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Saint Petersburg is a city
of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland onthe Baltic Sea. In 1914 the name of the city was changed to Petrograd, in 1924 to Leningrad and in1991 back to Saint Petersburg. Saint Petersburg was founded by the Tsar Peter the Great on May 27,1703. From 1713 to 1728 and from 1732 to 1918, Saint Petersburg was the Imperial capital of Russia.In 1918 the central government bodies moved from Saint Petersburg (then named Petrograd) toMoscow. It is Russias second-largest city after Moscow, with 5 million inhabitants reached inSeptember 2012. Saint Petersburg is a major European cultural center, and also an important Russianport on the Baltic Sea.Saint Petersburg is often described as the most westernized city of Russia, as well as its culturalcapital.
Palace Square connects Nevsky Prospekt
with Palace Bridge leading to Vasilyevsky Island. It waslaid out in 1819-1829 by Carlo Rossi, a neoclassicist architect of Italian descent. The square has aprominent place in the history of St. Petersburg. The massacre of Bloody Sunday on January 22,1905, when Tsarist troops fired on unarmed strikers sparked the revolution of 1905. It also played animportant part in the 1917 revolution when a group of Bolshevik militants stormed the Winter Palacefollowing a shot fired from the Aurora cruiser. Palace Square buildings: Winter Palace, the GeneralStaff Building in front of the Winter Palace, the Guards Corps Headquarters (1837–43) on theeastern side; the western side opens towards Admiralty Square
Winter Palace andAlexander ColumnWinter Palace
was, from 1732 to 1917, the official residence of the Russian monarchs.Today, the restored palace forms part of the complex of buildings housing theHermitage Museum.Winter Palace (1754–62) baroque white-and-azure, is the earliest and most celebratedbuilding on the square which gave the squareits name.
The General Staff Building (built
1819-1829)is an edifice with a 580 m long bow-shaped façade,situated in front of the Winter Palace. It consists oftwo wings, which are separated by a tripartitetriumphal arch.The arch links Palace Square through Bolshaya Morskaya St. to Nevsky Prospekt. Untilthe capital was transferred to Moscow in 1918, the building served as the headquartersof the General Staff (western wing), Foreign Ministry and Finance Ministry (easternwing). Now the western wing hosts the headquarters of the Western Military District. Theeastern wing was transferred to the Hermitage Museum in 1993.
Alexander Column (1830–34) was designed
byAuguste de Montferrand. This red granitecolumn (the tallest of its kind in the world) is47.5 metres high and weighs some 500 tons. Itis set so well that no attachment to the base isneeded.
Vasilyevsky Island, the largest of
St. Petersburgs islands, is home to several of St. Petersburgsgreatest institutions, including the prestigious St. Petersburg State University, the StockExchange, the LenEXPO exhibition center, the Passenger Sea Port, Kunstkammer, PetersEthnographic Museum, the Twelve Colleges, etc.
The institute is housed in
an Empire style building on the 21st line and the Neva Riverembankment on the south shore of Vasilievsky Island. It was built between 1806 and1811.Mining Institute
St. Petersburg State University (1819)Today,
the university boasts over 20,000students, 2,000 professors, 210 departmentsand a library with 4 million volumes. EightNobel Prize winners are graduates of St.Petersburg State University (including thebiologist Ivan Pavlov, the economist VasilyLeontiev and the poet Joseph Brodsky).
Menshikov PalaceThe palace was founded
in 1710 as a residence of Saint Petersburg Governor GeneralAlexander Menshikov. Since 1981, it has served as a public museum, a branch of theHermitage Museum.Imperial Academy of ArtsView from Blagoveshchensky(Annunciation) Bridge
Pushkin House as seen across
the Malaya Nevaand Exchange Bridge. The pediment is crownedwith the bronze statues of Neptune, Mercury,and Ceres.
The Admiralty building we see
today was built between 1806and 1823 by the architect Adrian Zakharov. The Admiraltytower, topped with its golden spire, is the focal point of three ofthe city’s main streets; Nevsky Propect, Gorokhovaia Street andVoznesensky Prospekt, and can be seen along the entire length ofeach one.The Admiralty was Russia’s Naval Headquarters until 1917,and now serves as a naval college.
The equestrian statue of Peter
the Great, known asthe Bronze Horseman, is a tribute to the founder ofSt. Petersburg. The fascinating monument is one ofthe most famous symbols of the city.It was a gift to the city byCatherine the Greatto honor her predecessor on theRussian throne, Peter the Great.
Now serves as a museum
and services are heldonly on significant ecclesiastical holidays.St Isaach’s CathedralBuilt by the French-born architect AugusteMontferrand to be the main church of theRussian Empire, the cathedral was underconstruction for 40 years (1818-1858), and wasdecorated in the most elaborate way possible.
Kazan Cathedral was constructed between
1801 and 1811 by the architect Andrei Voronikhin. Thecathedral was inspired by the Basilica of St. Peter’s in Rome and was intended to be the country’s mainOrthodox Church. After the war of 1812 (during which Napoleon was defeated) the church became amonument to Russian victory. The cathedral was named after the "miracle-making" icon of Our Ladyof Kazan, which the church housed till the early 1930s. The Bolsheviks closed the cathedral forservices in 1929, and from 1932 it housed the collections of the Museum of the History of Religion andAtheism. A couple of years ago regular services were resumed in the cathedral.
Gostiny Dvor is a huge
department store, which is being gradually turned into a shoppingmall. Constructed between 1757 and 1785, Gostiny Dvor has a reputation for being one ofthe worlds first shopping malls and occupies a whole city block on Nevsky Prospekt.
The Mariinsky Opera and Ballet
TheatreThe world-renowned Mariinsky Theatre, known during Soviet times as the Kirov Operaand Ballet Theatre, reverted to its original name in 1992. The present building, whichdates back to 1859, originally housed another theater but was remodeled and taken overby the Mariinsky company.
The Trinity Cathedral , sometimes
called the Troitsky Cathedral, in Saint Petersburg, is a late exampleof the Empire style, built between 1828 and 1835 to a design by Vasily Stasov. It is located due south ofthe Admiralty on Izmaylovskiy Prospekt, not far from the Tekhnologichesky Institut Metro station.
HermitageWinter PalaceThe State Hermitage Museum
is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world andan absolute must-see for any visitor to St. Petersburg. The museum was founded in 1764by Catherine the Great, empress of Russia, and opened to the public in 1852.
The Moscow Triumphal Gate is
a Neoclassical triumphal arch in Saint Petersburg.The monument — built mainly in cast iron — was erected in 1834 -1838 in thememory of the Russian victory in the Russo-Turkish War, 1828-1829.
The Cruiser Aurora was built
between 1897 and 1900 at the AdmiraltyShipyard in St. Petersburg. It was one of three Pallada-class cruisers, all ofwhich served during the Russo-Japanese War. . A museum since 1956, it isanchored in the Bolshaya Nevka, near the Sampsonievsky bridge.