2 thousands libraries. 220 museums. 80 theatres. 45 galleries. The city is soaked to the bone with history and culture that didn’t get destroyed by any war. Saint Petersburg, known also as Leningrad, Petrograd, ‘big city of North’, ‘Venice of North’ or ‘window into the world’, is situated on islands, and only that part of the city which forms its centre, is localised on a mainland. Neva River, that goes through the city, divides it for particular parts: The Great Side, Vassilevsky Island, Petrograd Side and Vyborg Side. Saint Petersburg is the most European city and for sure it diverges from our everyday image of Russia. We can explore the city for a week, two, a month and still there won’t be enough time to see everything. It is worth going to Saint Petersburg between the beginning of June and the first half or July, during so called white nights. It is time when during the night it is so light that we can read a newspaper without problems in a blue-pinkish glow. It is good to remember that as a city situated on islands Saint Petersburg is linked with almost four hundred bridges. A part of them is lifted at night, so this factor must be taken into account when coming back to the city in the late evening.
It’s worth asking ‘what to see in Saint Petersburg?’. There is not one short answer for this question and it would be easier to say what is not worth visiting in the city, and the list would be very short. On the subject of Peter (this is how the citizens of the city call it caressingly) I could write for hours, yet there are several places that everyone must see being in this Russian city.
Saint Isaac's Cathedral
Before us Saint Isaac’s Cathedral will emerge from afar without doubts since it is the third in terms of size sacred domical building in the world and right after Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral it is the highest building in the city centre. The temple that is a symbol of power, constitutes also a museum which is situated inside. It’s worth peeking inside the orthodox church in order to get an eyeful of colourful mosaics, magnificent sculptures and paintings. I also recommend buying the ticket and make for the higher level of the cathedral to admire thence the panorama of the city. On the borders of the Saint Isaac’s Square we will find also such jewels as monument of Nicholas I or Mari Palace. Behind the mentioned above church we will find Senate Square, known as Decembrists’ Square in the past, and Bronze Horseman in it. The monument was created on the occasion of jubilee of ascending the throne of Peter the Great. Around we can meet many couples taking wedding pictures.
For many people Hermitage is one of the mandatory points during their stay in Saint Petersburg. Right here we can marvel at the collections of Catherine the Great thanks to whom the works of great artists as Rubens, Raphael, Titian or van Dyck found their way to Saint Petersburg. Not only the art lovers, but also people who are not in constant contact with art will find here something for themselves, for the artworks dates from prehistory till XX century.
*the interesting think is that more than 50 cats live in the building of Hermitage.
Church of the Savior on Blood
From afar the church partially resembled me one on the colourful castles of Disneyland or a big house made from gingerbread, but by coming closer, you will not have doubts it is a church. It’s architecture fits in the centre of Saint Petersburg consummately and resembles Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow a bit. The temple at the Griboyedov Canal was created at the end of XIX and at the beginning of XX century. The walls of the church are ornately decorated both outside and inside. It’s worth going in to see fantastic mosaics designed by such authors as Nasterov, Vasnetsov, Carlamov and Vrubel. Our attention will be caught not only by the decorations showing the scenes of New Testament, but also the iconostasis – an ornately decorated ‘wall’ containing Russian Orthodox ikons. The typical iconostasis costists of five rows, each of which concerns a different sphere and royal doors which are opened only during a chuch service. Studying Russian culture, I could dwell on this subject longer, but I will add only that it’s worth out of idle curiosity observing at least a part of Russian orthodox church service.
Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral
Worth visiting a honey-coloured temple near which the monument of Peter I is situated. The statue arrests one’s attention with disproportionate measurements of the head in propotion to the rest of the body. The important element of the cathedral constitutes the bell tower on the top of which an angel with a cross in his hand stands. He performs function of the guardian of the city. Inside, apart from golden adornment, tere are tombs of Russian sovereigns. Next to the cathedra there is a mint set in 1724.
Along Neva River
I recommend taking a walk along Neva River to admire the objects situated around it.
The square designed by Carlo Rossi resembles a bit Praça do Comércio In Lisbon. The biggest square In Saint Petersburg is the place where the main street of the city – Nevsky Prospect starts. The square is surrounded by such buildings as Winter Palace and the building of General Staff. In the Centre of the square there is Alexander Column next to which the citizens organize concerts and celebrate New Year. Near the Palace Square we can find Arts Square where we will see Mikhailovsky Theatre and Russian Museum.
The series of palaces and gardens created by Peter the Great is located on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg, on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland and is called ‘Russian Versailles’. No wonder, there are plenty of fountains around, flowers, trees trimmed in various shapes, cascades, statues. Peterhof Palace and the surrounding gardens are situated 25km away from the centre of Saint Petersburg and easily you can get here with Russian minibus. The palace faciliates around 30 rooms, and it’s also worth taking a walk around the gardens. The palace-ensemble along with the city center is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.