St. Petersburg once a desolate swamp, Russia's imperial capital is today a dazzling metropolis whose sheer grandeur never fails to amaze. It is a great city for sightseeing, with an abundance of art-filled galleries and brilliant architecture to explore. With its near 24 hours of sunshine and White Nights celebrations are not to be missed.
TOP 8 PLACES TO VISIT
1.HERMITAGE MUSEUM AND THE WINTER PALACE
The museum was founded in 1764 to house the private collection of Catherine the Great. The massive complex has six buildings, including the Winter Palace, which was the home of the Tsars for almost 200 years. In 1852 it opened to the public and has been one of the largest and most interesting museums on the globe. Art from masters like Da Vinci and Picasso can also be seen in the museum.
The biggest collection of Russian fine art in the city is housed in the museum. The Russian Museum also consists of the Marble Palace, the Mikhailovsky Castle, the Stroganov Palace, the Benois Wing and the Mikhailovsky Palace. The most popular rooms are in the Benois Wing, where works by Malevich and Kandinsky attract international crowds.
3.PETERHOF PALACE AND GARDEN
The Versailles inspired palace lures visitors to overlook a cascade of fountains and gardens opening onto the Baltic Sea was the brainchild and summer palace of Peter the Great. The enormous gardens and hundred of fountains on this UNESCO World Heritage really steal the show.
4.ST ISAACâ€™S CATHEDRAL
Instructed by Alexander I in the early 1800â€™s, the neoclassical cathedral was completed in 1858.Not only did it survived Nazi shelling in World War II it even briefly served as a museum of atheism under the Soviet regime. The Cathedral possesses an imposing exterior presence with its single massive dome and columns made of single chunks of granite, malachite, and lazurite; floors of different-colored marble; and never-ending frescoes."
The island in offers a selection of attractions, including a pair of 15th-century sphinxes from Egypt and a museum of biological oddities where you can see the skeleton and heart of Peter the Greatâ€™s gigantic personal servant. The island is also home to the 19th century Rostral Columns, whose torches are lit on special occasions. Itâ€™s a great place to wander the banks of the Neva river.
6.CHILDRENâ€™S MUSIC THEATRE
Featuring musicals based around Russian fairy tales, the shows are renowned for their colourful stage scenery and enthusiastic performers.
7.MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY AND ETHNOLOGO
The city's oldest museum was founded in 1718 by Peter the Great himself, and is primarily of interest as a monument to the remarkable endeavours and enthusiasms of St. Petersburg's extraordinary founder. The museum has a pedestrian collection of ethnographic exhibits, a huge number of deformed fetuses preserved in jars and other freaks of nature.
Pushkinskaya 10 is an arts and performance centre in an old apartment building and was established in 1989 as a squat for independent artists, alternative musicians, and other "underground" types. A warren of studios and exhibition space linked together forms the Museum of Non-Comformist Art. It is well worth visiting to get a glimpse of the old Leningrad bohemia and its once revered dissident art scene.
OTHER PLACES TO VISIT
The best way to get around is by foot as all major sights are in walking distance of each other. Otherwise you can make use of a boat, metro, bus, trolleybus, taxi or by car.
The best time to visit St. Petersburg is from mid-June to September. Summers are generally cool but pleasant.