St Petersburg is the second largest and one of the most beautiful and most touristic cities of Russia. The population of the city is more than 5,300,000 people. The city is situated in the Northern-West part of Russia on the Neva River, at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. Besides the Neva River there are about 100 smaller rivers and channels in St Petersburg, that’s why it is often called Northern Venice. Situated in the Northern-West part of Russia St Petersburg features a humid continental climate. It has warm, humid and short summers and long, moderately cold wet winters. The average maximum temperature in July is 23 °C and the average minimum temperature in February is −8.5 °C. Because of very northerly geographical location of the city the sun in summer period does not descend below the horizon enough for the sky to grow dark. This phenomenon is called The White Nights and normally lasts in St Petersburg from June 11th to July 2nd. This is the highest tourist season in St Petersburg.

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The Peter and Paul Fortress was founded by Peter the Great in 1703 on Zayachy Island and rebuilt in stone from 1706 to 1740. The purpose of the fortress was to protect the projected new capital from feared Swedish attacks, but it never fulfilled its martial purpose. In tsarist times the fortress served as a base for the city garrison and as a prison for high-ranking or political prisoners. Some years after the October revolution, the fort was converted to a museum. Nowadays the fortress is a part of the State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg. On the territory of the fortress there is the Peter and Paul Cathedral (1712–1733) that serves as the burial place of all Russian tsars from Peter I to Alexander III ( except of Peter II and Ivan VI). Other notable buildings of the fortress are the functioning Saint Petersburg Mint, the Trubetskoy Bastion prison cells, and the city museum.

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On May 27 1703 Peter the Great laid the foundation stone of the Peter and Paul fortress. This day is considered to be the city foundation day which is celebrated annually by the citizens of St Petersburg on a grand scale. Many festivities are organized on this day in the city center including a parade, historical displays, games, public concerts. On May 27 Nevsky Prospect is usually closed to traffic and citizens take to the street en masse towards Palace square where major festivities take place. In the evening, crowds of people head towards embankments from where they can enjoy the fireworks that usually start by 11:00 p.m.

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Souvenirs & Insider Tips

A good souvenir to bring with is porcelain made at the Lomonosov Imperial Porcelain Factory which is based in St Petersburg. The factory was established in 1744 and initially produced porcelain wares exclusively for the Romanov family and the Russian Imperial court. Nowadays the factory produces different items from figurines to full tea sets, which everybody can buy. Especially popular are tea sets with cobalt-colored nets.

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Destination map

  • over 40 palaces
  • over 200 museums
  • over 300 bridges

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