St.Petersburg Visitors Guide
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St. Petersburg Russia Must See

The best tourist attractions, places to see, must-do tips for those who are planning a visit to St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg Must See Sights
The best tourist attractions, places to see, must-do tips for those who are planning a visit to St. Petersburg

The White Nights

The White Nights in St. Petersburg
The White Nights in St. Petersburg is the most romantic period in the life of the Northern Palmyra. Needless to say how beautiful it is when imposing palaces, cathedrals and drawn bridges, reflected in the Neva, are floating against the background of the sky that never gets dark in June. Millions of guests come to the Northern capital at this time to walk along the embankments and to admire the bridges from a boat. Photographers cannot stop shooting as the most beautiful pictures can be taken in natural, twilight lighting. In St. Petersburg during this period many cultural events, festivals and celebrations take place. The most famous one is the Scarlet Sails, a celebration of graduates.

Geography gave St. Petersburg a magnificent climatic phenomenon, which almost immediately became a famous symbol of the city on the Neva, its romantically sensual and aesthetically spectacular 'business card'. The peak of white nights falls on the last three weeks of June, and the longest of them is between June 21 and 22, on the eve of the summer solstice. The night lasts for 5 hours and 12 minutes, and the angle of sunset is about 7°. The wider conditional range covers almost 2 months: from late May to mid July.

Fountains of Peterhof

The fountains of Peterhof are unique, diverse and very beautiful. Admire the water of the color of lapis lazuli pearls, because lapis lazuli is gilded stars that shine from the inside! Come to Peterhof, touch the 'dance of water droplets' and give yourself a few moments of magic captured in the photographs.

Among the fountains of Peterhof, four cascades stand out: the Grand Cascade, the Golden Mountain, the Lion and the Chess Cascades. All active Peterhof fountains in a second throw out more than 1 000 liters of water into the air.

The Drawbridges

Drawbridges in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is often called the Venice of the North. Bridges, islands, rivers and canals are an integral part of the city and its culture. If you decide to admire the drawbridges of St. Petersburg, decide in advance which island you then need to get to. Otherwise, you will have to wait till the next morning or for the in-between closing (part of the bridges are closed for a short period so that people and cars can get to the correct side).

The Nevsky Prospect

Nevsky Prospect
The Nevsky Prospect is certainly the most important and historical artery of the city. Literally every building on the Nevsky has its own legend; there are even separate guide-books about this street only. Nevsky is continually mentioned on the pages by the great Russian classics, and they would definitely be glad to know that the present appearance of the great avenue is not desecrated by almost any modern building. Independent travelers who first arrived in St. Petersburg should definitely start exploring the city from here: from Nevsky one way or another you can go to many of the most famous city attractions.

The Bronze Horseman

The Bronze Horseman in St. Petersburg
The Bronze Horseman on the Senatskaya Square is not the only monument to Peter I in St. Petersburg, but, undoubtedly, the most famous symbol of the Northern capital. Picturesque views of the Neva and St. Isaac's Cathedral open from this spot. It is a truly St. Petersburg place that every visitor to the city should see.

The Alexander Column

Palace square in St. Petersburg
The name of the Alexander Column, on the one hand, is associated with Emperor Alexander I, who defeated Napoleon, and on the other, with the Pharos (Alexandria) lighthouse, which is one of the seven wonders of the world, personifying the ultimate level of human achievements. The Alexander column was meant to surpass all the existing columns in the world. Indeed, to this day, the Alexander Column is the tallest column in the world which is made of solid stone. And to raise this grandiose monolith to the pedestal, the architects of St. Petersburg created a special lifting system.

At the top of the monument, there is a work by B. Orlovsky, an angel to the face of which the sculptor gave the features of Alexander I. The angel trampling a snake at the top of the column symbolizes the peace and tranquility that Russia brought to Europe after defeating Napoleon. The bas-reliefs on the pedestal of the Alexander Column in an allegorical way represent the glory of Russian weapons and symbolize the courage of the Russian army; they depict Victory and Glory, recording the dates of memorable battles, Peace and Justice, Wisdom and Prosperity.

The Amber Room

The Amber room, Tsarskoe Selo
The Amber Room is one of the most popular sights of the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoe Selo. It is beautifully decorated with amber panels that cover an area of about 100 square meters. The Amber Room in Pushkin is a magnificent work of world art with a bright and interesting fate. The amber room adorned the palace for almost two centuries, but during the Second World War, it disappeared without a trace.

Professional craftsmen worked on its creation — architects and sculptors, painters and stone- cutters, and later, restorers, who were scrupulously recreating the lost masterpiece. Now its copy has been recreated in the Catherine Palace, and if the original Amber Room was called the eighth wonder of the world, this can be considered the ninth.

The Atlantes on the Millionnaya Street

Atlants on Millionnaya street
Atlant is one of the symbols of the northern capital of Russia. Ten figures of mythological giants adorn the portico of the New Hermitage building from the side of the Millionnaya Street. According to the ancient Greek mythology, the Atlantes are titans, whom Zeus called to support the heavy vault of heaven. These mighty giants support a massive balcony of the New Hermitage.

Atlantes have overgrown with legends and have become part of St. Petersburg folklore. So, according to a well-known tradition here, the bride and the groom should touch the Atlantes' toes to be happy in the marriage and for their children to be beautiful. The Atlantes also help those who have personal problems, they should come and touch their toe alone then.

Peter & Paul Fortress

Peter & Paul fortress
'The heart of Saint Petersburg' for its citizens is not the artistic image of the Peter and Paul Fortress but its essence. Just like beating of a human heart, the everyday canon shot at 12 pm given from the Naryshkin Bastion says that everything is fine, everything is going as it should. 'Petropavlovka', that is the way locals call affectionately the Peter and Paul Fortress, the oldest architectural monument of the city. The date of its construction is considered the foundation date of the Northern capital. With it begins the history of the city.

For visitors, the Peter and Paul Fortress was first opened at the beginning of the 19th century, during the reign of Emperor Alexander I. Gradually, the fortress also became a memorial museum. Now on the territory of the Peter and Paul Fortress there is the Museum of the City's History, one of the largest historical museums in Russia. On the territory of the Peter and Paul Fortress, in the Ivanov ravelin, there is the Museum of Cosmonautics and Rocket Technology.

The Spit of Vasilyevsky Island

The Spit of Vasilyevsky Island
The Spit of Vasilyevsky Island is one of the oldest sights of St. Petersburg that was founded back in the days of Peter I as a business, educational and governmental center of the city.

According to the project of an Italian designer, D. Trezzini, in 1716 palaces for noble families, the Gostiny Dvor and the Kunstkammer were created here. In the 1830s, there was a port founded on the Spit, and the palaces were occupied by a stock exchange, customs and warehouses. 100 years later, the stock exchange was rebuilt by the French architect J.F. Thoma de Thomon. The Kunstkammer, or the Chamber of Curiosities, is still open today.

The view on the spit is a favorite plot for postcards and photo shoots. In the center it is decorated with a colonnade building, on the sides there are former warehouses, where the Zoological Museum and the Museum of Soil Science are now located. The rostral columns serving as a reminder of the naval victories of the Russian Empire give zest to this place.

The Spit is located at the intersection of two channels of the Neva and is exposed to the wind, it is cool and windy there in any weather.

On the Birzhevaya there is a square, in the center of which lies the anchor of the Petrine era, and a little further there is a memorial sign commemorating the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg. Along the perimeter of the embankment trees with crowns in the shape of a ball are planted. The Spit offers a magnificent view of the Neva, the Palace Embankment and the Hermitage being the most convenient spot to watch the festive fireworks from.
You can find more interesting places in MOST Petersburg visitors guide
Things to do & Activities, Restaurants, Excursions and everything you need to make your vacation unforgettable
Visitors guide