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Upcoming Programs:
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Prague and Vienna

October 17-26, 2011
Faculty: Kate Tamarkin, Professor and Conductor, Department of Music

Price: $5,195 per person, double occupancy, land only
Single supplement: $995

Registration is Open

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Founded in 500 BC, Vienna has a rich cultural history, having served as the home to the Habsburg dynasties, the former capital of the Holy Roman Empire, Austrian Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire, First Austrian Republic and now the Republic of Austria. Prague has been the political, cultural and economic center of the Czech state for more than 1,100 years and served as the permanent seat of two Holy Roman Emperors. Vienna played host to composers such as Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler and Richard Strauss. Our journey will explore the history, architecture, culture and art of this region. Discover the apartments, theaters and wine cellars of Mozart's chosen home, Vienna, and the manor houses and castles of his favorite city, Prague. Three full days in both Vienna and Prague reveal some of Mozart's homes and haunts as well as the art and architecture that surrounded him in late 18th-century Europe. Admire the classic sites in the renowned cities, enjoy fascinating talks and attend evening performances by world-class musicians in internationally recognized venues.

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Program Highlights

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Stefanie Hotel
Only a short walk away from St. Stephen's Cathedral in downtown Vienna, the Stefanie is located within walking distance of most major attractions.

U Meste Vidne Hotel
This new four-star hotel is next to Cesky Krumlov's castle.

Mercure Old Town Hotel
The new four-star Mercure Old Town Hotel is located in the historic town center of Prague, close to the National Museum, Prague Castle and Charles Bridge.

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17 meals: breakfast daily; five lunches and four dinners

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Kate Tamarkin, Professor and Conductor, Department of Music
Kate Tamarkin joined the faculty of the University of Virginia in the fall of 2006, bringing a background of over 20 years as a professional conductor and educator. She is currently the Music Director of the Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra. She has been Music Director of the Monterey Symphony (CA), Vermont Symphony, East Texas Symphony and the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra (WI). She was also the Associate Conductor of the Dallas Symphony under the late Eduardo Mata. Ms. Tamarkin holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, a Masters Degree in Orchestral Conducting from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Music Education from Chapman University in California. She has been a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute.

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Day 1 -- Monday, October 17
Depart USA.

Depart USA on international flights for Vienna, Austria.
Meals: in flight

Day 2 -- Tuesday, October 18
Arrive Vienna

Upon arrival in Vienna, you are met at the airport.  Transfer to the hotel for check-in.

Vienna was indisputably the center of the musical world in the 18th and 19th centuries.  It was either the birthplace or residence of such greats as Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, Schonberg and of course the Strauss family.  The lattermost were famous for popularizing the city’s waltz, the Viennese, wildly successful dance music in its day.
Meals: in flight

Stefanie Hotel
Only a short walk away from St. Stephen's Cathedral in downtown Vienna, the Stefanie is located within walking distance of most major attractions.  The in-house restaurant features Viennese specialties, and the rooms overlook a charming inner courtyard.  Amenities include air conditioning, cable/satellite TV, hairdryer, in-room safe, mini bar and telephone.

Day 3 -- Wednesday, October 19

This morning, join Kate Tamarkin for an introductory lecture.  Afterwards, set out to discover Vienna first-hand.
Enjoy a walk through the heart of Old Town Vienna, the Innere Stadt, admiring its main religious edifice, St. Stephen's Cathedral.  Construction on the cathedral began in 1147 and renovations continue to the present day.  Along the way, enjoy many of Vienna's most renowned sights, such as the Rathous (Town Hall), the Burgtheater, University and the fabulous Hofburg Palace.

Make a stop at Mozart’s house.  On the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth in 2006, his only remaining Vienna apartment was re-opened after renovations.  Mozart lived here from 1784 to 1787, and composed his opera, The Marriage of Figaro here.

Beethoven was born in Bonn, but lived for in Vienna for 35 years.  During that time, he lived in as many as 60 different places, one of which we’ll visit.  Sixteen of these buildings were located within the Ringstrasse in the old inner town.  Some are now museums, and some are marked only with a plaque proclaiming their famous inhabitant.

Vienna’s Ringstrasse, or Ring Road, took the place of the medieval city walls, torn down in 1857 by the decree of Emperor Franz Joseph I.  The large and opulent buildings constructed around the perimeter have their own architectural term:  “Ringstrasse” style.  They were meant to impress with the might of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Tonight, join a welcome reception with your fellow travelers, followed by dinner.
Meals: B, L, D

Day 4 -- Thursday, October 20

Following breakfast, enjoy a lecture before embarking on the day’s excursion to Schönbrunn Palace.

The palace and garden at Schönbrunn represent centuries of Austrian history.  Its royal use began in 1569 when Emperor Maximillian II acquired the land for a hunting preserve.  Until the time of Maria-Theresa, the small palace on the site was used mainly for hunting parties and as the residence of several Dowager Empresses.  In the mid-18th century, Empress Maria-Theresa made Schönbrunn the summer home of the Imperial family, and the former hunting lodge became the glittering location of court events.

Maria-Theresa’s consort, Emperor Franz I Stephan of Lorraine, designed the formal baroque-style gardens with a star-shaped system of avenues and paths. The impressive gardens were meant to impress, and continue the theme of the opulent interiors.

After lunch at a local restaurant, take advantage of a free afternoon to explore Vienna further on your own.  Dinner tonight is independent, but we will gather together again in the evening for a musical performance.

One of the possible venues for a performance (subject to schedules) is the Sala Terena.  The Sala Terena at the Church of the Teutonic Order, may be the oldest concert hall in Vienna.  Romantic pastel frescoes cover the walls of the beautiful baroque hall, where Mozart directed and performed for his patron, Hieronymus von Colloredo.
Meals: B, L

Day 5 -- Friday, October 21
Vienna/Melk/Cesky Krumlov

This morning set out on a drive to Cesky Krumlov, a lovely town in the Bohemian region of the Czech Republic. 

En route, make a stop in the town of Melk for a tour of the magnificent baroque Melk Abbey.  Melk Abbey began its life in the 10th century as a royal castle, Leopold I's residence.  In 1089, Leopold II gave the castle to the Benedictine monks for a monastery, and it has been a renowned monastic center ever since.  The present-day baroque edifice crowning a bluff over the Danube was built between 1702 and 1736, using the most talented architects and artists of the day.  Every inch of the abbey church is frescoed and gilded, and the beautiful library is filled with illuminated medieval manuscripts.

Continue on to Cesky Krumlov, located on a horseshoe bend of the Vltava River south of Prague.  A small, beautifully preserved medieval town, Cesky Krumlov has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992.  Most of its structures were built from the 14th to the 17th centuries, in a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and baroque styles.

Typical of Central European medieval towns, its cobbled streets radiate out from a central square surrounded by burghers’ houses.  The 13th century pastel-towered castle across the river is the second largest castle in the Czech Republic.

Spend the afternoon exploring Krumlov Castle, first mentioned in 1253, that towers over the Old Town just across the river.  Owned and occupied by a succession of noble families, the castle has undergone many redesigns over the years, and retains elements of all the architectural styles that enjoyed popularity since its foundation.  Its moat is occupied by a couple of bored bears, and its Round Tower affords sweeping views of the red-roofed Old Town and the river bend.  One of the castle’s treasures is its Baroque Theater, preserved along with its 18th century sets, props and stage machinery.  The 17th-century formal gardens include a maze of hedgerows.
Meals:  B, L, D

U Meste Vidne Hotel or similar
This new four-star hotel is next to Cesky Krumlov's castle.  Amenities include a cafe, fitness center, sauna and laundry service.  Rooms feature cable/satellite TV, Internet access and hairdryer.

Day 6 -- Saturday, October 22
Cesky Krumlov/Prague

Enjoy a lecture this morning and then drive to Prague, Mozart’s favorite city.

Called the “Hundred-Spired City,” Prague’s beautifully-preserved Gothic, baroque and neo-classical churches and palaces make it one of the great cities of Europe.  Czech king Charles IV, crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1355, began work on many of the most renowned monuments, including St. Vitus Cathedral on the castle grounds, the Charles Bridge, the New Town (Nove Mesto) and Charles University, the first in Central Europe.  Prague’s old section is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List for its rich architectural and cultural history.

Lunch today is independent.  Afterwards, visit the grounds of Vyšehrad Castle and the Slavin Cemetery, which was established here in the 19th century as the place to bury Czech artistic luminaries.  Well-known composers and artists, such as Dvořák, Smetana and Alfonse Mucha, have all been laid to rest here.  Slavin means pantheon, and the National Revival cemetery honors the interred as cultural saints.

This evening join the group for a musical performance.
Meals:  B, D

Mercure Old Town Hotel
The new four-star Mercure Old Town Hotel is located in the historic town center of Prague, close to the NationalMuseum, PragueCastle and CharlesBridge.  The rooms offer air conditioning, radio, satellite TV, Internet, minibar and safe deposit box.

Day 7 -- Sunday, October 23

Today begin with a lecture, and then explore Prague’s Old Town Square and the Jewish Quarter, including the Old-New Synagogue and Jewish cemetery. 

The Old Town Square, one of the oldest parts of Prague and one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, is surrounded by the Town Hall with its famous astronomical clock, the Gothic Tyn Church, Kafka's House and more.  Beginning outside the Town Hall, established in 1338 as the seat of the Old Town authorities, our tour continues to the 15th-century astronomical clock at the bottom of the clock tower, complete with astrological signs and with two of the 12 apostles appearing on the hour.

The immense Gothic Tyn Church, dominating the Old Town Square with its tall spires, was built between the 14th and the 16th centuries.  In the late 17th century, the interior was renovated in the baroque style.  This was the most important church of the Hussites, a reform group that fought against the Catholic Habsburgs from its base in Prague.

Visit the Jewish Quarter.  Today the community consists of about 6,000 people, compared with 50,000 before WWII.  Seven synagogues are the remnants of the old Jewish settlement.  With monuments commemorating the life and work of the Jewish community of Prague through the centuries, this historic section is no less famous than the Prague Castle.  The most impressive sights are the Old Jewish Cemetery, with 12 layers of graves and over 12,000 gravestones, and the so-called Old-New Synagogue. 

The gothic Old-New Synagogue in Prague’s Jewish Quarter is the oldest working synagogue in Europe.  The only time that services were not held here was during the Nazi occupation from 1941 to 1945.  The building, completed in 1270, is believed to have been designed by the same architects who designed the Agnes Convent.  Franz Kafka had his bar mitzvah here.

Following lunch, take advantage of a free afternoon to spend as you like.

Dinner tonight is independent.  Later this evening, join the group for a musical performance.
Meals:  B, L

Day 8 -- Monday, October 24

Enjoy a morning lecture and then set out to explore Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge. 

Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, built on the steeply sloping hill above the river.  It began in the 9th century as a walled hill-fort and grew as each successive ruler added to it in a different architectural style.  A place of coronation and residence of kings and emperors, the Castle is the symbol of Prague.  The huge complex includes St. Vitus Cathedral, its St. Wenceslaus Chapel decorated in precious stones, the baroque Matthias Gate and the Renaissance Garden planted in the 16th century.

Visit the museum at the Lobkowicz Palace at Prague Castle.  The Lobkowicz Palace at Prague Castle has a fascinating history.  Built in the mid 16th century, the Palace became one of the properties of the noble Lobkowicz family, renowned for their patronage of artists and musicians, most notably Beethoven.  The family’s properties were seized by the Communists in 1948, and it wasn’t until 2002 that the Lobkowicz Palace was returned to an American-born businessman and scion of the family, William Lobkowicz.  William has opened to the public a fabulous new permanent exhibit, The Princely Collections, which includes seven centuries of paintings, arms, original musical scores and instruments.

There are 17 beautiful arched stone bridges over the Vltava River running through Prague.  The 14th century Charles (Karel) Bridge, designed by King Karel’s architect Peter Parler in the Gothic style, was used for almost five and a half centuries before becoming a pedestrian-only bridge after WWII.  The bridge is graced with 30 baroque statues added in the 18th century, including a bronze of St. John of Nepomuk, who was thrown over the bridge to his death for refusing to tell the king what the queen said in confession.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and the remainder of the afternoon is free to explore.

Dinner tonight is independent.  Later this evening, join the group for a musical performance.
Meals:  B, L

Day 9 -- Tuesday, October 25

Attend a lecture this morning and then pay a visit to the Betramka Museum to learn more about Mozart’s time in Prague.

During Mozart’s visits to Prague, he stayed at the Villa Bertramka, the 17th century walled manor house of the singer Josefina Duskova and her husband, composer and pianist Frantisek Xaver Dusek.  The Bertramka Museum is dedicated to Mozart and his hosts and contains the master’s harpsichord and a lock of his hair, among other treasures.  It was here he completed the opera Don Giovanni, which was first performed at the Estates Theater not far from Prague’s Old Town Square.

Lunch and the afternoon are independent; indulge in additional sightseeing or perhaps some last minute shopping.

Tonight enjoy a festive farewell reception and dinner to celebrate the conclusion of the tour.
Meals:  B, D

Day 10 -- Wednesday, October 26
Depart Prague

The tour concludes this morning with a transfer to the airport for international connections.
Meals:  B, aloft

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Program Fees

$5,195 per person, double occupancy, land only.  A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $995 to the per person, double occupancy rates.

Price includes:

Price does not include:

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How To Register

Ready to register? The best way to do this is by phone so that we can ensure we are meeting all of your needs. Please call us at 866-765-2646. Or, e-mail with your contact information and the best time to reach you.

A deposit of $500 per person is required to reserve your spot. Final invoicing will be done approximately 4 months prior to departure. Final payment is due 90 days prior to departure.

Deposits can be made by check payable to MIR Corporation-Trust or by credit card: Visa, MasterCard, American Express are accepted for deposits. Final payments must be made by check only.

Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.

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General Terms & Conditions

Air Arrangements:  Program rates do not include international airfare. Because there are a number of flight options available, there is no group flight for this program. Information on recommended flight itinerary will be sent by our tour operator upon confirmation.

What to Expect:  This trip is moderately active due to the substantial distances covered and the extensive walking and stair climbing required. To reap the full rewards of this adventure, travelers must be able to walk at least a mile a day; flexibility and a willingness to accept local standards of amenities and services are highly recommended as well.

Cancellations and Refunds:  Costs of cancellation if received: 91 or more days before departure, $400 per person; 61 days to 90 days before departure, 50% of land tour cost per person; 60 days or less before departure, no refund.  All cancellations must be made in writing to the University of Virginia and are effective upon our receipt of your written notification. 

Single Travelers:  Prices are based on double occupancy; single rates are available. We make every effort to match single travelers who request a roommate. However, shared accommodations cannot be guaranteed and a single supplement rate will apply.

Insurance:  Trip cancellation/interruption insurance is highly recommended and should be considered for your financial protection. Also important is medical insurance and emergency medical evacuation coverage. Information on insurance is available and will be mailed upon receipt of your reservation.

Responsibility:  A detailed statement of limitations and exclusions of liability of MIR Corporation and the University of Virginia for loss of property, injury, illness or death will be provided to passengers upon enrollment and is available to prospective travelers upon request. A signed release is required for trip participation.

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