District: North West Russia
Area: 606 km
Population: 4,661,219 (2002 Census)
Saint-Petersburg is the cultural capital of Russia and its largest travel destination. It is one of the most historically significant cities of Europe, visited by a great number of tourists.
We believe that St.Petersburg is truly am original city. Saint-Petersburg has been described in more ways than any other city: “Window on the West”, “Palmira” or “Venice of the North” (as early as 1738 there were already more than 40 bridges over the city’s rivers and canals), “Peter’s creation”, “city of Dostoevsky”, “cradle of revolution”, “hero city” and “city of white nights”.
Tsar Peter the Great founded the city on May 27 (May 16, Old Style), 1703 after reconquering the Ingrian land from Sweden. Peter the Great named his city after the same saint, the apostle Saint Peter. The original name of Sankt Piterburh was actually Dutch; Peter had lived and studied in that country for some time. Since construction began during a time of war, the new city’s first building was a fortification known today as the Peter and Paul fortress. It was laid down on Zayachiy (Hare’s) Island, just of the right bank of the Neva, a couple of miles inland from the Gulf.
Peter the Great announced Russia’s new cultural and historic mission in Europe and the world.
St. Petersburg’s architecture reflects Peter’s intention to build a universal city, one in which great historical epochs and styles are represented. Neo-Classical, Baroque, Rococo, Empire style – the list goes on and on.
The majestic appearance of St. Petersburg is achieved through a variety of architectural details including long, straight boulevards, vast spaces, gardens and parks, decorative wrought-iron fences, monuments and decorative sculptures. The Neva River itself, together with its many canals and granite embankments and bridges, gives a unique and striking ambience. St. Petersburg has been known as the city of palaces: baroque Winter Palace (now Hermitage Museum), the Stroganov palace (now a wax museum), and the Vorontsov palace (a military school now) and many others.
Saint-Petersburg is surrounded with imperial residences, some of which were inscribed in the World Heritage list together with a city. These include Peterhof, with Grand Peterhof Palace and glorious fountain cascades; Tsarskoe Selo, with the baroque Catherine Palace and neoclassical Alexander Palace; and Pavlovsk, which contains a domed palace of Emperor Paul and one of the largest English-style parks in Europe.
Numerous Russian and international aristocrats, politicians, artists, and scientists were born and have lived in St. Petersburg. These include many of the Russian Emperors, the novelists Fyodor Dostoevsky and Vladimir Nabokov, the composers Modest Mussorgsky, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Igor Stravinsky and Dmitry Shostakovich, the painters James McNail Whisler and Kazimir Malevich, the scientists Mikhail Lomonosov, Heinrich Schlieman and Alfred Nobel, the ballet dancers Anna Pavlova, George Balanchine and Rudolf Nureyev and many others.
St.Petersburg’s position near the Arctic Circle causes twilight to last all night in May, June and July. This celebrated phenomenon is known as the “white nights”. The white nights are closely linked to another attraction – the nine drawbridges spanning the Neva. Tourists flock to see the bridges drawn and lowered again at night to allow shipping to pass through the city.
After its 300th anniversary St.Petersburg has become even more beautiful and attractive for worldwide travelers.
So, welcome to the city of Baroque palaces and pastel facades, picturesque canals and gold domes.
We hope that your stay in Saint-Petersburg will a unique
and unforgettable one...