St. Petersburg, Russia

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Main port photo for St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg has provided a historic stage since the day Peter the Great ordained its construction on the banks of the Neva. In its relatively short history - the city is younger than New York - St. Petersburg has witnessed the rise and fall of Imperial Russia, three shattering revolutions, and civil war. The city survived a long and tragic siege during World War II - indeed St. Petersburg became a symbol of Russian resistance to Nazi invasion.

Russia's "Window on the West," St. Petersburg remains one of the world's most beautiful metropolises. Perched on the banks of the Neva, the city is crisscrossed by canals. Two great architects helped bring Peter the Great's vision of St. Petersburg to life: Rastrelli and Carlo Rossi. The rich architecture that resulted features a mixture of styles from ornate Russian Baroque churches to neo-classical palaces. St. Petersburg has also been the cultural soul of Russia, a repository of priceless art and a home to poets, musicians and composers ranging from Pushkin to Shostakovich.

Peter the Great instilled his near-mania for architecture and building in his successors, making the then capital of Imperial Russia one of the architectural treasures of the world.

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  • Hermitage Museum Hermitage Museum

    With an art collection to rival the Louvre, the Tsar's former Winter Palace and four other buildings is home over three million artworks, including paintings by Da Vinci and Rembrandt.

  • Peterhof Palace Peterhof Palace

    Known as the 'Russian Versailles', the ornate palace overlooks the Gulf of Finland. The Grand Cascade fountain features Samson prying open a lion's jaws as water cascades down terraced steps.

  • Catherine Palace Catherine Palace

    Designed by Rastrelli, the opulent baroque Palace features a gold dome crown and is set in 1,400 acres of spectacular gardens and parklands. Visitors enjoy the gilded beauty of the Throne Room.

  • Peter & Paul Fortress Peter & Paul Fortress

    Built to protect the city from Swedish attack, the fortress was a place for imprisoning political prisoners. The ornate interior now boasts the tombs of many Tsars, including Peter the Great.

  • Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

    This restored church boasts a dramatic "Russian-style" exterior and is built on the site of the March 1, 1881 assassination of Tsar Alexander II. The church is decorated with colorful ceramic tiles.

  • St. Isaac's Cathedral St. Isaac's Cathedral

    The cathedral's central gold dome is one of the largest in the world, and covered with 220 pounds of gold. It was commissioned by Alexander I in 1818 and took more than three decades to complete.

  • Canal Cruise Canal Cruise

    Peter the Great conceived the River Neva as the main thoroughfare of the city, so that it could transport people and merchandise alike. The pretty Fontanka and Moika Rivers also run off the Neva.

  • Ballet Ballet


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