A city on foot
The best way to see the wonders of St Petersburg is on foot (comfy shoes essential), from wandering through some of the small local streets to the wide bustling boulevard of Nevsky Prospekt. This is a pleasureable experience, although the 30 degree heat in the August sunshine did take its toll at times.
Along the ‘Admiralty’, ‘English’, ‘University’ and ‘Palace’ Embankments that straddle the River Neva you can appreciate some the colourful architecture that St Petersburg is so elegantly laying before you.
Before crossing the Birzhevoy Bridge towards the Peter and Paul Fortress, spend some time strolling around Vasilevskiy Island.
A short hop over towards Peter and Paul Fortress and suddenly you have sand beneath your feet, who knew there was a beach in St Petersburg (an opportunity to top up the tan).
From within the fortress you can admire the stunning Baroque cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul and visit the Artillery museum.
Over another bridge you enter Trinity Square and you can observe one of Europe’s largest and most eye-catching mosques, which can hold up to 5,000 people.
On crossing the beautiful Trinity Bridge which opened in 1903 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the founding of St Petersburg, you may notice it consists of ten arches and crosses at the widest point of the Neva River.
To relax those tired feet wander through the ‘Field of Mars’ and take a respectful rest by the Eternal Flame monument.
Beyond the ‘Field of Mars’ you will come upon the Mikhaylovskiy Castle, this was built for Tsar Paul I in 1801, who had a fear of being assassinated, so had the castle surrounded by moats and drawbridges as well as a secret tunnel.
Back on your feet again head to the Anichkov Bridge which was completed in 1841, it has four stunning bronze statues of men taming wild horses.
From the Anichkov Bridge head down the eight lane boulevard of Nevsky Prospekt (this is a must). This 4.5km (3 miles) stretch of culture is the hub of the city’s social life, nestled amongst the cafes and boutiques you will witness architecture like no other.
One noticeable building is the Singer House, also known as the House of Books, it is a wonderful example of Russian Art Nouveau.
The building was originally designed to be a skyscraper, similar to the Singer Building in New York, but due to St Petersburg’s building code it could not be taller than the Winter Palace, therefore it was adorned with a glass tower and globe.
Those comfy shoes must be coming in handy now…..
Nearing the bottom of Nevsky Prospekt head off along Bolshaya Morskaya Street (you won’t be disappointed), when you walk through the Triumphal Arch to Palace Square the vision will take your breath away.
The Hermitage is revealed in all its glory, the colours of the Winter Palace, the Old and New Hermitage and the General Staff Building are stunning (to see this view was one of the main reasons I wanted to visit St Petersburg).
The Palace Square encircles the Alexander Column, which was built in 1834 and dedicated to Alexander I.
The 47.5 metre high monument is adorned by an angel holding a cross.
Inspired to visit St Petersburg?
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