The Most Popular Sights of St. Petersburg
The Winter Palace – The State Hermitage Museum
The central museum of St. Petersburg – the State Hermitage Museum – is reckoned among world’s largest art museums. The main building of the Hermitage is the Winter Palace, which used to be the main imperial residence in olden days. All the guests of the northern capital try to visit this huge museum complex. And though it is absolutely impossible to see all the museum’s exhibits at one go, every person visiting St. Petersburg for the first time should visit the Hermitage.
The main square in St. Petersburg is Palace Square. It is one of the best-known architectural ensembles, which includes the Winter Palace and other historical and cultural sites. Numerous life-changing events took place on this square. Today Palace Square is obligatorily visited by all excursion groups, and during folk and public festivals it becomes a center for various concerts and performances.
The gilded spire of the Admiralty building topped with a small ship is well-known outside St. Petersburg. This symbol has become an architectural landmark of the city. Moreover, the Admiralty building itself since the very beginning of its construction has played a role of the “main building” - it was a focal point of three main streets of the city. Today the Admiralty building decorated with gorgeous sculptures and bas-relieves is considered to be a prominent architectural monument of XVIII century.
The Bronze Horseman
The monument to Peter the Great, which thanks to A. Pushkin was called the Bronze Horseman, is one of the city’s main landmarks - it is depicted in most tourist booklets. The work over the concept of this monument involved even French philosophers. There exists a legend, according to which this bronze monument protects the city of any disasters, and the founder of the city on Neva continues to care of his creation in such a monumental form.
St. Isaac's Cathedral
The second largest orthodox temple in the world and the largest one in St. Petersburg is St. Isaac's Cathedral, which is a grand architectural construction decorated along the entire perimeter with grey-stone columns, which support a huge gilded dome of the cathedral. The interior of the cathedral strike imagination with sophisticated mosaic, glass paintings, and subtle marble decoration. Together with the surrounding area the cathedral forms a single architectural ensemble, and from its roof you can see a picturesque panorama of the city.
The Spit of Vasilyevsky Island
Vasilyevsky Island located in the delta of Neva is one of the most interesting places in St. Petersburg. To a large extent it was a starting point for the construction of the city. The eastern part of the island, the so-called Spit, is a center of famous landmarks and monuments of XVIII century, an architectural ensemble consisting of historical buildings and museums. The Spit of Vasilyevsky Island is connected to the center of the city and Petrograd side via Palace and Exchange Bridges.
The Kunstkamera Museum
The Kunstkamera Museum is the first public museum in Russia established by Peter the Great on the basis of his own cabinet of curiosities/ It is considered one of the most famous museums in Russia, and its anatomic collection of freaks of nature has been attracting a lot of visitors for hundreds of years. Also in the Kunstkamera Museum on Vasilyevsky Island the history of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Main astronomical observatory and f St. Petersburg State University started.
Peter and Paul Fortress
Peter and Paul Fortress construction was the starting point for the foundation of St. Petersburg. The date of its foundation today is considered the Day of the City, and the first name of the fortress lives in the name of the new capital. Constructed for the protection of lands in the delta of Neva, Peter and Paul Fortress, in fact, was the main political prison. And Peter and Paul Cathedral inside the fortress became the main shrine for the Tsar dynasty. Today the oldest fortress of the city is a part of the Museum of History of St. Petersburg.
The Aurora Cruiser
A famous monument to the revolutionary history of St. Petersburg is the Aurora Cruiser permanently anchored on the Petrogradskaya embankment, one of the best-known symbols of the City on Neva. The name of this ship is well-known by most Russian people, even those who know nothing about her history as a battle and training ship. The Aurora Cruiser is the ship number 1 in the Navy of Russia, and visit to the ship is included into all touristic programs.
The Summer Garden
Walking along incredibly picturesque decorations of the Summer Garden can bring you back to the 17th century. The beautiful park has been carefully restored and brought to its historical look. Walking in pleasant quietness of the garden along its alleys, or sitting among white sculptural groups, fantastic fountains and bright flower compositions, you will forget about the noisy megalopolis around you.
The Church of the Spilled Blood
The Church of the Spilled Blood is well known by many people, even those ones who have never been to St. Petersburg. This beautiful landmark with colourful domes, carvings and mosaic is often depicted in ad booklets of the city. The orthodox church was built on the place where the Russian Tsar Alexander the 2nd was mortally wounded as a result of murderous assault. The masterpiece of architecture is built in the Old Russian style and resembles St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Mikhailovsky Palace - the Russian Museum
The largest depository of Russian fine art – the Russian Museum – was founded upon a special imperator order, and today it consists of over 400 thousands of exhibits of fine art, sculpture and folk art. The bulk of this collection is deposited in the Mikhailovsky Palace, the interior of which precisely reproduce all the glory of St. Petersburg’s palaces of the 19th century. The Russian Museum is second largest after the Hermitage museum of St. Petersburg.
Saint Michael's Castle
Among numerous imperial palaces of St. Petersburg, Saint Michael's Castle stands special. It really resembles an inaccessible fortress, which at the moment of construction was surrounded with moats. This legendary building is known first of all for the murder of Paul the 1st, after which the building became a symbol of a short but controversial Paul’s era.
One of the main streets of St. Petersburg is, undoubtedly, Nevsky prospect. According to the development plan established by Peter the First, the city plan was based on three main streets radiating outward from a center - the Admiralty shipyard. Nevsky prospect, being one of these streets, connected Petersburg with the rest of Russia. The main city street, as is right and proper, is filled with palaces, houses of grand people and other architectural monuments.