SAINT PETERSBURG

Few cities in the world can offer such stunning panoramic views as majestic Saint Petersburg does. Vistas over fairy tale palaces, cathedral domes and waterfront embankments and bridges.

Located in the north — western part of  Russia at  the  east  coast  of  the  Gulf  of  Finland, St.  Petersburg, at the centre point of maritime crossings, rivers , railroads and trunk roads, it is the European gateway of Russia.  Created  by the visionary Peter the Great in 1703 to be his ‘window to Europe’  Saint Petersburg combines  it’s rich and venerable place in Russian history with a European outlook.

From the early days of  Peter the Great’s  “Venice of the North” to the 1917 October revolution this city has been at the vanguard of Russian history.

It’s considered one of the important centres  of Russia, with its place in  history  and unique monuments and architecture, Saint Petersburg is  the  second major city in  Russia and takes the title of Russia’s  ‘Capital of Culture’.

The city of Pushkin and Dostoevsky is known as the cultural treasure house of  Russia, unique in Europe with its beginnings  as a concept design. The  historical  centre of Saint Petersburg is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with estimated 8000  landmarks.  There are more than 140 museums and over 100 theatres.

The city of Saint Petersburg combines Russia’s finest museums with its royal palaces and estates, embankments and canals, with picturesque bridges and imposing cathedrals.

The Heart of Saint Petersburg is Palace Square where  the Winter Palace, the Buildings of the Ministries and General Staff Building are centre around Alexander Column.  The Winter Palace , home to the tsars , now belongs to the State Hermitage – the largest artistic,  historical and cultural museum in Russia.

The Hermitage houses one of the world’s greatest collection of art.  At the forefront are works by the great masters of the of High Renaissance Art  like Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian and Michelangelo. Highlights of the collection of Western art include masterpieces by many of the major European Old Masters right through to the modern era with Picasso, Matisse and Monet. The Hermitage halls offer unique collection of  Egyptian and Classical antiquities, prehistoric art, jewellery and decorative arts.

Founded by Peter the Great in 1703,  Peter and Paul Fortress is a unique fortification monument of XVIII-XIX centuries. Originally intended as the citadel of St. Petersburg,  it never served its  primary function of a fortress, but one of  the main uses of “the Russian Bastille”  up to 1917 was  a foreboding political prison.

The magnificent Saint Isaac Square is one of the cities principle public spaces. The greatest works of Russian architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries are located here, including Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, the Mariinsky Palace, the Hotel Astoria and the Hotel Angleterre.

Saint Petersburg’s Royal summer estates at Tsarskoye Selo and Peterhof  are sumptuous gems, exceptional palaces embellished with extensive landscaped gardens with noble architecture and fittings fit for a King.