As an international student, knowing the diversity of your student city is important. Through this, you’ll get to know more about its cultural history and how it stands today.
More importantly, getting the first look gives you an idea of how safe you’ll be in the city. Moreover, it helps you understand how tolerable the city and its people are to others of various cultural backgrounds, gender, religion, and more.
In this article, we’ll look into the diversity in St. Petersburg in Russia. As per the 2022 QS Best Student Cities list, it landed in the 72nd spot in the world. It is also in 92nd place for desirability among international students.
Let’s get a glimpse of St. Petersburg‘s enduring past so we can get to know more about the city:
Influences From Other Cultures but Still Uniquely Russian
One of the things you might notice in St. Petersburg is the culture and atmosphere. People say that the city adapts more to a Western lifestyle than a typical Russian one.
The foreign influences are also evident in the city’s architecture and iconic landmarks. The buildings look like they were carved off of Amsterdam and Venice. Plus, most of the architecture is distinctively Italian.
With all these cultural pieces in place, it’s no wonder that the city is hailed as the cultural capital of Russia. After all, there are plenty of subcultures here and people who speak various foreign languages other than Russian.
Of course, while these influences are significant, St. Petersburg is still uniquely Russian. There are many cultural landmarks here, with about 300 museums and a strong literary history that shaped the world.
A Wealth of History About Tolerance
Peter the Great (Pyotr Alekséyevich) wanted to reform the city as a window to Europe. In 1703, he opened St. Petersburg’s doors and invited Germans, Greeks, Italians, and Englishmen to settle in the country. Since then, the culture of tolerance has served as a vital pillar of the city’s foundation.
In the years following, people saw many highlights that emphasized the culture of tolerance in the city. In the early 20th century, the main Mosque in Russia was erected.
There’s also a Buddhist temple built on Krestovsky Island, which is run by the Buryat community. The Russian Museum of Ethnography boasts 700,000 artifacts that show the country’s diversity.
A Struggle Against LGBT Violence and Repression
St. Petersburg has a tumultuous history when it comes to fighting for LGBTQ rights. In 1917, anti-gay laws were canceled only to be revived again in 1920. It was eliminated again in 1993 with a fairly stronger foothold today but is still quite far from being safe.
At present, there are various community centers for LGBTQ members and initiatives that seek to protect them. This includes Coming Out NGO and ‘Action’ which is an HIV assistance group.
Now that you have an idea of Russia’s diverse history in St. Petersburg, it’s time that you learn other cultural specifics. See our other articles here at MSM Unify to learn more about this city and country.