Why you should visit Saint Petersburg – Russia’s 'Venice of the North'
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Saint Petersburg was founded in 1703 by Russian Tsar Peter I, who became known in Russian history as Peter the Great.
Eighteen years later, Russia became an empire and Saint Petersburg kept its status of the capital, which it obtained in 1712. Even today, with Moscow enjoying the official status of capital city, Saint Petersburg is often referred to as the “Northern Capital”.
Saint Petersburg holds a very special place in Russian history. Many prominent Russian writers and poets, such as Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Gogol, Alexander Pushkin, Vladimir Mayakovsky; composers, such as Mikhail Glinka, Pyotr Tchaikovsky; as well as many other outstanding artists, lived, studied and created numerous works there.
It is no wonder that Saint Petersburg is still considered the “cultural capital” of Russia. Saint Petersburg’s worldwide-famous Hermitage Museum houses about 3 million exhibits – if you spend exactly 1 minute to observe each of them, it will take you 8 years to see them all! And there is more, for example, the State Russian Museum.
There are numerous manors and palaces in Saint Petersburg. For example, another “must-see” for everyone, is the fountains of Peterhof – an ensemble of 173 fountains of unparalleled beauty which is enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage List.
The military history of this city is just as glorious. In the years of the Great Patriotic War, Leningrad (this is how the city was called during the Soviet era) withstood all the hardships of 872-days-long blockade – the longest siege of WWII. From September 1941 to March 1943 the city was supplied by the “Road of Life” – a transport route charted across the frozen Lake Ladoga.
One of the most curious and, perhaps, romantic way to explore Saint Petersburg is by water. In total, there are 93 rivers and canals as well as almost 100 water ponds in the city’s territory. To cross them, there are around 800 bridges. Thanks to all that, Saint Petersburg is nicknamed as “Northern Venice”.