began to expand after the arrival of the Trans-Siberian railway from Vladivostok, and today it is home to 700,000 people.

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End of the Line: Vladivostok

A tour of Vladivostok includes the railway station, built in 1912 and decorated with Socialist-Realist artwork; the embankment along Korabelno-Naberezhna, including the Pacific Navy War Memorial with the S-56 submarine, the Monument to the First Settlers and the Krasny Vympel steamboat; and the Eagle’s Nest observation platform, from which the whole city of Vladivostok and Golden Horn Bay can be admired on a clear day or night.

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Travel on the Trans-Siberian with MIR

You can visit these destinations and more on one of our many rail journeys along the Trans-Siberian. We offer a wide range of itineraries and rail options, from deluxe and luxury rail journeys by private train to an adventurous small group tour on regularly scheduled trains with locals.

MIR traveler and blogger Lynn Lewis traveled on the The Trans-Siberian Classic Route (eastbound from Moscow to Vladivostok) and her photos reflect that route.

We can also create a hand-crafted custom, private journey that includes your choice of destinations and activities.

MIR has 30 years of Trans-Siberian Railway travel experience, with affiliate offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Irkutsk and Ulan Ude offering on-the-ground support. Our full service, dedication, commitment to quality and destination expertise have twice earned us a place on National Geographic Adventure’s list of Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.”

Chat with one of our destination specialists by email or by phone at 1-800-424-7289 to start planning your travels today.

Top Photo: Cabin attendants welcoming Lynn aboard the Golden Eagle; Photo: Lynn Lewis

PUBLISHED: July 8, 2016

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