History of St. Petersburg

Although just 300 years old, St. Petersburg has a rich and exciting history, full of dramatic events and major historical figures. Founded in 1703 by Emperor Peter the Great as his "window on the West", St. Petersburg enjoys a vibrant, cosmopolitan atmosphere and some of the most beautiful architecture in Europe. For those interested in culture and history, St. Petersburg is the perfect holiday destination.

Founded in 1703 on the banks of Neva River close to the Gulf of Finland by prominent Russian Tsar Peter the Great the city for 206 years was the capital of Russian Empire - at that time one of the richest, most ambitious and cultural centers of the world. At that historical period Russia could afford to invite the most talented Western architects to realize magnificent and beautiful projects with the most modern technologies of construction and the best and most expensive types of marble, granite, mosaics. At the same time Russia's own architect school was born and you can also see their splendid works. Most of the monuments are kept in excellent shape today by the Russian State and you have a chance to enjoy them in their original beauty (also thanks to the fact that both of Russia's latest Presidents Putin and Medvedev are coming from St.Petersburg). Hundreds of palaces and historical building have been overhauled here and now look spectacular.

St. Petersburg is known as the City of Museums - totally there are more than 200 different museums here. Buildings of Hermitage and Russian Museum are the real masterpieces of the art themselves to say nothing of the world treasures you can see there (paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Matisse, Renoir, Repin, Malevich et ali). St. Petersburg is surrounded by splendid summer residences of Russian tsars: Palace of Peter the Great with the world-famous tremendous park and its beautiful fountains in Peterhof, Catherine's Grand Palace and Alexander palace in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), Pavlovsk Palace et ali.

Today the city with 6 mln inhabitants retains its position as the cultural capital of Russia with more than 100 theatres. It is the motherland of famous Russian ballet - the first Ballet academy was opened in the city in 1738. The city is well-known for its famous Mariinsky (former Kirov) Opera and Ballet Theater, Mikhaylovsky opera and ballet theatre, Hermitage theatre, State Philarmonic Society. Prominent Russian musicians and composers were living and working in St. Petersburg (Tchaikovsky, Glinka, Rimsky-Korsakov, Shostakovich et ali).

St. Petersburg has a rich tradition of literature. Most famous works of Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Gogol were written in our city. Saint Petersburg is one of the most important educational and scientific centers of Russia with hundreds of universities and research institutes (most of top Russian officials working today in Moscow possess the diplomas from St.Petersburg high schools).

It is also a big industrial city: the centre of shipbuilding, power engineering, metalwork's, tractor and car manufacturing. The city possesses the second biggest seaport in Russia being today also the most important oil transit centre in Europe. International exhibitions held on 40,000 m2 of LENEXPO complex are attracting 10,000 participants from more than 58 countries. These shows are attended each year by more than one million visitors. It is also the place where St. Petersburg Economic Forum is held annually.

St. Petersburg has mild winter and legendary "White Nights" in summer (when the sun barely dips below the horizon) and it is worth to be visited at any season of the year. It has nice hotels, good restaurants with excellent Russian and Western cuisine, friendly inhabitants and safe living environment. St. Petersburg by right is being referred as North Venice - 10% of his territory is covered with water: the broad Neva and more than 90 big and small canals. In summer tourists are excited by the view of raising bridges on the Neva river at night time. The most romantic way to see Saint Petersburg is from the water - tour boats ply its canals and rivers all summer long.

St. Petersburg is the greatest Russian tourist city. Its achitectural masterpieces, excellent museums, dazzling palaces, stylish monuments, magnificent parks, broad avenues, romantic canals and spectacular bridges attract tourists from all over the world.

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