As the home of one of the largest and most stunning museums in the world, surrounded by canals, and beautiful white lights, St. Petersburg shows regality and instills inspiration to its many visitors.
Although Moscow is said to be Russia’s most modern, cosmopolitan city, St. Petersburg is the historical heart of the country.
There are many places in St. Petersburg for people to come and visit, and hundreds of foods to try. Finding where to start could be hard, luckily, we’ve gathered five must-see places so you wouldn’t have to search far and wide.
State Hermitage Museum
St. Petersburg is home to the second-largest museum in the world, housing over three million works. The State Hermitage Museum was founded when Empress Catherine the Great started to acquire works of art during the 1700s. But the museum wasn’t available to the public until the year 1852.
The Museum has six buildings, with the main building housed in the Winter Palace. The Winter Palace used to be the home of the Russian emperors until 1917.
Peter and Paul Fortress
The Peter and Paul Fortress was built in 1703 and has been extended and fortified since. It was built as a defense against the sudden Sweden counterattack, but the fortress has never experienced an actual battle.
Instead, the Peter and Paul Fortress became a prison and an execution quarter during the Bolshevik revolution. Today, the fortress has become a part of the State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg.
Within the walls of the fortress are lush and beautiful gardens, stone paths, and several buildings; the most popular is the Peter and Paul Cathedral which was the final resting place of the Russian czars.
The main square of St. Petersburg is a massive open space, right in front of the State Hermitage Museum’s Winter Palace. At the center of the square is a large column named “Alexander Column” that was made of red granite.
Many major events in Russian history were made in this square, such as Alexander II getting shot and the Bolshevik troops starting a revolution in 1917 by storming the Winter Palace. The square for marches and demonstrations, like military parades and New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Peterhof Palace was built in the 18th century. It is composed of a series of buildings, several formal gardens, and 173 fountains fed by underground springs. It is well-known for its “Grand Cascade,” consisting of 64 fountains on a series of terraces outside the main entrance of the palace. It was designed in the style of the Palace of Versailles.
It features 30 rooms that have gold colors, marbles, and items that were brought back from Asia. You can take a bus to arrive at Peterhof Palace, but traveling by boat is also possible.
Although it no longer is one of the most luxurious structures, it still carries former fame. The main attraction of the Eliseyev Emporium is its window display, featuring moving puppets derived from the Nutcracker story.
Now, the emporium focuses mainly on food with the most famous stop inside being the Eliseevy Merchants’ Shop. It is also home to a very unique homemade ice cream shop.
Looking for more ways to experience St. Petersburg and the whole of Russia? Check out our list of Russian festivals every student must experience.