Saint Petersburg or Russian Venice

Anastasia Travelsia
Apr 27
Let's discover the magic of Russia's second city and its world-famous drawbridges during one weekend.

Southern Europeans will feel at home in St. Petersburg despite the winter cold, thanks to the immense contribution to the city's artistic and cultural heritage made by Italian musicians, painters and, most importantly, architects, who designed many of St. Petersburg's most famous landmarks.

Nevsky Prospekt

Nevsky Prospekt is the heart and soul of St. Petersburg. Running right through the center of the city, so its perfect point to start your journey.

Although Nevsky did not actually get its current name until 1781 - before that it was just known as "Big Avenue". In fact, Peter the Great planned for the city center to be on Vasilyevsky Island, and therefore Nevsky Prospekt was not originally thought of as a central street and was developed slowly. In the middle of the 18th century, many luxurious Baroque palaces sprang up on Nevsky Prospek.

Kazan Cathedral

In the 19th century, Nevsky Prospekt, already officially recognized as the capital's central street, continued to be built up and improved. First, a boulevard was laid out in the center of the avenue. The magnificent Kazan Cathedral was built to designs by Andrey Voronikhin. The cathedral was inspired by the Basilica of St. Peter's in Rome and was intended to be the country's main Orthodox Church. After the war of 1812, the church became a monument to Russian victory.

House of Books (Singer Company Building)

It's a building located at the intersection of Nevsky Prospekt and the Griboyedov Canal, directly opposite the Kazan Cathedral. The former headquarters of the Singer sewing machine company, which opened a factory in the Russian capital in 1904. Now it's the largest and most famous bookshop has official status as an object of Russian cultural heritage.

Church of Savior on the Spilled Blood

Church of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is known to Petersburgers as the Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood - or even just the Church on the Blood - as it marks the spot where Alexander II was fatally wounded in an assassination attempt on March 1, 1881.

After the Revolution, the church - despite becoming an official cathedral in 1923 - was looted. It was closed in 1932, and essentially turned into a garbage dump. Damage from World War II and the Siege of Leningrad can still be seen on the church's walls.

The decades of deterioration and then restoration culminated in the re-opening of the church in August 1997. The project was estimated to cost 3.6 million rubles but ended up costing 4.6 million rubles, mainly from the extravagant collection of mosaics. The more than 7500 sq. meters of mosaics link Alexander II's murder with the crucifixion.

Winter Palace

It's the former royal residence of the Russian tsars in St. Petersburg, on the Neva River. Work began in 1754, with more than 4,000 people involved in the construction of the 460-room structure. Completed in 1762, the fourth Winter Palace became known for its elegance and luxury. Painted various colors over the years, the current palace’s exterior is largely green and white. The palace is now part of the Hermitage art museum.

Dvortsovaya Ploshchad (Palace Square)

Like Red Square in Moscow, Palace Square in St. Petersburg has been the setting of many major events in Russian history.

With a 580-meter semicircular facade facing Palace Square, it has at its center a magnificent triumphal arch surmounted by the Chariot of Glory with six rearing horses. The star attraction of the square is the immense column that sits in its center. Known as the Alexander Column, it is a monument to Russia's victory over Napoleonic France. The column stands at almost 156 feet (including the base) and is topped with an angel whose face is said to resemble that of Emperor Alexander I.

State Hermitage Museum

St. Petersburg's most popular visitor attraction, and one of the world's largest and most prestigious museums, the Hermitage is a must-see for all first-time travelers to the city. With over 3 million items in its collection, it also definitely rewards repeat visits, and new-comers can only hope to get a brief taste of the riches on offer here, from Impressionist masterpieces to fascinating Oriental treasures.

600 RUB - entry ticket to the Main Museum Complex and its branches.

300 RUB - entry ticket to one of the Hermitage branches.

Free admission for children and students. Also free admission to all visitors on the first Thursday of each month.

Boat Trip

Once the summer comes (usually by the end of April), a boat trip is an essential part of any sightseeing holiday to St. Petersburg. There's a huge choice of boats and operators, ranging from small private launches to multi-level river cruisers, so you can join a timetabled tour or organize your own if you're traveling in a small group.

Nearly all boats, however, follow one of a few tried and tested routes along St. Petersburg's rivers and canals, as well as some longer routes out to the city's suburban visitor attractions. Inner-city tours start from around 400 RUB for adults (half-price for children under 12, and free for children under 7).

Alexandria Park

St. Petersburg is not only churches but also beautiful parks. One of it which I visited was Alexandria Park. Park got its name from its first owner - the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, the wife of Nicholas I.

In the park you can see several buildings, which are worth to be seen: The Cottage – the favorite place of Nicholas I family, the first class painting and sculpture collection of local outstanding artists and sculptors, such as Aivazovsky, Kiprensky, Shchedrin, Vitali, is displayed here. Gothic Chapel - the beloved home church of Nicholas I family.

Built in the neo-Gothic style, according to the project of K. Schinkel, it has become one of the most original and beautiful constructions of "Alexandria".