St. Petersburg – Must see sites
St. Petersburg is one of those Russian cities whose historical center was preserved completely. That is why you can walk along its streets without any plan – sooner or later you will come across an interesting attraction anyway. However, there are a number of locations which you will not feel the spirit of the city without seeing them.
Nevsky Prospect is the main grand street of the city 4.5 km long that crosses the historical center from the west to the east. It accommodates the majority of luxury palaces as well as cafés and shops with various price levels. From here you can get practically get to any attraction on foot.
One of the must-see sights is the Hermitage with one of the world’s best collections of works of art (especially by Italian and Dutch painters). The great museum is located in the former imperial palace where the luxury of the rooms is on a par with the beauty of the exhibits. The large Palace Square (Dvortsovaya Ploshchad) in front of it with the Bronze Horseman monument is also very beautiful. The largest collection of Russian art is presented in the Russian Museum. Both museums are huge and deserve a full-day visit.
You can also visit the Peter and Paul Fortress that first used to serve as a defense bastion, then a prison where many famous people were kept, and now it is the State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg. The Peter and Paul Cathedral with its beautiful golden decorations also deserves attention. The Kunstkamera, or “the cabinet of curiosities”, founded by the great Russian Emperor Peter I is also a popular attraction. It is famous first of all with its collection of preserved in alcohol exhibits with various abnormalities the appearance of which even make some people faint, but there is also a good ethnographic collection. Among the newer museums, the Grand Maket Russia Interactive Museum, a miniature model of Russia, is quite popular.
It is worth taking a walk along the quiet embankments of St. Petersburg, such as the spacious embankment of the Neva or those of smaller rivers: the Fontanka, the Moyka, and the Griboyedov Canal. In the warm season, excursions by pleasure boats along St. Petersburg channels and rivers are popular. The city gets special charm when seeing it from the water. A beautiful panoramic view over the city also opens from the Spit of Vasilyevsky Island. In warm weather, it is pleasant to have a rest in the Summer Garden decorated with sculptures.
You will be impressed by two huge city cathedrals – Kazan Cathedral with a huge colonnade and Saint Isaac’s Cathedral with the dome that can be climbed. The best painters and sculptors of their time worked on the luxurious interiors of the cathedrals. The Russian-style Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood with unique mosaic interior and elegant baroque style Smolny Cathedral are also very beautiful. Saint Alexander Nevsky Lavra, the XVIII fratry with a cemetery where many great figures of the Russian history, such as, for example, the legendary military commander A.V Suvorov are buried, is also interesting.
Even if you are not going to the theater, it is worth giving a look over the buildings of the Mariinsky Theatre and the Alexandrinsky Theatre as there the history of the Russian imperial theater started.
Another page in the history of Russia is cruiser Aurora the shoot from which marked the beginning of the Great October Revolution and the establishment of the USSR.
Opening hours and tickets:
The Hermitage – 10:30-18:00, on Wednesdays and Fridays till 21:00, closed on Mondays. The ticket price is 600 roubles. Free entrance on the first Thursday of each month.
The Russian Museum – 10:00-18:00, on Wednesdays till 21:00, closed on Tuesdays, the ticket price is from 450 roubles depending on the planned for visiting branches.
The Peter and Paul Fortress – 11:00-18:00, closed on Wednesdays. The ticket price to the Peter and Paul Fortress is 450 roubles, tickets to various expositions (a separate ticket for each is required) – 100-200 roubles.
The Kunstkamera: 11:00–18:00 (the ticket offices close at 17:00), the ticket price is 250 roubles.
The Grand Maket Russia Interactive Museum: 10:00-20:00 daily, the ticket price is 400 roubles on week days, 450 – on weekends.
The Kazan Cathedral – 8:30-20:00, admission is free.
Saint Isaac’s Cathedral – 10:30-18:00, the ticket price is 250 roubles, getting to the bell tower is 150 roubles. Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood – 10:30-18:00, the ticket price is 250 roubles.
Saint Alexander Nevsky Lavra – 6:00-20:00, admission is free, the necropoleis – 10:00-17:00 (the ticket office closes at 16.30) – the ticket price is 250 roubles.
Cruiser Aurora – 10:30-16:00, closed on Mondays and Fridays, the price of the ticket with an excursion is 450 roubles.
St. Petersburg - Dining
St Petersburg is famous with its restaurants – many of them are envied even in Moscow, and St Petersburg caterers do their best to preserve this. There are many elegant restaurants offering Russian cuisine without drawbacks on the menu and in the interior, as well as unusual and cosy cafés.
St. Petersburg - 1 day trip
There are lots of interesting suburbs around St. Petersurg and perfectly suitable for a one-day trip. Most of them are imperial residences with beautiful parks, and it seems that practically every Russian Emperor aspired to have a palace in the suburbs of St. Petersburg that would be more luxurious than that of his predecessor.