St. Petersburg has always been the main tourist center of Russia. Dozens of museums with the most valuable collections, palace and park ensembles of the heyday of classical architectural styles and the unique atmosphere of a secular ball await the guests of the city.
The glorious imperial past is reflected in the facades of the magnificent Winter Palace and the elegant spans of aristocratic mansions on Nevsky Prospekt. The graceful embankments of the city are dressed in granite, and the incomparable drawbridges over the Neva are a real architectural delight for many tourists.
The history of the country was created in St. Petersburg: the great achievements of Peter I, the brilliant victories of the Russian Empire and the first steps of the young Soviet Union. The northern capital of Russia is a harmonious synthesis of a glorious past and a dynamic future, the heart of the country and its eternal pride.
What to see and where to go in St. Petersburg?
The most interesting and beautiful places for walking. Photos and a short description.
The former imperial country residence, which was founded by Peter the Great at the beginning of the 18th century. This grandiose palace and park ensemble is called the "Russian Versailles". Over the three centuries of existence, the appearance of Peterhof has changed quite a lot, and after the War of 1941-1945. it was restored literally from the wreckage. On the territory of the complex there are dozens of fountains, flower beds, walking alleys and pavilions that remind of the imperial era of Russian history.
Great Catherine Palace
The palace complex is located in the vicinity of St. Petersburg in the city of Pushkin. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was called the Grand Palace of Tsarskoye Selo. The first royal house arose here in the first half of the 18th century. Expansion began in the 1750s. during the reign of Elizabeth under the direction of the architect Rastrelli. The palace was built in the classical baroque style, with rococo elements predominating in the lush interiors.
The largest museum in Russia, which, along with the Spanish Prado, the Louvre in Paris and the Vatican Museums, is included in the list of the most outstanding and valuable art collections in the world. The expositions of the Hermitage occupy 6 buildings, about 3 million exhibits are stored here. The real pride of the museum is the building of the Winter Palace, where the residence of the royal family was located. This magnificent complex was built by Bartolomeo Rastrelli in the Elizabethan Baroque style.
The main square of St. Petersburg is located in front of the Winter Palace. Its size is almost twice the capital's Red Square. The architectural ensemble with ideal geometric proportions was built in the XVIII-XIX centuries. In the middle of the square is the monumental Alexandrian Column, which is dedicated to the victory of the Russian Empire over Napoleon's army. The column was erected by decree of Nicholas I.
Palace and park ensemble, located on the territory of 600 hectares. Previously, these lands were royal hunting grounds. In 1777, the lands were transferred to the possession of Crown Prince Paul I, who decided to build a grandiose residence here for himself. In four years they built a palace and laid out a park. After the death of Paul I, his widow lived in the residence, who invested a lot of effort and money in expanding and decorating the complex.
Palace and park complex on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. Located 40 km from St. Petersburg. Most of the buildings and structures date back to the beginning of the 18th century. The architect of the complex is Johann Schedel. Of particular value is the imperial dacha with preserved interior decoration. On the territory there are sculptures, an artificial waterfall, bridges. The attraction is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The building of the Admiralty
The building on the banks of the Neva, which is located on the site of the first shipyard on the Baltic Sea. The building was built in the architectural style of the Russian Empire. The figure of a ship crowning the spire of the Admiralty is one of the symbols of the Northern capital. Under Peter I, there was a real fortress here, which protected the shipyard during the Great Northern War. Since 2012, the headquarters of the command of the Russian Navy has been located in the Admiralty.
The first Russian drama theater for public visits, founded in the middle of the 18th century by decree of Elizabeth Petrovna. A few decades after the appearance of the first building, a restructuring was carried out under the guidance of the architect K. Rossi. At different times, the most outstanding Russian directors worked in the theater: V. Meyerhold, G. Tovstonogov, G. Kozintsev, N. Akimov.
Mariinskii Opera House
The main St. Petersburg opera stage, one of the iconic cultural places of the city. The theater appeared in the middle of the 19th century by decree of Alexander II, who wished to give it a name in honor of his wife Maria Alexandrovna. The master Alberto Cavosa worked on the project. The productions of the Mariinsky Theater are very popular with foreign tourists, many come here with pleasure to listen to a real Russian opera.
The museum, created by decree of Peter I, where for more than 300 years samples of mutations, deformities, gene disorders, pathologies and man-made "ugliness" of nature and the human body have been collected. In the early years of the museum's existence, real dwarfs, giants and other people with "abnormalities" lived here. Throughout the three centuries of existence, interest in the collection has always been very high. To date, more than one million copies have been collected.
State Russian Museum
The world's largest museum of Russian fine arts. Opened at the end of the 19th century. during the reign of Nicholas II. The collection was made up of donated exhibits from the Hermitage, the Alexander Palace, the Academy of Arts, as well as from private collections of some Russian aristocrats. The main exposition is located on the territory of the Mikhailovsky Palace. In the museum you can see the paintings of Bryullov, Repin, Aivazovsky and other masters.
The first private museum of contemporary art in St. Petersburg, has been welcoming visitors since 2010. The name is derived from the phrase "era of art", that is, "the era of art." Among the 3 thousand exhibits there was a place for painting, sculpture, video art and installations. The collection draws on the work of local authors, but is not limited to them. Erarta annually hosts more than 30 exhibitions.
House of Peter I
The first residential building in St. Petersburg at the beginning of the 18th century, where the emperor lived during the construction of the city. At the moment, the wooden structure has been moved to another place and covered with a stone "case" for better preservation (the first frame appeared at the end of the 18th century). According to legend, the house was built in just three days by skilled carpenters. Since 1930, a museum has been operating on the territory, where you can see the personal belongings of the king.
Protective structure and historical center of St. Petersburg in the early 18th century, from which the construction of the city began. The fortress was never used for its intended purpose (it served as a prison). The architectural ensemble consists of fortress walls, bastions, front gates and administrative buildings. The Peter and Paul Cathedral on the territory of the fort was the main temple of the capital for a long time. It was built in the classical "Russian Baroque" style.
Built by order of Paul I in the center of St. Petersburg at the turn of the XVIII-XIX centuries. The emperor wanted to find a new home, fearing palace coups. Ironically, it was in the new castle that he was killed. Subsequently, the territory was transferred to the management of the Russian Museum. The castle is open to tourists on tickets or as part of excursions on an ongoing basis. In the courtyard there are monuments to Peter I and Paul I.
Saint Isaac's Cathedral
The majestic cathedral, the decoration of the city and the largest Orthodox church in St. Petersburg. The construction was carried out under the personal supervision of Nicholas I according to the project of O. Montferrand. The building of the cathedral is an example of the late classics with harmonious inclusions of neo-Renaissance and Byzantine style. The temple was named in honor of the patron saint of Peter the Great, St. Isaac of Dalmatia.
Church of the Savior on Blood
Temple erected by Alexander III on the site of the assassination of the reformer Tsar Alexander II. The height of the building is 81 meters, which corresponds to the date of the tragic event - 1881. The cathedral was ready by 1907. Regular services were not held here, only services were held in memory of Alexander II. During the years of Soviet power, the temple was used as a morgue and warehouse. After renovations in 1997, a museum was opened in the building.
The main Orthodox church in St. Petersburg, where the icon of the Kazan Mother of God is kept. The cathedral was built according to the project of the architect A. Voronikhin in the Empire style. The laying of the first stone took place in the presence of Alexander I. The interiors are decorated with monumental colonnades and are more reminiscent of a palace than a church. Icons for the temple were painted by famous masters O. Kiprensky, A. Ivanov and others.
Nikolsky Naval Cathedral
The temple was built on the site of the regimental sea yard in the middle of the 18th century. The cathedral houses a revered Christian shrine - the icon of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker with part of the holy relics. From the end of the 19th century, a charitable society worked at the temple, organizing a shelter for elderly women, a school and a hospital. Memorial services in honor of the dead sailors are regularly held in the St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral.
An architectural complex designed by B. Rastrelli (commissioned by Empress Elizabeth). Another name of the monastery is Voskresensky Novodevichy Convent. The Smolny Monastery was built for 87 years, the work was constantly interrupted by wars and lack of sufficient funding. The main cathedral was never open for worship. The entire interior of the monastery was removed during the Soviet period. A concert hall has been operating here since 1990.
Alexander Nevsky Lavra
The monastery was founded by decree of Peter the Great, who wanted to commemorate the victory of Alexander Nevsky over the Teutonic Knights in 1240. After the consecration of the Trinity Cathedral of the Lavra, the relics of Alexander Nevsky were brought here. The monastery had a printing house, a seminary, an orphanage and a hospital. By the end of the 18th century, the monastery had become an important spiritual and cultural center of the Russian Empire and received the status of a Lavra.
Monument dedicated to the founder of the city, Peter the Great, located on the Senate Square. The Bronze Horseman appeared at the request of Empress Catherine II. She planned to perpetuate the image of Peter in a majestic figure with a scepter, dressed in the clothes of a Roman emperor, but the sculptor Falcone thought otherwise. He represented Peter as a creator, a benefactor of Russia. The result was a monument where Peter patronizingly “extends his right hand” over the country.
The most famous and picturesque street of the Northern capital, the front facade of the city. It stretches for 4.5 km. to the Alexander Nevsky Lavra. The avenue was designed as the main entrance to the city from Moscow. There are many architectural monuments here. Nevsky Prospekt is a popular place with a special atmosphere, which is perfect for walking, meeting, shopping. The very "spirit of St. Petersburg" lives here.
House of the Singer company
The building is a striking example of St. Petersburg Art Nouveau. It houses a bookstore. All city lovers of literature gather here. At the beginning of the 20th century, the place belonged to the American company Singer, which planned to erect a high-rise building and house an office in it. Of the planned eleven floors, only seven were built, but still the building stood out against the background of the surrounding landscape.
The building is located at the intersection of Nevsky Prospekt and Malaya Sadovaya Street. Construction was carried out in the early years of the last century. The architectural style is modern with elements of eclecticism. Gavriil Baranovsky was responsible for the project. The stained-glass window of one of the sides looks like a huge showcase with several floors. The facade is decorated with sculptures embodying "Science", "Art", "Trade" and "Industry". Since 2012, after restoration work, the store has been reopened to customers.
Public and business complex in the Primorsky district of the city. Built from 2012 to 2019. Its main objects are a skyscraper, which has become the largest in Europe, and a multifunctional building, divided into two blocks by means of an atrium. The height of the attraction, together with the spire, is 462 meters. The headquarters of Gazprom is located in the Lakhta Center. For the convenience of citizens, it is planned to build new routes and metro lines here.
The main waterway of St. Petersburg, one of the largest rivers in the North-West of Russia. According to one of the curious versions, the name comes from the Finnish word, which means "deep swamp" in translation. The city embankments of the Neva are an independent attraction of St. Petersburg. From here you can watch the bridges being drawn at night or just take a walk and enjoy the panorama of the city.
Spit of Vasilyevsky Island
The place where Vasilyevsky Island divides the river. Neva into two parts and as if crashes into the water space. There are many buildings of different eras and architectural styles, which makes this place a real open-air museum. Particular attention is drawn to the Rostral columns of red-brown color, decorated with ship prows. The structures served as beacons for ships until the end of the 19th century.
Drawbridge over the Neva River, a symbol of St. Petersburg. The construction connects Vasilyevsky Island with the central part of the city. The bridge started operating in 1916, but its famous curly lattices appeared only twenty years later. The bridge was reconstructed in 1967, 1977 and 1997. Until 1998, a tram line ran here. The weight of the cast-iron structure is 700 tons. Some elements of the drawbridge mechanism are over a hundred years old.
It was transferred through the Griboyedov Canal and connects the Spassky and Kazansky Islands. The pedestrian bridge is a little over 20 meters long and 1.85 meters wide. Opened in 1826, it has been reconstructed twice in its history. One of the three chain pedestrian bridges in the city. The name "Bankovsky" was received by the bridge, as there was a Assignation Bank nearby. There are sculptures of winged lions at both ends.
The city is located on an island in the Gulf of Finland. For 300 years of existence, 17 sea forts were built here, surrounding the island from all sides and serving to protect the port. Today, Kronstadt is used as a trading port and a ship repair base. The historic center is included in the UNESCO heritage list. During a boat trip along the Gulf of Finland, you can see the remains of numerous fortresses.
A 1900 warship that took part in the Battle of Tsushima in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. After returning to the Baltic Sea, it was used as a training ship. In October 1917, a cannon shot fired from a cruiser became the signal for the storming of the Winter Palace and the beginning of the Bolshevik coup (October Revolution of 1917). Until 1940, the ship was used for its intended purpose, and since 1948 it left for the “eternal parking”, a museum exposition was placed inside.
The oldest city park of the 18th century, founded under Peter the Great. The first sculptures appeared here in 1707. During the years of the king's life, it was used as his summer residence. Under each subsequent ruler, the garden grew and eventually turned into a picturesque example of park art. Under Elizabeth, the territory was open to the public (during the absence of the Empress).
Lions, sphinxes and griffins
Numerous sculptures of lions, of which there are more than 1000 pieces in the city. They are created from different materials and brought from different countries. Not only statues, but also lion bas-reliefs adorn the city facades. Lions began to appear on the streets and squares from the 18th century. The animals symbolize the guardians, who are called upon to protect the peace and inviolability of St. Petersburg.
Roofs of St. Petersburg
One of the most interesting and popular excursions in St. Petersburg is a walk on the roofs of the city. From there you can see the city from a more picturesque angle, meet the sunset or sunrise, and feel the city atmosphere more subtly. Experienced roofing guides know the accessible places from where you can get to the rooftops. During the tour, they will tell interesting and exciting stories from the life of the city.
A unique natural phenomenon characteristic of the northern regions. It lies in the fact that in the summer (June-July) the sun practically does not set, and the dark time of the day lasts only a couple of hours. White Nights in St. Petersburg is the most romantic and pleasant time when life in the city does not stop for a minute. People walk along the embankments, watch the drawing of bridges, sit in cafes, have fun and enjoy life around the clock.