St. Petersburg: history, tours, weather, what to see?
Saint Petersburg – the Northern capital of Russia, one of the most beautiful cities in the country. From 1703 to 1914 it was called St. Petersburg, before 1924 – Petrograd, before 1991 – Leningrad, now St. Petersburg again.
St. Petersburg is located in the north-west of the Russian Federation, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, at the estuary of the Neva River.
The city was founded in May 16, 1703 by Emperor Peter the Great. The city was created not by its historical development but solely by the will of Peter, who decided to construct a port on the Baltic Sea as a “window to Europe.” All forces were involved for construction the canals, embankments and streets of this new city: the Swedish prisoners, criminals, and about 400,000 of the best workers from across Russia.
In 1712 (after 9 years of its foundation!), St. Petersburg became the capital of the Russian Empire. There were three revolutions in the city: 1905-1907, February bourgeois-democratic revolution in 1917, the October Socialist Revolution of 1917.
During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, the city was in the blockade for about 900 days, which resulted in more than 600,000 people died of starvation. St. Petersburg has the title of Hero City.
Now in St. Petersburg live 5 million people. It is the northernmost city in the world with a population of over one million people. Among the cities, completely in Europe, St. Petersburg is the third in population. There are a lot of hotels in St Peterburg. I often stay in small hotels on Ligovsky Prospect with nice apartments and not very expensive (around 70 euro per night).
Saint Petersburg – Northern Venice
St. Petersburg called Northern Venice, because it was built at the mouth of the Neva River, with 48 rivers and canals. All of them are decorated with beautiful embankments and bridges. The main waterway of the city – the Neva River flows into the Gulf of Finland, Baltic Sea. There are more than 800 bridges in St. Petersburg. The longest bridge – Big Obukhovsky bridge across the river (the full length of the bridge – 2824 m), the widest bridge – Blue Bridge on the Moika River (99.5 m).
10 main attractions of St. Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is one of the most important centers of tourism in Russia. Every year it attracts about 5.7 million foreign tourists. There are a lot of tours to Saint Petersburg, so you can choose a tour that fits best your needs and time. I recommend several attractions for you to see first in St. Petersburg.
1. White Nights
The period of the White Nights in St. Petersburg lasts from June 11 to the July 2. The weather at this time is great in St. Petersburg – not hot and not cold, very comfortable! White Nights are so called because the midnight is as bright as the evening. If you want to plan a romantic walk during all night long, watch how bridges are being raised, and have fun, come to St. Petersburg at the beginning of summer!
2. Hermitage (Winter Palace)
Hermitage – is one of the largest and richest museums in the world. Here you can see with your own eyes the great works of art and objects that delight the world. Look at the paintings of Picasso, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, walk the halls of the kings, to see the portraits, sculpture exhibitions and treasures of “Gold Room.”
3. Mariinsky Theatre
Even if you are not a fan of opera and ballet, you will never forget this actions in Mariinsky Theatre, because of the beauty of the interiors, the music of the orchestra and the great performances of actors and singers. View the classic Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Nutcracker” and “Swan Lake”, listen to the opera “Queen of Spades” and “Tosca”.
4. Summer Garden
Summer garden – a place walking of such a great men as Pushkin, Lermontov, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and others, where they used to find their inspiration. It can become your favorite place. Ancient trees, magnificent pond with birds, touching and majestic sculpture, quiet alleys, Peter’s teahouses and a great view of the Neva and Fontanka rivers.
5. St. Isaac’s Cathedral
The cathedral is located in the heart of the city. Its dome is one of the largest in the world. This Cathedral is the largest museum of mosaic paintings, with its colonnade of the most beautiful view over the roofs of St. Petersburg. On St. Isaac’s Cathedral you will spend a few hours but will have the life-lasting impression.
6. Peter and Paul Fortress
This Fortress is a city museum, with Paul Cathedral – a tomb of Russian emperors. The fortress has several museums that you can visit: prison Trubetskoy bastion, the commandant’s house and others. If you climb on the Naryshkin bastion you can see a place where every day at 12 o’clock is a big gun shots.
7. Nevsky Prospect
This is the main street of St. Petersburg, in which you can see a huge number of attractions, such as the Kazan Cathedral, sculpture of Chizhik-Pyzhik on Fontanka River, Anichkov Bridge, Gostiny Dvor, the Cathedral of Savior on the Spilled Blood. Walking along the Nevsky Prospekt, you can get to the Palace Square – one of the most beautiful squares of the World. It will be your one of the most interesting tourist walks!
8. Cruiser “Aurora”
First of all, this ship is a symbol of Peter, and, secondly, a small naval museum with interesting historical exhibits. Cruiser, which was involved in three wars, defended the city participated in the Lenin’s revolution, without any doubt, worth the attention of the guests of St. Petersburg.
9. Alexander Nevsky Lavra
Alexander Nevsky Lavra is a separate area on the banks of the Neva River, which includes Europe’s only museum of urban sculpture in the open air, the Trinity Cathedral, a few cemeteries (Nevsky, Suvorov, Tchaikovsky and others) and male Orthodox monastery. In the exhibition hall of the Museum of Urban Sculpture you can see the famous marble statues by Auguste Rodin and other works of art.
It is the first museum of St. Petersburg, founded by Peter the Great. The small museum contains all the rare items and things that a great emperor began to gather, a unique collection of and various sections of the museum include a collection of different national cultures from North America to Australia.
St. Petersburg is the capital of the Russian intelligence, so most of people here are very educated and intelligent. Come to St. Petersburg in the summer, book a small hotel in the center, and enjoy the beauty of the city of Peter the Great, of Northern Venice and the cultural capital of Russia!
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