St. Petersburg: Venice of the North
Saint Petersburg is known as one of the prettiest cities in the world. It is considered as a young city since it has only a history for three centuries. First structures raised on the banks of Neva River three centuries ago. St. Petersburg was the capital of the Tsarist Empire for two centuries. During the city’s construction period, it was formed as the ”eternal city” with beauty and harmony. Saint Petersburg sense of its own identity owes to its origins and to the interweaving of myth and reality throughout its history.
Saint Petersburg is known as the “Venice of the North”, since it was built on 42 islands in the delta of Neva River. People usually feel themselves captivated by the shining water all around the city. Saint Petersburg is the city of rivers with 40 rivers, canals and other waterways with a total length of 217.5 km. within the city limits, and nearly 400 bridges to cross them, thus making Saint-Petersburg one of the world’s leading cities in terms of its number of rivers, islands and bridges. The city boasts of at least 300 bridges. 13 of these bridges are raised each night in the summer to let ships enter Russia along the Neva River. Actually, if you counted the 800 smaller bridges over hundreds of public lakes and ponds, that would bring the amount of bridges in St Petersburg to over a 1,000.
Must See Places in St. Petersburg
Smolny Cathedral was designed by Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who came to Russia as a boy with his father, who was invited to the country by Peter the Great and who constructed the Winter Palace and the palace at Tsarskoe Selo. Smolny Cathedral was one of Rastrelli Jr.’s last projects. His inspiration was to combine baroque details forest of towers and onion domes of an old Russian monastery. It is definitely worth to climb the 277 steps to one of the two 63m-high bell towers for stupendous view over the city.
Nevsky prospect is St Petersburg’s main avenue and one of the best-known streets in Russia. Cutting through the historical centre of the city, it runs from the Admiralty, symbol of Russian power, to the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. It is very beautiful to walk along this street in the evening when all illuminations on. You can see everything here: the most stunning architecture, magnificent palaces, world-famous museums; sparkling five-star hotels and small bed and breakfasts; all manner of restaurants, cafes and nightclubs; people of all ages, walks of life and countries.
State Hermitage Museum, Winter Palace
State Hermitage Museum, Winter Palace exhibits close to 3 million items and visited by several million people annually. The main architectural ensemble of the Hermitage (which is one of the world’s oldest and largest museums) is situated in the centre of St Petersburg and consists of the Winter Palace, once the former state residence of the Russian emperors, the buildings of the Small, Old (Great) and New Hermitages, the Hermitage Theatre and the Auxiliary House.
Catherine Palace, Park and Amber Room
The Palace is an astonishing example of baroque architecture with its striking interiors that are more than spectacular. The Catherine’s Palace is known for its legendary truly unique Amber Room that was destroyed during World War II and completely recreated only in 2003, a process that took over 20 years and cost more than $12 million.
St. Isaac Cathedral
St. Isaac Cathedral was originally the city’s main church and the largest cathedral in Russia. The French-born architect Auguste Montferrand, built it between 1818 and 1858, as one of the most impressive landmarks of the Russian Imperial capital.. One hundred and eighty years later the gilded dome of St. Isaac’s still dominates the skyline of St. Petersburg. We also recommend you to climb the 300 steps up to the cathedral’s colonnade, and enjoy the magnificent views over the city.
Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood
Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood has the world-renowned ornately decorated onion domes and stunning breathtaking mosaics on the inside. This marvelous Russian-style church was built on the spot where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881.
Peter and Paul Fortress
Peter and Paul Fortress is the very first building of St Petersburg. The fortress was founded on a small island in the Neva delta on May 27, 1703 and that day became the birthday of the city of St Petersburg. It is immediately recognisable from its extraordinary golden spire, visible all over the city centre at an incredible 122m high. A visit to this large complex is a must: you will see the tombs of the Russian tsars – Romanovs, visit an excellent history museum and even be able to relax on the beach with Hermitage views.
Russian Museum is the world’s largest museum of Russian art – the State Russian Museum. You can see there over 400,000 exhibits, which reflects the history of Russian fine art from the ancient icons to the 20th century avant-garde.