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Express to Russia » Guide to Russia » St. Petersburg Guide » St. Petersburg Fact File

St. Petersburg Fact File


St. Petersburg’s population (as at 2002)

Total: 4,596, 000
Density: 3,186 people per square kilometer
St. Petersburg is the fourth most populated city in Europe, after London, Moscow, and Paris.

St. Petersburg’s population in detail

Population (total)4,596,000
Including women 2,529,000 55%
Men 2,067,000 45%
Including with the age of 0 to 15 years 680,000 14%
able-bodied 2,835,000 62%
older than able-bodied 1,081,000 24%

Total number of families 1,500-1,600 thousand
with 1 person 9%
2 persons 25%
3 persons 36%
4 persons 22%
5 and more persons 8%

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St. Petersburg geographic information

St. Petersburg map 1903

Area: 1439 square kilometers

The city has an area of 606 sq. km., but if you include the immediate suburbs on the lowlands along the Neva and the Gulf of Finland, it is 1439 sq. km. The city measures 44 km from north to south and 25 km from east to west.

St. Petersburg developed according to a strict, well thought-out plan, which had been finalised by 1712. The wide Neva and all the numerous other rivers and canals were incorporated into the city's design and created its scale. 1865 saw the division of the city into 12 administrative sections. It is now divided into 20 administrative districts

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St. Petersburg’s time zone

UTC + 3
Summer (daylight saving time) UTC + 4

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Telephone code

+7 812

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St. Petersburg’s climate

St. Petersburg’s climate July
St. Petersburg’s climate January

The climate of St. Petersburg is marked by a moderately warm summer and moderately cold winter.

Average annual temperature
5.3 °C
41.5 °F
Average temperature in July
18.1 °C
64.4 °F
Average temperature in January
-6.3 °C
20.7 °F

Average annual level of precipitations-634 mm. Prevailing winds: west, southwest, and south. The favorite period of the year of both the citizens and tourists is the White Nights (from May 25-26 to July 16-17), when the sun sets only briefly, and the light time of day in the end of July reaches almost nineteen hours.

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St. Petersburg’s name

What’s in a name? In Russia, a lot. The history of St. Petersburg’s name:

1703 – 1914 St. Petersburg
1914 – 1924 Petrograd
1924 – 1991 Leningrad
1991 – present St. Petersburg

To Russians St Petersburg is known simply as ‘Piter’.

Some more about the city’s name:

Unlike other names of European capitals that consist of one word, the name Sankt-Peterburg consists of three parts each having its own meaning. Sankt from the Latin sanctus meaning holy; Peter, the name of the one of the twelve apostles, also meaning rock in Greek; and burg from the German and Dutch word meaning town. Thus, the name of the young capital unites the names of Peter the Great, his patron saint, as well as cultures of Ancient Greece and Rome, Germany and Holland. The name of the new Russian city and its symbols emphasize the connection with classical Rome the patron saint of which was the apostle Peter. Even the coat of arms of St. Petersburg with its two crossed anchors is remarkably similar to that of the Vatican. The history of the new Russian capital is imprinted in the architectural appearance of the city. The greatest reigns and architectural chefs-d'oeuvre of the 18th-20th centuries are embraced in one chronicle of St. Petersburg.

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Peter the Great – St. Petersburg’s founder

Emperor Peter I

Russian czar. Born Pyotr Alekseyevich, on June 9, 1672, in Moscow, Russia. Peter the Great was the fourteenth child of Czar Alexis by his second wife, Natalya Kirillovna Naryshkina. Having ruled jointly with his brother Ivan V from 1682, when Ivan died in 1696, Peter was officially declared Sovereign of all Russia. Peter inherited a nation that was severely underdeveloped compared to the culturally prosperous European countries.

During his reign, Peter undertook extensive reforms in an attempt to reestablish Russia as a great nation. Peter overcame opposition from the country's medieval aristocracy and initiated a series of changes that affected all areas of Russian life. He created a strong navy, reorganized his army according to Western standards, secularized schools, administered greater control over the reactionary Orthodox Church, and introduced new administrative and territorial divisions of the country.

Peter focused on the development of science and recruited several experts to educate his people about technological advancements. He concentrated on developing commerce and industry and created a gentrified bourgeoisie population. Mirroring Western culture, he modernized the Russian alphabet, introduced the Julian calendar, and established the first Russian newspaper.

Peter acquired territory in Estonia, Latvia and Finland; and through several wars with Turkey in the south, he secured access to the Black Sea. In 1709, he defeated the Swedish army by purposely directing their troops to the city of Poltava, in the midst of an unbearable Russian winter. In 1712, Peter established the city of St. Petersburg on the Neva River and moved the capital there from its former location in Moscow. Shortly after, St. Petersburg was deemed Russia's "window to Europe."

Under Peter's rule, Russia became a great European nation. In 1721, he proclaimed Russia an empire and was accorded the title of Emperor of All Russia, Great Father of the Fatherland, and "the Great." He married twice and had 11 children, many of whom died in infancy. The eldest son from his first marriage, Alexis, was convicted of high treason by his father and secretly executed in 1718. Peter died on February 8, 1725, without nominating an heir. He was buried in the Cathedral of St. Peter in St. Petersburg.

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