A History of Medicine Cruise along the Volga

6 - 16 Oct 2018 (Dental Cruise running concurrently with this cruise aboard this ship)
  • Cultural Tours
+ Optional extension: Pre Cruise extension in Moscow

About the tour

Journey along the Volga River from Moscow to St Petersburg and learn about Russia’s culture and medical history in the expert, convivial company of Natasha McEnroe and Simon Chaplin.

This cruise will give you insight into the culture and history of this extraordinary land and also look at how medical practice developed here over many years. Examine traditional medicine, monastic healing and mysticism, the first stirrings of modern medicine under Peter the Great and the period of cultural awakening under Catherine the Great – who was inoculated against smallpox by an Englishman. Learn about the nineteenth century advancement under great medical pioneers such as Pirogov and Pavlov, and finally, the provision of medicine and education for the masses, which did not take place until after the revolutions of 1917. 

Tour leader Natasha McEnroe and speaker Simon Chaplin – both expert medical historians - will give a number of private talks on the history, culture and medicine of Russia during the cruise and there will be escorted shore excursions along the way, as well as several days to enjoy the splendours of St Petersburg in one of its finest hotels. There is also an optional pre cruise extension in Moscow.

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, Natasha McEnroe

Natasha McEnroe

Natasha McEnroe is the Keeper of Medicine at the Science Museum in South Kensington, London. Her previous post was Director of the Florence Nightingale Museum, and prior to this was Museum Manager of the Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy and Curator of the Galton Collection at University College London. From 1997 – 2007, she was Curator of Dr Johnson’s House in London’s Fleet Street, and has also worked for the National Trust and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Natasha was co-editor of The Hospital in the Oatfield – The Art of Nursing in the First World War (2014); The Tyranny of Treatment: Samuel Johnson, His Friends and Georgian Medicine (2003); and editor of Medicine: An Imperfect Science(2019) and co-editor of The Medicine Cabinet(2019). Her research interests focus on 18th and 19th-century medical humanities. Natasha is a Freeman of The Worshipful Company of Barbers.

Need more information?

  • Tel: (Toll Free) 1-8777-398-764
  • Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
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Itinerary at a glance

Pre-Tour Moscow Extension: 

  • 5 Oct (Fri) Moscow: Arrive Moscow and transfer to the Holiday Inn Tagansky Hotel. Dinner in a local restaurant
  • 6 Oct (Sat) Moscow: Visit the Vishnevsky Museum for the History of Surgery*. In the afternoon visit the Chekhov House Museum. Transfer onto the MS Rostropovich river cruise ship

* Should this museum be closed, we will visit the Medical History Museum of Moscow Medical University instead.

Main Itinerary:

  • 6 Oct (Sat) Moscow: Arrive Moscow and transfer onto the MS Rostropovich river cruise ship
  • 7 Oct (Sun) Moscow: City tour of Moscow, visiting Red Square and St Basil's Cathedral. Lunch and visit the Kremlin and the Armoury. Return to the MS Rostropovich. Welcome drinks party on board
  • 8 Oct (Mon) Cruising: Commence cruise along the Volga. Talk: "War and Medicine - Piragov and Russian surgery." Disembark at Uglich and take a walking city tour to visit the Kremlin, Dmitry on the Blood Church and the Transfiguration Cathedral
  • 9 Oct (Tues) Cruising: Cruise along the Volga. Talk: “Mysticism and monasteries, traditional Russian healing”.  Cruise to Goritsy and visit the monastery of St. Cyril on the White Lake with the Big Medical and Small Medical Halls. Visit the Monastery Museum and the Big Medical Hall collection** and the archaeological excavation
  • 10 Oct (Wed) Cruising: At leisure. Talk: “Russian Literati and their Ailments”. Visit Kizhi open air museum of wooden architecture, including some Russian banyas (bathhouses) – wooden cabins used as saunas and places of healing
  • 11 Oct (Thurs) Cruising:  Free time to explore Mandrogui and its picturesque landscape. Explore the traditional Russian wooden houses, crafts exhibitions, Russian pancake house and the Museum of Vodka. Talk: “Revolutionary Medicine – health care in the Soviet Union”. Open Forum
  • 12 Oct (Fri) St. Petersburg: Orientation bus tour of the city, seeing Tavrichesky Palace, Summer Garden, Palace Embankment, Winter Palace, the Spire of the Basil Island, Kunstkamera, Zoo Museum, St. Isaac´s Cathedral, Nevsky Prospekt and the Church of the Saviour of Spilled Blood. Visit the Peter and Paul Fortress. Visit the great Hermitage Museum. Return to the MS Rostropovich
  • 13 Oct (Sat) St. Petersburg:Depart the MS Rostropovich.*** Take a cruise through the canals of St Petersburg to the Museum of Hygiene. Continue with a guided tour of the Kunst Kamera and the Yusupov Palace. Transfer to the Hotel Astoria
  • 14 Oct (Sun) St. Petersburg: Visit the Nevsky Cemetery and the Military Medical Museum. Lunch in Pushkin and visit the Catherine Palace. Optional ballet performance
  • 15 Oct (Mon) St. Petersburg:  Full day at leisure or take part in an optional sightseeing tour with Simon and Natasha, visiting a variety of museums and other sites of interest. Farewell dinner in the evening
  • 16 Oct (Tues) St Petersburg: At leisure before departing St Petersburg for onward flight

** At the time of writing, the collection is being restored and should be open by 2018.

*** Luggage will be put onboard a coach.

Tour cost

Cabin prices start from $3,763 per person sharing