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City Guide : St PetersburgRussia is divided into seven federal districts. Located on the delta of the Neva River at the east of the Gulf of Finland, Saint Petersburg is a city in the Northwestern Federal District of Russia. Having international and local railway connections, St. Petersburg is the fundamental transportation hub of the country. In addition to its river ports, St. Petersburg is one of the major ports of Baltic Sea. The city was the capital of the country for two centuries till the Russian Revolution of 1917. Being the 2nd largest city of the country, the city is the west window of Russia opening to the Europe. The center of the city is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The architectural aspect of the city gives a majestic presence to St. Petersburg. Long boulevards, palaces, vast fields, decorative sculptures and iron fences, public monuments, parks and gardens play the major role at this image of the city. Neva River distinguishes St. Petersburg from the other world cities in a mind-blowing way via its canals, bridges and embankments. St. Petersburg is named as the Venice of the North.
Liteyny Bridge connecting Liteyny Prospekt with Vyborgsky district is the second permanent bridge across the Neva River. At night, the bridge has a dazzling appearance.
Catherina the Great Statue at the center of the city is one of the most important statues at the square.
Summer Garden in front of Summer Palaces at the central St. Petersburg is the oldest park of the city. With its gorgeous views, the garden sharing its name with Summer Palace of Peter the Great engrosses the island between Fontanka, Moika and Swan Canal.
Petrodvores at the west of the city are the series of palaces constructed by Peter the Great. Fountains cover a great area on its ground. Grand Palace, Grand Cascade, Water Avenue, Monplaisir (the Peter's original villa) and more magnificent buildings take place in its grandeur. The gardens of this fantastic complex are filled with fountains, alluring pavilions and summerhouses.
St. Isaac's Cathedral at Admiralteysky is a large golden dome mastering the skyline of the city. Hermitage Museum harboring a wealthy collection from the Tsarist Russia Term is one of the largest museums of the world. Russian Museum at the center of the city is a unique place for Russian art and culture.
Culture & EntertainmentSt. Petersburg has a rich cultural life. Theaters, concert halls, galleries, literature and more generate the substantial culture in the city.
St. Petersburg harbors more than 40 theaters. The world famous Mariinsky Theater is the center of traditional St. Petersburg culture. This cultural construction is a historical center for opera in the city. Alexandrinsky Theater is the oldest drama theater in St. Petersburg. The fundamental Russian classical dramas were practiced at this theater. Mussorgsky Opera House is the 2nd largest musical stage of the city. The world classics of opera and ballet are performed at this stage. Akimov Comedy Theater is one of the main stages where comedy plays are performed. Bolshoy Puppet Theater is a stage aiming the kids and the children. Musical Hall is one of the largest spots for light music performances.
Bosse's House, Carnival, Ice Palace, Lensoviet Palace of Culture, Municipal Cultural Center, Oktyabrsky, The Philharmonia and more are all large and modern concert venues in St. Petersburg.
The city is home to many art galleries. Ross Photograph Gallery, Art-Gorod, D-137, Mikhaylov Gallery, Palitra Gallery, Anna and more are examples from the art venues of the city.
St. Petersburg is cited in the novels of Dostoyevsky and in the poems of Pushkin. Dostoyevsky says ‘‘the most deliberate city in the world'' for St. Petersburg
In winter, the city is the place for film and theater festivals. In summer, the entertainment choices shift to venues of the night entertainment. White Nights Dance Festival (annual, June), Russian Winter Festival (annual, December-January), Goodbye Russian Winter (annual, late February) and Osenie Ritmy (Autumn Rhythms) International Jazz Festival are among the major festivals held in the city.
Football, skiing, boating and swimming form the main sports activities at St. Petersburg.
Food & DrinkThe traditional Russian cuisine is the most significant part of the city cuisine. The city cuisine has found ways to integrate itself with the world gastronomy. Caucasian, Vegetarian, Japanese, Chinese, Italian and European delicacies compose the main supplies of the international cuisine. Pizza and fast food has increased their importance in the eating culture of the city. Wheat, rye, oats and millet are among the main food supplies in the city cuisine. Christmas goose, buckwheat Kasha, crackling, wheaten blinis, stuffed suckling pig, reindeer meat roast, hot soups with special sour cream, salted mushrooms, roast duck and meat jelly Pelmeni are some of the main specialties of the city.
Vodka is the Russian popular drink. Russia is also one of the leading wine producers. Also, tea has a significant place within the large-scale drinks of the city. Black tea is the most consumed kind. Although coffee is one of drink choices in St Petersburg it is not so popular.
ShoppingFashion boutiques, souvenirs, footwear, food shops, department stores, books and maps, furs lead the shopping culture of the city. Although the retail aspect of the shopping in the city is not so powerful, books and cheap music industry pioneers the shopping charms at the city.
With it’s over 50 fashionable salons, Svetlanovsky Shopping World is one of the substantial shopping centers of the city. Boutiques, souvenirs, gifts, clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories and more galleries are harbored under this roof.
Bolshoy Gostiny Dvor at 35 Nevsky Pr. is the center for wholesale/retail food and household goods. This shopping center is home to 40.000 different brands. DLT, Moskovsky, Passage Trading House and more compose the department stores at the city.
Kuznechy Market at the city center is the most colorful and the most magnificent shopping market in the city. This food and drink market sells the best vegetables and fruits. The thrilling atmosphere of the market is alluring. The traditional smetana (sour cream), kinds of tasty honey and a great range of fruits charm the visitors.
T he Rough Guide to St. Petersburg opens with an old Soviet-style joke:
- Where were you born?
- St. Petersburg.
- Where did you go to school?
- Where do you live now?
- Where would you like to live in the future?
- St. Petersburg.
To have lived in so many different places without ever having left the city of their birth is a distinction unique to St. Petersburgers. The name changes the city has experienced since the First World War reflect the various historical transformations it has undergone and the different eras that have followed one another in rapid succession. Built with incredible speed in 1703 as Russia’s window on the West, taking Europe’s foremost cities as its model, St. Petersburg quickly doubled in population, making it comparable to the biggest cities of Europe. This city project, erected by Peter the Great on former swampland, turned into one of the ‘biggest’ and ‘craziest’ urban undertakings in history and the symbol of Russia’s drive to modernize. As the new Tsarist capital, it represented urban modernism in contrast with the provincialism of Moscow, a splendid identity it would wear as a badge for more than two centuries to come. Until it lost its status as capital on the eve of the First World War when Russia began closing its doors on the West. The decline of St. Petersburg, which began at the start of the century, would gather momentum with the 1917 Revolution, which actually erupted in this city, at the Winter Palace.
And when the Bolsheviks turned their backs on St. Petersburg and transferred the government back to Moscow, the city’s star, in the economic and political sense, was completely extinguished. Ending its ‘Leningrad’ period with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, St. Petersburg recovered its former name if not its former status, and, for the time being at least, remained closed to the winds of change stirred by the free market economy. But today it stands on the brink of a major transformation, as evidenced by the furious wave of restoration that commenced in 2003 on the 300th year anniversary of its founding.
RUSSIA’S ‘OPPOSITE POLE’
But St. Petersburg is not just a city of names and movements. It is also a city of bridges with more of them than any other city in the whole world - a total of 539 including 315 in the city center. With its 101 islands it is also worthy of the title ‘city of islands'. Not only that, but it has enough canals to vie with Venice, Amsterdam and Stockholm.
But most of all St. Petersburg is a city of culture, of literature and poetry in particular.
As Dostoevsky’s protagonist puts it, “It is the most abstract and fantastic city on earth.” Osip Mandelshtam, a writer whose name is synonymous with the city, wrote in 1925: “It always seemed to me that something splendid and great was going to happen in Petersburg.” Pushkin meanwhile expresses his love for the city in his famous ‘Bronze Horseman', which has as its subtitle, ‘A Petersburg Tale': “I love you, capital city of Peter, I love your sharp and elegant visage, the Neva’s majestic flow, its granite banks, its ornamental iron railings, the pale light of its nocturnal darkness...” Although its political importance waned, St. Petersburg never ceased to be a capital of art and culture, an alternative or ‘opposite pole’ to Moscow. The city that breathed life into Pushkin’s and Dostoevsky’s heroes marched to a different drum even in the Soviet era. Alexander Sokurov’s ‘Russian Ark', shot in 2002 and one of the most original films in cinema history, brilliantly sums up St. Petersburg’s fortunes and the last three hundred years of Russian history. And it does so simply by strolling through The Hermitage without once taking the camera out on the street until the final scene. Moving from chamber to chamber, from hall to hall, through this magnificent museum following in the footsteps of an anonymous foreigner through the past of both the city and the country, the film pursues the trail of a lost dream. If The Hermitage Museum today heads the list of places where we can follow that dream - and this is a truly splendid ‘treasure trove’ where you can see works not only of Russian artists but by the greats of Western art as well, such as Rembrandt, Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh - the other is the Nevsky Prospect, which continues to be the city’s main artery regardless of the sweeping changes that have chipped away at its soul. Some of St. Petersburg’s most beautiful buildings and most popular shopping malls, most notably of course the Gostiny Dvor, line this broad avenue.
PUTTING ON A NEW FACE
The bridges that arch across the Neva like necklaces, emerging before us large and small over the canals and opening to the sky in the late hours of the night, are the city’s trademark. But to call St. Petersburg a city of canals and bridges is to do an injustice to its soaring cathedrals - and it is perhaps one of the cities with the most cathedrals in the world - its sprawling parks, and its majestic monuments like the Alexander Column on Palace Square and the Marinsky Theater. It is a city that defies simple definition, a city of multiple identities like a Russian matroushka doll, a city that is constantly changing its appearance.
St. Petersburg’s center has undergone a rapid transformation in recent years. The monumental skyscraper that natural gas giant Gazprom is currently planning, for example, represents the epitome of this process. But despite the dizzying transformation, the city seems to have forfeited nothing of its soul.
The Petersburg tradition, immortalized in Russian literature, will never fade, and the mysterious, historically unique soul of this city will continue to haunt its streets one way or another. This is a spirit that comes out to meet you in a bronze statue in the park, on a slender bridge over the Neva, in a stone courtyard or, if you happen to be there in June, in the bitter cold of one of its White Nights. A spirit that has spread not just through the city center but into the tunnels of the world’s deepest metro system, 170 meters below ground, to neighboring villages like Tsarkoe Selo where the Catherine Palace is located, and even to the islands off the coast. A stout spirit with a will to live so strong that even during the famine years of the siege it inspired Shostakovich to compose his ‘Leningrad’ Symphony: the spirit of St. Petersburg.
Ticket Sales Offices : St Petersburg
|Address||Airport Pulkovo 2 Arrival Hall, 2048|
|Phone||007 812 3318967|
|Fax||007 812 3318968|
Weekdays Monday - Wednesday - Friday 12.00 - 16.30
Saturday 12.00 - 16.30
|St. Petersburg City Office|
|Address||19,Nevsky Prospect Business Centre “Stroganovsky”,Office 3 St.Petersburg,RUSSIAN FEDERATION|
|Phone||+7(812) 600 48 80|
|Fax||+7(812) 600 48 81|
St Petersburg : Airport Information
Address : Pulkovo Airport, Ulitsa Pilotov 18/4, St. Petersburg, 196210, Russian Federation Phone : 007 812 704-34-44
St Petersburg : Airport Map Information
St Petersburg Info
- Wed 6°C
- Thu 7°C
- Fri 5°C
|Phone Code||:||007 812|