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 To the world history measures, our city is very young.  It was founded on May 27, 1703 by the Russian emperor Peter the Great. From that date for more than 200 years St. Petersburg was the country capital.   The history of the new Russian capital is imprinted in the architectural appearance of the city. The greatest reigns and architectural chefs-d'oeuvre of the 18th-20th centuries are embraced in one chronicle of St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg is located at the Eastern part of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, at 42 islands of the Neva delta. St. Petersburg is often named the Northern Venice, underlining perfection of architectural shape and surprising harmony of the city and waters with its numerous channels and rivers. Our city also often name as a museum of bridges, them in St. Petersburg is more than 300.

Unlike other names of European capitals that consist of one word, the name Saint-Petersburg consists of three parts each having its own meaning.

Fontanka river embankment - one of the beautiful sight of St. Petersburg 











Fontanka river embankment - one of the beautiful sight of St. Petersburg
Sankt – from  the Latin "sanctus" meaning "holy"; Peter, the name of the one of the twelve apostles, also meaning rock in Greek; and burg from the German and Dutch word meaning town. Thus, the name of the young capital unites the names of Peter the Great, his patron saint, as well as cultures of Ancient Greece and Rome, Germany and Holland. The name of the new Russian city and its symbols emphasize the connection with classical Rome the patron saint of which was the apostle Peter.

Development of Saint Petersburg and city architecture

Historically the city has arisen on a small Hare island (which was known to the Russians as Zayachii ostrov) where The Peter and Paul Fortress has been founded in 1703. The fortress was originally named "Sankt Pieter Burkh",  but was usually referred to as "Peter and Paul's Fortress", after the cathedral located in the centre of the island. The fortress contours represent an extended hexagon with six angular bastions which allowed to conduct massed artillery bombardment of approaches to the city. 

From 1721, the fortress housed part of the city's garrison and also famously served as a high security political jail - among the first inmates was Peter's own rebellious son Alexei. Also the  Fortress is home to the Peter and Paul Cathedral, a church where almost all the Russian Emperors and Empresses from Peter the Great to Nicholas are buried. Crowned with a gilded spire, the bell-tower remains the tallest building in the city (122.5 m).
 
Aspiring to create a majestic city, Peter I had the door "widely opened” to famous European architects and masters. In turn, they, having closely adjoined to the Russian validity, erected constructions in which peculiar features of Russian architecture are inherent. Domeniko Trezini, the first architect of the city, developed an unique general layout of St. Petersburg. The plan regulated not only a direction and width of the city streets, but also architectural features of each building.

In further the city developed by  «ensemble principle» - the famous European architects, – B. Rastrelli, D.Kvarengi, K.Rossi, A.Voronikhin, O.Monferran and many others, created detailed projects  of ensembles of central squares and quays, prospectuses and streets. 

The whole sophisticated development of  St. Petersburg is materialized in its palaces and
The Peter and Paul Cathedral
The Peter and Paul Cathedral
temples, park ensembles, street labyrinths and multistoried houses. Palace Square is St. Petersburg's main square and is a good example of how different styles can be combined in the most elaborate way.

Palace Square - symbol of Saint PetersburgSymbols of St. Petersburg

The Winter Palace for two centuries was an imperial residence and, simultaneously, the largest repository of fine arts. Catherine the Great started an imperial collection of arts which later became the world-famous Hermitage. For the growing royal collections of art Several additional buildings (the Small Hermitage and the Old Hermitage) were built. The Hermitage Theater was constructed nearby and the area around the palace was put in order and complemented with the finest houses and palaces.  Now all of these buildings are occupied with the State Hermitage – the largest art, historical and cultural museum.

Even from far suburbs the gold tent of an unique St. Isaac's Cathedral is visible. The Cathedral's gilded dome dominates the St. Petersburg skyline - on a clear day it can be seen from miles away. Built by French-born architect Auguste Montferrand to be the main church of the Russian Empire the cathedral surrounded by 80 red granite columns that weigh 80 tons each. The building amazes with the scales: its length 111,5м; width 97,6м; height 101,8м; 562 steps lead to a cathedral tower. The cathedral, which can accommodate 13,000 worshipers, now serves as a museum and services are held only on major occasions.

The architectural ensemble of the Spit (Strelka) of Vasilevsky Island, dividing Neva on two sleeves, is also absolutely unique.  In 1807-1810 one of St. Petersburg's most elegant architectural ensembles appeared on the eastern edge of the island.  The Stock Exchange, designed by the French architect Thomas de Tomon with the assistance of architect A.D. Zakharov, was inspired by Ancient Greek and Roman architecture. Two Rostral Columns, studded with ships' prows, served as oil-fired navigation beacons in 1800s. Figures - symbols of the great Russian rivers of Neva, Volkhov, Volga and Dnepr are St. Isaac's Cathedralplaced on  the socles.

On a merging place of the main city rivers  - Neva and Fontanka - located the well-known Summer Garden.  The garden occupies territory of more than 11 hectares. The summer garden was created as an official residence, and Peter the Great commissioned the first architect of the city - Domenico Trezzini - to build a small palace in the park. The most prominent embankments on the left bank of the Neva river were coated in red granite and the marvelous wrought iron fence of the Summer Gardens was built by architect Y. Felten in 1771.

Also one of the most familiar symbol of St. Petersburg is the equestrian statue of Peter the Great, installed in 1782 on the Senate Square.

Unlike other Russian cities, St. Petersburg often became an object of philosophical reflexions, a scene of action in literature and fine arts  and as a hero of poems. Here the newest tendencies in fine arts appeared  – from Gogol to the Russian rock - considering Petersburg by the port of registry.

Usially Petersburgers consider the city as cultural capital, referring that the best Russian writers from Pushkin to Dovlatov lived here, also the Petersburg university is included into ten best ones in Europe, and Russian museum posesses one of the best collection of icons, drawings and unique collection of Russian masters Summer Garden - first St. Petersburg public gardensculpture.

According to the international researches, our city enters into ten cities the most attractive to visiting of the world. It is caused not only its historical and architectural treasures, but also by extremely active cultural life. The changes, which have occurred in the country for the last years, have opened earlier inaccessible palaces for tourists, such as  Beloselsky-Belozersky, Nikolaev, Sheremetevsky palaces, a former building of the Officer Meeting. All of them became popular cultural centers.

And what another city can offer  one and a half hundred museums for visiting?  More than 100 theatres in our city, including such world famous ones, as the opera and ballet Maryinsky Theater (former Kirov Opera), the Academic theatre of M.P.Musorgsky, the Academic Drama Theatre among many others.

The city which has noted the tercentenary named "northern capital" Russia is not only a museum open-air, but also the embodiment of last three hundred years of the Russian history is simple. 11 emperors, tens flooding, revolution, three-year blockade and an economic reform were in the city’s history. But St. Petersburg still capable to surprise even the most tempted tourist.

"Arent Saint Petersburg" agency offers the tourists accommodation in comfortable apartments for rent in the center of St. Petersburg. Phone - +7 (812) 312-1944, mobile +7 (715) 715-0326.

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