St Petersburg Travel
St. Petersburg in Russia has always been the window to the West. It used to be an uninviting swamp, but it evolved into an extraordinary city where old Russian divinities nicely blend with the enterprising present.
St. Petersburg was founded by Peter the Great. The place was the showpiece of Russian culture and nobility and it was the home of the Czars. Peter the Great had lovely visions for the city, which are all now reflected in every corner of the city.
St. Petersburg is by far the nation’s most cosmopolitan city, with its canals, bustling squares, and expansive boulevards with their own stories to tell. For beginners, the canals showcase the natural splendor of the River Neva, affording people lovely, boat-trip views of the city.
A glaring icon of pre-revolution Russia, Peterhof displays aristocracy in every corner of its five palaces and in 176 fountains and green spaces. No less impressive is the Peter and Paul Fortress. It is an enormous castle with 6 bastions, narrating the city’s 300-year history and culture in its every crook.
St. Petersburg is also home to religious masterpieces. The regal St. Isaac’s Cathedral boasts of its gold-plated dome, while the Church of the Savior of the Spilled Blood was constructed upon images of a bloodstained history. Meanwhile, distinguished Russian composers, including its literary son Dostoevsky, are laid to rest in the Alexander Nevsky Monastery.
The Russian czars and Peter the Great also acquired astonishing art collections, many of which are featured permanently at the State Hermitage Museum, founded in 1764. St. Petersburg also has a vibrant nightlife, with excellent opera and ballet performances as well as excellent bars and clubs.
While St. Petersburg largely maintains its Russian flavor and color, visitors will be surprised at the friendly English signs that pepper the streets. There is very little reason not to go out and appreciate the city’s restored glory.
If you want to get to see all of the city’s attractions and also get to know some facts about them, it’s best to go on a city tour. You will be sure to visit major city attractions and know the history behind them. Guides will give you interesting facts about these attractions that will leave you at awe at these city wonders.
In the city of St. Petersburg where it receives a great number of tourists per year, various companies that offer tours have come out. You will find a lot of these offer different types of tours, from standard ones to thematic tours, and from 3-hour tours to 3 or 4-day tours.
Whatever tour you may choose no doubt it will give let you see St. Petersburg in a different way. You’ll surely get to appreciate the city more as you get to know the city more.
Standard City tours
Standard city tours will take you a day at most. Some though may take just a couple of hours to 3 hours. The attractions that you surely will be taken to are the places that the city is most famous for, like the General Perspective, or what is known now as the Nevsky Prospect. This is a central road in St. Petersburg where you can see great marble palaces of the Russian royalty. You will also see boutiques and salons that are arranged in an old 18th-century setting, various arcades and trade shows, and also Renaissance cathedrals. You will also see the great structures just along the edge of the Neva River. These are the State Hermitage Museum, St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Admiralty. Other attractions part of a standard city tour is the Palace Square, which is the 3rd largest square in the world; the Fine Arts Square; Church of Resurrection on the Spilt Blood, a church that stands on the spot of Alexander III’s assassination; St. Peter and Paul Fortress, the oldest building in the city; the Bronze Horseman; and the Field of Mars, where an eternal flame is kept burning for the war victims and revolutionaries.
There are also thematic tours available in the city. If you want to explore a specific theme in St. Petersburg’s history and architecture, you may very well do so. There are various tours that cater to a specific theme such as the Museum tours, Russian Art tours, and other tours that focus on the city’s monuments or palace architecture.
Planning for a trip to one of Russia’s most important cities? Then here are some facts that may help you enjoy St. Petersburg more:
Often called the City of Tsars, St. Petersburg is also among the country’s most inhabited cities with 4.6 million people. It is located in the northernmost part of Russia. Many tourists and locals alike brand the city as the most “western” city in the country being the cultural hub of modern-day Russia.
Most business establishments in the city open at 9 am then closes at 6 pm. There are several stores though that take their break from 1 pm through 2 pm. Take note that there are a number of stores in the city that close on Sundays, so it would be wise to do your shopping or visits on weekdays or Saturdays. Most restaurants and museums are open even on Sundays making them your best bet for weekend itinerary.
The time zone in St. Petersburg is the same as in Moscow which is 3 hours ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time from the months of October to March, however, during daylight saving time, it is 4 hours ahead. St. Petersburg time is therefore ahead by 3 hours in London, 8 hours in New York, and 11 hours in San Francisco. Compared to North America and Europe, Russia switches its daylight saving time a week earlier; it also reverts to the standard time a week ahead as well.
For emergencies, the numbers to dial are 01 for fire, 02 for police, 03 for an ambulance, and 065 for legal advice.
These tidbits of information, little they may be, can already come handy when already in St. Petersburg. It will prove to be very helpful while you make your plans in the city, or even on emergencies.