St. Petersburg in Russia has always been the window to the West. It used to be an uninviting swamp, but it evolved into a extraordinary city where old Russian divinities nicely blend with the enterprising present.
St. Petersburg was founded by Peter the Great. The place was the showpiece of Russian culture and nobility and it was the home of the Czars. Peter the Great had lovely visions for the city, which are all now reflected in every corner of the city.
This Russian city was named Petrograd during the First World War and Leningrad in 1924 under the Soviet regime. St. Petersburg suffered from bombings and hunger while Moscow was crowned as the new Russian center. However, following the aftershock of the fall of Soviet, St. Petersburg managed to rise up and to get back the old glory rightfully its own.
St. Petersburg is by far the nation’s most cosmopolitan city, with its canals, bustling squares, and expansive boulevards with their own stories to tell. For beginners, the canals showcase the natural splendor of the River Neva, affording people lovely, boat-trip views of the city.
A glaring icon of pre-revolution Russia, Peterhof displays aristocracy in every corner of its five palaces and in 176 fountains and green spaces. No less impressive is the Peter and Paul Fortress. It is an enormous castle with 6 bastions, narrating the city’s 300-year history and culture in its every crook.
St. Petersburg is also home to religious masterpieces. The regal St. Isaac’s Cathedral boasts of its gold-plated dome, while the Church of the Savior of the Spilled Blood was constructed upon images of a bloodstained history. Meanwhile, distinguished Russian composers, including its literary son Dostoevsky, are laid to rest in the Alexander Nevsky Monastery.
The Russian czars and Peter the Great also acquired astonishing art collections, many of which are featured permanently at the State Hermitage Museum, founded in 1764. St. Petersburg also has a vibrant nightlife, with excellent opera and ballet performances as well as excellent bars and clubs.
While St. Petersburg largely maintains its Russian flavor and color, visitors will be surprised at the friendly English signs that pepper the streets. There is very little reason not to go out and appreciate the city’s restored glory.