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Details About St. Petersburg, Russia That You Must Know In Order To Blend In

People who’ve been to St. Petersburg can think of a hundred reasons to keep coming back to the Russian city, but for those who haven’t gone to the city yet, this is your chance to experience its magnificence and beauty in your own eyes. But hold up! Before you pack your bags and head to St. Petersburg, a little research about the city would be a great way to kick off your planned visit.

City Profile

St. Petersburg is located on the northwestern side of the country. It is both a city and a federal subject of the country. The city’s location on the River of Neva and at the Gulf of Finland’s head makes it an important Russian port in the Baltic Sea.

Before bearing the name “St. Petersburg”, the city was called Petrograd in 1914 and was changed to Leningrad in 1924; it was just in 1991 when the city carried its current name.

Over 4milion people live in St. Petersburg’s 1,439 square kilometer area, making it among the country’s large cities (only second to Moscow).

Government

As a federal subject of the country, St. Petersburg’s political life is regulated by its city charter which was adopted by its legislature in 1998. Its superior executive body is led by the governor who, according to the passed federal law in 2004, is to be nominated by the president of the country.

Currently, the city is divided into 18 districts.

Get further information about St. Petersburg, including details on its business hours, time zone, and emergency numbers in the St Petersburg City Guide page.

History

Although only 300 years old, St. Petersburg’s history has already largely contributed to the culture and lifestyle of Russia. Founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great, the city became the country’s capital in 1713 to 1728; and from 1732 until 1918 when the bodies of the central government moved to Moscow.

St. Petersburg was named after Peter the Great’s patron saint, Saint Peter the Apostle. It was built under adverse geographical conditions by thousands of men (mostly peasants and prisoners of Russia) brought to the Neva river.

The first structure to be erected in the city was the Peter and Paul Fortress. Originally, the building bore the Sankt Pieterburg name. What used to be a marshland was then drained stretching the territories of the city.  Under the supervision of Dutch and German engineers, Peter invited to Russia, St. Petersburg’s unique setting started to flourish.

From Peter the Great, the city has then prospered under the rule of two of the most powerful women in the history of Russia, Empress Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter and Empress Catherine the Great, the wife of Peter III. It was during the rulership of Empress Elizabeth that the Summer and Winter Palaces were completed, the first then became the residence of Empress Catherine.

Despite the revolutions and battles that took place in St. Petersburg, the city still remained intact and strong. In fact, these events have only made the city more interesting to visit.

People

St Petersburg is only next to Moscow as the largest city in Russia. The city has over 4 million people making up 3.39% of the country’s total population. In the 2002 census, St Petersburg was recorded to have 22 ethnic groups each comprising over 2000 persons. 84.7% of these ethnic groups are Russians, followed by 1.8% of Ukrainians, 1.1% of Belarusians, and a minority of Jewish, Tatar, Armenian, Georgian, and Chuvash among others. Most of the people in the city live in apartments since the early 1900s after the Soviets forced its residents to share apartments that are communal.

There are a number of famous people and personalities, then and now, who were born in St Petersburg.

In the field of entertainment there are actors Anton Yelchin, George SandersKonstantin KhabenskiyTom Conway, and Vladimir Putin. Actresses Margarita LevievaNatalya RudakovaKseniya Rappoport, and Anya Kop were also born from the city.

In sports, European champion basketball player, Svetlana Abrosimova; Arsenal FC player, Andrei Arshavin, chess master Alexander Khalifman, and tennis player Svetlana Kuznetsova are also all from the city.

Since Russia is also recognized around the globe for its advancement in the field of science and technology, it is not a surprise to have brilliant brains in the field coming from St Petersburg. Among them are cosmonauts, Georgi Grechko and Sergei Krikalyov, chemist Alexander Borodin, and Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky who is among the founders of geochemistry.

These are to only name a few of the people who are proud to be from St Petersburg.

Weather

Weather is one primary factor to consider when traveling to St. Petersburg. Although the city’s climate seems to get some pretty bad press, those who’ve been to the city would attest that this only adds to St. Petersburg’s character. Nonetheless, it would not hurt to come prepared for the weather.

Fortunately, tourists can bank on that being a maritime city, St. Petersburg weather does not get extremely cold – at least in the standards of the Russians. Its temperatures rarely drop below 10 degrees Celsius even during winter; its summers rarely go higher than 30 degrees Celsius making it perfect for a wide range of outdoor activities. What most visitors and residents in St. Petersburg struggle on though is its high humidity that is quite hard to bear sometimes. Thus, it is suggested to bring clothing that is waterproof.

Whatever the season, umbrellas, jackets and/or windproof raincoat can come handy while exploring the city. St. Petersburg attractions may require a lot of walking which makes it important to choose your footwear wisely. Warm boots with a sole that’s non-slip, comfortable sandals, and waterproof shoes are wise options. Winters get very cold outside (although hotels are reasonably heated) that is why it is suggested to dress in layers. During summer, tourists can wear shorts and other cool and comfortable clothes. However, wearing shorts may hamper you from entering the churches in the city.

Overall, the weather in St. Petersburg is bearable regardless of the high humidity. And again, this just adds to the character of the city.

Expatriate

The economical stability, more than the landmarks and sights, has attracted many people to live as an expatriate in St Petersburg. Being the second-largest city in Russia, the City of Tsars promises a lot of growth and experience as far as being an ex-pat is a concern. However, before you move to the city, it is but essential to plan first how you are going to settle in St Petersburg.

For one, it is important to make research on the various properties available in the city. The real estate in St Petersburg may be expensive, but they will surely prove to be worth every cent you spend. Aside from the place to live in, finding the life and lifestyle in this Russian city would also be a wise thing to do. Living in St Petersburg may need some adjustments but you will surely find your way around the city.

As an expatriate, it will also be wise to make research and further readings before moving to St Petersburg. It may be a beautiful and fantastic city, but anyone who does not have enough information about it may have a hard time adjusting.

Finally, you may also want to get yourself a job in the city. As a Russian city, the cost of living in St Petersburg is expectedly high. Unless you already have enough money to spend in the city, a job would surely help you ‘survive’ in St Petersburg.

Living as an expatriate in St Petersburg is not easy that is why you would really need some planning before moving.

Real Estate

The St. Petersburg, Russia real estate market is currently attractive with prices still far below those of Moscow and other major Eastern European cities. The Saint Petersburg city center is experiencing a true renaissance.

However, purchasing a property in St Petersburg or in Russia in general still comes with a number of risks – specifically problems associated with property ownership rights, privatization of state property and a cumbersome social protection system covering original occupants of city property.

City Realty has the specialists and knowledge base to assist you in successfully navigating the St Petersburg property market while at the same time reducing or eliminating these and other risks. They can assist in the selection of a property that is right for you – whether it is one of the larger apartments in the Saint Petersburg city center or a smaller apartment in one of the quieter sections of town. They can also assist you with property selection, purchase, purchaser’s rights protection, remodeling, receiving all the necessary permissions from the city authorities to renovate and property management and upkeep after the purchase. To learn more, please contact the following numbers:

City Realty
Muchnoi Per 2
St. Petersburg
Russia 191123
Tel:  +7 812 570 6342
Fax: +7 812 315 9151

Moscow office
Tel:  +7 495 662 8753

Emails:
Short term rentals
apartments@cityrealtyrussia.com

Long term rentals
rent@travexpress.net
Minihotels / Bed & Breakfasts
hotel@cityrealtyrussia.com

Real Estate Brokerage
prop@cityrealtyrussia.com

Living

Saint Petersburg is perhaps not the first choice of destination to live in by many, but it is a great alternative for those who want to live in European countries. However, there are only a few people who know what it’s like to live in a soviet country.

Saint Petersburg is often described as the most Western city in Russia. Among cities of the world with over one million people, Saint Petersburg is the northernmost. The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is also home to The Hermitage, the largest art museum in the world. A large number of foreign consulates, international corporations, banks, and other businesses are located in Saint Petersburg.

Transportation

Saint Petersburg is a major transport hub. It has an extensive system of local roads and railway services, maintains a large public transport system that includes the Saint Petersburg tram and the Saint Petersburg Metro, and is home to a number of riverine services that convey passengers around the city efficiently and in relative comfort.

Climate

The average daily temperature is 22 °C (72 °F); while the maximum is 37 °C (99 °F). The winter minimum is about −35 °C (−31 °F); a minimum at −35.9 °C (−33 °F). The average annual temperature is +5.4 °C (42 °F). The River Neva within the city limits usually freezes up in November–December and break-up occur in April. From December to March there are 123 days average with snow cover, which reaches the average of 24 cm (9 in) by February.

Cityscape

Saint Petersburg has no skyscrapers and a relatively low skyline. Current regulations forbid the construction of high buildings in the city center. The 310-meter (1,020 ft) tall Saint Petersburg TV Tower is the tallest structure in the city, while the 122.5 m (401.90 ft) Peter and Paul Cathedral is by far the highest building.

Moving

If by any chance you happen to fall in love with St. Petersburg or you just want to start a new life in a new city and decide to move permanently, there are few important things to be considered first.

Understandably, moving to a new city, especially to a relatively foreign to you won’t be a walk in the park. Possessions of things such as real estate, job, or even the validity of your visa regarding your stay in the country should be taken into careful considerations.

Renting a place to stay

Obviously, the first one you need to consider is an apartment or a house to live in. Now, this depends on your needs. If you’re running a business in the city, it is better to rent a house nearer to your business, so you could keep an eye for it 24/7.

But regardless of the reason as to why you choose that certain apartment/house to live in, it is always best to be in a neighborhood you’re comfortable in.

Job

Of course, how will you be able to live and sustain your basic needs without a source of income? A fairly stable job is essential to keep you alive in the city, though it may come sooner or later, the point is you need at least an ample income for your everyday survival.

These and other factors will help you moving to Saint Petersburg with ease.

Studying

For those who are thinking about studying in St Petersburg, it would be a delight to know that the city boasts of many institutions offering quality education. As of 2007, there have already been 1024 kindergartens, 716 public schools, and 80 vocational schools recorded in the City of Tsars.

With about 32,000 undergraduate students, Saint Petersburg State University is one of the largest higher education institutions in the city. Joining it with the most number of enrollees are Herzen UniversitySaint Petersburg Military Engineering-Technical University, and the Saint Petersburg Polytechnic University.

With this number, you can be assured that St Petersburg offers you a wide range of choices as far as education is concerned. But before you get yourself enrolled, it would be helpful to consider several factors.

First, would be the university you are planning to enroll in. For ex-pats planning to study in the city, researching your prospective university would be very helpful. Find out about their course offerings as well as their ‘expertise’. There may be a lot of universities available in the city, but not all may cater to your field interest.

Another thing to consider when deciding to study in the Russian city is your accommodation. Make sure to pick a place close to the university you will enroll in or vice versa. Along with the accommodation would be accessibility. A university easily accessible would help make your stay in the city more convenient.

Language Schools

There are a lot of organizations that offer language school programs in Saint Petersburg because of the fast development of the city and the increasing number of tourists who are interested in learning the city’s language and culture. Language Studio (00 7 (812) 336-36-31) for one offers language programs especially to tourists who would want to communicate effectively for travel, business, and daily encounters when visiting Saint Petersburg. They teach the language preferred by the participants which they can immediately use on a daily basis. They are currently located at 4, Petropavlovskaya Str.

Educacentre Language School (1, Komendantskaya sq. 1) is also one of the effective language schools in the city catering to hundreds of students from different countries like Germany, France, Great Britain, Brazil, and Italy. Like other language schools, Educacentre Language School also offers accommodations with their hotels and hostels that are complete in amenities. Travelers can also learn various languages in European School located at 9 Kavalergardskaya Street. They offer summer courses and they hold their classes on Mondays to Fridays.

Other private schools in Saint Petersburg include Liden and Denz (+7 (812) 334 07 88), ProBa Language Centre which was established in 1995 and is currently located at Zagorodny 17 St.Petersburg, School of Russian and Asian Studies (1-650-206-2209) which offers research, study and travels to Eurasia and Russia, and Department of Philology in the Saint Petersburg University located at Vassilevskiy Island.

Sandy

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