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StPetersburg Travel Guide

by our Russia expert Terry Emery
 
Terry EmeryIn cultural many other ways, the former capital of the Tsars is Russia’s most western city - even during the soviet days of ‘Leningrad’, it retained a lighter, more open feel. Founded by Peter the Great in the early 1700’s, its position at the mouth of the Neva river, as a major Baltic port and shipyard, led to constant interaction with Europe, notably Britain and France. Peter’s drive for innovation and quality in all things, have left the city with a legacy of magnificent architecture, palaces, theatres, museums and great art - in both performance and attitude. The rivalry between the Kirov and Moscow’s Bolshoi is more intense than most football pairings. The winter palace evolved into the Hermitage, a treasure-house museum that challenges the Louvre; the many churches and St Isaac’s Cathedral offer all the colourful onion-domed splendour of the Orthodox tradition and the Peter and Paul Cathedral houses the tombs of almost all the Emperors - Peter, Catherine the Great and, eventually, Tsar Nicholas II. Orientation in the city centres on the river and the main avenue - the Neva and the Nevsky Prospekt respectively. The river and its banks are for sailing and ‘white nights’ picnics in the long summer evenings, becoming an impressive frozen vista for 3-4 months in winter. The Prospekt is the hub of elegant shopping (with Parisian pricing) and lively social life. (Tourist note - if you’re set on seeing the Kirov, remember its real name is now Mariinsky, after its theatrical home.)
 

Russia Facts

National Flag: Russian Flag
Language(s): Russian
Currency: Russian ruble
Dialling Code: +7
Time Zones: Zone 1 : GMT + 2
Zone 2 : GMT + 3
Zone 3 : GMT + 4
Zone 4 : GMT + 5
Zone 5 : GMT + 6
Zone 6 : GMT + 7
Zone 7 : GMT + 8
Zone 8 : GMT + 9
Zone 9 : GMT + 10
Zone 10 : GMT + 11
Zone 11 : GMT + 12
Tourism Website:
http://www.russia-travel.com/

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