What to see in Russia
The city founded by Tsar Peter the Great to represent the most modern face of the country, is still known today as the cultural heart of Russia. In this ancient capital you must walk the banks of the Neva river, as well as Nevsky Prospect, the main street which leads to the Kazan cathedral. Not forgetting the Church of the Savior on Blood, the Peter and Paul Fortress or the Hermitage Museum, and the ancient palace of the Tzars.
Why not travel to Saint Petersburg? The Hermitage, Nevsky Prospect, its palaces and cathedrals. Everything in this city is a hymn to beauty and tradition. So let's have a brief overview of the many things there are to see in Saint Petersburg.
If you travel to New York, you'll go to Fifth Avenue. If you visit Paris, you can't get miss the Champs-Élysées. And travelling to Saint Petersburg you're sure to stroll down Nevsky Prospect. This street is more than four kilometers long and connects the Alexandre Nevsky Monastery with the Russian Navy Command (Admiralty). Here you'll find cafés, shops, restaurants, bookshops and museums.
In the old Singer sewing machine factory, immortalised in film and literature, is the House of the Book. The three-storey building is in the modernist style and has three floors that are well worth visiting. There's no better place to buy a book of Pushkin's poems.
Saint Petersburg is home to four major cathedrals, but this one surpasses the other three. It was built between 1801 and 1811 and is located in Nevsky Prospect itself. You can see Russia's most venerated icon here, an image of the Virgin of Kazan.
Turn off your camera and cell phone, because no pictures are allowed inside.
If there's one monument that you may know about and that may have influenced your decision to travel to Saint Petersburg, it's the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood. In 1881, Tsar Alexander II was murdered on the site where the church was built.
You will recognise the church because of its five enamelled and copper-plated domes, in the Russian style also in evidence at the cathedral of St. Basil in Moscow. After this introduction, the interior does not disappoint, quite the reverse. It houses a collection of the most important mosaics in the world, including the mosaic of Christ Pantocrator on the ceiling of the central dome.
Belonging to the Russian neoclassical style, St. Isaac's Cathedral is remarkable for having one of the largest domes in the world. It is also the second tallest Orthodox church on the planet. The tallest is Christ the Saviour in Moscow.
If you have the energy and willpower, you can visit the top of the dome and enjoy incredible views of the city. Mind you, you'll have to climb 262 steps.
Located in the Palace Square, one of the city's major squares, the Hermitage is one of the most beloved, famous and visited museums in Europe and around the world. It has an immense collection of antiquities and is one of the largest art galleries in existence.
The museum, which was founded and extended its collections thanks to the "private" contributions of the Tsars, consists of a group of six buildings. Among them, the most important is the Menshikov Palace. Allow at least three hours for the visit
This complex houses various buildings, such as a major prison that remained in use until 1918, the Astronautical Museum where the engines of the Soyuz and Vostok, both space shuttles, are kept, and the Commander's house, which has been converted into a museum of culture and daily life.
The Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, which gives its name to the fortress, is where Peter I the Great and the family of Nicholas II, the last Tsar, are buried.
The Peterhof is one of the most beautiful palaces in Europe and one of the reasons to travel to Saint Petersburg. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is about 30 km from Saint Petersburg. This is where the tsars lived until 1917, in a complex of gardens dotted with palaces.
In fact, it's the gardens that are really worth visiting here. Not only because of their architecture, but also because of their complex of fountains and the wonderful Great Waterfall.
We conclude this very small guide on what to see in Saint Petersburg with a mention for the Catherine Palace and its amber chamber. It's built along the lines of the Peterhof Palace and is also 25 km from the city.
Both the palace building and the gardens are impressive, but you can't take pictures in the chamber. Be that as it may, it's one of the must-see sights in Saint Petersburg.
Enjoy all these places and many more in Saint Petersburg with Exoticca.