What to see in St. Petersburg?

St. Petersburg was founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great. Located in Russia, at the eastern end of the Gulf of Finland, it stretches along the shore of the Neva Sea. The purpose of having created this city was to serve as a kind of bridge between Europe and Russia; to obtain greater economic, political strength and, of course, the power that his reign had.

It was the capital of the empire for about 2 centuries, however, today it is still the core of culture in the country, surrounded by palaces, theaters, gardens, cathedrals, squares, among other places of beauty, majesty and great splendor. There are enough places to visit in the city of St. Petersburg, we will only mention some of them.

Beautiful palaces to visit in St. Petersburg:

Peterhof Palace:

We are talking about a palace located on the shores of the Gulf of Finland, approximately 29 km from the city of St. Petersburg, where the Russian tsars, including Peter the Great, resided in summer seasons. It consists of about 30 rooms and many of them can be visited today.

It is generally made up of 6 beautiful buildings, 2 large parks, plus 20 spectacular fountains, 2 waterfalls and about 200 bas-reliefs; that is, beautiful images that protrude from the walls, to give an effect of third dimension. Undoubtedly, one of the most interesting places to visit and even take a guided tour.

Pushkin Palace:

This palace is also known as Catherine’s Palace, and was built in 1717 by the architect Johann-Friedrich at the request of the Empress Catherine I of Russia; wife of Peter the Great. It is located about 30 km from St. Petersburg and was another of the famous residences of the czars, to spend the summers.

It consists of about 14 rooms, 2 kitchens and 2 interior corridors with wonderful decorations. Its imperial halls have great beauty, especially the Amber Chamber, which is a replica of the original one, with about 8 tons of amber and cost 11 million dollars. 

The Yusupov Palace:

It is also known as Moika Palace, and was built in 1770; it was renovated from 1830 to 1917. Its owners were a noble, rich and very distinguished family: the Yusupovs, from Arabia. They established their residence on the banks of the Moika River, combining several styles, including neoclassical.

The palace consists of a very ostentatious and splendid Arab hall, as well as a theater, albeit small, which served as a meeting hall for the nobles of the time. It is said that Prince Felix Yusupov had more than 57 different palaces, a fortune greater than that of the tsar. In addition, in this building in 1916 the execution of Rasputin took place. 

Some Cathedrals of St. Petersburg:

The Fortress of St. Peter and St. Paul:

After the Hermitage Museum, it is the second curiosity to visit in St. Petersburg. It is located on the banks of the Neva River, on a sort of an island. In this original city are not only these cathedrals, which have the tombs of some of the czars and their relatives, but also 2 museums are located; such as the Space Exploration museum and the State History museum.

It should also be mentioned that you can know the old prison for political prisoners, where some writers were imprisoned who were very important for the history of the Russia of the Czars, such as Dostoevsky. His literature mentioned the human relationship with the social, political and spiritual; nothing convenient for the time, marking the crimes and punishments of the rulers.

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan:

This building has an outwardly Christian appearance, but it is really an Orthodox church, and has been dedicated to the most venerated virgin in Russia: the Virgin of Kazan. In its external part it consists of many columns, 96 in total, and in its center a beautiful dome. 

Emperor Paul I in 1800 ordered this construction based on the model located in Rome, over St. Peter’s Basilica. It was built over a period of 10 years, beginning in 1801. It is located next to Nevsky Avenue. Moreover, this construction occupies the same place of the old stone church, thus keeping the icon of Our Lady of Kazan.

St. Isaac’s Cathedral:

This cathedral was erected in the 19th century and is an orthodox church. It is said to be one of the most sumptuous neoclassical architecture or monuments of this century. It is located near the Hermitage Museum and Nevsky Avenue, that is, in the center of St. Petersburg. 

The dome is said to be the largest in the world, as well as the second highest of the Orthodox churches. Visitors can climb up to the dome, even at night, to enjoy spectacular views of all of St. Petersburg.

Other interesting places to visit in St. Petersburg:

The Hermitage Museum:

This museum is considered the second largest in the world, after the Louvre. It is located between 6 buildings, and in the past it was the main residence of the Czars, before the famous Russian Revolution. It is a very famous museum due to the large collection of ancient works of art it hosts.

Among them, the paintings of “Virgin and Child with a Firescreen” by Robert Campin, “Bacus” by Peter Paul Rubens, “Madonna litta” by Leonardo da Vinci, “The lunch” by Diego Velázquez, and much more. It is recommended to visit it with a tour, so that you do not miss both the story and the time that should be devoted to observing the works, since the space is very large and some orientation is needed.

The State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg:

Inaugurated at the end of the 19th century, with the designation of being the first one dedicated to plastic arts in the country, it is integrated only by Russian artists, being its initial formation based on the works of the Winter Palace, also by the Academy of Arts of St. Petersburg and, of course, private collections and donations. 

This museum, until 1917, was known as the Museum of His Majesty Alexander III, located in the center and next to Nevsky Avenue, in the Mikhailovsky Palace. It has a large collection of just over 400,000 works of all types, schools, branches and genres of Russian art; works from the tenth century to the present century. It has a branch in Málaga, Spain, which was inaugurated in 2005.

The Field of Mars and the Summer Garden

The Mars Field, also called Marsovo Polie, is an extensive meadow of about 9 hectares of green areas, named after the Roman God of war; it is one of the lungs of St. Petersburg and is located in the center of it. In addition, when you take a walk through this beautiful field you can see interesting sculptures.

Next, and very close to the Champ de Mars, is the Summer Garden, which was designed by Tsar Peter I the Great, making it the oldest in the city. Its construction was carried out with the help of Dutch architects and French gardeners; and served for the entertainment of parties and assemblies. It has several sculptures, ponds and fountains.

The Mariinsky Theater

The Mariinsky Theater is considered the main theater of the city of St. Petersburg. With a history of more than 100 years, it still represents the reflection of its time, both imperial and Soviet and, of course, of the present era. It was inaugurated in 1860 and since then has undergone some reforms, without altering its initial appearance.

During all this time many Russian artists have been born and raised, especially opera singers and ballet dancers. Its interior is beautifully decorated with semi precious stones, marble and elegant and very cozy crystal chandeliers, casting light that seems magical.

Posted in Europe, Russia.