Saint Petersburg is one of the most beautiful megalopolises of the world. It attracts travelers from different parts of the world to see. Located on the coast of the Gulf of Finland. at the mouth of the Neva River, Saint Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia (as the independent entity of the Federation) and at the same time the administrative center of the Leningrad Oblast and the northwest Federal District.
The northern capital of Russia, city of three revolutions, the Cultural capital of Russia, the Palmyra of the North, the city on the Neva river, the Northern Venice – this is not full list of unofficial names of Saint Petersburg. Each of these names is a short description, which allows to gain insight of its geographical location, historical importance and role in modern Russia without even looking at ecnyclopedias and handbooks.
As the most important economic, transport, cultural and scientific centre, Saint Petersburg, the 5-million city remains one of the focuses of Russian history. It is no coincidence that center of the city and architectural monuments nearby are included on the list of world heritage of UNESCO. It is not overestimated that large-scale events that became significant not only for Russia, but for whole Europe occurred namely in Saint Petersburg. Victories of Peter the Great, Golden Age of the Russian Empire, Silver Age of Russian poetry, October Revolution, heroic defense of Leningrad – all of the events above constitute the rich history of Saint Petersburg.
Bascule bridges on the Neva River are among the main attractions of the city, also and the favorite entertainment is sailing on the rivers and canals. Water is an integral part of the charm and identity of the city.
A journey to Saint Petersburg can be compared with traveling in time, in the past, present and future at the same time. The famous monuments of sculpture and architecture, the magnificent bridges and fountains, theaters and museums offer an opportunity to build a relation with the city’s rich history and today, rich in political, economic and cultural events. In addition, implementation of various innovative and construction projects lifts the veil of future image of the city in ten-twenty-thirty years. But no mater how the city is changing, it will remain the same – the cradle of Russian history and one of the symbols of Russian statehood.
The Winter Palace
The Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg is the unsurpassed masterpiece by Bartolomeo Rastrelli and treasure of world architecture. The building of ethereal beauty is a true example of so-called “music frozen in stone”. The flow of tourists wanting to touch this miracle of architectural thought, and admire the purity of its lines, its nobility, the exquisiteness and the wealth of decor, is not decreasing.
The barocco-styled Palace was built for the imperial family during the reign of Empress Elizabeth .
In 1764, Catherine the Great set up the Hermitage to place her art collection, and today the exhibits of one of the largest museums in the world are housed in five marvelous buildings that almost amount the size of the Louvre in total.
Petrodvoretz (The palace of Petre the Great)
Peterhof is the capital of crystal fountains and emerald parks and looking brilliant. It is an unavoidable place to visit for all the tourists arriving in Saint Petersburg.
The image of Saint Petersburg would be incomplete without a cheerful Peterhof’s landscape with its green gardens, fine golden sculptures and magnificent aquacades of numerous fountains. Beauty of Peterhof is hard to express in words. It is the real implementation of the festival.
Historycally, Peterhof was the gala residence of Peter the Great, but now it has been developed to the size of a small city. Today it is a well-known and the largest series of palaces and gardens in the world. It is situated 30 km from Saint Petersburg. Peterhof is composed of palaces, cascades, regular parks, and each of them is a single masterpiece of architectural and topiary art. The palaces are the best examples of the architecture of Peter the Great Age. The parks of Peterhof are the real green world, where the walls are the lush greenery of shrubs and the carpet is emerald grass under the feet. Pristine white lace bridges and planters are whiten and bronze sculptures are majestically soaring up amidst this rave of colors. But the main attraction here is, of course, the fountains. They are more than 150 at the territory of Peterhof. And each one is original and unique.
The Kazan Cathedral
This beautiful temple, which has no analogue in the whole Russia and which is totally unlike other Orthodox temples, is the place of the unique treasure, the Kazan icon of the Mother of God, which is considered miraculous for all the times. The icon dated the end of the 16th century appeared in Saint Petersburg in 1710: It had been brought form Moscow by empress Paraskeva Fedorovna. The sanctity had been place in the church in the name of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God. But over the years the exterior of the church was not in line with the smart appearance of the capital, and in 1799 Emperor Paul I held a competition for the project of the Kazan Cathedral as the main temple of the capital and the national heritage of Russia. Moreover, Emperor Paul wanted to see the traits of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome in the new Cathedral. As a result, in 1801, construction was entrusted to Andrey Nikiforovich Voronikhin. The construction of the temple lasted for a whole decade. In 1811, astonished Saint Petersburg citizens saw the magnificent temple, which was the largest one in the city at that time.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral
The glory of this cathedral’s beauty has already crossed Russia’s borders long ago. This is the crown of architectural art, which is admired all over the world. “Majestic St. Isaac’s”, as many affectionately call the temple, causes a whole range of emotions by its noble, yet luxurious, image. Its golden, flawlessly shaped dome, brightly eye-catchinged against the background of blue skies, is a symbol of Saint Petersburg.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral is one of the tallest domed buildings in the world: its height is 102 m. The total area is 4000 square meters, the capacity is 14000 people. The diameter of its golden dome is 22 m. St.Isaak’s Cathedral is the fourth tallest domed structure in the world after St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, St. Paul’s in London and St Maria del Fiore in Florence. The cathedral has a capacity of more than 10000 people. 400 kg of gold, 100 tons of bronze and 16 tons of malachite were used for the decoration of the cathedral.
Church of the Savior on Blood
Church of the Savior on Blood is one of the most mysterious attractions of Saint Petersburg. The church was built on the place of tragic death of Emperor Alexander II in 1883. There are seven mysteries connected with the church. Here are a few of them: – the scaffolds that has been around for a long time. It was believed that the collapse of the USSR would happen, when they were taken. They were removed in 1991; – in the Soviet era, in order to save the crosses from the melting, the inhabitants hid them at the bottom at the Griboedov Canal, where the temple itself is located. It became known by the accidental passerby, who told this fact to the restorers; – the builders used more than just religious symbols during the construction. Many decisions of masters depict the activities and age of Alexander III. Also, the coats of the Russian peoples and the main symbol, the double-eagle are possible to be found on the domes and inside the premises; – last, but not least, the icon of prophecy. According to a legend, the main dates of Russian history are encrypted on the icon, as well as, new and important dates of the country’s future are showing through unclearly. The church is situated close to “Gostiny dvor” and “Nevskiy prospekt” metro stations.
The Russian Museum
The Russian Museum is the world’s largest collection of Russian art. Masterpieces of Russian artists and craftsmen are among the exhibitions of the museum, being repaired in 1898 and named “The Russian Museum of Emperor Alexander III” until 1917. The museum is also famous for its collection of icons of ancient Rus. The halls and reserve stocks have over 400000 pieces of art. The museum building is interesting itself. It is located in the former Mikhailovsky Palace.
The Peter and Paul Fortress
The Peter and Paul Fortress was founded by order of Peter the Great on the Zayachy island in 1703. It received its current name after the Revolution in 1917. This is the largest historical museum of modern Russia so far. The Triumph Gate, the first monument to the victory of Russian army, is located on the territory of the fortress. The museum also has the highest number of bells, among which the famous carillon, the gift of the nobility from Flanders. The fortress was built in a hexagonal form and it is a powerful defensive structure. The sides are surrounded by defensive bastions. The bastions are accessed, they open a great view of the city and its sights.
The city of Pushkin is famous, first of all, by Tsarskoe Selo memorial reserve. There are two important palaces in its territory: the Alexander Palace and the Catherine Palace. The second has the world’s famous Amber Room. There are wonderful parks near each residence. Since 1918, all the buildings of the complex have been transferred to children’s health camps and renamed “the Children’s Village” (Detskoe Selo). A museum was opened at the Catherine Palace. Unfortunately, most of the ensemble was destroyed during the siege of Leningrad. Reconstruction is in progress and a significant part has been restored.
The Alexandrinsky Theatre
The Alexandrinsky Theatre is the oldest national theatre in Russia. It was established by a special order of the Senate, signed by Peter the Great’s daughter Empress Elizabeth on Saint Alexandre Nevsky day, August, 30 1756. It is this theatre that became the common ancestor of all future Russian theatres, so the date it was founded on is recognised as the Birthday of professional theatre in Russia. The Alexandrinsky Theatre foundation had also laid the grounds for Russian state policy towards theatrical art.