St. Petersburgs history
The city emerged on the lands that once belonged to Kievan Rus, on the major route of the Slavs, from Varangians to the Greeks?, which lay across the Gulf of Finland, along the Neva and Lake Ladoga, linking Norther and Southern territories of Russian and also the Baltic Lands and Scandinavia to Byzantium.
In 1700, a war broke out between Russia and Sweden for the age-old Russian lands, for an outlet to the Baltic. Known in history as the Northern War, it ended in 1721 with Russias victory.
On May 16 (May 27, New Style) of the year 1703, after the Russian troops had captured the Nienschantz Fortress, Peter the Great ordered the construction of the Peter and Paul Fortress on the Zayachi Ostrov (Hare Island). This date marks the beginning of the building of a trading port on the Baltic coast - St. Petersburg.
In 1712, Peter I moved the capital from Moscow, and it remained here until 1918. During these years the city grew rapidly. Founded much later than most Russian cities and spared the worst of Soviet reconstruction in the thirties, St. Petersburg has quite a different feel to other places in Russia. It has an architectural splendor, now somewhat dilapidated, all of its own. Summers are marked by never-ending daylight, while winter visitors should be prepared for very gloomy days.
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From the famous State Hermitage Museum, possessing one of the best art collection in the world, to Gramophone museum, the museums of St. Petersburg are among the most interesting ones in the world: icon painting and pop-art, statues by Rodin and objects by Phillip Stark, Egyptian mummy and glass man in the Hygiene museum... Hundreds of exhibitions, taking place at the same time, add even more diversity to the museum life of the city.
St. Petersburg has over 100 museums, there is entrance fee in most of them. Foreigner tourists are charged more than Russians. Most museums have student discount or free entrance for students.
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St. Petersburg theatres are a whole world by themselves. Mariinsky (ex-Kirov) Opera and Ballet theater is located here, as well as the Big Drama Theater (BDT), Maly Drama Theater Theatre of Europe... Except of regular performances, St. Petersburg yearly hosts such theater festivals as Golden Masque, Tanz-Festival and others.
The best Russian and world companies come here with the tours: Bolshoy, New York Ballet, Boris Eifman Ballet, and many others. A lot of experimental theatres are performing in the city, plenty of directors work with modern drama and fiction, contemporary staging and dance. There are more than 70 different theaters.
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Palaces and suburbs
Despite of all glamour and magnificence of St. Petersburg, the Emperors family loved the quietness and solitude of suburban life. The best architects, who constructed the most beautiful buildings of the city Francesco Rastrelli, Domeniko Tresini and others were invited to develop the suburban parks and palaces.
Peterhof (also called Petrodvorets), situated right on the Finnish Gulf, is famous for its gorgeous fountains. The park in Pushkin is regular, with austere alleys and lakes, everything is severe and regularly cut here, everything is breathing with the air of 18th century. The park in Pavlovsk is of an English type, and sometimes it looks just like forest, in winter it is the best place for skiing, sledding and skating.
Tourist Information, Maps & Useful Links
City tourist information center. Phone: +7 (812) 310-2231. Address: 14/52, Sadovaya st. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
City tourist information center. Phone: +7 (812) 710-5199. Address: 12, Dvortsovaya Nab.
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