St.Peterburg was founded in 1703 by a Russian tsar Peter the Great. The new city was named after the apostle Peter, but has its name changed three times: St.Peterburg, Petrograd, Leningrad, and then, in 1991 St.Petersburg again. By the world’s standards it is a very young city. The city celebrated its 300th birthday in 2003. St.Petersburg is Russia’s second largest and the world’s northern most city with the population over one million. The population now is about 4.5 million people! Despite all the existing cliches about a grim nordic character of our city, severe Russian winter one cannot survive without vodka, bears on the city streets, luxury furs worn by Russian women – St.Petersburg is indeed Russia’s most Europian-looking city and is much closer to Europe than you may think – it’s centre is only 140 km away from EU borders! St.Petersburg has always been the first place in Russia to experience all reforms, changes and hardships this country went through. It became home to the three revolutions, lost about a third of its housing and one million residents in the 900 day long Siege of Leningrad during WW2. The signs of war are gone now and as once before people again call St.Petersburg the Venice of the North. Russia’s capital for two centuries, with the tsars’ court, high society, theatres and bohemian salons, St.Petersburg has always had a unique appeal of its own. For its residents it’s a mysterious city of the characters from Pushkin, Dostoevsky and Gogol’s books, and on the other hand, a huge outdoor theatre where rock and jazz festivals, classical concerts and traditional Russian ballets are staged. St.Petersburg’s 80 museums, 100 theatres, numerous art-galleries and music clubs give it the right to be called Russia’s cultural capital.
Spread around 42 islands linked by over 300 bridges, St.Petersburg is particularly beautiful in summer – during the White Nights. Once you’ve seen the view of drawn-up bridges across the Neva, you’ll surely want to visit this place again.