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Saint Petersburg is the northern capital of Russia. It was founded on May 16, 1703 and in 2003 celebrated its 300th anniversary. It was the capital of the Russian Empire from 1712 to 1918 and called Leningrad from 1924 to 1991. Saint Petersburg is often described as “Northern Venice” and it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Saint Petersburg is located on the Neva River at the head of the Golf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, and has more than 40 rivers, branches and channels (total length is over 160 km). It’s worldwide recognized as the city of the “white nights” (midnight sun), during the first half of summer. In 1703 Tsar Peter the Great built the fortress Saint Petersburg (later St. Petersburg and Paul) and founded the most European city of the ancient Asiatic empire, naming as “Russia’s window to Europe”. After Peter the Great, all Russian monarchs made the capital most lovely and invited top architects, European and Russian artists. That’s why its unique character is reflected in the magnificent buildings, in the straight lines of avenues and streets, parks and gardens, and other architectural monuments, decorated by excellent workers of monumental sculpture. The Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, the Twelve Colleges Building, the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, the Winter Palace, buildings of Senate and Synod, the Smolny Institute, St. Isaac's cathedral and cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan, built by designs of laos Trezzini, Chevakinski, Rastrellim Rossi, Quarenghi, Montferrand, Shtakenshneider and other renowned architects, created a unique city, which doesn’t have analogues in the world. The monuments of history adorn Russian Bronze Horseman, dedicated to Peter the Great, the monuments of Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov and Barclay Tolli. The vivid memories of the three Russian revolutions are: the legendary warship Aurora and the building Battlefield of the Institute. It’s known around the world the blockade of Leningrad for 900 days during II World War. In Piskarevskoye Memorial Cemetery are buried over 500 thousand victims of war.


Hermitage is one of the biggest museums in the world. It was founded in 1764. The collection contains more than 2.7 million works of art, which include masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, FODIN, Rembrandt, Rubens, as well as French Impressionist painters. There are opened the gala halls and ancient quarters of the Winter Palace, residence of Russian emperors. The building of the Winter Palace was constructed in the eighteenth century, in the Russian Baroque style by design of architect Rastrelli. From the stairs of the Ambassadors begin two enfilades of the gala halls. The main enfilade includes the Great Hall of the marshal’s field, the Ministerial Cabinet, the chamber of Peter or Grand Chamber of Thrones, the Chamber of Shields, the Gallery of the Patriotic War of 1812, the Chamber of Georgia or Grand Chamber of Thrones, the church, and the Chamber of Apollo. The rooms of the tsars include the Dining Green Room, the Rotunda, the Arab Chamber, the Small Dining Room, and the Malachite Room. The Neva enfilade includes the Concert Hall, the Grand Palace, the Oval Room, and the Peter’s Gallery. The Basilica of St. Isaac's is one of the best cathedrals, built in Europe in the nineteenth century. Its ornamentation of the most varied types of monumental art and significant height give the predominant accent to the silhouette of the city, determinate general character of the magnificence and eternal architectural forms.


The Fortress of St. Peter and St. Paul with its Cathedral is located on the island Zàyachi (hare). Inside the cathedral there is the iconostasis with Mercuriev’s icons, the tomb of the Romanovs, in total 32, decorated mostly with white marble, and among them is notable of the Peter the Great, always adorned with fresh flowers.


The beautiful Yusupov Palace belonged to one of the most ancient and noble family of Russia - the Princes Yusupov. In Laura (monastery) of Alexander Nevsky there are the graves of several luminaries of science, art and national culture: the Russian academic Mikhail Lomonosov, the poet Carlo Roassi, the worldwide famous composers Mikhail Glinka, Pyotr Tchaikocskiy, N.Rimskiy-Korsakov, the writers Fyodor Dostoevskiy, N.Karamzin and others. 29 kilometers from St. Petersburg is located the ancient residence of the Tsars, Petergof. It is a part of park, which originally was used as a vegetable garden and later became a beautiful garden known as High Park.
Pushkin is another point of interest, located 27 kilometers from St. Petersburg. Here tourist can visit the Catherine Palace and its beautiful park, built in 1717 by architect Rastrelli for Empress Catherine I.


The last residence of the tsars, located in the vicinity of St. Petersburg (35 km), is the city Pavlovsk with Palace of the Emperor Paul I.


 

 

 

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