St. Petersburg
Welcome to St. Petersburg, the "northern capital" of Russia and a host city of the 2018 FIFA World Cup!

St. Petersburg
Welcome to St. Petersburg, the "northern capital" of Russia and a host city of the 2018 FIFA World Cup!
St. Petersburg is the former Russian capital and Russia's second largest city. It is the world's northernmost city with a population of over one million and the youngest among the major European cities.
The history of St. Petersburg began on May 27, 1703, when emperor Peter the Great founded a fortress at the fork of the Neva River, on the land that Russia had conquered from Sweden.

During the first decade, St. Petersburg was built as a stronghold, a port and a base for the Baltic Fleet but bustling maritime commerce soon transformed it into a center of economic activity, industry and trades.

In 1712, the tsar's court moved from Moscow to St. Petersburg. That year is considered to be the point when the Russian capital moved to the Neva banks.
1. ©Sputnik/Alexei Danichev/Palace Square in St. Petersburg
2. ©Sputnik/Alexei Danichev/Russian cruiser Aurora of the Baltic Fleet at the Petrogradskaya Embankment in St. Petersburg
3. ©Sputnik/Alexei Danichev/Winter Palace
St. Petersburg saw many tragedies in the 20th century.

The city was the epicenter of three Russian revolutions: the 1905 Revolution, the February 1917 Revolution and the October 1917 Revolution. The Civil War following the October coup wreaked havoc to the city. In 1917, 2.5 million people lived in Petrograd but the population was reduced to just 600,000 after the famine of 1918−1920.

However, the most dramatic period in St. Petersburg's history took place during World War II. Between 1941 and 1944 the city was under siege for 872 days during which time 1.5 million starved to death.
For courage, perseverance and unprecedented heroism Leningrad was awarded the title of the Hero City.

Nowadays St. Petersburg is Russia's key economic, research and cultural center as well as a major transport hub. The city and its suburbs have the largest number of car plants in the country. The port infrastructure is developing rapidly, as are hotel and restaurant businesses. St. Petersburg is also one of the most important tourist destinations in Russia. The city's historical part and its landmarks are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
©Sputnik/Vladimir Astapkovich/The Peter and Paul Fortress as seen from the Old St Petersburg Stock Exchange
©Sputnik/Vladimir Astapkovich/The Peter and Paul Fortress as seen from the Old St Petersburg Stock Exchange
Things to see
The entire city center is one big landmark with numerous walking and bus tours and river cruises available all year round. The essential attractions include the Hermitage, the Russian Museum, the Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Isaac's Cathedral and Nevsky Prospekt. It will take more than a week to see all St. Petersburg sites worth visiting.
1. ©Sputnik/Alexei Danichev/Winter Palace as seen from Palace Square
2. ©Sputnik/Alexei Danichev/The Alexander Column on Palace Square
3. ©Sputnik/Alexei Danichev/The arch of the General Staff Building on Palace Square
Palace Square in St. Petersburg is the heart of the Northern capital and one of the most beautiful architectural ensembles in the world. It is bordered by the facade of the Winter Palace and the General Staff Building, whose two three-storey wings are joined by a triumphal arch, adorned with the Chariot of Victory. The Alexander Column is the focal point of the square. The Guard Corps Staff Building is situated in the eastern side.

The square was named after the Winter Palace located there. This colossal building occupies 9 hectares and has around 1,500 rooms. Its exterior and the incredible architecture are as overwhelming as the treasures hidden inside the walls of the former imperial residence. The palace is now home to the State Hermitage, a must-see for St. Petersburg visitors. One of the largest fine arts museums in the world, it contains thousands of outstanding artworks.
1 - 3. ©Sputnik/Alexei Danichev/Michael Klimentyev/Mikhail Kireev/The Peter and Paul Fortress on the Neva River
The Peter and Paul Fortress on Zayachy Island is the city's oldest architectural landmark. The day when its cornerstone was laid is considered St. Petersburg's foundation date. The city's history began with the fortress, which has the shape of the island it occupies. The original wooden pentagonal bastions at each corner were later replaced with stone.

St. Petersburg's first cathedral is located in the fortress. For a long time, it dominated the city with its 122.5-meter spire. The angel on top of the spire became the city's symbol.
1. ©Sputnik/Alexei Danichev/The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ (the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood)
2. ©Sputnik/Sergey Ermokhin/The Holy Doors in the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ (the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood)
3. ©Sputnik/Alexei Danichev/The main iconostasis and the Holy Doors at St. Isaac's Cathedral
4. ©Sputnik/Alexei Danichev/St. Isaac's Cathedral
5. ©Sputnik/Alexei Danichev/The main dome of St. Isaac's Cathedral as seen from inside
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood was erected on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated on March 1, 1881.

St. Isaac's Cathedral is one the city's symbols. Built in the classicism style, it is one of the most beautiful and most impressive dome structures in Russia and the world, and can take in up to 12,000 visitors at a time.

Forty-three types of minerals were used in the cathedral's construction.
1. ©Sputnik/Alexei Danichev/The Grand Cascade fountains at the source of the Sea Channel near the Grand Palace in Peterhof
2. ©Sputnik/Alexei Danichev/The Grand Cascade fountains and the Samson Fountain in the Lower Gardens of Peterhof
3. ©Sputnik/Alexei Danichev/Peter the Great Bridge during White Nights in St. Petersburg
Another St. Petersburg landmark, the Peterhof Palace, is located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland 10 km from the city. Construction of the imperial country residence began in 1714. Peter the Great wanted the estate to equal Versailles in its splendor, leading to the creation of the extraordinary palaces and world-famous fountains there.

St. Petersburg is Europe's champion for the number of bridges. There are a total of 800 bridges in the city. The drawbridges on the Neva River, which open for passing ships every night, is one of St. Petersburg's spectacular attractions.
©Sputnik/Mikhail Kireev/St. Petersburg Stadium on Krestovsky Island in St. Petersburg
©Sputnik/Mikhail Kireev/St. Petersburg Stadium on Krestovsky Island in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg Stadium
St. Petersburg can arguably be called the cradle of Russian football. It was in St. Petersburg that the first documented football game in the Russian history took place on October 24, 1897. Four years later, the city organized the first Russian football league, which lasted for more than two decades. Today the city's Zenit club is one of the top football clubs in Russia.

In 2017, the St. Petersburg Stadium hosted the opening and closing games as well as two group stage games of the Confederations Cup. The arena became the most visited stadium during the championship, with a total of almost 200,000 spectators.

The city will host some of the most important games of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, including a semifinal and the bronze medal match. A new stadium is under construction in St. Petersburg ahead of the World Cup. It will meet the highest modern standards and take in 69,000 people.

The stadium was designed by famous Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, whose vision was that the stadium should resemble a spaceship that landed on the shore of the Gulf of Finland.
Technologically, the arena will be one of the most advanced in the world. It will be equipped with a retractable roof and a pull-out field, so that it can become the venue for a wide variety of events, from concerts and shows to competitions in many sports.
©Sputnik/Vladimir Pesnya/St. Petersburg Stadium on Krestovsky Island in St. Petersburg
©Sputnik/Vladimir Pesnya/St. Petersburg Stadium on Krestovsky Island in St. Petersburg
How to get there
By plane: Pulkovo International Airport is the fourth largest in Russia for the number of passengers, after Moscow's airports. Every day it accepts hundreds of planes from all over Russia and the world.

By train: Railroad is the most convenient way of getting from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Dozens of trains run between the two cities every day, including conventional sleepers that take eight to nine hours and the Sapsan daytime high-speed trains that will get you there in only four hours.
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