The History of St.Petersburg
The city of Saint Petersburg was founded on May 27, 1703, when Tsar Peter the Great took control of the land surrounding the Neva during a protracted war with Sweden. A log cabin – the city’s first living quarters – was constructed on the city’s fortress (Peter and Paul Fortress) shortly after this victory. Below, you will find a timeline of the most important events that followed the foundation of this city, updated to the present date.
1703 Founding of St.Petersburg by Tsar Peter the Great [May 27 according to the Julian calendar].
1710 Peter builds the city ’s first palace, in the northeast corner of the Summer Garden.
1712 St.Petersburg replaces Moscow as the capital of the Russian Empire.
1714 Peter the Great founds the Kunstkamera, not only Russia's first, but also the world's first public museum.
1725 Tsar Peter the Great dies aged 52.
1738 Russia ’s first ballet school is established in St.Petersburg.
1754 Empress Elizabeth commissions Rastrelli to design the Winter Palace, and over the next forty years Empresses Elizabeth and Catherine the Great create the palaces and parks in the St.Petersburg suburb of Tsarskoe Selo [Pushkin].
1757 The Academy of Fine Arts is founded.
1762 to 1796 The German-born Catherine the Great ascends the throne. She makes the Winter Palace her residence, where the royal family remain until 1917. St. Isaac ’s Cathedral [now known as Dekabristov Square].
1795 Opening of the Public Library.
1825 A secret society of nobles and officers, who come to be known as the Decembrists, rally against Tsar Nicholas I. Their uprising is crushed.
1837 Opening of the first Russian railroad, from St. Petersburg to Tsarskoe Selo.
1837 On January 27, Russia ’s most famous poet Alexander Pushkin is fatally wounded in a duel with French officer Georges d ’Anthes, who was apparently having an affair with Pushkin ’s wife.
1851 Opening of the railroad line from St. Petersburg to Moscow.
1858 The city ’s most ornate cathedral, St. Isaac ’s, is completed after forty years of construction work.
1859 The Mariinsky Theatre is built.
1866 Dostoevsky finishes Crime and Punishment, set in the streets surrounding Sennaya Ploshchad [Haymarket Square].
1881 A bomb kills Emperor Alexander II. The Church on the Spilled Blood is erected on the spot of the assassination.
1898 Opening of the Russian Museum.
1905 Bloody Sunday. On January 9, tens of thousands of Petersburgers march to the Winter Palace to present Tsar Nicholas II with a petition calling for reforms. Imperial troops fire on the demonstration, killing several hundred people.
1914 World War I begins in August, and St. Petersburg is renamed Petrograd to sound less German.
1916 Prince Felix Yusupov murders peasant Grigory Rasputin, a Siberian monk who had Tsarina Alexandra under his spell because of his hypnotic ability to treat her son ’s haemophilia.
1917 In a popular uprising on the night of October 24, the Bolsheviks take control of key points in around the city. The night comes to be known as the Great October Socialist Revolution. Lenin establishes the Cheka, later to be known as the KGB, now called the FSB.
1918 Tsar Nicholas II and his family are murdered in Yekaterinburg.
1918 The government moves back to Moscow; St.Petersburg is no longer the capital.
1921 Sailors at the Kronshtadt naval base become the last bastion of organised resistance to the communist regime. On March 21, 50 000 Red Army troops cross the ice from Petrograd and massacre almost the entire fleet.
1934 Leningrad ’s Communist Party Chief Sergei Kirov is murdered at Smolny in December. His death marks the beginning of Stalin's worst party purges.
1941-1945 WW II; almost 900-day siege of Leningrad [September18, 1941 to January 27, 1944]. The city is isolated from the rest of Russia. More than a million residents die.
1955 The Leningrad metro opens.
1960 The population of Leningrad finally grows to exceed pre-WW II levels.
1989 Leningrad's historical centre is put on the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage sites.
1991 Following a popular referendum in September, Leningrad is returned to its original name St. Petersburg.
2000 on March, Petersburg native Vladimir Putin is elected President of the Russian Federation.
2003 on May 27, St. Petersburg turns 300. The night of Petersburg's birthday sees more people take to the banks of the Neva than the city has seen since the anniversary of the October Revolution.
2003 Valentina Matvienko is elected as the new governor of St. Petersburg.
2004 Vladimir Putin - St. Petersburg ’s favourite son - is re-elected as president for another four years.
2005 Petersburg celebrates the 60th anniversary of the WWII Victory.
2010 Georgi Poltawtschenko is elected as the new governor of St. Petersburg.
2011 Saint Petersburg Ring Road is opens for service.
2013 G-20 Saint Petersburg Summit, The Mariinsky II opens after a decade of planning and construction, giving St Petersburg a state-of-the-art ballet and opera theatre.
2014 St Petersburg hosts Manifesta 10, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art.
The State Hermitage
The second-largest art museum in the world, after Louvre, Paris.
We offer you guided tours at the Hermitage where you can see different art galleries, collections of applied arts from the time of the Scythians until European painting of the Renaissance, archeological artifacts of Eastern Europe and a large collection of Imperial Porcelain.
All excursions are held by professional and experienced guides. (French impressionists are not included, but can be requested like other collections).
Alexander Column received the name in honor of the emperor Alexander.
The Alexander Column (Russian: Aleksandrovskaya kolonna) also known as Alexandrian Column (Russian: Aleksandriyskaya kolonna), is the focal point of Palace Square in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The monument was erected after the Russian victory in the war with Napoleon's France. The column is named for Emperor Alexander I of Russia, who reigned from 1801 - 25.The Alexander Column was designed by the French-born architect Auguste de Montferrand, built between 1830 and 1834 with Swiss-born architect Antonio Adamini, and unveiled on 30 August 1834. The monument — the tallest of its kind in the world — is 47.5 m (155 ft 8 in) tall and is topped with a statue of an angelholding a cross. The statue of the angel was designed by the Russian sculptor Boris Orlovsky. The face of the angel bears great similarity to the face of Emperor Alexander I.The pedestal of the Alexander Column is decorated with symbols of military glory, sculpted by Giovanni Battista Scotti.
The main square of Saint-Petersburg.
One of the most beautiful and harmonious ensembles of architecture in the world, Palace Square remains the main public space of St. Petersburg after nearly three centuries.
Palace Square was laid out in 1819-1829 by Carlo Rossi, a neoclassicist architect of Italian descent who designed a large number of streets and squares in St. Petersburg. On the northern side of the square stands the picturesque Baroque Winter Palace (built in 1754-62). Across the square, on the southern side, there is the classical yellow-and-white General Staff building (built in 1819-29 by Carlo Rossi). This building encircles the Southern side of the square and through its central arch, designed as a Triumphal Arch of the Classical World, you can reach Nevsky Prospect. On the eastern side a building of the former Royal Guards' General Staff tastefully closes the panorama of Palace Square, while on the West the square borders with the Admiralty and the Admiralty Garden.
There many significant events took place, including the Bloody Sunday (1905) massacre and parts of the October Revolution of 1917.
Today the enormous square is more peaceful. Locals often gather here and tourists gaze at the architectural delights or stand in line for the Hermitage. Political rallies and official ceremonies still take place here, although today you're more likely to see a concert or festival here.
General Staff Building
The most significant buildings of Russian classicism of the beginning of XIX century.
General Staff Building on the Palace square designed by architect K.Rossi.
The immense building created for the General Staff and for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs perfectly fits into the ensemble of the Palace square. The majestic monumental arch with a span measuring 17 m incorporates the idea of the victory in the Patriotic war of 1812 against France; it is topped by a six horsed cart, warriors and a statue of Glory.
In 2013 a large-scale reconstruction of the Eastern wing of the General Staff building was completed. Today it houses the exhibits of the State Hermitage museum.
Under the coffering of the Arch of the General Staff one may see the clock with a lettering on its face saying “The main chamber. Right time”. The clock was set in 1905 on the initiative of D.Mendeleev.
If you fear losing time in the queue to the Winter palace, pop in the General Staff. This will give you the grounds to tell your friends that you have visited the exhibits of the Hermitage.
Сhurch of the Savior on Spilled Blood
This church was built on the site where tsar Alexander II was assassinated.
This Church was built on the site where Emperor Alexander II was severely wounded and died in March 1881.The church was built from 1883 till 1907. The construction was funded by the imperial family.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The Church contains over 7500 square meters of mosaics—according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
Peterhof is one of the world's most famous palace-park ensembles.
The Peterhof Museum Complex is one of the most popular museums not only in Russia, but in the whole world. Even a few hours here are enough to feel the spirit of history, which still lives on and breathes in this magnificent place.
As a former residence of the Russian monarchs, Peterhof brings together the finest achievements in national and international culture. This unique complex was created by outstanding architects, decorators and sculptors, whose spectacular works of art slot perfectly into the natural beauty of the coastal landscape.
Peter the Great planned Peterhof as the residence of a sea king. This was to be his incarnation of Russia as a great European power, with a foothold on the shores of the world's oceans, capable of competing with the finest Western courts — above all, with Versailles.
The history of Peterhof begins back in 1705, when travelling chambers were built for Peter the Great on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland. Soon, not far from this place, work began on the creation of a new imperial residence, which, Peter determined, would one day outshine all the other royal palaces of Europe. The tsar deliberately built his new residence by the sea, as a triumphant symbol of the successful conclusion of Russia's long struggle for an outlet to the Baltic Sea. Peterhof was officially opened in the presence of the tsar and foreign diplomats in August 1723.
The architecture and decor of Peterhof reflects all the artistic styles of the past and the personal tastes and preferences of every Russian monarch.
One of the world's most famous palace-park ensembles, Peterhof was virtually destroyed during the Second World War. The post-war resurrection of the entire complex was one of the finest chapters in the history of restoration in Russia. The present-day beauty of Peterhof is the result of decades of painstaking work by architects, painters and masters of decorative and applied art. Restoration work continues even to this day, in the Chapel Royal of the Grand Palace, which ought to be completed by May 2011.
Today, the museum complex stretches across five hundred hectares of territory, embracing Strelna, Peterhof and Oranienbaum. Dotted with sparkling fountains, the Lower Park and Upper Gardens flow effortlessly into the shady and romantic glades of Alexandria, forming a unique fusion of regular and landscape parks. Every day, more than twenty museums — vastly different in their origins, ideas and contents — delight visitors with exciting new discoveries and the joy of their handsome treasures.
The Peterhof Museum Complex is rightfully regarded as the "capital of fountains." Included in the state register of most valuable cultural objects of the Russian Federation, Peterhof now bears the proud title of one of the "Seven Wonders of Russia."
Monplaisir Palace is part of the Peterhof Palace Complex, which was built during the reign of Peter The Great.
It was created according to the Emperor's views about the most comfortable and modern buildings of the time. From this position the architecture and decoration of Monplaisir Palace can be described as a piece of architecture and decorative art from the beginning of the 18th century.
Later Peter The Great gathered up here a large collection of European paintings, Chinese porcelain, Dutch ware, Russian glass and cooking utensils from the first quarter of the 18 century.
The Palace was completed in 1723 and later, Catherine I added to Monplaisir the Bathhouse Wing and Kitchen Block.
In the design of Monplaisir Palace such materials as oak, lacquered panels based on the Chinese model and marble were used and it's ornamental and sculptural decoration is considered to be a masterpiece of decorative art of the 18 century.
We offer you the chance to enjoy this beautiful place in our guided suburb tours. The excursions inside the palace are included.
Lomonosov is a former royal residence, located on the Gulf of Finland around 40 kilometers from Saint-Petersburg.
The original name of this residence is Oranienbaum, which in German means "orange tree", but now most of Russian people know it by its post-war name Lomonosov.
The estate and the Grand Palace of Oranienbaum is the oldest palace in Saint-Petersburg and a beautiful example of Russian architecture from the first part of the 18th century. It was a residence of Prince Menshikov, Peter III and Alexander I. After the Revolution it was opened as a museum. During the great Patriotic War Nazis tried to break into the city several times but Oranienbaum was only place around Saint-Petersburg, not to be captured by Nazi forces. The city was bombarded many times but the damage was much lower than other suburbs of Saint-Petersburg suffered during the Second World War.
Visit its small but elegant parks, palaces and pavilions. In this suburb tour you will see the most remarkable places of this former tsar residence, including the so called "Russian Mountains", the Chinese Palace and Kammenoe Zalo pavilion.
Russian cuisine was formed under the influence of different cultures and nationalities during its long history. The main feature of it is considered to be a variety of products and ingredients with a combination of plentiful fish, pork, poultry, caviar, sour cream, onion, vegetables and mushrooms.
The most famous are: "borscht" - beef, cabbage and beetroot soup, "beef stroganoff" - a dish of sautéed pieces of beef, "dressed herring" - a layered salad with salted herring, covered with boiled vegetables and mayonnaise, aspic or "kholodets" - meat stock in a gelatin, and many others.
Explore a collection of different cooking traditions and recipes with our guides, who show you the best restaurants and cafes with national cuisine. Testing of Russian drinks is included.
The show museum where you will enjoy Saint Petersburg of the 18th century. This museum is very modern and young, and was opened only several years ago. This museum-exhibition has already become extremely popular with locals and guests of Saint Petersburg! It attracts children and adults. The unique exhibition on the layout area of 500 square meters shows the generalized images of Saint- Petersburg and its main attractions. Hundreds of moving trains and cars, sound and light effects add dynamics to the exposition and thousands of tiny figures make it an experience to be remembered. The amazing effect of the changing of the weather doesn’t leave a single visitor indifferent. The place is definitely recommended for visitors from different countries.
The Shield of Saint Petersburg and the Maritime Capital of the Empire
If you take this tour you'll learn about: The foundation of Kronstadt fortress during the Great Northern War with Sweden; The first Russian navy base amazing defence system – the naval Maginot Line;
Various historical sites like gardens and buildings;
Unique 18th century engineering structures;
The fortress part in the Crimean, First World war and other military conflicts;
The famous Russians who lived and worked in Kronshtadt;
The Red Revolution drama;
The WW2 Battle of Kronstadt and its striking similarities with Pearl Harbor.
In the end of the trip you will visit the famous Naval cathedral with its magnificent both exterior and interior bearing no resemblance with any Saint Petersburgian church or cathedral.
The duration of the tour is 5-7 hours depending on the guests' willingness to take a boat trip to one of the Kronstadt forts.
In other words : 5 hours - with the boat trip and 7 hours - without.
Cathedral is dedicated to Our Lady of Kazan, probably the most venerated icon in Russia.
Kazan Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in Saint-Petersburg. It was built in 1801-1811 by the architect Andrey Voronikhin by order of Emperor Paul I who wanted the cathedral to resemble St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.
The cathedral is the monument to glory of Russian arms. The famous Russian Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov, who won the most important campaign of 1812, was buried inside the Kazan Cathedral. In 1932-1991 it housed the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism. The sacred thing of the cathedral is a copy of an icon of Our Lady of Kazan.
Kazan Cathedral is remarkable for its plan. Half-round colonnade decorates the side façade of the cathedral, not the main one. According to church canons the altar was to face eastwards, the main entrance - westwards.
Dvortsoviy Bridge also known as Palace Bridge took its name after the Winter Palace, Dvortsovaya (Palace) Square and Embankment.
The first pontoon bridge connected Admiralteyskiy and Vasilievsky Isles in 1856 directly in front of the Winter Palace, but in 1896-1897 it was relocated to the place where today the Palace Bridge is situated. The permanent iron drawbridge was constructed in 1912-1916 by engineers A.Pshenitzkiy and R.Meltzer. Interesting fact: some wooden elements of bridge’s construction remained unchanged till 1978. Palace Bridge is technically the most perfect one of all Neva’s bridges. Unique mechanism of the drawbridge, consisted of engines, colossal cogwheels (some full metal cast in block details remain from the opening of the bridge) and floating bridge counterbalances weighting thousands of tons, allows lifting 700 tons of bridge spans. In 1997 the Palace Bridge got it’s colorful illumination.
During fests the open spans of the bridge become the screen for imaged films.
The Anichkov Bridge is the first and most famous bridge across the Fontanka River in Saint Petersburg.
The current bridge, built in 1841-42 and reconstructed in 1906-08, combines a simple form with some spectacular decorations. As well as its four famous horse sculptures (1849–50), the bridge has some of the most celebrated ornate iron railings in Saint Petersburg. The structure is mentioned in the works of Pushkin, Gogol, and Dostoevsky.
During the siege of Leningrad bridge was damaged by artillery attack. Were damaged granite parapets and railing sections. Crossing became blockade monument: on granite pedestal horses intentionally decided not to restore the trail from German artillery shell fragments.
Saint Isaac's Cathedral
The largest Russian Orthodox cathedral in the city.
Saint Isaac's Cathedral or Isaakievskiy Sobor in Saint Petersburg is the largest orthodox basilica and the fourth largest cathedral in the world. It is dedicated to Saint Isaac of Dalmatia, a patron saint of Peter the Great, who had been born on the feast day of that saint.
The church on St Isaac's Square was ordered by Tsar Alexander I, to replace an earlier Rinaldiesque structure, and was the fourth consecutive church standing at this place.
The neoclassical exterior expresses the traditional Russian-Byzantine formula of a Greek-cross ground plan with a large central dome and four subsidiary domes. It is similar to Andrea Palladio's Villa La Rotonda, with a full dome on a high drum substituted for the Villa's low central saucer dome. The design of the cathedral in general and the dome in particular later influenced the design of the Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki.
The exterior is faced with gray and pink stone, and features a total of 112 red granite columns with Corinthian capitals, each hewn and erected as a single block: 48 at ground level, 24 on the rotunda of the uppermost dome, 8 on each of four side domes, and 2 framing each of four windows. The rotunda is encircled by a walkway accessible to tourists. 24 statues stand on the roof, and another 24 on top of the rotunda.
The cathedral's main dome rises 101.5 metres (333 ft) and is plated with pure gold. The dome is decorated with twelve statues of angels by Josef Hermann. These angels were likely the first large sculptures produced by the then novel process of electrotyping, which was an alternative to traditional bronze casting of sculptures. Montferrand's design of the dome is based on a supporting cast iron structure. It was the third historical instance of cast iron cupola after the Leaning Tower of Nevyansk (1732) and Mainz Cathedral (1826).
The Tsarskoye Selo
For two centuries the Tsarskoye Selo was a grand imperial summer residence.
The Tsarskoye Selo palace and park ensemble (the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve) is a superb monument of world-ranking architecture and garden-and-park design dating from the eighteenth to early twentieth centuries.
The compositional centre of the ensemble is the Great Tsarskoye Selo or Catherine Palace – a splendid example of the Russian Baroque. Visitors are enraptured by the sumptuous décor of the Great Hall and the Golden Enfilade of state rooms that includes the world-famous Amber Room. Today, as we enter the palace, we can sense the spirit of the times of Empresses Elizabeth and Catherine II and admire unique works of fine and applied art.
Tsarskoye Selo is also home to one of the finest creations of Classicism in architecture – the Alexander Palace. Passing through the rooms of the living apartments you can get an idea of the aesthetic preferences of the last members of the Romanov dynasty and view the Emperor’s State Study that was decorated in the Moderne style.
More than a hundred historical monuments are scattered across the Catherine and Alexander Parks that have a joint area of 300 hectares: there are grand palaces and intimate pavilions, bridges and marble monuments, and also exotic structures imitating Gothic, Turkish and Chinese architecture.
Folk show "FEEL YOUR RUSSIAN"
Professional folk show "Feel Yourself Russian" in the Nicholas Palace gives you the opportunity to enjoy high-performance skill: at the same time the Russians feel a surge of national pride, and foreign guests admire the "mysterious Russian soul".
The services we offer are interesting and Russian citizens and foreign tourists. Feel yourself Russian show! A unique tourist attraction that allows you to feel the history and soul of Russia in one night! Presentation lasts 1 hour 50 minutes, including the interval (30 minutes). Seating capacity - 350 beds. On the front stairs of the palace you will meet an ensemble of historical and everyday dance "Reverence." Beauties in crinolines and the elegant gentleman to the accompaniment of a string quartet "Classic" will make you forget that the court of the beginning of the XXI century. In a Programme Russian folk songs, church songs in the academic performance , "Peters Quartet" . The repertoire of the Cossack band "Maidan" dancing Stavropol, Don, Volgograd, the Kuban Cossacks and Cossack songs of different regions. Dances of different peoples of Russia in the ensemble "Stars of St. Petersburg" : lyrical dances of the Russian North, incendiary dances Voronezh and the Don Cossacks, subtle humor choreographic miniatures of the Urals and Siberia, and of course the delightful tricks performed by our artists. During the break, it offered buffet table, which includes: canape with red caviar, сanapes with ham, сanapes with cheese, canape with salami, a glass of vodka, glass of wine, a glass of champagne, juices in assortment, mineral water, tea and coffee, fruit.
Helicopter flights over Saint Petersburg
We can offer out of the beaten path attraction - regular helicopter flights in the center of St. Petersburg It is probably one of local highlights only for the most exquisite guests:) Flights are available from the 1st of May till the 30th of October. Group flights are regular on weekends and holidays from 11:00 am till 18:00 pm. The helicopter tour lasts only for 15 minutes but let you see the historical part of the City from absolutely astonishing perspective. The flight starts from Peter and Paul's Fortress and goes along the Neva river. Our guests will be able to enjoy the views of rivers, canals, islands and sights of historical part of St. Petersburg. There is no need to pre-book a flight, so you can just come to the place and jump into the helicopter with other travelers and have a magnificent bird’s eye view of Saint- Petersburg!