Saint Petersburg

cultural capital of Russia

Saint Petersburg

Russian, English

Northwestern Russia



region center


federal district


main religion

St. Petersburg is one of the most beautiful cities in Russia and the world, which one cannot help but fall in love with. Peter and Paul Fortress, dozens of palaces, estates, museums, theaters, cathedrals ... Walking along the canals and embankments will give you the feeling of "Venice of the North", and the promenade along Nevsky Prospect will quickly acquaint you with the best places of the city. Tourists from all over the world come here to enjoy the white nights, royal palaces, and drawbridges.

Top 10 interesting places to visit:

  • Hermitage Palace and Palace Square

  • Peter-Pavel's Fortress

  • The main cathedrals of St. Petersburg: "Savior on Spilled Blood", Smolny, St. Isaac, Kazan, Alexander Nevsky Lavra

  • Faberge Museum

  • Moika Embankments, Fontanka and the Griboyedov Embankments

  • Russian Museum (Mikhailovsky Palace)

  • Kunstkamera - Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography

  • Performances at the best theater in the country - the Mariinsky Theater

  • Grand Model Russia

  • Botanical garden and greenhouses

Sights map of Saint Petersburg

Yandex Map

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Detailed map of all places in the region can be seen on the website of the national tourism portal RUSSIA.TRAVEL


Travel in Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is a city with a great history and rich cultural heritage. In Russia, it is the center of art and a special "St. Petersburg romance" that cannot be found in any other place in the country. This city amazes with its huge palaces and tall buildings, endless avenues and cozy embankments of canals. Since the city was actually erected in the swampy lowland, most of the water was removed to underground utilities, and the rest was organized in the form of canals, for which the city is sometimes called the "Northern Venice". Of course, there can be no complete similarity with the famous city on the water, but St. Petersburg has much in common with it.

Thus, almost the entire center of St. Petersburg is a World Cultural Heritage Site and a historical monument - so many architectural masterpieces and objects of art are concentrated here. St. Petersburg is filled with a huge number of beautiful museums: here everyone can find art for soul. From the luxurious Hermitage Palace, art collections of the Russian Museum and the unique craftsmanship of Carl Faberge - to the apartments of the great Russian writers and poets, the famous "St. Petersburg well-yards" and the Museum of Sigmund Freud's Dreams. In this city, the unique atmosphere of creativity and inspiration, so comparable to Venice. However, unlike the latter, in St. Petersburg there is often changeable, cold and windy weather, due to which a lot of humorous sayings have appeared among the people. But if you are lucky and during the visit the sun will look out for a day (or better for a week), then you will see the most beautiful city in the country!

At the end of the Great Northern War with Sweden in 1703, on the banks of the Neva near the Gulf of Finland, Peter the Great ordered to build a new city, the future capital of the Russian Empire. Thus arose St. Petersburg. It began with the construction of the Peter and Paul's Fortress, now towering in the city center on the same-name island. It was built partly to protect the city, partly - to accommodate all government departments and ministries. A little later the city of Kronstadt was founded, which became a real defensive fortress on the sea borders of St. Petersburg. The era of large-scale construction and redevelopment began in a perfectly protected city.

Two years after the foundation of St. Petersburg, architectural complexes were built on the left bank of the Neva - the Summer and Winter (now the Hermitage) palaces of Peter the Great, the Admiralty and the summer garden. From 1712, the city became the capital of the Russian Empire, and all the nobility, rich merchants, merchants and artisans, mostly from Moscow and the surrounding lands, reached here. The more people arrived, the more ambitious plans were set by Peter the Great. In the following years, active development of Vasilyevsky Island, the left and right banks of the Neva near the Peter-Pavel's Fortress began to be built, and also the county-style royal palaces in the region - Peterhof, Oranienbaum, Catherine's. As a new capital, St. Petersburg acquired a new Mint (in the Peter-Pavel's Fortress), built up a huge number of military and technological plants (ship, foundry, cannon yards, etc.). The first Academy of Science in Russia was founded here, many institutes and universities were opened: the Smolny Institute, the Academy of Arts, the Mining School, etc. By 1780, the new city overtook the population of Moscow in its numbers and became the full-fledged capital of a great empire.

Since the transfer of the capital to St. Petersburg in the local lands came the heyday. Since the entire princely couple and its retinue moved here, luxurious palaces and estates began to built in the surrounding lands, the similar of which cannot be found anyware else in Russia. Peterhof Palace was built with its famous park and fountain ensembles - at that time the largest building of this type in the world. Peter the Great wanted to make an impression on the Western rulers, actively inviting them to visit his "country residence". In many ways, Peterhof laid the foundations for close cooperation between Russia and the Western monarchies, especially with the Austria.

Further, each Russian monarch took into the tradition of building his own palace for himself, and the richer the ruler was, the more luxurious his residence was to rebuild himself. No wonder that all was eclipsed by Empress Catherine II, whose famous palace in Tsarskoye Selo is a world-class example of architecture. In the neighborhood, the palaces of other relatives of the royal family were rebuilt: the Alexander Palace in Pushkin, the Pavlovsk Palace, the Gatchina Palace, the Oranienbaum Palace ... The Leningrad region was literally flourished.

And then the Russian Empire fell apart. During the October Revolution in the city of St. Petersburg, the Bolsheviks seized power, the remnants of the White Army were defeated or repressed. One of the most severe punishments was imprisonment in the fortress Oreshek, where to this day the skeletons of ancient prisons is presented. St. Petersburg was renamed to Petrograd, and many palace complexes were closed or reequipped for public use. In 1924, the city of Petrograd was renamed to Leningrad, and the region into the Leningrad region, which saves the name since that time.

During the Russian Great Patriotic War in the Leningrad region were one of the most difficult military campaigns. The besieged Leningrad endured a perennial Nazis siege, but did not surrender to the enemy, and the difficulties and trials of local residents entered into biographical works and heroic novels of those years. The history has made the trial of this place, however, most of the monuments of architecture and the heritage of art were saved thanks to the evacuation to the Urals and to Siberia. Some of them were lost, and some of the palaces and castles were destroyed, but the latter were restored in the course of a couple of decades after the war. When I visited Pavlovsk Palace in Pavlovsk, on the second floor there was an armory gallery, where broken walls and the lack of plaster also testified to gun salvoes and bullet holes left during the war. Nevertheless, difficult times were left behind, and today the Leningrad region is gradually recovering its great wealth.

In the 19th century, almost all palace complexes and squares that can be seen today were built, including the Mikhailovsky Palace, the Senate and Palace Squares, the Spit of Vasilyevsky Island, and the Moika and Fontanka canals. From here, the first train departed for the first railway line from St. Petersburg to Tsarskoye Selo, and after 25 years - to Moscow. The city became the pearl of the Russian Empire, and thanks to the established relations with Europe, it became a celebrity abroad. Talented craftsmen from all over Europe came here, thanks to which the city flourished and was actively built up. By the beginning of World War I, the population of St. Petersburg exceeded 2 million people, which was an absolute record for the country at that time.


At the beginning of the 20th century, the city was shaken by several revolutions, which eventually overthrew the monarchy and established parliamentary government: the Russian Empire collapsed and the Russian Soviet Republic was created. Although the First World War did not affect the city, it greatly influenced his fate: because of anti-German sentiments and strategic proximity to the German territories, the capital of the country was again transferred to Moscow, as a result the city lost many worthy workers and talented craftsmen (not to mention the state personalities) forced to move to Moscow. During World War II, German troops surrounded the city from all sides and took it to the blockade, which lasted 900 days. The heroic feat of the local population, which fought and survived in the very severe conditions, but did not surrender the city to the enemy, is recognized as one of the greatest feats in Russian and world history. In memory of that on the Field of Mars was lit the first in the country Eternal Fire, which does not burn down to this day.

It was followed by many years of restoration after military destruction, some of which are not completed to this day. Gradually, the population recovered, its number gets increased. In 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the old name was returned to the city. By 2007, all major architectural monuments and palace complexes were restored in the city, and since then it has become the cultural capital and Mecca for tourists from all over the world. The city was returned historic beauty and luxury, and precious objects and paintings were returned to the museums. Today St. Petersburg is a real gem among all the cities of the world. You can count the fingers on one hand about the cities in which such an abundance of palace complexes and luxurious buildings, so many museums and art treasures, so many unique sights are represented. I sincerely invite everyone to visit this famous city, and if you are lucky and the sun comes out - consider that you will see a real world miracle! And if not, then you will feel a special "St. Petersburg atmosphere", which can be felt only in dank rainy time.

As Ivan Goncharov once said: "St. Petersburg has long been described, and what is not described, you have to see for yourself." 100% true!