Destination Guide

The Travel Well Guide

Saint Petersburg

City: Saint Petersburg       State: N/A       Country: Russia
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. Saint Petersburg is often described as the most Western city of Russia. Among cities of the world with over one million people, Saint Petersburg is the northernmost. The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site.St. Petersburg is a city of haunting magnificence, an imperial capital that seems to have been built as a monument to its own passing. Less than three centuries have passed since Peter the Great began building his grand city on the Gulf of Finland, but it is difficult to visit its vast, crystalline squares and palaces without feeling the enormity of the gulf that separates that time from our own. All of which, of course, makes St. Petersburg more evocative of Russia's past than any place except perhaps the Moscow Kremlin. This impression is only deepened by a more familiar acquaintance. The enigmatic homeliness of Peter's cottage and the city's placid canals may contrast with the brooding grandeur of the Winter Palace, but they share with it a graceful stillness that is difficult to forget.The main street in the city is Nevsky Prospekt, along which there are many rewarding sights. These include the Rastrelliesque Stroganov Palace, a monument to Catherine the Great, the Art Nouveau Bookhouse, the Anichkov Bridge with its remarkable horse statues, several eighteenth-century churches, an enormous eighteenth-century shopping centre, a nineteenth-century department store and the Russian National Library.There are dozens of Baroque and Neoclassical palaces in the city, and an amazing array of churches. The astomshing St Isaac's Cathedral has an enormous dome covered with gold, and the Cathedral of Peter and Paul in Palace Square contains the tombs of Peter the Great and his successors. The huge neoclassical Kazan Cathedral on Nevsky Prospekt is modelled on St Peter's in Rome and well worth a visit.

Climate | When to Visit

Visit during: May to September

Directions | How to Reach

AirSt Petersburg is Russia’s second-largest air hub, although it lags far behind Moscow in terms of the number of long-haul connections. It’s well-connected throughout Europe and the former Soviet Union, but from Asia, Australasia and the Americas you’ll usually have to change planes in either Moscow or another European hub to fly into St Petersburg.TrainThe regular long-distance service is a fast train (skory poezd).

miscellaneous | Important Information

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