St. Petersburg is the second largest city in the Russian Federation and is spread over 42 islands lying in the Neva estuary. St. Petersburg is known not only as the cultural center of Russia, but also for the elegance of its architecture and its famous bridges. While Moscow is more Eastern, St. Petersburg looks very European. The city was built by Peter the Great in 1703 as the ‘Window on the West’ and was the capital of Tsarist Russia for 200 years. Under the influence of Empress Catherine the Great 60 years later, St. Petersburg became one of the most influential European centers for politics, art and culture. Katharina founded the incomparable Hermitage art museum, had magnificent buildings and palaces built, founded academies and libraries,
After World War I, St. Petersburg was renamed Petrograd. In the Soviet era, the city was called Leningrad and was only renamed St. Petersburg in 1991 after a referendum. Although St. Petersburg was badly damaged in World War II, most of the buildings have been restored. Today the city is characterized by a faded charm, under which the former splendor and the unique cultural and political history of St. Petersburg can still be felt everywhere. Countless bridges criss-cross the city’s tranquil canals and waterways, each of these bridges being constructed and decorated differently. Beautiful rows of houses stretch along the banks, sometimes a bit dilapidated, but more often have been restored to their old elegance. June and July in St. Petersburg is the period of the so-calledwhite nights. Due to the northern location of the city on the Finnish Gulf, the night hours in these weeks become a twilight and an almost surreal atmosphere arises. During the White Nights, a particularly large number of cultural and artistic events and fireworks take place.
- Andyeducation: Introduction to education system in Russia, including compulsory schooling and higher education.
Zamoskvorechye District has long been a merchant and artistic district. Many of its churches, warehouses, shops and houses are well preserved. Also in this area is the Tretyakov Gallery with works by Russian artists. The icon collection is of great art-historical importance; the famous “Trinity” by Andrei Rublev is probably the most precious possession of this wonderful gallery. Well-known painters of the 19th century are also represented, such as Repin, Levitan, Ivanov and Brüllow, as well as avant-garde artists such as Kandinsky and Malevich. In the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts one can admire an important international collection of paintings and other works of art by many well-known artists (including Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Gogh, Picasso, Gauguin and Cézanne). Works created after 1917 can be seen in the State Art Gallery near Gorkiy Park. A detailed look at all aspects of Russian life can be had at the Economic Achievements Exhibition in the north-west of the city. There is also a zoo, a circus and an ice skating rink on site. The Moscow State Circus is definitely worth a visit, which features exciting new tricks alongside traditional animal and clown acts. After a tiring sightseeing tour, Izmailovsky Park, formerly owned by the tsars, or Gorkiy Park are great places to rest. You should also pay a visit to the Moscow underground with its numerous artistically decorated and marbled metro stations. Similar to St. Petersburg, many subway stations are tourist attractions in their own right. The metro is also a convenient and cheap way to get around the city.
The St. Peter and Paul Fortress (1703), situated on a small island in the middle of the Neva, was built by Peter the Great as the first major project in the foundation of his new city of St. Petersburg. From 1721 there was a notorious high-security prison here, in which Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Maxim Gorky, Trotsky and Lenin, among others, were temporarily imprisoned. At the center of the fortress stands the beautiful Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, where most of Russia’s rulers, from Catherine the Great to Alexander III, are buried. There are also several museums in the fortress complex, including the Museum of the History of the City of St. Petersburg. The St. Nicholas Cathedral was built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881. The building with its magnificent onion-shaped domes was built in the style of Russian church architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries, the interiors are decorated with countless mosaics and frescoes. The famous Marijinsky Theater on Teatralnaya Ploschad was actually built in 1860 as an opera house. However, the theater only achieved world fame through its ballet performances. Ballet greats such as Anna Pavlova, Vasilij Nijinsky and Rudolf Nureyev danced at the Marijinsky. Known as the Kirov Ballet and Opera House in Soviet times, the Marijinsky only regained its old name in 1992.
St. Petersburg has over 50 natural history, political, literary or historical museums. The Museum of Theater and Music History is more of an insider tip for those interested in ballet and theater, in which over 400,000 objects are exhibited that document the history of ballet and theater in St. Petersburg. Among other things, one can see photographs of famous Russian dancers and singers, scores, theater programs, documents, original designs for stage sets and ballet costumes. The Museum of Ethnology and Anthropology (art camera) includes the collections of Peter the Great, who brought together anthropological and ethnological exhibits and curiosities from all over the world. In addition to interesting exhibitions about different cultures, there is also a cabinet of curiosities with exhibits preserved in formaldehyde, such as Siamese twins, two-headed chickens and the like. Peterhof is also not far from St. Petersburg, the summer residence of Peter the Great. The castle is reached via a majestic flight of steps framed by fountains and cascades. There is also a beautiful orangery in the building. In the castle garden there are magnificent tree-lined avenues, in the shade of which you can stroll particularly beautifully in summer. From the embankment at the edge of the park there is a wide view of the Finnish Gulf.