St. Petersburg

Discover by North West of Russia



The travelers entering Russia from the West is bound to be struck by the beauty of St. Petersburg. Yet, St. Petersburg is both West European and Russian. It is unique in being most perfectly planned. Its beauty lies in the unsurpassed blend of Russian and West European architecture and art.

St. Petersburg is a young city. It was founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great (reigned from 1689 till 1725) and was the new capital of Russian Empire from 1712 till 1918. This forward-looking Tsar opened "a window on Europe". Over the years St. Petersburg changed its name several times — russianized as Petrograd from 1914 till 1924, it was then renamed Leningrad and St. Petersburg again from 1991.

This glorious maritime city, located on 42 islands in the delta of the Neva River, and on the shore of the Finnish Gulf of the Baltic Sea. This is due to Peter's I idea to create a New Amsterdam or a North Venice. The wide Neva and all the numerous other rivers and canals were incorporated into the city's design.

Much of what is know outside the Russia about Russian culture has come from Peter's city. It was the birthplace of Russia's modern literature, the setting for the themes of Pushkin and Gogol, Dostoevsky and Brodsky. Tchaikovsky, Musorgsky and Rachmaninov not only worked here, but are buried here too. It was from St. Petersburg that Diaghilev and his Russian Ballet swept the West at the start of XX century. It was in St. Petersburg that the Fabergé craftsmen created splendid objects, fit to adorn the collections of royalty and millionaires.

St. Petersburg is surrounded with the magnificent necklace of suburban palaces-and-park ensembles — former summer residences of Russian emperors. These were named Tsarskoe Selo, or the czar's village, now Pushkin; Peterhof — was the favorite residence of Peter the Great, now Petrodvorets; Pavlovsk.

St. Petersburg is the largest sea and river port in the North-West of Russia. The first foreign commercial ship, a Dutch ship, arrived in St. Petersburg in the November of 1703. In 2009 numbers of cruise ships passengers visited St. Petersburg make up 434.570. The river port, one of the most important in the country, stands at the end of two artificial waterways, the Volga-Baltic and the White Sea-Baltic. The most relaxing and scenic way to experience Russia is by cruising along the rivers and lakes connecting St. Petersburg with Moscow, the holy island Valaam and island village of Kizhi on the deck of one of elegant cruise ships.