The Beloselskiy-Belozerskiy Palace, on the banks of the Fontanka River, nestled next to the Anichkov bridge, St Petersburg, Russia

St Petersburg – The Truths & Trivia

In Europe, Far, Mini Breaks, Our Journeys, Russia, Trip-Types, Truths & Trivia by Janis0 Comments

Let’s start with the Truths about St Petersburg

So this page is a bit of fun, it is not meant to be a wiki one-stop-shop. It has some of the interesting stuff about St Petersburg, and then a bit of the trivial stuff, including our take on the place.


The 3 C’s


Eurasia (or Europe & Asia)





St Petersburg sits on the far west of Russia, just a 100 miles (160km) from the Finnish border. It’s home to the world famous Hermitage museum, and is considered the most westernised city within Russia.

The focal area for a mini-break though will be the Palace Square. A central point next to the Hermitage museum.

National Flag
Regional Flag

It’s good to talk

What speaks?

Russian, English generally good in the tourist hot-spots.

Dialing code



The Ruble ₽ (RUB)

What time


Moscow Time (MSK)

Difference from UTC

+3 Hours

So what’s this Trivia then?

Famous for?

  • It’s the birthplace of Vladimir Putin.
  • It has had 3 names: St Petersburg (1703-1914 & 1991-present), Petrograd (1914-1924) & Leningrad (1924-1991).
  • Was the Imperial capital of Russia twice (1713–1728 and 1732–1918)
  • The Russian revolution of 1905, and the October Revolution of 1917 started in St Petersburg.

Did you know?

Food & Drink

  • Vodka
    Of course, that goes without saying. It’s worth visiting the Vodka museum. In the same building dine on fine Russian cuisine at Russian Vodka Room №1, and take your pick from the wide selection of Vodkas (over 200 available)
  • Stroganoff
    That world famous dish of sliced beef sauteed with onions and finished with soured cream.
  • Blini
    These pancakes, served with soured cream and caviar – worth a try.
  • Pelmeni
    These minced meat ‘ravioli’ dumplings are superb, you’ve got to try them if meat’s your thing. Served with … No prizes for guessing here.
  • Varenyky
    Or Peirogi. Another form of dumpling, can be sweet or savory – Gary had dark, sour, cherry filled ones which went down well.
  • Borscht
    Deep red beetroot based soup. Served here with the addition of beef, and of course soured cream.

See & Do

  • Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
    Stunning church in a similar style to St Basil’s in Moscow.
  • Palace Square
    Great open space from which to explore St Petersburg in all directions.
  • The Hermitage
    The world famous museum – we didn’t allow enough time to dedicate to exploring its treasures.
  • St. Peter’s & St. Paul’s fortress
    Zayachy Island contains the fortress, and the catherdral. There’s also a beach – now that surprised us.
  • Nevsky Prospect
    Home to Gostinyy dvor, the Singer building, various churches, cathedrals & palaces and crosses numerous canals & rivers, including the Anichkov Bridge across the Fontanka river.
  • A river cruise
    No better way to take the weight off your feet and see St Petersburg from the water.

The churches & cathedrals of St Peterburg are stunning, strolling the streets is so rewarding and the bridges & waterways lend support to St Petersburg’s unofficial tag of the ‘Venice of the North’.

Movies & Music

James Bond: Goldeneye

Remember Pierce Brosnan’s first outing as 007? and remember that famous tank chase? Well that was set in St Petersburg. The good news is that the city has had a decent lick of paint since 1995.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Again Gary, I’m not a Russian music buff.
If you mention Russian music I immediately think of Tchaikovsky, and 3 pieces spring to mind the 1812 Overture, Swan Lake & The Nutcraker. All fabulous pieces.Gary

Now this is tenuous – over to Gary

The Pet Shop Boys 1985 hit, ‘West End Girls’, contains the line “From Lake Geneva to the Finland Station”, Well the Finland Station in question is in St Petersburg, and that line references Vladimir Lenin’s route back into Russia to take a leading role in the October Revolution in 1917. Gary

And your thoughts on the place?


or What are the chances of us revisiting?
(0% – You’ll have to drag us over hot coals to go back 100% – Why am I not there now?)


We would like to return, potentially dedicate a chunk of time to the Hermitage (careful planning to avoid the worst of the crowds). St Petersburg in winter looks stunning, so maybe something as a post Christmas trip. (We need to remember Russia celebrates Christmas later as it follows the Julian calendar for religious celebrations).

Value for Money

Our value for money index.
Don’t forget we’re Londoners, and that means our baseline is quite high.
(0% – How much? I wanted to buy a drink, not the bar 100% – How much? I’ll take two.)


Prices seem to be on par with London in 2014, but we are aware that the exchange rate has fluctuated making slightly more expensive now. The architecture is stunning, and walking the streets is free.

Behind the wheel – the driving karma

What’s it like driving in the country.
Which side of the road do they drive on? They drive on the right.
(0% – They’re suicidal – they’re out to kill us 100% – I’m in driving paradise.)


Guess what, we didn’t drive in Russia. However, the taxi ride from the airport can also be an indication and everything was rather pleasant. One thing we noticed was the odd oligarch, in their supercar, may like to draw attention to themselves blasting up & down Nevsky prospect. Is it that different to the Kings road, London?

Janis’s Hi’s & Lo’s


I know there is a pattern forming here, but it has to be the colourful architecture. Palace Square and the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood stand out as particular examples.


Organising the Visa’s prior to departure.

Gary’s Hi’s & Lo’s


Without wishing to sound like a broken record, it has to be the architecture. Simply stunning.


Our fault really – we struggled to find a decent bar whilst out walking. On returning home we found some bars with nondescript exteriors, that hid wonderful interiors, we wandered by because we didn’t understand cyrillic, or Russian for a bar.

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St Petersburg – The Truths & Trivia was last modified: September 30th, 2017 by Janis