The Northern Venice

The Northern Venice, the Northern Palmira ? both these nicknames belong to the second biggest city in Russia and its former capital ? Saint Petersburg. The city is also called the Northern capital of Russia and it's still very important cultural, scientific and art center of the country. Saint Petersburg was founded on the marshes on the shore of the Gulf of Finland in 1703 by the tsar Peter the Great. At first he built Peter and Paul fortress as a defense against Russia's main rival of the time ? Sweden. Then Peter decided to transfer capital to Saint-Petersburg from Moscow.

Many beautiful palaces and the mansions of the nobility were built. Lots of them still can be seen and admired.Its nickname "the Northern Venice" city received due to the big amount of canals.

Peter the Great created a wide canal net on the Vasilievskii Island, but later almost all them were filled up because of the sanitary precautions. However a lot of rivers, canals and other water arteries cross the city, creating not only convenient transport ways but also perfect places for water walking ? Moika, Fontanka, Griboedov canal are always full of walking boats, small cutters. Neva River connecting Ladoga lake and the gulf of Finland, is one of the major rivers in the country, although it's not long ? only 74 kilometers. From May to October motor ships cruise to Valaam in Lagoda lake and to more distant parts of Russia. A period from May to October is the best time to visit Saint Petersburg ? it's warm then and moreover, it's the period of the so-called "white nights" when sun shines almost till midnight. The brightest opportunity to watch this natural phenomenon is given in June.

It's also a chance to witness a prestigious festival of arts called (guess how?) ? "White nights".To continue a topic of art and culture we can't avoid mentioning Mariinskii theatre ? a symbol of Russian ballet and opera. One of the world greatest art museums ? Hermitage is located in the very centre of Saint Petersburg ? on the Palace Square. It's housed in the Winter Palace ? the former residence of the Russian Tsars and the place from where the revolution of 1917 began. This museum boasts the incomparable collections of the art masterpieces of the past and present.

City government is trying to safe the authentic image of the centre of the city ? there are no tall towers, modern office building. If there were no advertisement and bright neon lights of the clubs and restaurants you could have think that you somewhere in the XIX century.During the last year the cit got acquainted with the problem Russia didn't suffer till now ? traffic jams. The main street ? Nevskii prospect stands almost motionless.

One more trend ? last years in Saint Petersburg many boutiques and designer's shops appeared. People have become wealthier and western companies didn't fail to react. The amount of the western tourists has also increased and very significantly.Saint Petersburg is considered to be the most European city in Russia. Anyway, it's unique ? so, the summer is close, reserve your tour to this city now!.

.For booking a hotel, please, go to Saint Petersburg hotels page.

By: Elena Reboni

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