Today St.Petersburg is a major industrial,scientific,cultural and business centre of the new Russia, with a population over 5 mln people.The city is the centre of economic zone.This city is called in different ways-Northern Venice,North Palmira,North Aurora.But none of these names can fully express the glorious enchantment,inimitable elegance and unique charm and originality of St.Petersburg.On the 27th of May 1703 Tsar Peter the Great founded a fortress and a city next to it,which was named after Saint Apostle Peter.And it took this new city, which was built according to a single draft,only 10 years to grow into a glamorous capital of Russia-Saint-Petersburg.For 200 years,beginning in 1712, St.Petersburg was the capital of the Russian Empire.Being the centre of a great country, it inevitably attracted all kinds of people,both good and bad,but prominent,from every part of its huge territory.It witnessed many happy days,as well as tragedies.The XX century for St.Petersburg is at remendous transformation from the ideas and illusions of the socialist revolution,through the heroic survival inthe Nazi Blockade during World War II (1941-1945) to its renaissance in 1991,when its historical name St.Petersburg was returned to the city.
Alexander Nevsky Lavra and Necropolis
Laid out in the building of the Church of the Annunciation, the 18th century Necropolis with the St Lazarus Sepulchre and a necropolis of prominent figures of Russian art,the Alexander Nevsky Lavra’s Necropolis can be regarded as a veritableRussian pantheon.In the Lavra there are three cemeteries which were named after the churches erected there.These are the StLazarus Cemetery,the Tikhvinskoye Cemetery and the St Nickolas Cemetery.
The Russian Museum
It was opened on March 1898 by decree ofTsar Nicholas II and was county’s first ever state museum of Russian fine art, which was able to represent for the visitors the complete notion about history of it’s development.From the early beginning the collection wasdisplaced in the Mikhailovsky Palace, which was built for Mikhail Pavlovich-the son of the Tsar Pavel I.The nucleus of the Museum collection consist of oil paintings,sculptures,graphics,decorative and applied arts.In the hole it was less then 1500 units,which came chiefly from the Hermitage,the Museum of the Academy of Arts and from royal Palaces,and only to a much lesser extent from privet sources,such as the Prince Lobanov-Rostovsky collection acquired from his heirs.The Russian Museum collection almost doubled in size during the first ten years of its existence.Academy of Arts also transferred its collection of Christians antiques-five thousands units-including Novgorod’s icons,wooden sculpture and examples of middle-centuries church art.The presented Lobanov-Rostovsky collection included the 95 portraits of Russian statesman of the 18-19 centuries Another source of acquisitions was the collection housed at the Alexander I Palace in Tsarskoye Selo.The substantial addition was the Nicolay Lihachev’s collection of Greek and Old-Russian icons.
Peterhof-Tsars’ Summer Residence
Peterhof world-famous palace,fountain and park ensemble of Peterhof is an outstanding landmark of Russian artistic culture of the 18-19th centuries.Founded in the very beginning of the eighteenth century by Emperor Peter the Great not far from his new northern capital St.Petersburg,Peterhof was intended to become the most splendid official royal summer residence.Its wonderful parks,176 fountains of various forms and styles and four cascades,majestic palaces,numerous gilded statues of ancient gods and heroes,remarkable collections of sculpture,painting and works of the minor arts make Peterhof a veritable gem of art,often called “Capital of Fountains”,unique in the world.After 1917 the Peterhof ensemble was taken into state custody and turned into architecture and art museum.Now Peterhof has become the most attractive for numerous Russian and foreign visitors suburban royal park and palace ensemble of the northern Russia’s capital.
Tsarskoe Selo (Pushkin)
Greatest poet ever-Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837)-lived and studied there for some time and wrote a lot of beautiful poems in this charming little place.Originally,these lands belonged to Peter !’s wife Catherine I.A modest palace was put up for her at the beginning of the 18th century,which was later redecorated by Rastrelli for Elizabeth I in the baroque style.Later it was the favorite summerresidence of Catherine the Great,redecorated for her by the Scottish architect Charles Cameron in the classical style.Still,the palace retained its baroque exterior and that is one of the most beautiful palaces in the world! Inside, you’ll find both pompous baroque and elegant classical interiors.Examples of both styles of the great empresses-Elizabeth and Catherine-can be observed in the palace.There is also the park all around Catherine’s Palace which is so pleasantly shady in summer, so flowery in spring and so poetic in autumn and winter. This place is for visiting all year round.
The architect who created this miracle was August Montferrand commissioned from France by Nicholas I.He came to Russia when he was 30 and died being 70 the same month the cathedral was consecrated.So it was the work of his whole life indeed! The height of the cathedral is 101,5 m. Its 72 monumental columns weigh from 64 to 114 tons each.From outside,St.Isaac’s is faced with Finnish granite and richly decorated with bas-reliefs and sculpture.There are figures of the four Evangelists, twelve apostles and angels with lanterns on the roof.Actually St.Isaac’s is the fourth biggest single-domed cathedral in the world after St.Peter’s in Rome,St.Paul’s in London and Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence.St.Isaac’s was the main cathedral of the city from the time it was finished(1858) up until the October Revolution.
The Winter Palace is one of the most splendid buildings in St.Petersburg.Almost all the Romanovs starting from Catherine the Great resided there.The palace had hundreds of rooms; many of them were State Halls the interiors of which are preserved till the present days and open to visitors.In the Hermitage you’ll find imperial carriages covered with gilded wood carvings,upholstered with velvet and decorated with French paintings; original Russian sledge,Peter I’s personal set of medical instruments,and a whole gallery of the Romanovs’ gala portraits
This former residence of the noble and monumentally wealthy Yusupov family was prince Felix Yusupov’s favorite residence in the capital.The palace boasts beautifully recreated interiors including furniture,art and a palatial theatre.It is one of the few aristocratic homes in the city to have retained many of its original interiors The Yusupov Palace was the scene of one of the most dramatic episodes in Russia’s history-the murder ofGrigory Rasputin.The story of this historic event will enfold before your eyes when you visit the Rasputin exhibition,included in your tour of this fascinating palace.
Boat Trip is 1-hour sightseeing excursion.Is the slow sailing along rivers and canals of the city allowing to view the city’s beautiful architectural ensembles,squares and bridges from the water level .It is widely known that St.Petersburg metro system is an interesting place for a visit.All guests are invited to have a look at some stations and take a short ride if desired.
Savior on the Blood
The Church of the Resurrection, also known as the “Savior on the Blood”, was built in memory of Alexander II who was assassinated in 1881.The church stands in the very place where a bomb was thrown into his carriage by a young man who opposed Alexander’s reforms.Alexander is, arguably, one of the greatest tsars inRussia’s history.The Cathedral of Savior on Spilled Blood attracts people with its exuberant decorations,its five onion-domes covered in jeweler’s enamel, and its total area of 3280 square feet.It is said this Cathedral took twenty-four years to construct and twenty-seven to restore.The highlight of both the interior and exterior of the Cathedral is the mosaics based on the paintings of Vasnetsov,Nesterol, and Vrubel.With a total area of 23130 square feet, it is one of the largest mosaic collections in Europe.The Cathedral is decorated with Italian limestone and various semiprecious stones like jasper,mountain crystal,topaz,and others.On the outside there are twenty granite plates which tell the most important events of Alexander II’s reign.
A superb palace and park ensemble dating from the late 18th century,Pavlovsk began as the summer residence of the Russian Tsar Paul I and his family.Located near Tsarskoye Selo and the Catherine Palace, the home of Paul’s mother Catherine II the Great,the land on which the palace was built had been given by the Tsarevna in celebration of Paul having sired a boy,the future Tsar Alexander I. The palace was the scene of some of the opening rounds of what would later be called “the Battle of the Palaces,” a Romanov family feud begun between Paul and Catherine that would later extend a generation down to Alexander. The original designer of the Pavlovsk palace was architect,Charles Cameron. He started to build in 1781 something like the Villa Trissino, a 16th century structure designed by Andrea Palladio, but after the future Tsar returned from his travels in Europe,he decided that he wanted a wholly different palace,something thatdifferentiated his home from that of his mother’s palaces.Naturally,Cameron felt somewhat insulted and left, shortly after the completion of Pavlovsk’s Greek Hall. Another designer who quietly left Russia was neapolitan designer Carlo Rossi, who spent a couple years studying in Italy before determining it was safe again to return to Russia. His mark on the palace rests within its library, the Lavender Room, and the Corner Salon.
Peter and Paul Fortress
The Peter and Paul Fortress was built to protect the fledgling St.Petersburg designated in the midst of Peter the Great’s war with Sweden as his new capital.The original earth and log bastions were constructed between 1703 and 1704 under the supervision of Peter himself and five of his closest associates:Alexander Menshikov,Gavril Golovkin,Nikita Zotov,Ivan Trubetskoy,and Ivan Naryshkin .Fortunately,at the time of its construction,King Charles XII of Sweden remained tied up in a war with Augustus II of Polandand Saxony.When Augustus sued for peace in 1706,Peter ordered the bastions rebuilt in stone by architect Domenico Trezzini and engineer Burchard Christophe von Mimnich. However,Charles’ invasion army,assembled the following year,fell at Poltava in 1709,and no external enemy ever put the fortress to the test,either before it was completed in 1740,or after.At Peter’s command,the St.Peter Gate was completed in 1718.In addition to work on the bastions,Peter commissioned Trezzini to construct the St.Peter and Paul Cathedral inside the citadel.It was finally completed in 1733,after more than two decades of work,and became the new sepulchre of the Romanovs.
Openinig Bridges Night
St.Petersburg is one of the leading places in the world for the number of bridges(more than 340 bridges).St.Petersburg is often referred to as Venice of the North.The elegance of the drawbridges can be compared only to the beauty of the city architectural ensembles.The most unforgettable spectacle are the famous draw bridges of the city center:the Palace Brigde,the Trinity Brigde,the Liteinyi Brigde.
Note:From May till September.
The cruiser Aurora was built between 1897 and 1900 in St.Petersburg and joined Russia’s Baltic fleet in 1903.During the Russo Japanese War of 1904-05 the cruiser took part in the Battle of Tsusima. Amongst the ship’s exhibits visitors can see a portrait of the ship’s captain,who was killed during the battle.The crew used part of the Aurora’s penetrated armor to frame Captain Yegoryev’s photograph . Travel back in time by stepping on board the memorial ship Aurora,which played an important role in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 .In 1917,as the main training ship of the Baltic fleet,the Aurora took an active part in the Revolution.On the night of October 25-26 1917,it fired a blank shot at the Winter Palace,giving the signal to the rebellious workers,soldiers and sailors of the city to storm the palace. That moment triggered a dramatic episode in Russia’s history and was the start of over 70 years of Communist leadership.In the years 1984-1987, the cruiser Aurora underwent major repairs and restoration.The ship became a host of exposition dedicated to the revolutionary and militant past of the legendary cruiser, placed in six halls.In 2016, the Aurora found a new life after a nearly two-year overhaul at Kronstadt Shipyard.Today,after the repairs and the recreation of the exposition,the cruiser Aurora, is, as before,one of the most visited museums of St. Petersburg-the city where this great ship was built and where the most of its service for the benefit of the Motherland took place.
The palace was originally built for Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich, whose father, Emperor Paul I set aside special funds for the building on the birth of his youngest son in 1798.The Mikhailovskiy Palace was the home of Mikhail Pavlovich and his wife, Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna, and then to their children and grandchildren until,in the 1890s,Emperor Nicholas II decided to buy the building and use it to house the Alexander III Russian Museum. Between 1895 and 1897, architect Vasiliy Svinin transformed the palace interiors into museum halls and,as the collection rapidly expanded, the Benois Wing was added between 1914 and 1919. Unusually for central St.Petersburg, the architectural surroundings of the palace have changed little in the last two centuries, meaning that the integrity of Carlo Rossi’s vision has survived, and the Mikhailovskiy Palace remains one of the finest works of early 19th-century architecture in St.Petersburg.
The Stroganov family had been prominent merchants since the 15th century, but rose to the ranks of the aristocracy only in the reign of Peter the Great, when the family was ennobled in thanks for considerable financial assistance to the Tsar’s armies in the Great Northern War.The most impressive interiors of the palace, however, are those created by Andrey Voronikhin, architect of the Kazan Cathedral, who was employed by Count Alexander Sergeevich in the 1790s and 1800s to remodel the interior decor in the neoclassical style.The Stroganov Palace was nationalized in 1918, and originally operated as a Museum of Aristocratic Life.This, however, was closed in 1929, and the exhibits were handed over to the Hermitage.Other artifacts from the palace were passed to other Soviet museums or sold abroad.From then on the palace served as offices for various Soviet enterprises, including a botanical institute and as a ship-building research facility.The building was passed by the government to the Russian Museum in 1988, and the Stroganov Palace has been the subject of intensive restoration work ever since. External restoration was completed in 2003, while the results of work on the interiors are now gradually being revealed.
The Mariinskiy Palace occupies a prominent position in St.Petersburg’s historic centre,across St.Isaac ‘s Square and the Blue Bridge from St.Isaac”s Cathedral. The land on which it was built had originally been the site of the St.Petersburg residence of Zakhar Chernyshev,a prominent military commander who had played a key role in the Seven Years’ War and been Minister of War in the reign of Catherine The Great.In 1884, the Mariinskiy Palace was bought back from Maria Nikolaevna’s heirs by the Imperial Estates and assigned by Alexander III to house the State Council of Imperial Russia.The centenary session of the State Council in the Mariinskiy Palace on 5 May 1901 was the subject of a painting by Ilya Repin on display in the Russian Musrum.The palace has been used as a government building ever since-as home to the Council of the Russian Republic under the Provisional Government of 1917, to the Leningrad Soviet after the Second World War, and since 1994 to St.Petersburg’s Legislative Assembly.
Located on Ploshchad Truda, not far from St.Isaac”s Cathedral in the centre of St.Petersburg, the Nikolaevskiy Palace was one of the last palaces to be built for the Imperial family in the city.An enormous late neoclassical edifice designed by the architect Andrey Stackensneider, who also designed the Mariinsky and Beloselsky-Belozersky Palaces, the Nikolaevskiy Palace was commissioned by Emperor Nicholas I for his third son, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich, and completed in 1861.The palace is notable for its monumental and intricately decorated main staircase. Although the palace is not open to the general public,some of its halls are regularly used to host a folk music and dance performance,which provides the opportunity to admire some of the interiors.
The Imperial Ballet and Opera Theatre had existed since 1783, performing on a variety of stages including the Maly Theatre,a wooden building that used to stand near the Church of Our Saviour on the Spilled Blood,the private Hermitage Theatre,and from 1783 Antonio Rinaldi’s Bolshoy Kamenniy Theatre on the site now occupied by the Rimsky-Korsakov State Conservatory, opposite the modern Mariinsky Theatre on Teatralnaya Ploshchad.In the Soviet era, the theatre was renamed in honour of assassinated local party boss Sergey Kirov, and the opera and ballet companies are still known by that name abroad.While the companies go from strength to strength under the artistic direction of Valery Gergiev,the theatre itself is in need of renovation.The last major refit of the building was completed in 1970 and,although the public areas are in excellent condition,the backstage areas are in a poor state of repair.However, when the theatre does eventually close for renovation,the company will have the use of the state-of-the-art Mariinsky Concert Hall,designed by French architect Xavier Fabre and opened in 2007,and the theatre’s long-awaited second stage,under construction on the opposite bank of the Kryukov Canal since 2003.
The dazzling cupolas of Smolny Cathedral,one of the most beautiful churches in St.Petersburg, rise majestically from its waterside location on the banks of the Neva River.The cathedral was part of a complex planned by the Empress Elizabeth to include a nunnery and a new school for girls-the first and most famous girls’ state school in the Russian Empire.Smolny Cathedral was designed by Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli,who came to Russia as a boy with his father,who was invited to the country by Peter the Great and who constructed the Winter Palace and the palace at Tsarskoe Selo .Smolny Cathedral was one of Rastrelli Jr.’s last projects ,and one that the great architect left unfinished.After the revolution,the cathedral suffered a similar fate to most of the churches in St. Petersburg.In 1922,all of its valuables were looted,and in 1923 the cathedral was closed.For many years,the building was not even heated, had no electricity or water, and it slowly decayed.In 1972,the cathedral’s iconostasis was taken out. Soon after, the cathedral became a museum for the city, and hosted exhibitions.It was later converted into a concert hall, which is still one of its primary functions today.
Piskarevsky Memorial Cemetery
Leningrad siege is the most tragic page in the city’s history and in the history of the World War II. In the history of wars no city of the world gave so may lives for the Victory as Leningrad did.More than million people (almost the same number of warriors, defenders died on the battle fields and died in the city hospitals) perished during the siege in Leningrad.Tens of thousands of people died during the evacuation.There are 186 common graves in the Piskarevsky Memorial Cemetery,in which 420.000 of inhabitants of the city, who died from hunger,bombing and shelling 70.000 of soldiers, defenders of Leningrad are buried. May 9,1960 on the fifteenth anniversary of the Victory Day,the Piskarevsky Memorial Cemeter was solemnly open. The Piskarevsky Memorial Cemetery is world famous,national monument of the history of the World War II,museum of the feat of Leningrad ,school for teaching patriotism and love towards motherland.For the citizens of Russia, people living on the planet,who value piece and calmness on the earth,the Memorial became the symbol of firmness,courage,selfless love to the motherland,surprising strength of spirit of the people-victors in the most murderous war in the world.