St. Petersburg Major Sights

Listed among UNESCO world heritage sites, St. Petersburg has an extraordinary architectural, religious, cultural and literary heritage, which makes it one of the most attractive cities in the world. Its attractions can impress even the most discerning travellers.

The Cathedral of the Resurrection (St. Saviour on the Spilled Blood) with its beautiful colourful domes is ranked number 1 on the list of St. Petersburg attractions. This magnificent church is clearly visible from the Nevsky prospect. It was built by Tsar Alexander III beside the Griboedov Channel on the spot of assassination of his father, Tsar Alexander II the Liberator. The Tsar’s carriage was blown up on March 1, 1881 by a bomb thrown at by members of a revolutionary group calling themselves “People’s will”. The evil irony consists in the fact that this terrorist group assassinated the very Tsar who 20 years earlier had issued the famous Emancipation Manifesto liberating Russian serfs, as a result of which Russian peasants became free of serfdom. It is built in the Old Russian style and strongly reminds of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. The church is richly decorated with beautiful mosaics both inside and outside. Services resumed here after the fall of the Soviet regime and are now held on a regular basis.

The Alexander Nevsky Lavra is a monastery located in the very centre of the city. In 2013 it celebrates the 300th anniversary since its foundation. The monastery, surrounded by stone walls and moats, is dominated by the Holy Trinity cathedral housing the holy relics of St. Prince Alexander Nevsky. The monastery is believed to have been built on the very spot where St. Alexander defeated Swedes in 1240 in the famous Neva battle. Saint Prince Alexander Nevsky is the Patron saint of St. Petersburg.

After the fall of the Soviet regime monastic life resumed in the Lavra and now regular services are celebrated in the cathedral. Several cemeteries are located within the Monastery grounds, with quite a few notable personalities: the genius scientist and poet M. Lomonosov, famous Russian generalissimo and army leader count A. Suvorov (one of the few generals in world history who never lost a single battle, having triumphantly won 63), great Russian writers and poets F. Dostoevsky, A. Goncharov, I. Krylov, V. Zhukovsky, great Russian composers P. Tschaikovsky, M. Glinka and M. Mussorgsky, Russian architects and sculptors V. Stasov, K. Rossi, P. Clodt and A. Kuindgy, politicians of former and modern times, members of the most prominent Russian noble families.

Among other attractions should be mentioned the Admiralty (its “golden needle” topped with a ship is the city’s emblem), the “Bronze Horseman” (famous monument to Peter the Great, the founder of the city), St. Isaac’s Cathedral (the largest cathedral in Russia with fascinating interiors and a splendid view over the city from the open gallery under the dome), the Twelve Colleges (the University), the traffic-free Palace Square, the magnificent Kazan Cathedral in Nevsky prospect, St. Nikolas Cathedral, Smolny Convent and Institute, Rostral Columns on the Spit (Strelka) of St. Basil Island, Mikhailocsky Castle (where Emperor Paul I was assassinated), the Summer Gardens, on the left bank of the Neva opposite Ss. Peter and Paul Fortress.

Enjoy refreshing walks in the city parks and along the embankments, boat trips on the Neva, Fontanka and Moyka rivers, visits to world-famous museums, theatres and concert halls, intense cultural life with numerous musical and drama festivals around the year, the diversity of high-quality cuisine in city restaurants.

Many exploring options are provided by the Gulf of Finland, with its sandy beaches, shore tours, naval activities, seaboat trips and visits to distant picturesque islands.

Some places in the surrounding of St. Petersburg are no less spectacular, with their neat mansions, fascinating palaces, opulent and elegant interiors, art collections, wonderfully preserved parks and gardens laid out in various styles. Don’t miss visits to the former Imperial summer residences in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin) and Pavlovsk, Lomonosov (Oranienbaum) and, of course, to Peterhof (Petrodvorets) with its majestic fountains operating without pumps! These places are easily accessible by rail, buses or taxi. Petrodvorets (Peterhof) can also be reached by boat (especially recommended in summer). Hydrofoils for Petrodvorets depart from the piers at the Senate (Decembrists’) Square and opposite the Hermitage museum. The trip lasts about 30 minutes.

Anyway in case you are going to visit Saint-Petersburg you should learn russian. Specialized courses ” Russian in Russia ” providing by educational centre Vera will help you to learn russian in the shortest possible time.