Saint Petersburg is the administrative centre of the Northwestern Federal District and Leningrad Region. It is located in the same time zone with Moscow being 680 km far from it. The city was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great. In the period of 1703 — 1914 it kept the name of Saint Petersburg, while in 1914 was renamed into Petrograd and later in 1924 into Leningrad. After the end of the WWII the city that was still called Leningrad received the title of «Hero-City». In 1991 its original name of Saint Petersburg was returned to the city. The total area of the city is 1439 sq. km and it is populated by 4 500 000 citizens. The city is located on the shores of the Gulf of Finland and in the Neva River delta.
Saint Petersburg that is also frequently called Palmyra of the North is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and in the World. The city’s elegant architecture is the art of Rastrelli, Trezzini, Voronikhin, Rossi, Kvasov, Quarenghi, Montferrand and other great masters. The combination of different epochs and styles caught by architecture gives St. Petersburg its unique charm.
The city has a multitude of sights that even the most sophisticated tourists would find interesting.
The Peter and Paul Fortress that is located on Zayachy (Hare) island and was the starting point of the city foundation is one of the main points of attraction of St. Petersburg. The Fortress was laid by Peter the Great in May 1703. It was the same year that the Ioannovsky bridge was established to connect Zayachy island with Gorodovoy (or Berezovy) island, which later became the place for the city foundation. From the moment of its construction by Peter the Great and not until the October Revolution of 1917 the Peter and Paul Fortress used to be a prison for political convicts and was also known as «Russian Bastille». The Trubetskoy Bastion of the Fortress would introduce you to the history of prisoners among which you would find a lot of familiar names. On the territory of the Fortress you could also find Monetny Dvor (the Mint).
St. Petersburg is proud to present one of the largest museum complexes of the World — the Hermitage. The Museum that consists of 7 buildings is located between Dvortsovaya (Palace) square, Millionnaya street and the Neva River bank. 400 halls enable visitors to see more than 3 millions of displays that include sculptures, paintings of famous artists, renaissance weapons and armour, pieces of art from Japan and China, archaeological finds and many more.
You would need several days to see the whole exhibit.
State Russian Museum offers the most complete collection in the World of Russian art of the period X — XX centuries. The collection includes over 400 000 items.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral was erected in the name of St. Isaac Dalmatski and used to be the main Cathedral of the Russian Empire. This is one of the largest orthodox churches in the World that could house 10 000 people. The construction of the Cathedral went for 40 years. The chief designer was August Montferrand while a lot of famous artists participated in its decoration, for example, Briullov, Pimenov, Bruni, Vitali, Clodt. Decoration of the Cathedral required about 16 kg of malachite, 1,5 tons of lazurite and 400 kg of pure gold.
The most exciting tours around St. Petersburg are boat cruises. You could take a tour along the many rivers and canals of St. Petersburg on a motor boat or a small ship. Such excursion would let you see the city from a slightly different perspective; you would sail underneath old bridges, enjoy stone lying, see mighty steel constructions in the close range and visit the most picturesque corners of the city in a day’s time. And at midnight you could witness opening of the city bridges to let large vessels pass into the open sea.
The period between June 11 and July 2 is the time of the «white nights» in St. Petersburg that have been the symbol of this beautiful city for years. During the «white nights» the natural light does not go beyond twilight. This is the time for the International Music Festival «White Nights» and the «Alye Parusa» (Scarlet Sails) Festival for school and college graduates.
For more detailed information on the region, please refer to Internet resources of governmental authorities of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation.