St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg City, Russia
Photo by: bbmexplorer, Creative Commons

Saint Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia. The name of the city has been changed twice. It was earlier known as Petrograd, but was changed to Leningrad. Later, the city was rechristened as St. Petersburg, after Tsar Peter the Great who founded this city. Situated near the Baltic Sea, and along the banks of River Neva, St. Petersburg was also called the ‘Venice of North’.

The Tsars of Russia used to reside in St. Petersburg, and it was partly due to this that the city was one of the major cities of the country. However, with the devastation caused in the city by the Second World War, the city somewhat lost its significance to Moscow. But, ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the city has regained its old importance.

The most important attraction in the city of St. Petersburg is the Winter Palace or the Hermitage Museum. The Winter Palace is a huge complex, also comprising of the Museum. The exhibits featured in the Museum number over 3,000,000 and have been sourced from nearly all over the world. The only way you can do justice to this enormous Museum is by taking a guided tour. St. Petersburg is a city of churches, palaces, and museums. The Russian Museum also has an impressive collection of Russian works of art and sculptures. The most important exhibits of this Museum are housed in the Mikhailovskiy Palace, a majority of which date back to the 10th century. Tickets to other places of interest in this city, such as, the Stroganov Palace, Marble Palace, and Mikhailovskiy Castle can be purchased from here.

The Peter and Paul Fortress is also a famous place to visit. Although called a fortress, it is actually the final resting ground of most the Russian Tsars right from Peter the Great. The Church here is truly remarkable, and therefore, worth seeing. From here on, you can proceed to visit the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. The monastery is named after and dedicated to the spiritual protector of St. Petersburg. The monastery includes several other places to see, such as the Trinity Cathedral, Church of Annunciation. Two cemeteries, known as the Tikhvin and Lazarus cemeteries are also situated here. Many well-known Russians are buried here, so tourists come here in large numbers to see their tombs.

Talking of churches, Church of the Savior on the Blood is said to be the most beautiful church in St. Petersburg. Built of beautiful mosaic and stonework, the church gives you an indication of how ancient Russia looked like. The church is built at an equally historic spot. This is where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in the year 1881.

You must also visit the Neva Embankments, which is known for its architectural designs. Built of granite, the embankment features unique designs such as sphinx and lion sculptures. And perhaps, that is where you can end your Russian romance, at the banks of River Neva.

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