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St. Petersburg City Guide

On May 27, 1703, after Russian troops had seized the strategically important Nienschantz Fortress on Zayachy Island (in the broadest part of the Neva estuary) Peter the Great ordered to build the Peter and Paul Fortress there. This day now is celebrated as the birthday of St. Petersburg. During the very first years palaces and mansions appeared along the Neva, vast squares and parks were laid out, and monuments rose. Following the will of one man and labor hundreds of thousands of people worked day and night to create the city that is now called the northern Palmyra and the Venus of the North. 

In 1712 Peter the Great transferred the capital of the Russian state from Moscow to St. Petersburg, and after that the city became the country's main industrial and political center. And for a little bit more than 200 years, St. Petersburg has remained the capital of Russian Empire. 

St. Petersburg is a city of architectural ensembles. It represents all the main styles of Russian and world building.  The Palace Square, the Square of Arts, the Isaac's Square, the great number of magnificent palaces along the quiet canals and the vast Neva make unique combination of nature and creative inspiration of architects.

The city is young, it is not even 300 year old yet, but its history is overwhelming. Every building here has witnessed many historical events. People, famous all over whole world, lived and worked in this city. Dozens of museums contain masterpieces of the world and Russian culture.

Today St. Petersburg is a large industrial, transport, scientific and cultural center of Russia, with population of about 5 million people. It covers 620 square km on the 42 islands, formed in the Neva estuary and it has already come to the coast of the Gulf of Finland.

The Hermitage is one of the world's greatest and largest museums which contains large number of pieces of Russian and foreign art.

The Russian Museum has a great collection of icons, ancient Russian applied arts and paintings of 18 - 20th centuries.

Not far from the city there is the Tzars' Village. Three parks there make up the endless chain of palaces, bridges, paths, sculptures and pavilions of the Tzars' Village. This landscape is crowned by the immortal creation of Rastrelli - the Catherine Palace. If you come to the Pushkin parks with a handful of nuts, you will enjoy meeting the fearless squirrels who will eat from your hands.

Petrodvorets - the former summer residence of the Russian tsars, is certainly one of the most beautiful and famous architectural and park ensemble of the 17th century. It is situated on the coast of the Gulf of Finland. There are 147 fountains and 6 palaces which were reconstructed after the World War II.

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