Northern capital for tourists: what you can see in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg — a city in which it is impossible not to fall in love. His straight, like an arrow, avenues, his majestic palaces and temples, the broad Neva, canals, statues and mysterious back streets will beckon to him again and again.
If you are going to St. Petersburg, especially for the first time, it is important to understand that you will not be able to see everything even within a week. Moreover, it will not work in three days or a day. Therefore, you need to develop a plan for yourself in which you should include those objects that you want to visit during each day of your stay in the city.
St. Petersburg is incredibly rich in cultural monuments. Many of them are concentrated in the city center, but the problem is that it is so extensive that it is impossible to inspect it on your own and on your own for 1-2 days.
Sights of St. Petersburg can be divided into several groups:
- Avenues, streets, embankments. They themselves deserve inspection. In the summer, and in good weather in the off-season, tourists simply stroll, study intricate houses and palaces, stop in front of monuments, take pictures. Sometimes these walks take place at a later time, especially on the white nights. The advantage is that you can admire the city for free.
- Monuments. There are a huge number of them in St. Petersburg, and they tell about its history and the history of the country as a whole. Inspection, of course, also carried out free of charge.
- Museums. It’s impossible to see everything, but you should pay attention to the most famous and famous: the Hermitage, the Kunstkamera, the Russian Museum.
- Manor complexes, for example, Peterhof or Tsarskoye Selo, are located in the suburbs of St. Petersburg or on remote suburbs, it takes a long time to get to them, so ideally, two days should be allocated to visit them.
- Parks In some of them you can go for free.
- Temples. Many cathedrals, churches, the famous Alexander Nevsky Lavra daily receive a huge number of visitors. Some come to pray, others enjoy the paintings, quaint and majestic architecture. Permanent temples, for example, Kazan Cathedral on Nevsky Prospect, allow you to get inside for free.
This unique military engineering object is the heart of St. Petersburg, the focus of Peter the Great’s plans and expectations; it’s not for nothing that the gates depict the overthrow of Simon the sorcerer as the apostle-patron of the emperor.
The fortress walls and ravelins, clumps and bastions are real fortifications. The center of the fortress is the Peter and Paul Cathedral, in which the remains of Russian emperors and their family members rest. Today, you can walk around the territory for free, but the museums located there deserve attention. In a separate building there is an exposition dedicated to the history of St. Petersburg. You can see the casemates, in which the prisoners were imprisoned, in what conditions they were kept. In one of the museums of the fortress is the famous little boat of Peter the Great — a small vessel, from which the glorious history of the Russian fleet began.
Savior on Spilled Blood
Walking along Nevsky Prospect, you should definitely turn off and walk along the embankment of the Griboyedov Canal to the Church of the Resurrection of Christ, which is one of Peter’s business cards. This capricious and elegant building can be seen outside for hours. But it is worth to go inside as well, although it will not be possible to enter there for free.
The temple was built on the spot where Emperor Alexander II the Liberator was mortally wounded by a terrorist bomb thrown into the carriage. In order for the tragic place to be inside the cathedral, the architects brought out part of the temple directly above the canal, and brought piles under the square.
Before the revolution, only members of the imperial family and their associates could go inside to perform memorial services for the deceased king. During the Great Patriotic War, the temple was called «Savior on Potatoes» and was used as a morgue and vegetable store. Today, there are guided tours and services.
This giant museum is the pride of not only St. Petersburg, but also of our whole country. The first exhibition was a small collection of paintings bought by Catherine the Second and defined in separate apartments. Today’s museum collection has more than 3 million works of art. Among them you can see the masterpieces of Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Titian, El Greco, the French Impressionists.
It is impossible to bypass the Hermitage either in one, or in three days, or in a week. However, at the disposal of the modern tourist is a special service that allows you to choose those expositions that he is really interested to see. The automatic machine will free-print the plan of access to the necessary rooms.
Unlike the huge Nevsky Prospect, this embankment accommodates only eight houses. However, walks on it are not neglected not only by tourists, but also by residents of St. Petersburg. Here you can admire the most famous lions in the Northern Capital, the Tsar-Carpenter monument, and in the summer you can watch the swallows spinning above the Admiralty spire.
The most famous street of the city, sung, first of all, by Nikolai Gogol is a great option to walk around St. Petersburg absolutely free. Nevsky is rather long, there are a lot of museums and simply beautiful historical buildings, shops and cafes, there are temples and parks.
It is better to walk slowly along the historical avenue, taking to that a considerable part of the day, or at least three hours. First of all, this is not an informative, but an atmospheric walk through the center of St. Petersburg, allowing you to feel the spirit of the city.
Palace Square and Alexander Column
You should definitely visit here, in the very center of St. Petersburg. Without this, the spirit and feeling of this place will be incomplete.
The Alexander Column, located in the middle of the square, was set up in honor of Russia’s victory over Napoleon. This is the world’s largest column of solid stone. The angel crowning this landmark is endowed with the features of an emperor.
Open to the 200th anniversary of Peter the Great, filled with fountains, monuments and flower gardens, the garden is a favorite walking place for residents of St. Petersburg. Unlike Nevsky Prospect, where there are a lot of cars, and the sun burns mercilessly in the summer, here you can admire the Winter Palace and St. Isaac’s Cathedral in the coolness. Entrance to the Alexander Garden is free.
Holy Trinity Alexander Nevsky Lavra
When building his city, Peter the First wished to have here not only military fortifications and palaces, but also a great shrine. In his conviction, the battle of Prince Alexander Yaroslavich on the Neva River took place in the place where Nevsky Prospect now begins. There was founded a monastery, later, thanks to its metropolitan status, it was renamed the Lavra.
In 1723, the relics of the Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky were solemnly transferred here from Vladimir. To this day, they rest in a cathedral designed by the famous architect Trezzini.
The Alexander Nevsky Monastery is one of the most important monuments of the city. You can reach it by metro (station «Alexander Nevsky Square»). Even if you come to the Northern Capital for three days, this is one of those sights that you need to see first.
In the monastery there is a necropolis, where artists and cultural figures — sculptors and composers, artists and writers are buried. If the entrance to the Lavra and the main cathedral is free of charge, you will have to pay a certain amount for the inspection of the cemetery.
Like Nevsky Prospect, the Promenade des Anglais has all the rights to be called a favorite place for walks and residents of the city, and its guests, who came here for a very short time — for one or three days. It is simply impossible to disregard this elegant street facing the Neva, each house of which is an architectural monument.
The English Embankment began to take shape even under Peter the Great. Then she had a different name. The Tsar himself monitored the fulfillment of his decree: the houses had to correspond to the solemn style, and the shore — to improve themselves at the expense of the inhabitants. Later, enterprising citizens began to sell real estate to English merchants, who received the right to trade and live practically duty free.
In the 19th century, the creative elite loved to walk here. It was here that Pushkin came to the service at the beginning of the day at the Foreign Ministry, sometimes looking into the three houses of his friends: Vsevolzhsky, Lavalea, Osterman-Tolstoy.
In some buildings today there are wealthy companies and expensive hotels, but a walk along the Promenade des Anglais will cost you absolutely free.
Saint Isaac’s Cathedral
Of course, a visit to St. Petersburg can not do without a visit to the famous majestic temple, located in the center. It is named in honor of St. Isaac, on whose day of memory Peter the Great was born. This is a huge cathedral, inspection will take time, but you will not notice how it flies, studying the frescoes created by the hands of the genius Karl Bryullov and other famous artists, columns of marble and a luxurious iconostasis.
You can climb to the observation deck, which offers an impressive panorama, though it is not free — you have to buy a ticket.
To describe all the attractions of the Northern Capital, it will take many months. Yes, and explore the city in one visit is impossible. However, descriptions of the most iconic of his places that you must visit, even if you have only two days to go for a walk around Peter, are included in this article.