Saint Petersburg was founded by the first Russian emperor Peter I in 1703. Peter the Great didn’t like old and conservative Moscow, and for his empire, he wanted to create a new capital, fashionable and European. Unlike Moscow, which grown from a village and became a mixture of different styles and times, Saint Petersburg was built according to a plan in one style. Many emperors created the palaces for themselves, but Peter I created the emperor’s city.
For more than 200 years Saint Petersburg was the capital of Russia. Russian emperors, empresses, and nobility after Peter I continued to build beautiful mansions and churches, and decorate the city. Walking around the Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you feel yourself in a big open palace decorated with the architectural and sculptural masterpieces.
Rich art collections were accumulated by the Russian rulers and nobility during the 18th and 19th century, and nowadays, they are exhibited in the former royal residences of Saint Petersburg. The most famous are the State Russian Museum with 400 000 Russian paintings and the Hermitage, the former Winter Palace of Russian emperors and empresses, with more than 3 million exhibit items, including paintings, sculptures, numismatic and applied art collections from different epochs and different countries.
Saint Petersburg is surrounded by the royal suburbs of Pavlovsk, Tsarskoye Selo, Petergof, which will impress you with parks, fountains and beautiful palaces with their magnificent interiors.
The Neva River together with more than 90 other rivers and channels with a total length of 300 km, 42 islands, and about 350 bridges create an exclusive landscape of the city. Saint Petersburg is called ‘Northern Venice’. Luxurious palaces and mansions, theatres and cathedrals were erected near water, and you can enjoy the symphony of stone, water and art.
The emperor’s city with its richest art collections, royal architecture, picturesque views, Saint Petersburg is called ‘the northern capital’ and often competes with Moscow. Maybe, it is not by chance that the Russian court-of-arms presents an eagle with two heads. When you walk around its streets and squares, museums halls, you don’t notice that the time flies, especially in the period of ‘white nights’. However, try to remember that the bridges are raised for the night.
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