St. Petersburg, Russia
The second largest city in Russia after Moscow, St. Petersburg is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. A showcase of Romanov’s greatness, it has many cathedrals and palaces. It is a treasure house of art and culture with the Russian Museum and the Hermitage, offering a glimpse of Russian heritage as well as world cultures. The theatres offer world class opera and ballet along with music festivals that nourish your soul. And if you are more interested in contemporary art you can visit the Erarta Museum for more modernistic view of the world along with a buzzing gallery. With nearly 342 bridges across the Neva River and several elegant canals, St. Petersburg is often compared to Venice for its striking resemblance due to the numerous plazas and Italian mansions and neoclassical palaces that are found along the canals. The city looks beautiful in every season with beautiful flowers and the summer bringing white nights when the sun barely goes down. A witness to the rich history of the Russian empire, the city delights with its beauty and grandeur.
Climate – Winters are freezing cold from December-March with the river Neva too freezing by early December. Carry warm boots too along with winter wear. Spring begins from April with the snow melting and some chilly showers are also there. May is a little warmer but still you require mildly warm clothes. Summers from June-September are hot and you need light clothes for these months but also add something for the rains which are unpredictable during this time. The Fall season in October-November are mildly warm requiring layers of clothing with sweaters or light jackets added.
By Air – Pulkovo Airport has both domestic and international terminals that connect it to major cities of the world and Russia.
By Train – St. Petersburg is connected via rail to few international cities and to several cities like Moscow etc. within Russia. However, foreign travelers have to pay manifold to travel on these trains in contrast to local travelers.
By Road – St. Petersburg has a network of roads that connects it to other cities within Russia and you can rent a car or a bike or travel by bus. The city has an efficient Public Transport that allows you to travel easily within the city. You can use the Buses, Metro, Trolleybuses, Trams and Taxis to travel across the city.
Places of Interest
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Visiting Time: Every day except Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Housing the largest collection of Russian fine art, the Russian Museum is located within the neoclassical Mikhailovsky Palace. The Russian Museum also consists of the Marble Palace, the Stroganov Palace and the very popular Benois Wing that has works by Kandinsky and Malevich attracting global visitors. It is a huge complex with fascinating works of art, containing more than 400,000 exhibits spanning major periods in the history of Russian art from 10th to 21st century. It is also engaged in research, preservation and restoration of art supervising the work of other art museums in Russia.
The State Hermitage
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Visiting Time: 10:30-18:00 Wednesday and Friday 10:30-21:00
The State Hermitage housing more than three million pieces of art is spread across several buildings in St. Petersburg and was found by Catherine the Great in 1764. The main complex of the museum on Palace Square is an extensive building with 365 rooms in the Winter Palace and the Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage and New Hermitage, all of which were constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries. There are several masterpieces including Dutch, Italian and Spanish pieces of art. Apart from these, the most impressive pieces are the Raphael Loggias which are a copy of the gallery in the Vatican Museums. You can also see the War Gallery of 1812 highlighting the war heroes, the Russian military leaders who defeated Napoleon. The imperial state rooms and apartments are also worth a visit and you must not miss the Treasury Gallery rooms that have a breathtaking collection from the2nd century B.C. of gold and silver.
Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Location: Naberezhnaia Kanala Griboedova
This beautiful Russian-style church was built on the place where Emperor Alexander II was fatally wounded by assassins in March 1881. Emperor Alexander II was killed in a bombing by a group of revolutionaries, who attacked his royal carriage. Built by the Imperial family between 1883 and 1907, the church has intricate detailing decorating the interior and the exterior. These beautiful mosaics are created and designed by well known artists Vasnetsov, Nesterov and Vrubel. However, the principle architect A. Parland was not of Russian origin. Closed for nearly 30 years due to the Bolsheviks revolution, the church was restored to its original glory in 1997. This breathtaking church is worth a visit not only due to its historic charm but also dazzling pieces of art and beauty.
Location: Peterhof, Saint Petersburg
Timing: 09:00 am - 07:00 pm
Also called the Russian Versailles, the park and the palace at Peterhof are one of St. Petersburg's most popular and well known attractions as these were inspired by the Versailles. However, visitors find these even more grand and majestic than the original Versailles in France and are enthralled by its beauty and opulence. Built by Peter the Great, these were also the favorite of his daughter, Empress Elizabeth. She supervised the further spread and expansion of the Grand Palace and got the park extended greatly. The famous system of fountains that includes the truly stunning Grand Cascade was also further developed during her time lending an incredible look to the royal estate.
Many more improvements were initiated during the 18th and 19th centuries to the park. Catherine the Great, also made many modifications to the park and later shifted the court to Pushkin. However, Nicholas I, restored Peterhof again as the official Imperial Residence and built the Cottage Palace in 1826. Devastated during the Second World War, the estate also referred to as Petrodvorets, was restored to its original glory in 1952 and still maintains it dazzling and regal charm.
Yusupov Palace on the Moika River
Location: 94, Naberezhnaya Reki Moiki
Timing: Daily 11 am to 5 pm
A residence of the extremely wealthy Yusupov family, the Yusupov Palace on the Moika River is most known for being the site of the assassination of Grigory Rasputin. Located close to the Mariinsky Theatre, the palace retains its original interiors though many alterations were made to it by several leading architects as the palace was handed over to various owners over the years.
It came into the ownership of the Yusupov family in 1830 until seized by the revolutionary Bolsheviks in 1917. Surrounded by legend of the murder of Rasputin, the palace museum displays the story around the assassination through photography, wax figures and documents. You can also explore the living rooms and the reception areas on the ground floor. Many concerts and performances are also organized here as the Yusupov Palace is also popular as a cultural centre.