St. Petersburg is really impossible to describe in a few words. The city was
founded on May 27th (according to the old calendar) 1703, when a fortress
named Sanktpietrbuch in honor of Saint Peter was constructed on Zayachy
(Rabbit) island. This marked the beginning of this unique city. One of the
most interesting facts concerning the birth of St. Petersburg was that it
was founded by Tsar Peter the Great three centuries ago on a strange
territory of swamps, inhabited by mosquitoes, frogs and evil magicians. St.
Petersburg is Russia´s second largest and second most important city - the
Northern capital of the country, Russia´s cultural center, and considered
the world´s "Northern Venice" due to its extensive system of canals. Today,
the city has a relatively healthy economy (as far as Russia is concerned),
has the country´s largest and busiest port and a very high level of cultural
Alexander Nevsky Lavra (Monastery)
The largest monastery in Russia, Alexander Nevsky Lavra was built near the place where Grand Prince Alexander won his victory over the Swedes and the Teutonic Knights in 1240. Alexander is also buried inside the Lavra. Today it is an active monastery and church. Visitors will have a very Russian experience here - it is a very traditional Orthodox Church. The monastery is also notable for its graveyard. In the graveyard, Tshaikovsky, Rimksy Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Glinka, Lomonosov, Dostoevsky and others are buried.
Cathedral of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood
St. Petersburg's most Russian looking building, the cathedral would seem at home on Moscow's Red Square with its onion shaped domes and multi colored facade. The cathedral is built on the ground where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated by terrorists. It is notable for its extremely beautiful mosaics and icons.
The Hermitage is one of the greatest museums in the world. The museum consists of five historical buildings including the Winter Palace - the residence of the Russian Tsars. The museum contains over 3 million pieces of art with dates ranging from high antiquity to the present day. Among the Hermitage's treasures are artworks by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens and many others.
Kolomna is one of the oldest districts of St. Petersburg which lies between the Moika and the Fontanka rivers. The district is traditionally associated with classic Russian literature. Characters of novels by Pushkin, Dostoevsky and Gogol all lived here. In the 19th century, the district also became the center of St. Petersburg's Jewish life. The Grand Choral Synagogue of St. Petersburg is located in this district.
Museum of the Siege of Leningrad
The Museum of the Siege of Leningrad is St. Petersburg's first military museum. The museum documents the 900 day Siege of Leningrad and World War II. Visitors will have a chance to see and learn about this extremely difficult period in the city's history and how people managed to survive during these severe times. The exhibition contains many items from the period including outfits, photos and thematic displays related to the siege and the war.
Nevsky Prospekt is St. Petersburg's main street. It stretches from the Admilarty building up to Alexander Nevsky Monastery. St. Petersburg was the first city in Russia to be built in accordance to a plan with Nevsky Prospect being a central part of the original plan. This is one of the oldest streets of the city and each building here has a rich history behind it. Kazan Catherdal, Stroganov Palace, the Zinger building, Eliseevsky Store - are just some of the famous buildings that you can see on Nevsky.
Pavlovsk, Tsar Pauls stronghold
Built in the late XVIII and early XIX centuries, the palace and park was used as a summer residence for emperor Paul I and his family. The landscape park, one of the largest in Europe, covers an area of 600 hectares. The museum in the palace displays an excellent collection of portraits by Russian artists and a number of Pavlovsk landscape paintings and drawings. Residential rooms of the Empress Maria Fedorovna are enrapturing with their harmonious beauty and are open the public.
Peter and Paul Fortress
The fortress was founded by Peter the Great in 1703. Besides the ancient fortifications, the fortress includes the Peter and Paul Cathedral, built in the early XVIII century. The cathedral includes the burial vault of Peter the Great and other Russian Tsars, the museum of Trubetskoy Bastion prison and the expositions: The History of St. Petersburg, History of the Imperial Mint as well as a printing workshop and the museum of space exploration and missilery. It is also possible to walk along the walls of the fortress and observe the fabulous architecture of the surrounding areas. Any tour to St. Petersburg is not complete without a visit to the Peter and Paul Fortress.
Peterhof is a jewel of Russian art - a town of parks, palaces and fountains. In the past, it was used as an exquisite summer residence by the Russian Tsars. The Upper Gardens and the Lower Park are genuine masterpieces of landscape design. They include over 150 fountains and 4 monumental cascades. Within the park, there are 10 museums: the Grand Palace, Monplaisir, Catherine's Block, Marli, Hermitage, the church of St. Alexander Nevsky (Gothic Capella), the Benois family museum, the Cottage, the Bath Block including Tafeldecker and Kaffeeschenk Rooms, the Kitchen and the Museum of Collectors.
Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery
The memorial complex at Piskaryovskoye Cemetery was opened on May 9, 1960 to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the victory in WWII. The cemetery has 186 mass graves with about 420,000 civilians and 50,000 soldiers who died on the Leningrad Front buried in them. The Eternal flame was put here in memory of the victims of the siege and the heroic defenders of the city. In one of the pavilions by the entrance to the complex there is an exhibition dedicated to the history of Leningrad during WWII and the 900-day siege.
Political History Museum
The State Museum of the Political History of Russia was the first museum in Russia that engaged the public in historical and revolutionary issues. By the mid-1920s it had a unique collection of revolutionary banners, an extremely valuable collection of leaflets of different political parties, posters, and objects of that time. For any history lover or person interested in the Soviet Union or political movements and philosophy, this museum is a must.
The Michailovsky Palace where the Russian Muesum is situated was built by the architect K. Rossi at the beginning of the XIX century for Alexander I's brother Michail. It became a museum of Russian art at the end of XIX century. In its collections there are paintings by Brullov, Ayvazovsky, Repine, Kuingy and many other great masters. The museum also owns collections of sculptures, applied art and numismatics. The museum also has a number of branches: the infamous Michailovsky castle where the emperor Paul I was murdered, the Marble and Stroganov palaces, the Summer palace of Peter I and the Benua's case.
Sergei Kirov Museum
The Sergei Kirov Museum is one of the city's unique monuments of the Stalin period. It was the largest museum dedicated to a Communist Party leader in Leningrad. Kirov's memorial five-room flat is remarkable for its collection of authentic personal belongings and almost entirely intact interior elements. From 1926 to 1934, Kirov headed the Leningrad Communist Party organization. He was Stalin's closest friend and associate. The Museum includes exhibitions that reflect the social, economic, political, and cultural aspects of Leningrad life in the 1920-1930s. You will also have chance to see typical Soviet sculptures in a nearby park.
Russian village 'Shuvalovka' is a modern structure built in style of Russian wooden architecture of the XVIII and XIX centuries. One can visit the smithy and pottery studio, the Mill and the Nativity Chapel. There's also an ethnographic hut, built in accordance to the drawings of Novgorodian peasant house of the XIX century.
St. Isaacs Cathedral
One of the finest architectural monuments of the XIX century and an integral part of St. Petersburg's magnificent skyline, the former principal cathedral of the Russian capital has a capacity to accommodate 10,000 people. The cathedral is graced with 112 solid granite columns weighing up to 114 tons each and about 400 reliefs and bronze sculptures. The observation platform on the colonnade provides a magnificent view of the city.
The Grand Choral Synagogue
Built at the end of the 19th century and richly decorated in Moorish style, the Grand Choral Synagogue is now the second largest synagogue in Europe and definitely a very impressive one. It was consecrated in 1893 and was completely restored to its former glory in 2005. The area of the synagogue is approximately 3,200 sq m and its domed tower stands 47m high. The majestic Grand Hall can accommodate 1,200 worshippers. The Synagogue's territory also contains the Small Synagogue, a kosher restaurant, and even a gift shop where one can buy Rabbi matryoshkas.
Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin)
The Palace and Park of Tsarskoye Selo is a former country residence of the Russian Emperors. Its three parks occupy an area of 600 hectares and have over 100 architectural monuments: from magnificent palaces and grand monuments to intimate pavilions and park sculptures. The center of Tsarskoye Selo is Catherine Palace containing exquisite decorative objects, furniture, Russian and Western-European paintings, unique collections of porcelain, amber, arms and bronze sculptures. The palace is also home to one of the world's most exquisite pieces of architectural and decorative art, the Amber Room, an entire room made of amber panels, mirrors and gold leaf with a fascinating history.
Modest and austere outside, the Yusupov Palace impresses anyone with its beautiful and gorgeous interiors. The Yusupovs were known for their good taste and rich collection of art. This palace belonged to the last Yusupov of Imperial Russia - Felix. Its walls still retain memories of family's happiness and the tragedies. The palace is also connected to the collapse of Tsarist Russia. In the basement drawing rooms, Grigory Rasputin was assassinated. The basement now contains an exhibition with wax figures of the participants of that night that tell the story well. Besides the basement, the tour will take you through the stately halls, the cozy home theater, the palace's baths and more.