- Encounters with locals
- Place or Religious Monument
- Castle and fortress
- Place or Historical Monument
- Unesco World Heritage
IlovedSaint - Petersburgfromthe momentthatIarrivedthere several years ago. Its charm, frenetic activity and bewitching atmosphere impressed me right from the first minute.
The town is majestic and impressively beautiful. Thousands of buildings are classed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
There are hundreds of good quality museums (such as the Hermitage, which needs no introduction), numerous restaurants of all types, theatres, bars and clubs which offer visitors and locals an enormous range of activities. After having lived there 14 months I am still not tired of it and I feel at home.
I particularly love cycling through the city to the Passenger Port in spring or summer, or lying on the grass in one of the many parks reading a book when the weather is warm.
Another "must" is a boat trip along the canals of the "Venice of the north". There are several options available, going as far as the Gulf of Finland, or simply on the River Neva and some of the little canals. Its preferable to do it in summer.
Once the capital of Russia, St Petersburg is quite European in style, with lots of classical and baroque architecture, and is often undergoing restoration. It's a city that is full of history, a town that is also a museum, and walking through its monuments and streets is like walking through Russian history itself. If you walk up and down Nevsky Prospekt you will already have some idea of what the city offers. Take the time to climb aboard a boat for a trip round the canals: it's not for nothing that the city is compared to Venice!
The ultra kitsch churches are quite simply magnificent and evidence of incredible expertise. The most famous, Our Saviour on the Spilled Blood, is a perfect illustration. The town's museums - the Hermitage, the Russian Museum and the Pushkin Museum to mention just a few - didn't leave me with a moment to spare during my trip to Russia . The Russian Museum has a superb collection of icons, and its temporary exhibitions are always worth seeing.
Strolling through the markets is a pleasant, typically Russian experience. I found lots of red berries, tvorog (Russian quark) and lots of other culinary specialties. You should also try Russian style fast food (meals based on blinis or potatoes) which is often very good.
During my trip to Russia I thought St Petersburg was a magnificent city, but for me it lacked that Slavic soul which makes the Russian capital so amazing.
So, where Peter the Great wanted to recreate Europe I was looking for the true Russian heart.
Our Saviour on the Spilled Blood Cathedral is the closest you can get. It has gold, green and blue onion domes that make you think about wonderful sweetie wrappers, hiding treasure; and exceptional mosaics of biblical scenes.
Looking at a more Soviet style of history, I loved the Kirov Apartment Museum which gives you the impression that time stopped there in the 1930s. The propaganda posters and books plunge you into the political climate of the era, while the furniture and everyday objects tell you what life was like for a very important member of the Communist Party.
Finally, you realy mustn't miss going to Tsarskoye Selo, 25 km from St Petersburg, to see the palace and its beautiful park. The enormous blue and white facade will please even those who prefer Moscow, and it's a real pleasure to walk in the park and feed the squirrels while listening to the amateur violinists. A great time!