Our midsummer mini break of 2014 was to the beautiful & intriguing city of St Petersburg.
This was a city that I had been drawn to for years; I think it was the Russian dolls I was given as a child that first sowed the seed of curiosity.
However, for some reason or another, it would always shuffle its way down our list of places to visit.
But, we made it, and I’m so pleased we did, the architecture is incredible. Don’t just take our word for it, go and visit for yourself.
I don’t actually think you could visit St Petersburg and not stroll around Palace Square.
You’ll be surrounded by the white and blue Winter Palace (home to the Hermitage Museum).
The gold and white General Staff Building and its magnificent Triumphal Arch and the centrepiece being Alexander Column.
This church was one of my favourite sights in St Petersburg, with its incredibly intricate façade and the wonderful onion domes upon it. It sits on the edge of Griboyedov Canal, one of many in St Petersburg.
Take a stroll along the embankments of the Neva River; there are so many historical and notable buildings that line this waterway. Museums, palaces, churches, monuments & gardens.
Crossing the Neva River head to Peter & Paul fortress built on Zayachy Island in the shape of a star.
This was still used as a prison in the early 1920’s and now forms part of the state museum.
Here you can also visit Peter and Paul Cathedral, which is the burial place to many Russian Tsars.
Before heading into the fortress, take a stroll along St Petersburg’s beach.
Very prominent in St Petersburg’s skyline is the Russian Orthodox St Isaac’s Cathedral. Built by order of Tsar Alexander I, the incredible pure gold plated dome stands over 100 meters high.
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St Petersburg is sometimes referred to ‘Venice of the North’ (along with other cities), and it’s easy to see why. Take a stroll along its many canals, and you’ll discover some quieter spots of the city.
St Petersburg has quite a few parks where you rest those weary feet.
However, the Field of Mars park is particularly special, as it has Russia’s first Eternal Flame flickering inside.
As St Petersburg has its fair share of canals and rivers, it also means there are plenty of bridges.
The ten arched Trinity Bridge which spans the Neva and the Anichkov Bridge across the Fontanka River with its four Horse Tamers are very impressive.
However, it’s the smaller ones I like along the Griboyedov Canal, along this canal there are 21 to choose from, but take a look at ‘Bank Bridge’ & the ‘Bridge of four Lions’
Not quite finished with the waterways yet, I would urge you to take a boat tour. This is a fantastic way to see the magnificent palaces that line the embankments, it puts a different perspective on the city and also give your feet a rest for a while.
Nevsky Prospect is the main avenue that runs through St Petersburg and has plenty of impressive buildings to distract you along the way.
Not only will you be able to pick up your souvenirs along here, but, you also see the Neoclassical Kazan Cathedral and the eye-catching Art Nouveau Singer House (also known as House of Books).
I thought there were a lot of bridges in St Petersburg; however, the number of churches and cathedrals is incredible. One that we thought was worth finding was St Nicholas Naval Cathedral.
The Mariinsky Theatre is home to the world-famous Mariinsky Ballet company which was founded around 1740. Performances can still be watched today.
Last but certainly by no means least are the Rostral Columns built in 1811 and sit proudly in front of the Stock Exchange. They were initially designed as lighthouses, and the figures at the bottom represent Russia’s four biggest rivers (Volga, Dnieper, Neva and Volkhov).
There really is so much to see and do in St Petersburg; you won’t get bored.
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