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Saint Petersburg (English)
Санкт-Петербург (Russian)
-  Federal city  -
Saint Petersburg montage.jpg
Top: The Bronze Horseman, Cruiser Aurora,
Cathedral of our lady of Kazan
Upper middle: Palace Square with
the Alexander Column
Lower middle: The Palace Embankment with
Saint Isaac's Cathedral, Petergof
Bottom: Peter and Paul Fortress with Trinity Bridge.
Map of St. Petersburg.png
Coordinates: 59°57′N 30°19′E / 59.95°N 30.317°E / 59.95; 30.317Coordinates: 59°57′N 30°19′E / 59.95°N 30.317°E / 59.95; 30.317
Coat of Arms of Saint Petersburg (2003).png
Coat of arms
Flag of Saint Petersburg Russia.svg
Federal city Day May 27[1]
Political status
Country Russia
Political status Federal city
Federal district Northwestern[2]
Economic region Northwestern[3]
Official language Russian[4]
Population (2002 Census)[5] 4,661,219 inhabitants
- Rank within Russia 4th
- Urban[5] 100%
- Rural[5] 0%
- Density 3,239 /km2 (8,400/sq mi)[6]
Population (2007) 4,568,000 inhabitants[7]
Area [8] 1,439 km2 (555.6 sq mi)
- Rank within Russia N/A
Established May 27, 1703[9]
License plates 78, 98
ISO 3166-2:RU RU-SPE
Time zone MSK/MSD (UTC+3/+4)
Government (as of May 2009)
Governor[citation needed] Valentina Matviyenko[citation needed]
Legislature Legislative Assembly[citation needed]
Official website

Saint Petersburg (Russian: About this sound Санкт-Петербург , tr. Sankt-Peterburg, pronounced [sankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk]) is a city and a federal subject (a federal city) of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. The city's other names were Petrograd (Russian: Петроград, IPA [pʲɪtrɐˈgrat], 1914–1924) and Leningrad (Russian: Ленинград, IPA [lʲɪnʲɪnˈgrat], 1924–1991). It is often called just Petersburg (Russian: Петербург) and is informally known as Piter (Russian: Питер [ˈpitʲɪr]).

Founded by Tsar Peter I of Russia on May 27, 1703, it was the capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years (1713–1728, 1732–1918). Saint Petersburg ceased being the capital in 1918 after the Russian Revolution of 1917.[10] It is Russia's second largest city after Moscow with 4.6 million inhabitants, and fourth in Europe after Istanbul, London and Moscow. Saint Petersburg is a major European cultural centre, and an important Russian port on the Baltic Sea.

Saint Petersburg is often described as the most Western city of Russia.[11] Among cities of the world with over one million people, Saint Petersburg is the northernmost. The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is also home to The Hermitage, the largest art museum in the world.[12] Russia's political and cultural centre for 200 years, the city is sometimes referred to in Russia as the Northern Capital. Over its history it has also been referenced as "the Venice of the north" and the "northern Palmira". A large number of foreign consulates, international corporations, banks and other businesses are located in Saint Petersburg.



On 1 May 1703 (Julian calendar), during the Great Northern War, Peter the Great captured the Swedish fortress of Nyenskans on the Neva river in Ingria. A few weeks later, on 27 May 1703 (May 16, Old Style), lower on the river, on Zayachy (Hare) Island, three miles (5 km) inland from the gulf, he laid down the Peter and Paul Fortress, which became the first brick and stone building of the new city. He named the city after his patron saint, Saint Peter, the apostle. The original name was meant to sound Dutch as a result of Peter's appreciation of Dutch culture.[13]

The city was built by conscripted serfs from all over Russia and also by Swedish prisoners of war[14] under the supervision of Alexander Menshikov and later became the centre of Saint Petersburg Governorate. Peter moved the capital from Moscow to Saint Petersburg in 1712, before the Treaty of Nystad of 1721 ended the war.

The Bronze Horseman, monument to Peter the Great.
Palace Square, as the main square of the Russian Empire it was the setting of many events of great historical significance
Lenin statue outside the Finland station. Between 1924 and 1991 the city was known as Leningrad.
Map of Saint Petersburg, 1903.
Obelisk "Hero City Leningrad"

During the first few years of its existence the city grew spontaneously around Trinity Square on the right bank of the Neva, near the Peter and Paul Fortress. However, Saint Petersburg soon started to develop according to a plan. By 1716 Domenico Trezzini had elaborated a project whereby the city centre would be located on Vasilievsky Island and shaped by a rectangular grid of canals. The project was not completed, but is still evident in the layout of the streets. In 1716 Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond was appointed chief architect of Saint Petersburg by Peter the Great.

The style of Petrine Baroque, developed by Trezzini and other architects and exemplified by such buildings as the Menshikov Palace, Kunstkamera, Peter and Paul Cathedral, Twelve Collegia, became prominent in the city architecture of the early 18th century. In 1724 the Academy of Sciences, University and Academic Gymnasium were established in Saint Petersburg by Peter the Great.

However, in 1725 Peter died. His near-lifelong autocratic push for modernisation of Russia had met with considerable opposition from the old-fashioned Russian nobility — resulting in several attempts on his life and a treason case involving his own son.[15] Thus, in 1728, Peter II of Russia moved his seat back to Moscow. But four years later, in 1732, under Empress Anna of Russia, Saint Petersburg again became the capital of the Russian Empire and remained the seat of the government for 186 years.

In 1736-1737 the city suffered from catastrophic fires. In order to rebuild the damaged boroughs, in 1737 a new plan was commissioned by a committee under Burkhard Christoph von Munnich. The city was divided into five boroughs, and the city centre was moved to the Admiralty borough, situated on the east bank between the Neva and Fontanka.

It developed along three radial streets, which meet at the Admiralty and are now known as Nevsky Prospekt (which is now perceived as the main street of the city), Gorokhovaya Street and Voznesensky Prospekt. The style of Baroque dominated the city architecture during the first sixty years, culminating in the Elizabethan Baroque, represented most notably by Bartolomeo Rastrelli with such buildings as the Winter Palace. In the 1760s the Baroque architecture was succeeded by the neoclassical architecture.

The Commission of Stone Buildings of Moscow and Saint Petersburg established in 1762 ruled that no structure in the city be higher than the Winter Palace and prohibited spacing between buildings. During the reign of Catherine the Great in the 1760s-1780s the banks of the Neva were lined with granite embankments.

However, it wasn't until 1850 that it was allowed to open the first permanent bridge across the Neva, Blagoveshchensky Bridge. Before that, only pontoon bridges were allowed. Obvodny Canal (dug in 1769-1833) became the southern limit of the city.

Some of the most important neoclassical architects in Saint Petersburg (including those working within the Empire style) were Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe (Imperial Academy of Arts, Small Hermitage, Gostiny Dvor, New Holland Arch, Catholic Church of St. Catherine), Antonio Rinaldi (Marble Palace), Yury Felten (Old Hermitage, Chesme Church), Giacomo Quarenghi (Academy of Sciences, Hermitage Theatre, Yusupov Palace), Andrey Voronikhin (Mining Institute, Kazan Cathedral), Andreyan Zakharov (Admiralty building), Jean-François Thomas de Thomon (Spit of Vasilievsky Island), Carlo Rossi (Yelagin Palace, Mikhailovsky Palace, Alexandrine Theatre, Senate and Synod Buildings, General Staff Building, design of many streets and squares), Vasily Stasov (Moscow Triumphal Gate, Trinity Cathedral), Auguste de Montferrand (Saint Isaac's Cathedral, Alexander Column). The victory over Napoleonic France in the Patriotic War of 1812 was commemorated with many monuments, including Alexander Column by Montferrand, erected in 1834, and Narva Triumphal Gate.

In 1825 the suppressed Decembrist revolt against Nicholas I of Russia took place on the Senate Square in the city, a day after he assumed the throne.

By the 1840s the neoclassical architecture had given place to various romanticist styles, which were dominant until the 1890s, represented by such architects as Andrei Stackenschneider (Mariinsky Palace, Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace, Nicholas Palace, New Michael Palace) and Konstantin Thon (Moskovsky Rail Terminal). The Church of the Savior on Blood designed in the Russian revival style commemorated the place where Alexander II of Russia was assassinated in 1881.

With the emancipation of the serfs undertaken by Alexander II in 1861 and the industrial revolution the influx of former peasants into the capital increased greatly. Poor boroughs spontaneously emerged on the outskirts of the city. Saint Petersburg surpassed Moscow in population and industrial growth and grew into one of the largest industrial hubs and cities in Europe.

20th century

The Revolution of 1905 began in Saint Petersburg and spread rapidly into the provinces. With the start of World War I, the name Saint Petersburg was perceived to be too German, so in 1914 the city was renamed Petrograd,[16] a name under which it had already been known in other Slavic languages. In 1917 the February Revolution, which put an end to the Russian monarchy, and the October Revolution, which ultimately brought Vladimir Lenin to power, broke out in Petrograd.[17] The city's proximity to the border and anti-Soviet armies forced the Bolsheviks under Lenin to transfer the capital to Moscow on March 12, 1918.[18]

In 1919 during the ensuing Russian Civil War Nikolay Yudenich advancing from Estonia was about to capture the city from the Bolsheviks, but Leon Trotsky ultimately managed to mobilise the population and make him retreat. Many people fled the city in 1917-1920 or were repressed in the Red Terror,[19] so its population decreased dramatically. On January 26, 1924, three days after Lenin's death, Petrograd was renamed Leningrad. For decades Leningrad was glorified by the Soviet propaganda as "the cradle of the revolution" and "the city of three revolutions", many spots related to Lenin and the revolutions, such as the cruiser Aurora, were carefully preserved.[citation needed] Many streets and other toponyms were renamed accordingly.

In the 1920s-1930s the poor outskirts were reconstructed into regularly planned boroughs. The constructivist architecture flourished around that time. The Soviets nationalised housing and forced many residents to share communal apartments (kommunalkas). With 68% living in shared apartments in the 1930s, Leningrad was the city with the largest number of kommunalkas. In 1935 a new general plan was outlined, whereby the city should expand to the south and its centre should move there. The constructivism was rejected in favor of the pompous Stalinist architecture. Stalin ordered the construction of the new city hall on Moskovsky Prospect thus making it the new main street of Leningrad during the Soviet rule.

Since December 1931 Leningrad has been administratively separate from Leningrad Oblast. At that time it included Leningrad Suburban District, some parts of which were transferred back to Leningrad Oblast in 1936 and turned into Vsevolozhsky District, Krasnoselsky District, Pargolovsky District and Slutsky District (renamed Pavlovsky District in 1944).[20]

On December 1, 1934, Sergey Kirov, popular communist leader of Leningrad, was assassinated, which was used to start the Great Purge.[21] The sizeable minorities of Germans, Poles, Finns, Estonians and Latvians were almost completely expelled from Leningrad by the Soviet government during the 1930s.[22]

During World War II, Leningrad was besieged by Nazi Germany and co-belligerent Finland.[23] The siege lasted 872 days[23] from September 1941 to January 1944.[24] The Siege of Leningrad was one of the longest, most destructive, and most lethal sieges of major cities in modern history. It isolated the city from most supplies except those provided through the Road of Life across Lake Ladoga, and more than a million civilians died, mainly from starvation. Many others were eventually evacuated or escaped by themselves, so the city became largely depopulated.

For the heroic resistance of the city and tenacity of the survivors of the Siege, in 1945 Leningrad became the first city in the Soviet Union awarded the title Hero City. In October 1946 some former Finnish territories along the northern coast of the Gulf of Finland captured in the Winter War and Continuation War were transferred from Leningrad Oblast to Leningrad and divided into Sestroretsky District and Kurortny District, including the town of Terijoki (renamed Zelenogorsk in 1948).[20]

Leningrad and many of its suburbs were rebuilt over the post-war decades, partially according to the pre-war plans. The 1948 general plan of Leningrad featured radial urban development in the north as well as in the south. The Leningrad Metro, underground rapid transit system which was designed before the war in the 1930s, was opened in 1955 with its first seven stations decorated with marble and bronze. Meanwhile, in 1949-1951 a large number of prominent Leningrad members of the Communist Party and their families were charged with treason and intention to create an anti-Soviet organization out of their local party cell. Many were imprisoned or executed in the Leningrad Affair fabricated by the central Soviet leadership.[25][26]

In 1953 Pavlovsky District of Leningrad Oblast was abolished, and parts of its territory including Pavlovsk merged with Leningrad. In 1954 the settlements Levashovo, Pargolovo and Pesochny merged with Leningrad.[20]

After the death of Stalin the perceived ornamental excesses of the Stalinist architecture were abandoned. In the 1960s-1980s, as many new residential boroughs were built on the outskirts with few series of functionalist apartment blocks identical to each other, many families moved there from kommunalkas in the city centre in order to live in separate apartments. Uritsk was re-named Ligovo and merged with Leningrad in 1963, Lomonosov merged in 1978.[20]

On June 12, 1991, in a referendum held on the same day as the first Russian presidential election, 54% of voters chose to restore the name "Saint Petersburg" (the change officially took effect on September 6, 1991). Many other Soviet-era toponyms in the city were also renamed soon afterwards. In the same election Anatoly Sobchak became the first democratically elected mayor of the city.[27]

By the end of 1991 the deteriorating planned economy of the collapsing Soviet Union had put the city on the verge of starvation. For the first time since World War II food rationing was introduced, and the city received humanitarian food aid from abroad. The city somewhat recovered with the market reforms in Russia. In 1995-2004 a northern section of the Metro's Kirovsko-Vyborgskaya Line was cut off by underground flooding, which was a major obstacle to the city development.

In 1996, Vladimir Yakovlev was elected as head of the Saint Petersburg City Administration. The title of the city head was changed in advance from "mayor" to "governor". In 2003, Yakovlev resigned a year before his second term expired. Valentina Matviyenko was elected governor. In 2006 she was reapproved as governor by the city legislature. The residential building had intensified again, real estate prices inflated greatly, and this situation causes many new problems for the historical part of the city.

In spite of the fact that the central part of the city is watched by UNESCO, the safety of its historical and architectural environment is in danger.[28] There are still about 8000 architectural monuments in Saint Petersburg, but since 2005 the destruction of older buildings in the historical centre has continued.[29] A number of new building projects are underway, including the Gazprom skyscraper in Okhta.


The River Neva flows through much of the centre of the city. Left – Imperial Academy of Arts, center — River Neva and Blagoveshchensky Bridge, right — Saint Isaac's Cathedral and the English Embankment,
in background - Russian Admiralty, Palace Embankment and Peter and Paul Fortress

The area of Saint Petersburg city proper is 605.8 km2 (233.9 sq mi). The area of the federal subject is 1,439 km2 (556 sq mi), which contains the Saint Petersburg proper (consisting of eighty-one okrugs), nine municipal towns (Kolpino, Krasnoye Selo, Kronstadt, Lomonosov, Pavlovsk, Petergof, Pushkin, Sestroretsk, Zelenogorsk), and twenty-one municipal settlements.

Saint Petersburg is situated on the middle taiga lowlands along the shores of the Neva Bay of the Gulf of Finland, and islands of the river delta. The largest are Vasilyevsky island (besides the artificial island between Obvodny canal and Fontanka, and Kotlin in the Neva Bay), Petrogradsky, Dekabristov and Krestovsky. The latter together with Yelagin and Kamenny island are covered mostly by parks. The Karelian Isthmus, North of the city, is a popular resort area. In the south Saint Petersburg crosses the Baltic-Ladoga Klint and meets the Izhora Plateau.

Territory of the federal subject of Saint Petersburg.

The elevation of Saint Petersburg ranges from the sea level to its highest point of 175.9 m (577 ft) at the Orekhovaya Hill in the Duderhof Heights in the south. Part of the city's territory west of Liteyny Prospekt is no higher than 4 m (13 ft) above sea level, and has suffered from numerous floods. Floods in Saint Petersburg are triggered by a long wave in the Baltic Sea, caused by meteorological conditions, winds and shallowness of the Neva Bay. The four most disastrous floods occurred in 1824 (421 cm/13.8 ft above sea-level, during which over 300 buildings were destroyed[30]), 1924 380 cm/12.5 ft, 1777 321 cm/10.5 ft, 1955 293 cm/9.6 ft and 1975 281 cm/9.2 ft. To prevent floods, the Saint Petersburg Dam has been under construction since 1979.[31]

Since the 18th century the terrain in the city has been raised artificially, at some places by more than 4 m (13 ft), making mergers of several islands, and changing the hydrology of the city. Besides the Neva and its distributaries, other important rivers of the federal subject of Saint Petersburg are Sestra, Okhta and Izhora. The largest lake is Sestroretsky Razliv in the north, followed by Lakhtinsky Razliv, Suzdal Lakes and other smaller lakes.

Saint Petersburg's position on the latitude of ca. 60° N causes variation in day length across seasons, ranging from 5:53 to 18:50. Twilight may last all night in early summer, from mid-May to mid-July, the celebrated phenomenon known as the white nights.


Saint Petersburg experiences a humid continental climate of the cool summer subtype (Köppen: Dfb), due to the distinct moderating influence of the Baltic Sea cyclones, with warm, humid and short summers and long, cold winters.

The average daily temperature in July is 22 °C (72 °F); summer maximum is about 34 °C (93 °F), winter minimum is about −35 °C (−31 °F). The record low temperature is −35.9 °C (−33 °F), recorded in 1883. The average annual temperature is +5.4 °C (42 °F). The River Neva within the city limits usually freezes up in November-December, break-up occurs in April. From December to March there are 123 days average with snow cover, which reaches the average of 24 cm (9 in) by February. The frost-free period in the city lasts on average for about 135 days. The city has a climate slightly warmer than its suburbs. Weather conditions are quite variable all year round.[32]

Average annual precipitation varies across the city, averaging 600 mm (24 in) per year and reaching maximum in late summer. Soil moisture is almost always high because of lower evapotranspiration due to the cool climate. Air humidity is 78% on average, while overcast is 165 days a year on average.

Climate data for Saint Petersburg (1971 - 2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 8.6
Average high °C (°F) -3.6
Daily mean °C (°F) -6.1
Average low °C (°F) -8.8
Record low °C (°F) -35.9
Precipitation mm (inches) 40
Source:[33] 2009-02-08


Population history of Saint Petersburg[34][35]

Saint Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia. The 2002 census recorded a population of the federal subject of 4,661,219, or 3.21% of the total population of Russia. The 2002 census recorded twenty-two ethnic groups of more than two thousand persons each. The ethnic composition was: Russian 84.72%, Ukrainian 1.87%, Belarusians 1.17%, Jewish 0.78%, Tatar 0.76%, Armenian 0.41%, Azeri 0.36%, Georgian 0.22%, Chuvash 0.13%, Polish 0.10%, and many other smaller ethnic groups, while 7.89% of the inhabitants declined to state their ethnicity.[36]

The 20th century saw hectic ups and downs in population. From 2.4 million in 1916 it had dropped to less than 740,000 by 1920 during the Russian Revolution of 1917 and Russian Civil War. The sizeable minorities of Germans, Poles, Finns, Estonians and Latvians were almost completely expelled from Leningrad by the Soviet government during the 1930s.[22] From 1941 to the end of 1943, population dropped from 3 million to less than 700,000, as people died in battles, starved to death during the Siege of Leningrad, or were evacuated. After the siege, some of the evacuees returned, but most influx was due to migration from other parts of the Soviet Union. The city absorbed about 3 million people in the 1950s and grew to over 5 million in the 1980s. From 1991 to 2006 the city's population decreased to the current 4.6 million, while the suburban population increased due to privatization of land and massive move to suburbs.[34][37] The birth rate remains lower than the death rate; people over 65 constitute more than twenty percent of the population; and the median age is about 40 years.[38]

People in urban Saint Petersburg live mostly in apartments. Between 1918 and the 1990s, the Soviets nationalised housing and forced residents to share communal apartments (kommunalkas). With 68% living in shared flats in the 1930s, Leningrad was the city in the USSR with the largest number of kommunalkas. Resettling residents of kommunalkas is now on the way out, albeit shared apartments are still not uncommon. As new boroughs were built on the outskirts in the 1950s-1980s, over half a million low income families eventually received free apartments, and about an additional hundred thousand condos were purchased. While economic and social activity is concentrated in the historic city centre, the richest part of Saint Petersburg, most people live in commuter areas. For the first half of 2007, the birth rate was 9.1 per 1000.[39]


The Mariinsky Palace, seat of the city assembly.
Smolny Institute, the seat of the governor.

Saint Petersburg is a federal subject of Russia.[40] The political life of Saint Petersburg is regulated by the city charter adopted by the city legislature in 1998.[41] The superior executive body is the Saint Petersburg City Administration, led by the governor (mayor before 1996). Saint Petersburg has a single-chamber legislature, the Saint Petersburg Legislative Assembly.

According to the federal law passed in 2004, heads of federal subjects, including the governor of Saint Petersburg, are nominated by the President of Russia and approved by local legislatures. If the legislature disapproves the nominee, it is dissolved. The current governor, Valentina Matviyenko, was approved according to the new system in December 2006. She is currently the only woman governor in the whole of Russia.

Saint Petersburg city is currently divided into eighteen districts. Saint Petersburg is also the administrative centre of Leningrad Oblast, and of the Northwestern Federal District.[42] The Constitutional Court of Russia moved to Saint Petersburg from Moscow in May 2008.

Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast, being two different federal subjects, share a number of local departments of federal executive agencies and courts, such as court of arbitration, police, FSB, postal service, drug enforcement administration, penitentiary service, federal registration service, and other federal services.


The Old Saint Petersburg Stock Exchange, or Bourse, houses the Central Naval Museum
The Saint Petersburg docks at dawn.

Saint Petersburg is a major trade gateway, financial and industrial centre of Russia specialising in oil and gas trade, shipbuilding yards, aerospace industry, radio and electronics, software and computers; machine building, heavy machinery and transport, including tanks and other military equipment, mining, instrument manufacture, ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy (production of aluminium alloys), chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, publishing and printing, food and catering, wholesale and retail, textile and apparel industries, and many other businesses. It was also home to Lessner, one of Russia's two pioneering automobile manufacturers (along with Russo-Baltic), Lessner; founded by machine tool and boiler maker G. A. Lessner in 1904, with designs by Boris Loutsky, it survived until 1910.[43]

10% of the world's power turbines are made there at the LMZ, which built over two thousand turbines for power plants across the world. Major local industries are Admiralty Shipyard, Baltic Shipyard, LOMO, Kirov Plant, Elektrosila, Izhorsky Zavod; also registered in Saint Petersburg are Sovkomflot, Petersburg Fuel Company and SIBUR among other major Russian and international companies.

Saint Petersburg has three large cargo seaports: Bolshoi Port Saint Petersburg, Kronstadt, and Lomonosov. International cruise liners have been served at the passenger port at Morskoy Vokzal on the south-west of Vasilevsky Island. In 2008 the first two berths were opened at the New Passenger Port on the west of the island.[44] The new port is part of the city's "Marine Facade" development project[45] and is due to have seven berths in operation by 2010.

A complex system of riverports on both banks of the Neva river are interconnected with the system of seaports, thus making Saint Petersburg the main link between the Baltic sea and the rest of Russia through the Volga-Baltic Waterway.

The Saint Petersburg Mint (Monetny Dvor), founded in 1724, is one of the largest mints in the world, it mints Russian coins, medals and badges. Saint Petersburg is also home to the oldest and largest Russian foundry, Monumentskulptura, which made thousands of sculptures and statues that are now gracing public parks of Saint Petersburg, as well as many other cities. Monuments and bronze statues of the Czars, as well as other important historic figures and dignitaries, and other world famous monuments, such as the sculptures by Peter Clodt von Jürgensburg, Paolo Troubetzkoy, Pavel Antokolsky, and others, were made there.

In 2007 Toyota opened a Camry plant after investing 5 billion dollars in Shushary, one of the southern suburbs of Saint Petersburg. General Motors, Hyundai and Nissan have signed deals with the Russian government to build their automotive plants in Saint Petersburg too. Automotive and auto-parts industry is on the rise there during the last decade. Saint Petersburg is also known as the "beer capital" of Russia, due to the supply and quality of local water, contributing over 30% of the domestic production of beer with its five large-scale breweries including Europe's second largest brewery Baltika, Vena (both operated by BBH), Heineken Brewery, Stepan Razin (both by Heineken) and Tinkoff brewery (SUN-InBev). Saint Petersburg has the second largest construction industry in Russia, including commercial, housing and road construction.

In 2006 Saint Petersburg's city budget was 179,9 billion rubles,[46] and is planned to double by 2012. The federal subject's gross regional product as of 2005 was 667,905.4 million Russian rubles, ranked 4th in Russia, after Moscow, Tyumen Oblast, and Moscow Oblast,[47] or 145,503.3 rubles per capita, ranked 12th among Russia's federal subjects,[48] contributed mostly by wholesale and retail trade and repair services (24.7%) as well as processing industry (20.9%) and transportation and telecommunications (15.1%).[49]

City scape

The Saint Petersburg skyline at night, stretching from the Peter and Paul Fortress to the Trinity Bridge, with the River Neva in the foreground

As of now, Saint Petersburg has no skyscrapers and a relatively low skyline. Current regulations forbid construction of high buildings in the city centre. The 310 metre tall Saint Petersburg TV Tower is the tallest structure in the city, while the 122.5 m (401.90 ft) Peter and Paul Cathedral is by far the highest building. However, there is a controversial project endorsed by the city authorities and known as the Ohkta Centre to build a 396 m (1,299.21 ft) supertall skyscraper. In 2008 the World Monuments Fund included the Saint Petersburg historic skyline within the watch list of 100 most endangered sites due to the expected construction, which threatens to alter it drastically.[50]

Unlike in Moscow, in Saint Petersburg the historic architecture of the city centre, mostly consisting of Baroque and neoclassical buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries, has been largely preserved, although a number of buildings were demolished after the Bolsheviks' seizure of power, during the Siege of Leningrad and in recent years.[citation needed] The oldest of the remaining building is a wooden house built for Peter I in 1703 on the shore of the Neva near Trinity Square. Since 1991 the Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments in Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast have been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The ensemble of Peter and Paul Fortress with the Peter and Paul Cathedral takes dominant position on Zayachy Island along the right bank of the River Neva. Each noon a cannon fires a blank shot from the fortress. The Saint Petersburg Mosque, the largest mosque in Europe when opened in 1913, is situated on the right bank nearby. The spit of Vasilievsky Island, which splits the river into two largest armlets, the Bolshaya Neva and Malaya Neva, is connected to the northern bank (Petrogradsky Island) via the Exchange Bridge and occupied by the Old Saint Petersburg Stock Exchange and Rostral Columns. The southern coast of Vasilievsky Island along the Bolshaya Neva features some of the city's oldest buildings, dating from the 18th century, including the Kunstkamera, Twelve Collegia, Menshikov Palace and Imperial Academy of Arts. It hosts one of two campuses of Saint Petersburg State University.

A bridge over the river Neva

On the southern, left bank of the Neva, connected to the spit of Vasilievsky Island via the Palace Bridge, lie the Admiralty Building, the vast Hermitage Museum complex stretching along the Palace Embankment, which includes the baroque Winter Palace, former official residence of Russian emperors, as well as the neoclassical Marble Palace. The Winter Palace faces Palace Square, the city's main square with the Alexander Column.

Nevsky Prospekt, also situated on the left bank of the Neva, is the main avenue in the city. It starts at the Admiralty and runs eastwards next to Palace Square. Nevsky Prospekt crosses the Moika (Green Bridge), Griboyedov Canal (Kazansky Bridge), Garden Street, the Fontanka (Anichkov Bridge), meets Liteyny Prospekt and proceeds to Uprising Square near the Moskovsky railway station, where it meets Ligovsky Prospekt and turns to the Alexander Nevsky Lavra. The Passage, Catholic Church of St. Catherine, Book House (former Singer Manufacturing Company Building in the Art Nouveau style), Grand Hotel Europe, Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Gostiny Dvor, Russian National Library, Alexandrine Theatre behind Mikeshin's statue of Catherine the Great, Kazan Cathedral, Stroganov Palace, Anichkov Palace and Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace are all situated along that avenue.

The Alexander Nevsky Lavra, intended to house the relics of St. Alexander Nevsky, is an important centre of Christian education in Russia. It also contains the Tikhvin Cemetery with graves of many notable Petersburgers.

On the territory between the Neva and Nevsky Prospekt the Church of the Savior on Blood, Mikhailovsky Palace housing the Russian Museum, Field of Mars, St. Michael's Castle, Summer Garden, Tauride Palace, Smolny Institute and Smolny Convent are located.

Many notable landmarks are situated to the west and south of the Admiralty Building, including the Trinity Cathedral, Mariinsky Palace, Hotel Astoria, famous Mariinsky Theatre, New Holland Island, Saint Isaac's Cathedral, the largest in the city, and Decembrists Square with the Bronze Horseman, 18th century equestrian monument to Peter the Great, which is considered among the city's most recognisable symbols.

Other symbols of Saint Petersburg include the weather vane in the shape of a small ship on top of the Admiralty's golden spire and the golden angel on top of the Peter and Paul Cathedral. The Palace Bridge drawn at night is yet another symbol of the city. Every night during the navigation period from April to November, 22 bridges across the Neva and main canals are drawn to let ships pass in and out of the Baltic Sea according to a schedule.[51] It wasn't until 2004 that the first high bridge across the Neva, which doesn't need to be drawn, Big Obukhovsky Bridge, was opened. There are hundreds of smaller bridges in Saint Petersburg spanning across numerous canals and distributaries of the Neva, some of the most important of which are the Moika, Fontanka, Griboyedov Canal, Obvodny Canal, Karpovka and Smolenka. Due to the intricate web of canals, Saint Petersburg is often called Venice of the North. The rivers and canals in the city centre are lined with granite embankments. The embankments and bridges are separated from rivers and canals by granite or cast iron parapets.

Southern suburbs of the city feature former imperial residences, including Petergof, with majestic fountain cascades and parks, Tsarskoe Selo, with the baroque Catherine Palace and the neoclassical Alexander Palace, and Pavlovsk, which contains a domed palace of Emperor Paul and one of the largest English-style parks in Europe. Some other residences situated nearby and making part of the world heritage site, including a castle and park in Gatchina, actually belong to Leningrad Oblast rather than Saint Petersburg. Another notable suburb is Kronstadt with its 19th century fortifications and naval monuments, occupying the Kotlin Island in the Gulf of Finland.

Since around the end of the XX century a great deal of active building and restroration works have been carried out in a number of the city's older districts districts. The authorities have recently been compelled to transfer the ownership of state-owned private residences in the city centre to private lessors. Many older buildings have been reconstructed to allow their use as apartments and penthouses.

Some of these structures, such as the Saint Petersburg Commodity and Stock Exchange" have been recognised as town-planning errors.[52]


Saint Petersburg is home to more than two hundred museums, many of them hosted in historic buildings. The largest of the museums is the Hermitage Museum, featuring interiors of the former imperial residence and a vast collection of art. The Russian Museum is a large museum devoted to the Russian fine art specifically. The apartments of some famous Petersburgers, including Alexander Pushkin, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Feodor Chaliapin, Alexander Blok, Vladimir Nabokov, Anna Akhmatova, Mikhail Zoshchenko, Joseph Brodsky, as well as some palace and park ensembles of the southern suburbs and notable architectural monuments such as St. Isaac's Cathedral, have also been turned into public museums.

The Kunstkamera, with its collection established in 1714 by Peter the Great to collect curiosities from all over the world, is sometimes considered the first museum in Russia, which has evolved into the present-day Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography. The Russian Ethnography Museum, which has been split from the Russian Museum, is devoted to the cultures of the people of Russia, the former Soviet Union and Russian Empire.

Other notable museums include the Central Naval Museum hosted in the building of the former stock exchange and Zoological Museum, the Railway Museum, Museum of the Siege of Leningrad, Saint Petersburg Museum of History in the Peter and Paul Fortress and Artillery Museum, which in fact includes not only artillery items, but also a huge collection of other military equipment, uniform and decorations.


The Tauride Garden
The Grand Cascade at Petrhof.

Saint Petersburg is home to numerous parks and gardens, some of the most famous of which are situated in the southern suburbs, including one of the largest English gardens of Europe in Pavlovsk. Sosnovka is the largest park within the limits of the city proper, occupying 240 ha. The Summer Garden is the oldest one, dating back to the early 18th century and designed in the regular style. It is situated on the southern bank of the Neva at the head of the Fontanka and is famous for its cast iron railing and marble sculptures.

Among other notable parks are the Maritime Victory Park on Krestovsky Island and the Moscow Victory Park in the south, both commemorating the victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War, as well as the Central Park of Culture and Leisure occupying Yelagin Island and the Tauride Garden around the Tauride Palace. The most common trees grown in the parks are the English oak, Norway maple, green ash, silver birch, Siberian larch, blue spruce, crack willow, limes and poplars. Important dendrological collections dating back to the 19th century are hosted by the Saint Petersburg Botanical Garden and the Park of the Forestry Academy.


Saint Petersburg is a major transport hub. The first Russian railway was built here in 1837, and since then the city's transport infrastructure has continued to develop and keep pace with the growth of the city. Petersburg has an extensive system of local roads and railway services, maintains a large public transport system which includes the Saint Petersburg tram and the Saint Petersburg Metro, and is home to a number of riverine services which serve to convey passengers around the city both efficiently and in relative comfort.

The city is connected to the rest of Russia and the wider world by a number of federal highways and national and international rail routes. Pulkovo International Airport serves the majority of air passengers departing from or arriving to the city.


Today, the city is the final destination of a web of intercity and suburban railways, served by five different railway terminals (Baltiysky, Finlyandsky, Ladozhsky, Moskovsky, and Vitebsky),[53] as well as dozens of non-terminal railway stations within the federal subject. Saint Petersburg has international railway connections to Helsinki, Finland, Berlin, Germany, and all former republics of the USSR. The Helsinki railway was built in 1870, 443 km (275 mi), commutes three times a day, in a journey lasting about five and a half hours.

The Moscow-Saint Petersburg Railway opened in 1851, 651 km (405 mi); the commute to Moscow now requires about four and a half to nine hours.[54]

In 2009 Russian Railways launched a high speed service on the Moscow-Saint Petersburg route. The new train, known as Sapsan, is a deriative of the popular Siemens Velaro train; various versions of which are already in service in a number of European countries. It set records for the fastest train in Russia on May 2, 2009, travelling at 281 km/h[55] and on May 7, 2009, travelling at 290 km/h (180 mph).

Air travel

Saint Petersburg is also served by Pulkovo International Airport,[56] and by three smaller commercial and cargo airports in the suburbs.

Pulkovo airport opened to passengers as a small aerodrome in 1931. As of 2007, the airport is the 4th busiest in Russia after Moscow's Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo airports. With two main terminals (one domestic, one international), Pulkovo is widely regarded as one of the larger and more modern airports in the Russian Federation. However as it is anticipated that by 2025 Pulkovo airport will handle around 17 million passengers annually, plans have been laid out to build a new mid-field terminal extension directly to the north of the Terminal 1 (domestic); it is planned to contain 18 gates and construction is slated to begin in 2008 with scheduled completion in 2010/11.

There is a regular, 24/7, rapid-bus transit connection between Pulkovo airport and the city center.


The city is also served by the passenger and cargo seaports in the Neva Bay of the Gulf of Finland, Baltic Sea, the river port higher up the Neva, and tens of smaller passenger stations on both banks of the Neva river. It is a terminus of the Volga-Baltic and White Sea-Baltic waterways. In 2004 the first high bridge that doesn't need to be drawn, a 2,824 m (9,265 ft) long Big Obukhovsky Bridge, was opened. Meteor hydrofoils link the city centre to the coastal towns of Kronstadt, Lomonosov, Petergof, Sestroretsk, and Zelenogorsk from May through October.

Roads and public transport

The decoration of Saint Petersburg Metro (Kirovsky Zavod Station).

Saint Petersburg has an extensive city-funded network of public transport (buses, trams, trolleybuses) and several hundred routes served by marshrutkas. Trams in Saint Petersburg used to be the main transport; in the 1980s, Leningrad had the largest tramway network in the world, but many tramway rail tracks were dismantled in the 2000s. Buses carry up to 3 million passengers daily, serving over 250 urban and a number of suburban bus routes. Saint Petersburg Metro underground rapid transit system was opened in 1955; it now has five lines with 64 stations, connecting all five railway terminals, and carrying 3.4 million passengers daily. Metro stations are decorated in marble and bronze.

Traffic jams are common in the city, because of high daily traffic volumes between the commuter boroughs and the city centre, intercity traffic, and at times excessive snow in winter. Five segments of the Saint Petersburg Ring Road were opened between 2002 and 2006, and full ring is planned to open in 2010.

Saint Petersburg is part of the important transport corridor linking Scandinavia to Russia and Eastern Europe. The city is a node of the international European routes E18 towards Helsinki, E20 towards Tallinn, E95 towards Pskov, Kiev and Odessa and E105 towards Petrozavodsk, Murmansk and Kirkenes (north) and towards Moscow and Kharkiv (south).


As of 2006/2007 there were 1024 kindergartens, 716 public schools and 80 vocational schools in Saint Petersburg.[57] The largest of the higher education institutions are Saint Petersburg State University, enrolling approximately 32,000 undergraduate students, Saint Petersburg Polytechnical University and Herzen University. However, the universities are all federal property and don't belong to the city.



The main auditorium of the Mariinsky Theater.
The Alexander Theater, Saint Petersburg.

Among the city's more than fifty theaters is the world-famous Mariinsky Theater (also known as the Kirov Theater in the USSR ), home to the Mariinsky Ballet company and opera. Leading ballet dancers, such as Vaslav Nijinsky, Anna Pavlova, Rudolph Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Galina Ulanova and Natalia Makarova, were principal stars of the Mariinsky ballet.

Dmitri Shostakovich was born and brought up in Saint Petersburg, and dedicated his Seventh Symphony to the city, calling it the "Leningrad Symphony." He wrote the symphony while in Leningrad during the German siege. The 7th symphony was premiered in 1942; its performance in the besieged Leningrad at the Bolshoy Philharmonic Hall under the baton of conductor Karl Eliasberg was heard over the radio and lifted the spirits of the survivors.[58] In 1992 a reunion performance of the 7th Symphony by the (then) 14 survivors was played in the same hall as they done half a century ago.[59] The Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra remained one of the best known symphony orchestras in the world under the leadership of conductors Yevgeny Mravinsky and Yuri Temirkanov.

The Imperial Choral Capella was founded and modeled after the royal courts of other European capitals.

Saint Petersburg has been home to the newest movements in popular music in the country. The first jazz band in the Soviet Union was founded here by Leonid Utyosov in the 1920s, under the patronage of Isaak Dunayevsky. The first jazz club in the Soviet Union was founded here in the 1950s, and later was named jazz club Kvadrat. In 1956 the popular ensemble Druzhba was founded by Aleksandr Bronevitsky and Edita Piekha, becoming the first popular band in the 1950s USSR. In the 1960s student rock-groups Argonavty, Kochevniki and others pioneered a series of unofficial and underground rock concerts and festivals. In 1972 Boris Grebenshchikov founded the band Aquarium, that later grew to huge popularity. Since then "Peter's rock" music style was formed.

In the 1970s many bands came out from "underground" and eventually founded the Leningrad rock club which has been providing stage to such bands as Piknik, DDT, Kino, headed by the legendary Viktor Tsoi, Igry, Mify, Zemlyane, Alisa and many other popular groups. The first Russian-style happening show Pop mekhanika, mixing over 300 people and animals on stage, was directed by the multi-talented Sergey Kuryokhin in the 1980s.

Today's Saint Petersburg boasts many notable musicians of various genres, from popular Leningrad's Sergei Shnurov and Tequilajazzz, to rock veterans Yuri Shevchuk, Vyacheslav Butusov and Mikhail Boyarsky.

The White Nights Festival in Saint Petersburg is famous for spectacular fireworks and massive show celebrating the end of school year.


Over 250 international and Russian movies were filmed in Saint Petersburg.[60] Well over a thousand feature films about tsars, revolution, people and stories set in Saint Petersburg were produced worldwide, but were not filmed in the city. First film studios were founded in Saint Petersburg in the 1900s, and since the 1920s Lenfilm has been the largest film studio based in Saint Petersburg. The first foreign feature movie filmed entirely in Saint Petersburg was the 1997 production of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, starring Sophie Marceau and Sean Bean, and made by international team of British, American, French and Russian filmmakers.

The cult comedy Irony of Fate (also Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!) is set in Saint Petersburg and pokes fun at Soviet city planning. The 1985 film White Nights received considerable Western attention for having captured genuine Leningrad street scenes at a time when filming in the Soviet Union by Western production companies was generally unheard of. Other movies include GoldenEye (1995), Midnight in Saint Petersburg (1996), and Brother (1997). Onegin (1999) is based on the Pushkin poem and showcases many tourist attractions. In addition, the Russian romantic comedy, Питер FM, showcases the cityscape significantly, almost as if it was a main character in the film.

Several international film festivals are held annually, such as the Festival of Festivals, St. Petersburg, as well as the Message to Man International Documentary Film Festival, since its inauguration in 1988 during the White Nights.[61]


Saint Petersburg has a longstanding and world famous tradition in literature. Dostoyevsky called it “The most abstract and intentional city in the world," emphasizing its artificiality, but it was also a symbol of modern disorder in a changing Russia. It frequently appeared to Russian writers as a menacing and inhuman mechanism. The grotesque and often nightmarish image of the city is featured in Pushkin's last poems, the Petersburg stories of Gogol, the novels of Dostoyevsky, the verse of Alexander Blok and Osip Mandelshtam, and in the symbolist novel Petersburg by Andrey Bely. According to Lotman in his chapter, 'The Symbolism of Saint Petersburg' in Universe and the Mind, these writers were inspired from symbolism from within the city itself. The effect of life in Saint Petersburg on the plight of the poor clerk in a society obsessed with hierarchy and status also became an important theme for authors such as Pushkin, Gogol, and Dostoyevsky. Another important feature of early Saint Petersburg literature is its mythical element, which incorporates urban legends and popular ghost stories, as the stories of Pushkin and Gogol included ghosts returning to Saint Petersburg to haunt other characters as well as other fantastical elements, creating a surreal and abstract image of Saint Petersburg.

Twentieth century writers from Saint Petersburg, such as Vladimir Nabokov, Ayn Rand, Andrey Bely and Yevgeny Zamyatin, along with his apprentices, The Serapion Brothers, created entire new styles in literature and contributed new insights to the understanding of society through their experience in this city. Anna Akhmatova became an important leader for Russian poetry. Her poem Requiem focuses on the tragedies of living during the time of the Stalinist terror. Another notable 20th century writer from Saint Petersburg is Joseph Brodsky, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature (1987). While living in the United States, his writings in English reflected on life in Saint Petersburg from the unique perspective of being both an insider and an outsider to the city in essays such as, "A Guide to a Renamed City" and the nostalgic "In a Room and a Half".[62]


Leningrad hosted part of the football tournament during the 1980 Summer Olympics. The 1994 Goodwill Games were held here.

The first competition here was the 1703 rowing event initiated by Peter the Great, after the victory over the Swedish fleet. Yachting events were held by the Russian Navy since the foundation of the city. Yacht clubs:[63] St. Petersburg River Yacht Club, Neva Yacht Club, the latter is the oldest yacht club in the world. In the winter, when the sea and lake surfaces are frozen and yachts and dinghies cannot be used, local people sail on ice boats.

Equestrianism has been a long tradition, popular among the Tsars and aristocracy, as well as part of the military training. Several historic sports arenas were built for Equestrianism since the 18th century, to maintain training all year round, such as the Zimny Stadion and Konnogvardeisky Manezh among others.

Chess tradition was highlighted by the 1914 international tournament, in which the title "Grandmaster" was first formally conferred by Russian Tsar Nicholas II to five players: Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Tarrasch and Marshall, and which the Tsar had partially funded.

Kirov Stadium (now demolished) was one of the largest stadiums anywhere in the world, and the home to FC Zenit St. Petersburg in 1950-1993 and 1995. In 1951 the attendance of 110,000 set the record for the Soviet football. In 2007 Zenit became champions of the Russian Premier League, won the UEFA Cup 2007–08 season and the 2008 UEFA Supercup. Zenit now plays their home games at Petrovsky Stadium.


Russia historically had a high level of crime that increased significantly after the October revolution.[64] Perestroika-time turmoils saw additional increase of the crime level.

Saint Petersburg experiences significant levels of street crime and bribery. In addition, in recent years there has been a notable increase in racially motivated violence, especially towards tourists and foreign students.[65] One of the well known white supremacist groups Belaya Energia (White Energy, originally comes from White Power), has reportedly been one of the main gangs involved in murdering foreign university students.[66]

At the end of the 1980s – beginning of the 1990s, Leningrad became home to a number of organised criminal groups as Tambov Gang, Malyshev Gang, Kazan Gang and ethnic criminal groups, engaged in a racket, extortion, paying off local government, and violent clashes with each other.[67]

After the assassinations of City Property Committee Chairman and vice-Governor Mikhail Manevich(1997), State Duma deputy Galina Starovoytova (1998), acting City Legislature Speaker Viktor Novosyolov (1999) and a number of prominent businesspeople, Saint Petersburg was dubbed Capital of Crime in the Russian press.[68][69] There were a number of movies filmed in Saint Petersburg about the life of crime; Banditskiy Peterburg: Advocat,[70] Brother (1997)[71] reinforcing its image as the Crime Capital of Russia.

However, crime rates in St. Petersburg have declined since the end of the 1990s[citation needed]; the aforementioned criminal gangs have mostly dispersed[citation needed]. Even the infamous, central Kresty prison is no longer in use, as more modern penal institutions are being built farther from the city centre.[citation needed]

See also



  • Amery, Colin, Brian Curran & Yuri Molodkovets. St. Petersburg. London: Frances Lincoln, 2006. ISBN 0711224927.
  • Bater, James H. St. Petersburg: Industrialization and Change. Montreal: McGuill-Queen’s University Press, 1976. ISBN 0773502661.
  • Berelowitch, Wladimir & Olga Medvedkova. Histoire de Saint-Pétersbourg. Paris: Fayard, 1996. ISBN 2213596018.
  • Brumfield, William Craft. The Origins of Modernism in Russian Architecture. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991. ISBN 0520069293.
  • Buckler, Julie. Mapping St. Petersburg: Imperial Text and Cityshape. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005 ISBN0691113491.
  • Clark, Katerina, Petersburg, Crucible of Revolution. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995.
  • Cross, Anthony (ed.). St. Petersburg, 1703-1825. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. ISBN 1403915709.
  • "San Pietroburgo, la capitale del nord" by Giuseppe D'Amato in Viaggio nell'Hansa baltica. L'Unione europea e l'allargamento ad Est. Greco&Greco editori, Milano, 2004. pp. 27-46. ISBN 88-7980-355-7. (Travel to the Baltic Hansa. The European Union and its enlargement to the East) Book in Italian.
  • George, Arthur L. & Elena George. St. Petersburg: Russia's Window to the Future, The First Three Centuries. Lanham: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2003. ISBN 1589790170.
  • Glantz, David M. The Battle for Leningrad, 1941-1944. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2002. ISBN 0700612084.
  • Hellberg-Hirn, Elena. Imperial Imprints: Post-Soviet St. Petersburg. Helsinki: SKS Finnish Literature Society, 2003. ISBN 9517464916.
  • Knopf Guide: Sat. Petersburg. New York: Knopf, 1995. ISBN 0679762027.
  • Eyewitness Guide: St. Petersburg.
  • Lincoln, W. Bruce. Sunlight at Midnight: St. Petersburg and the Rise of Modern Russia. New York: Basic Books, 2000. ISBN 0465083234.
  • Orttung, Robert W. From Leningrad to St. Petersburg: Democratization in a Russian City. New York: St. Martin’s, 1995. ISBN 0312175612.
  • Richardson, Daniel; Humphreys, Robert (26 February 1998). St. Petersburg: The Rough Guide (September 2004 - Fifth ed.). Rough Guides - New York, London & Delhi. ISBN 9781858282985. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  • Ruble, Blair A. Leningrad: Shaping a Soviet City. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990. ISBN 0877723478.
  • Shvidkovsky, Dmitry O. & Alexander Orloff. St. Petersburg: Architecture of the Tsars. New York: Abbeville Press, 1996. ISBN 0789202174.
  • Volkov, Solomon. St. Petersburg: A Cultural History. New York: Free Press, 1995. ISBN 0028740521.
  • St. Petersburg:Architecture of the Tsars. 360 pages. Abbeville Press, 1996. ISBN 0789202174
  • Saint Petersburg: Museums, Palaces, and Historic Collections: A Guide to the Lesser Known Treasures of St. Petersburg. 2003. ISBN 1593730004.
  • Нежиховский Р. А. Река Нева и Невская губа, Leningrad, Гидрометеоиздат, 1981.
  • Vorhees, Mara (1 February 2008). St. Petersburg (Fifth ed.). Footscray, Victoria, Australia: Lonely Planet. ISBN 9781740598279. Retrieved 11 March 2010. 


  1. ^ Законодательное Собрание Санкт-Петербурга. Закон №555-75 от 26 октября 2005 г. «О праздниках и памятных датах в Санкт-Петербурге», в ред. Закона №541-112 от 6 ноября 2008 г. (Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg. Law #555-75 of October 26, 2005 On Holidays and Memorial Dates in Saint Petersburg. ).
  2. ^ Президент Российской Федерации. Указ №849 от 13 мая 2000 г. «О полномочном представителе Президента Российской Федерации в федеральном округе». Вступил в силу 13 мая 2000 г. Опубликован: "Собрание законодательства РФ", №20, ст. 2112, 15 мая 2000 г. (President of the Russian Federation. Decree #849 of May 13, 2000 On the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in a Federal District. Effective as of May 13, 2000).
  3. ^ Госстандарт Российской Федерации. №ОК 024-95 27 декабря 1995 г. «Общероссийский классификатор экономических регионов. 2. Экономические районы», в ред. Изменения №5/2001 ОКЭР. (Gosstandart of the Russian Federation. #OK 024-95 December 27, 1995 Russian Classification of Economic Regions. 2. Economic Regions, as amended by the Amendment #5/2001 OKER. ).
  4. ^ According to Article 68.1 of the Constitution of Russia, Russian is the official language on the whole territory of the Russian Federation. Article 68.2 further stipulates that only the republics have the right to establish official languages other than Russian.
  5. ^ a b c Федеральная служба государственной статистики (Federal State Statistics Service) (2004-05-21). "Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек (Population of Russia, its federal districts, federal subjects, districts, urban localities, rural localities—administrative centers, and rural localities with population of over 3,000)" (in Russian). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2002). Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  6. ^ The value of density was calculated automatically by dividing the 2002 Census population by the area specified in the infobox. Please note that this value may not be accurate as the area specified in the infobox is not necessarily reported for the same year as the Census (2002).
  7. ^ Official website of St. Petersburg Петербург в цифрах: население (St. Petersburg in Figures: Population) (Russian)
  8. ^ Official website of St. Petersburg. Петербург в цифрах (St. Petersburg in Figures) (Russian)
  9. ^ Official website of St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg in Figures
  10. ^ Nicholas and Alexandra: An Intimate Account of the Last of the Romanovs and the Fall of Imperial Russia (Athenum, 1967) by Robert K. Massie, ASIN B000CGP8M2 (also, Ballantine Books, 2000, ISBN 0-345-43831-0 and Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2005, ISBN 1-57912-433-X)
  11. ^ V. Morozov. The Discourses of Saint Petersburg and the Shaping of a Wider Europe. Copenhagen Peace Research Institute. 2002.
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  15. ^ Matthew S. Anderson, Peter the Great (London: Thames and Hudson, 1978)
  16. ^ The Romanovs: The Final Chapter (Random House, 1995) by Robert K. Massie, ISBN 0-394-58048-6 and ISBN 0-679-43572-7
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  28. ^ Sergey Zagraevsky. Will Saint Petersburg share the same fate as Moscow?
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  30. ^ The level of flooding is measured near Saint Petersburg Mining Institute, which is normally 11 cm (4 in) a.s.l.
  31. ^ Нежиховский Р. А. Река Нева и Невская губа, Leningrad: Гидрометеоиздат, 1981.
  32. ^ See Historical weather records for Saint Petersburg (since 1932) and Historical weather in Saint Petersburg for further information.
  33. ^ "" (in Russian). Retrieved 2009-02-08. 
  34. ^ a b Чистякова Н. Третье сокращение численности населения... и последнее? Демоскоп Weekly 163 — 164, August 1–15, 2004.
  35. ^ Юбилейный статистический сборник./Под ред. И.И. Елисеевой и Е.И. Грибовой. - Вып.2. - СПб: Судостроение, 2003. с.16-17
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  38. ^ Russian statistics Основные показатели социально-демографической ситуации в Санкт-Петербурге
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  42. ^ "Official website of the Northwestern Federal District (Russian)". 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  43. ^ Georgano, G. N. Cars: Early and Vintage, 1886-1930. (London: Grange-Universal, 1985)
  44. ^ Discover the Baltic online guide to Baltic cruise ports
  45. ^ St Petersburg "Marine Facade" development project
  46. ^ "Budget of Saint Petersburg (Russian document)". City of Saint Petersburg. 
  47. ^ "Валовой региональный продукт по субъектам Российской Федерации в 1998-2005гг. (в текущих основных ценах; млн.рублей)". Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  48. ^ "Валовой региональный продукт на душу населения (в текущих основных ценах; рублей)". Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  49. ^ "Отраслевая структура ВРП по видам экономической деятельности (по ОКВЭД) за 2005 год". Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  50. ^ "St. Petersburg Historic Skyline, Russian Federation". Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  51. ^ Schedule for main drawbridges across the Neva river (Official Russian schedule):
  52. ^ Hudyakov Russian: Артём Худяков, Artiem (2008-03-12). "Virtual protection of Petersburg Russian: Виртуальная защита Петербурга" (in ru). Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  53. ^ Until 2001, the Varshavsky Rail Terminal served as a major station; it now is a railway museum.Reconstruction of the Warsaw Railway Station
  54. ^ "Results of train ticket inquiry, Russian train schedules and Russian train tickets". Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  55. ^ "Sapsan claims Russian rail speed record". Railway Gazette International. 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  56. ^ Rossiya (Pulkovo): Pulkovo Aviation Enterprise
  57. ^
  58. ^ Close. "Where a symphony silenced guns". Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  59. ^ "Orchestral manoeuvres (part one)".,6903,605454,00.html. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  60. ^ International Movie Database
  61. ^ "The XIX International "Message To Man" Film Festival". © 2009 IFC Centaur. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  62. ^ Joseph Brodsky. Less Than One: Selected Essays, 1986
  63. ^ "History of Yacht Clubs in Russia". Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  64. ^ Edward Hallett Carr The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1923, 1985 ISBN 0393301990 Google preview
  65. ^ "Advice for women / Safe Guide / Petersburg CITY / Guide to St. Petersburg, Russia". Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  66. ^ Russia: Racist Attacks Plague St. Petersburg Radio Free Europe September 30, 2005
  67. ^ Russian Mafia Shakes Down the Country by Steven R. Van Hook, Santa Barbara News-Press, November 20, 1994
  68. ^ Trumbull, Nathaniel S. (2003) The impacts of globalization on Saint Petersburg: A secondary world city in from the cold? The Annals of Regional Science 37:533–546
  69. ^ Powell, Bill & Brian Whitmore. The Capital Of Crime.(Saint Petersburg, Russia). Newsweek International, May 15, 2000.
  70. ^ ""Banditskiy Peterburg: Advokat" (2000)". 2006-02-27. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 
  71. ^ "Brat (1997)". 1998-04-16. Retrieved 2009-01-06. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Saint Petersburg (Russia) article)

From Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg (Санкт-Петербу́рг Sankt-Peterburg; [1]) is Russia's second largest city, with a population of 4.7 million perched at the eastern tip of of the Baltic Sea and the Neva River. The city was formerly known as Petrograd (Петрогра́д), and later Leningrad (Ленингра́д).

The Hermitage and the Winter Palace across the Neva River
The Hermitage and the Winter Palace across the Neva River
Saint Petersburg is nicknamed the 'Venice of the North'
Saint Petersburg is nicknamed the 'Venice of the North'

Founded by Peter the Great, the former home of the Czars and the center of Russian culture, Saint Petersburg was known as "The Venice of the North" in its heyday. Rechristened Petrograd during the first World War, the city was renamed Leningrad in 1924 in honor of the communist revolutionary, V.I. Lenin. Bombed, blockaded and starved during World War II, the city took a back seat to Moscow during the Soviet era.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the city has been rapidly making up for lost time and is by far the most cosmopolitan of Russia's cities. Renamed once more in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union, most Russians know it as Piter (Питер), a familiar diminutive of Saint Petersburg.

  • Last 10 days of June is a hard time to reserve accommodation and transport: many people come for White Nights during the longest days of the year. Book early.

Get in

Russian visa requirements are complex. See the Get In section of the article on Russia for information.

By plane

Pulkovo Airport (IATA: LED | ICAO: ULLI) [2] serves a wide variety of destinations both international and domestic. Terminal 1 serves domestic flights, while Terminal 2 is for international connections. The airport is located approximately 17 kilometers south from the center.

Getting from airport to the city

Taxis at Terminals 1 and 2 have now joined a structured pricing scheme based on geographic zones, and taxis can be ordered from the service booth in the arrivals hall (Terminal 1 - before baggage claim; Terminal 2 - by the exit door to the street). The fixed price for a taxi to the central district (Nevsky Prospekt/Hermitage area) is 600 RUB, for example, plus luggage surcharges. Traffic is usually quite heavy in the city, so plan on about two hours minimum during the day to get to the city by car. Those who speak Russian and have a cell phone can order a taxi by phone for a lower price than the taxis at the airport. Companies such as 068 or 6000000 (which are also their respective phone numbers) charge about 500-550 RUB for a trip to the city center/Hermitage area. The operator will take the order, then call you back to tell you the license plate number and color/model of the taxi that will meet you. They will also tell you the fare in advance, so there is no need to haggle. If calling from the airport arrival hall, it will take about 15-20 minutes for the taxi to arrive.

A cheaper option is to take a bus to the nearest Metro station, Moskovskaya, which will cost you only 18 RUB (Bus 39 to/from terminal-1, bus 13 to/from terminal-2). From there you can go to any station on the Saint Petersburg Metro for a 20 RUB (.80 USD) token. Private bus companies also operate full-size buses, which often have more space for large luggage, from Pushkinskaya Metro via Moskovskaya Metro to both airport terminals for about 100 RUB per person.

Getting to airport from the city

6000000 company has a fixed rate of 750 RUB from the central district (Nevsky Prospekt/Hermitage area). 068 company's fixed price is about 500 RUB from the central district.

Airport facilities

  • Chillout Lounge (Зал отдыха), 3rd floor. Newly renovated, perfectly airconditioned and equipped with automatic coffee machine, some juice and simple snacks, chocolate vending machine, several TVs, several TV-DVD player combos, internet cafe, and even an electric fireplace--all included into base price. For extra charge, there's a shower room (220 RUB). Wifi is the same (BeelineWifi) as elsewhere, not free. Entry fee: 680 RUB per person pays for 3 hours of stay.
Some airlines (e.g. S7) provide free stay to passengers of delayed flights. Shower is not reimbursed, but if you have a personal towel and bathing set, you don't need to ask anyway.
  • Children playroom is a part of Chillout Lounge.
  • VIP Lounge: for 24 hours-long stay, it's 4600 RUB if you pay for immediate stay; 3600 RUB if you book at least 24 hours in advance.
  • Wifi: paid, provided by BeelineWifi. Free access also available and working (nov 2009).
  • Toilets: Good facilities. Look up when you want to see your fellow toilet visitors, there is a mirror!

By train

Saint Petersburg is a major rail hub. The 5-hour train ride from Helsinki (Finland) is one of the most comfortable ways to reach the city. Trains also connect to destinations in the Baltics and Central Europe. Alternatively, you can head inland to Moscow.

There are five principal stations:

Note: Varshavskii Station (Варшавский вокзал) is now closed, trains to/from Poland arrive at the Baltic or Vitebsk Stations.

Until recently, you could only buy a ticket for a Russian train at a train station, but now you can purchase an electronic train ticket.

From Finland

The Finnish VR Group provides excellent information on train travel from Finland to St Petersburg [3]. There are two daily departures from Helsinki. The morning departure, on the Sibelius, is a Finnish train with Finnish crew, while the afternoon Repin departure is a Russian train with Russian crew. Tickets can be purchased through some travel agencies and at major VR [4] train stations in Finland, but cannot be purchased online. Border crossing formalities are handled on board the train, and currency exchange is available. Beginning in 2010, the high-speed Allegro rail service between Helsinki and St Petersburg will come into service, cutting the travel time from five and a half hours to three hours.

From Moscow

It takes 4.5 hours to get from St Petersburg to Moscow on Express (day-time) train. Mobile networks coverage is poor along the way, so don't expect to make long calls. Starting in December 2009, the Sapsan trains are expected to trim the time to Moscow to 3h 45min.

By bus

The cheapest, although by no means the most comfortable way of reaching Saint Petersburg from neighboring countries are long distance buses. Buses from Belarus, Ukraine, Germany, Finland, the Baltic states and Scandinavia stop at the main bus station (Avtovokzal).

Metro: Ligovskii Prospekt (far away from metro).

Two private bus companies also run overnight routes to and from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as to Belarus and the Ukraine:

  • Ecolines [5]: has daily departures to Riga with stops at Luga, Pskov, and Ostrov as well as twice-weekly service to Minsk, Belarus and Kiev, Ukraine. From Riga, one can easily find connections to Poland and from there to most countries of Western and Central Europe. Tickets can be purchased online or through their Saint Petersburg Office at Pod'ezdniy pereulok 3 near Metro Pushkinskaya from 10AM-8PM. Tel: +7 812 314 2550, +7 901 300 6170. Ecolines buses depart from Vitebskii vokzal (near Metro Pushkinskaya) and the Bus Station (Avtovokzal)
  • Eurolines [6] has multiple daily departures to Tallinn with a stop in Narva. They also maintain a daily route to Riga from which buses to most of Western and Central Europe can be found. Connections can also be made to the Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova from Riga and/or Vilnius. Tickets can be purchased online (although their website is rather difficult to navigate) or at their Petersburg office at Mitrofanjevskoe Shosse 2-1, near Metro Baltiskii. Tel: +7 (812) 438 28 39. Eurolines buses depart from Metro Baltiskii.

By boat

Summer cruises and ferry services from Helsinki, Finland and Tallinn, Estonia appear and disappear at irregular intervals, often at short notice. Check with Kristina Cruises [7] if they're running this year.

Passenger boats also operate on the inland waterway "Volga-Baltic" which links Moscow, the River Volga and Lakes Onega, Ladoga and Neva.

To get out, you could try your luck for Freighter travel, although the port is very large. It would be easier if you have connections in the port. Try to find a dispatcher [8].

Nearly all the major cruise lines (Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Carnival, Celebrity, etc.) offer a Scandinavia/St. Petersburg itinerary, and most stay overnight to allow shore excursions to Moscow. Azamara has itineraries that dock for three days/two nights.

Get around


Most means of transportation stop functioning at night. The subway is closed from 12:00AM until 05:45AM; transfers between lines close (and open) at this time, while the departure of the last (and the first) trains from each station varies slightly. Taxis are available 24/7, but are much costlier at night. In Petersburg, however, every private vehicle is a potential taxi. Flagging down a vehicle and paying for a ride somewhere is perfectly normal in Russia and quite popular although ill-advised for tourists. Safety is of course an issue. As a rule you should never get in a private cab if it already has passengers inside. Also, refuse driver's requests to take on more fares while you haven't yet reached your destination; if he insists, ask to stop at a safe-looking place, pay and leave. If the driver stops for gas, step out of the car, along with your belongings, and get some fresh air while he is fueling it. Women traveling alone (and men, for that matter) should feel free to wave off any suspicious ride for any reason whatsoever. According to the city police, crimes involving gypsy cabs are one of the most common types of crime against Western tourists in St. Petersburg. Gypsy cabs which linger near popular bars and restaurants at night have been known to be especially dangerous, with several instances of druggings and robberies in the past year or so.

At night the city is divided in two by the Neva; all the main bridges are drawn up to allow for boat traffic, except during the winter, when ice makes the river impassable. Remember to make it to your side of the river in time; otherwise, you could find yourself stuck on the wrong side until early morning. One bridge - Volodarsky - closes once per night from around 3:45AM to 4:15AM to permit crossing. Most of others are up between 1:45AM and 5:15AM; see below for details. The Big Obukhovski bridge is not drawn up, as it is an important part of Saint Petersburg Ring Highway.

The folowing table represents a drawn schedule of Saint Petersburg bridges in 2009 (actual since 15 April):

Bridge Drawn (AM)
first second
The bridges over Neva
Volodarsky Bridge 02:00—03:45 04:15—05:45
Finland Railway Bridge 02:20—05:30  
Alexander Nevsky Bridge 02:20—05:10  
Piter the Great Bridge (former Bolsheokhtinsky Bridge) 02:00—05:00  
Liteyny Bridge 01:50—04:40  
Trinity Bridge (former Kirov bridge) 01:40—04:50  
The bridges over Bolshaya Nevka
Sampsonievsky Bridge 02:10—02:45 03:20—04:25
Grenader Bridge 02:45—03:45 03:20—04:50
Kantemirovsky Bridge 02:45—03:45 04:20—04:50
The bridges over Malaya Neva
Exchange Bridge 02:00—04:55  
Tuchkov Bridge 02:00—02:55 03:35—04:55
The bridges over Bolshaya Neva
Palace Bridge 01:25—04:55  
Blagoveshchensky Bridge (former Lieutenant Schmidt Bridge) 01:25—02:45 03:10—05:00
St. Petersburg Metro
St. Petersburg Metro

Saint Petersburg's metro [9] is the second largest underground railway system in Russia, second only to Moscow. The subway is arguably the cheapest and most effective way to get around the city, and also a major tourist attraction in itself thanks to the beautiful decorations of the stations. Taking pictures was prohibited in the past, but recently this restriction has been removed.

The trains are fast and run frequently (during rush hours, intervals go as low as 30 seconds between trains). Since 2009, the metro costs 20 rubles per entry regardless of the distance. Brass tokens (жетон – zheton) can be purchased from kiosks at station entrances and vending machines, and it's good to stock up in advance, since queues can be long and they occasionally even run out of tokens.

Metro maps can be found in every train car, often with station names in the Latin alphabet. Names on station walls, however, are in Cyrillic, so if you are unfamiliar with the language, it may make sense to "count the stops" to your destination or keep your ears open, the conductor will let you know what station you are on. The Saint Petersburg metro can be unbelievably crowded during rush hour. Traveling during this time is a risky kind sport and one should avoid unnecessary journeys if not used to big crowds. Be aware of your belongings and don't be afraid to push when you arrive at your stop!

By tram

A more scenic, but slower way to see Saint Petersburg is by tram (трамвай). In recent years, due to traffic troubles, some tram lines were removed from the centre of the city. They cost 18 RUR and solds by a conductor sitting in the tram.

By bus or trolleybus

Buses (автобус) and trolleybuses (троллейбус) are cheap (19 Rubles) and frequent. Tickets are sold by a conductor sitting in the bus. Every bus has its own conductor. If the conductor is absent, then tickets are sold by the driver. However, buses and trolleys on main routes are frequently overcrowded. Buses to suburbs cost 18 or 32 RUR within the territory of St. Peterburg (Zelenogorsk, Lomonosov and others). If you do not hold a valid ticket you will be fined, but only 100 RUR.

By route taxi

Route taxi (маршрутка - marshrutka) is sometimes the fastest way to get somewhere. Taxis are 14-20 seat vans, usually white or yellow, always with a letter K and route number plate (K-28). Often they are small Chinese or Turkish buses. There are no regular stops; you must tell the driver when you want to get out, or wave while on the roadside to stop one. You must pay to the driver at entry, usually from 20 to 27 RUR. If you cannot reach the driver on your own, pass the money through the other passengers and be ready to pass other's money if you sit close to the driver. The Marshrutka experience may seem exciting sometimes, especially when you see some brave driver counting change while steering with his knees at 70 mph. Many marshrutka drivers are illegal immigrants and speak Russian poorly (if any at all).

By local train

A local train (электричка - electrichka) may be a good substitute for metro in which places, where is a metro stations absent. Within city borders one way ticket costs 20 RUB and solds in a ticket office at every railway stations. Train run fast, but with a big intervals (one or two trains for a one direction). So it's desirable to consult beforehand a timetable at a railway station or at carrier company site (unfortunately Russian only; click a one of central railway station when select departure station on a opened map).


The Historic Center of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments are UNESCO world heritage[10], so definitely worth your while. However, due to plans of the city to build a 403m high Gazprom skyscraper , UNESCO is considering to withdraw this listing. Most of citizens disputes against this plans, but local authority stays deaf to them.

The Hermitage Museum
The Hermitage Museum
  • The Hermitage Museum/The Winter Palace [11] is Saint Petersburg's prime attraction, a massive palace-cum-museum showing the highlights of a collection of over 3,000,000 pieces spanning the globe. The Hermitage is truly one of the world's great museums, with an imposing setting displaying priceless works by Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Michealangelo, Reubens and more. It is recommended, though not required!, to get a tour guide. They can charge as much as $100 but they can tell you more about the building and the items and take you directly to the items you want to see.
Ticketing is complex, but the Hermitage itself is 100 rubles for Russians and 350 rubles for foreigners. Students of all nationalities get in for free, but don't forget your student card with photo! Entrance is free on the first Thursday of every month. Bags aren't allowed in the museum (and while technically neither are cameras without the appropriate ticket, they never check the photo-permission tickets so it's not worth buying them), so stash them in the busy cloakroom.

Getting into the Hermitage

Advice for foreigners visiting the Hermitage Museum: Find a tour group. This may have changed, call the museum ahead of time to find out.: Entry fee is 200 rubles instead of 350, and includes the photography fee and a whistle-stop tour of the museum (but note the free entry for students). Don't accept a tour from the numerous touts hanging around the queue. Instead, march past the queue and in through the main entrance, or the exit opposite if the queue's blocking the entrance (don't worry, you're not queue-jumping). Have a scout around for notices with museum tour times in your native language, or in extreme circumstances, ask at the desk. If you find a good candidate, you're all set to go to the Tours Office to book yourself on it. This is where things get slightly surreal. To get to the Tours Office from the main entrance, go forward past the cashiers, and turn left down the corridor. The Tours Office is in front of you at the end, and may or may not be marked. Get yourself a place on your tour, collect the bit of paper, go to cashier No. 5 (who is not with the rest of them, instead turn left out of the Tours Office and she's in a box at the end of the corridor), pay, get your paper stamped, take it back to the Tours Office and get it checked, stamped again and muttered over and then you're ready to brave the coat dungeon.

TIP - Buy tickets on-line before you go. Same price as the local ticket ($18 including photos), you just walk straight to the front of the queue. Hand your booking confirmation and passport to the lady at the information desk. She will get the ticket office to check your details and issue the tickets. Easily saved us hours of time, June 2009.

  • Russian Museum, Inzhenernaya Ul. 4 (Across Ploshad Isskustv from the Grand Europe Hotel), 595 42 48, [12]. 10AM to 6PM daily ex. Tuesday. An extensive collection of Russian paintings and sculpture. The main building, the Mikhailovskiy Palace houses the main exhibits, and the Russian Museum also oversees the permanent and temporary exhibits at the Stroganov Palace, Marble Palace and Mikhailovskiy Castle. Tickets to each can be purchased separately or as a universal pass. Foreigners 350 RR, Russians 150 RR.  edit
  • Peter and Paul Fortress. You can go in for free, but to enter the church and exhibitions you need tickets. You can get a combo ticket for everything, or you can just enter the church. Other than the church, which is where the all of the Romanov Czars of Russia from Peter the Great (bar two or three) are buried, the other things on the island aren't terribly impressive, so it might be worth it to just see the church. Note that if you buy a combo ticket for everything, you still need to have a 'special ticket' for a lot of exhibitions within the fortress!
  • The Admiralty, North end of Nevsky Prospekt (Next to the Hermitage). Not open to visitors, but worth seeing from the outside.  edit
Bridges by night
Bridges by night
  • The bridges on the Neva [13]. Open 2 times per night to allow boats to pass.
  • Ethnographic Museum, (Next to the Russian Museum Mikhailovskiy Palace). An interesting and educational display of the traditions and costumes of various ethnic groups found in the lands of the former Russian Empire. Foreigners 350 RR, Russians 100 RR.  edit
  • Alexander Nevskiy Monastery. Located at the Eastern end of Nevskiy Prospekt next to the River Neva. The site also has the Tikhvin Cemetery which houses the tombs of some of the world's most famous composers; Tschaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky and Borodin, and also the author Fyodr Dostoevsky, along with many other famous Russian figures.
  • Museum of Artillery, Combat Engineers and Signal Troops. Housed in old Arsenal fortress-like building near the Peter and Paul Fortress and surrounded by moat.
  • Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, Canal Griboedova, 2a (Between Nevsky Prospekt and the Neva), (812) 315-16-36. 10am to 8pm daily ex. Wed. A traditional style Russian church built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881. The interior is elaborately decorated with over 6000sqm of mosaics. Foreigners 300 RR, Russians 120 RR.  edit
  • Our-Lady-of-Kazan Cathedral (Казанский собор, Kazansky Sobor), Nevsky Prospekt and Canal Griboedova (Metro: Nevsky Prospekt). Impressive neoclassical exterior, richly decorated interior. Includes the tomb of Gen. Kutuzov, hero of the war of 1812. Free entry.  edit
  • Saint Isaac's Cathedral, St. Isaac's Square, 4, (812) 315-97-32. 11am to 7pm daily ex. Wed. Located near to the Admiralty. It was built in 1818 and is a major attraction in the city. It is the third highest cupola cathedral in the world. There are night time visits, too, and the view from the observation deck (separate fee)is one of the best views of the city, for those who are willing to climb 400 steps. Foreigners 300 RR, Russians 120 RR.  edit
  • Peter the Great's Cabin. Peter the Great's men built the small wooden cabin in a matter of days for him when he planned the city and it has been preserved in a small brick building in the district Petrogradskaya. It is located close to the Cruiser Aurora on Petrovskaya Naberzhnaya.
The fountain in waters of Neva River at the spit of Vasilievsky Island
The fountain in waters of Neva River at the spit of Vasilievsky Island
  • Andreyevsky Cathedral, 6 line V.O., 11, +7 (812) 323-34-18, [14]. Perhaps the most beautiful religious building on the island, built in 1780. The main cupola is framed by three narrow towers, and is topped by a two-tiered belltower. The gilt, three-layered iconostasis inside is an impressive 17 meters tall.  edit
  • Church of the Assumption of Mary, Naberezhye Leitenanta Schmidta, 27. This five domed church was built in 1897. In 1935, as happened to many churches in Russia, it was converted by the Soviets into a warehouse, but in 1993 it was reopened for services. The ongoing careful renovations began in 1996.  edit
The Exchange Building and the south Rostral Column
The Exchange Building and the south Rostral Column
  • Exchange Building (Naval Museum), Birzhevaya Square, 4, +7 (812) 328-27-01 (, fax: +7 (812) 328-27-01), [15]. 11AM-6PM Tu-Su. The Exchange Building, which houses the Naval Museum, is the centerpiece of the Strelka ensemble. It was built in 1816 in the Neoclassical style. The Naval Museum, one of the largest in the world, contains historical displays of the Russian navy from its founding to the present day, including weaponry, models of ships, and even some original mastheads. Extensive World War II display, and also (not directly related to Naval history) a diorama box of the storming of the Winter Palace. Foreigners 320 rubles, Russians 90 rubles.  edit
  • Ivan Kruzenshtern Statue, Across from Naberezhye Leitenanta Schmidta, 17. A statue of Admiral Ivan Kruzenshtern, was built in 1870 in honor of the 100-year anniversary of the renowned Admiral's death.  edit
The Kunstkamera
The Kunstkamera
  • Kunstkamera (Room of Curiosities), Universitatskaya Embankment 3 (Close to the Palace Bridge; enter around the corner on Tamozhenny Pereulok), +7 (812) 328-07-12 (), [16]. 11AM-6PM Tu-Su, closed every last Tuesday of the month. This museum is primarily famous for its one-room freak show collection of 300 year-old deformed fetuses in formaldehyde (of which you are not allowed to take pictures). The rest of the museum consists of trinkets from various world cultures (over one million exhibits). It's of interest mainly as it is the oldest state museum in Russia, established by Peter the Great in 1704—consequently it has a very dated feel. Foreigners 200 rubles, Russians 100 rubles.  edit
The Menshikov's Palace
The Menshikov's Palace
  • Menshikov Palace, Universitatskaya Embankment 15, +7 (812) 323-11-12. 10:30AM-5:30PM Tu-Su. Operated by the Hermitage, this museum displays some art and an exhibition on life in the early 18th century, in a palace built for the first governor of St. Petersburg, and before him Peter the Great. The Baroque palace was built in 1721, and was one of the first grand stone constructions of the city. Look especially for the grand staircase, and the Walnut, Naval, and Chinese rooms.  edit
  • Mikhail Lomonosov Statue, Mendeleevskaya St. A statue of the famous 18th century Russian Renaissance man himself, famous for his contributions to mathematics, literature, painting, natural science, chemistry, physics, mineralogy, history, philology, and art.  edit
  • Mining Institute Museum, 21st line V.O., 2, +7 (812) 321-40-82 (, fax: +7 (812) 327-73-59), [17]. By appointment for group tours only. One of the largest and oldest geological museums in the world, containing more than 230 thousand items, collected from more than 80 countries. Even if you don't make it inside on a tour, it's worth passing by to admire it's imposing 1811 Imperial-style facade.  edit
  • Narodovolets (the People's Will) Submarine D-2, Shkipersky protok, 10, +7 (812) 356-52-66 (), [18]. W-Su 11AM-5:15PM. A small museum aboard a WWII submarine, dedicated to the actions of the submarine throughout the war (run by the Naval Museum).   edit
  • Naval Institute, Naberezhye Leitenanta Schmidta, 17. The oldest naval academy in Russia, founded by Peter the Great in 1701. Some of its most famous graduates include Ivan Kruzenshtern, Rimsky-Korsakov, and many others. The building was completely rebuilt in 1798.  edit
  • Rostral Columns. The first monuments you'll immediately notice on the Strelka, the Rostral Columns are yet another symbol of the city. Constructed in 1810, the columns are each adorned with six rostra (traditionally, the prows of captured ships), symbolizing the might of the Russian Baltic Fleet. At the base of the columns you'll see sculptures representing the great rivers of European Russia, the Volga, Dnieper, Neva, and Volkhov. In addition to their decorative purpose, the columns also served as lighthouses, and to this day the gas flames are lit on holidays.  edit
  • Rumyantsevsky Park and Obelisk, between the 1st and 2nd lines along Universitetskaya naberezhye. The big obelisk in the center of the park was moved here from Mars Field in honor of Count Peter Rumyantsev's victory in the Russo-Turkish War of 1791. On the southern end, look for two statues of the famous Russian painters Repin and Surikov.  edit
  • Russian Academy of the Arts, Universitetskaya naberezhye, 17, [19]. Russia's largest center for advanced study in the arts, founded by Lomonosov and Shuvalov, and was until the 20th century the only school of its kind in Russia. The impressive neoclassical building was built in 1788.  edit
  • Research Museum of the Academy of the Arts, (Inside the Academy of the Arts), +7 (812) 323-35-78, [20]. W-Su 11AM-6PM. A huge collection of drawings, prints, paintings of both Russian and Western artists, as well as casts and sculptures, all on display across three floors of the Academy. The models of great Petersburg architecture, of the Smolny Monastery, St Isaac's Cathedral, Mikhailovsky Castle, etc., are especially worth seeking out.  edit
  • Theban Sphinxes, (across the road from the Academy of the Arts). You wouldn't expect it, but these two granite sphinxes are three thousand years older than the city itself! They were excavated in 1820 in the temple of Amenhotep III near Thebes. Upon seeing them, the Russian writer and diplomat Muravyev wrote to the Tsar, and convinced him to purchase the statues for display in Petersburg. They were installed in 1834. Oddly enough, sphinxes seem to be popular in the city—there are another six made by Russian sculptors lurking about.  edit
  • The Twelve Colleges, Universitetskaya naberezhye, 7/9. One of Domeniko Trezini's many neoclassical buildings in Petersburg, built in 1742. The ensemble is comprised of twelve identical, connected, three-story buildings. The main facade faces Mendeleevskaya St, rather than the Neva, because at the time of construction, there was a canal in place of the street, across from which was the main market on the island. Today the ensemble houses the Geological and Agricultural departments, as well as Admissions.  edit
  • Zoological Museum, Universitetskaya naberezhye, 1, +1 (812) 328-01-12 (, fax: +1 (812) 328-29-41), [21]. 11AM-6PM daily. A wild lesson in taxidermy, the museum contains over 17 million species, stuffed, mounted, and fossilized (although due to constraints of finitude, the building "only" displays some 500 thousand). The collection began at the Kunstkammer, and grew into its enormous state under the later Imperial period. You won't have to look hard, but look for the complete blue whale skeleton, as well as the world's only stuffed mammoth.  edit

May 9, Veterans Parade
May 9, Veterans Parade

Opera and Ballet

No trip to St. Petersburg is complete without seeing an opera or ballet performance. The Mariinsky is perhaps the most well-known institution, but it is by no means the only theater in the city. Tickets are sold throughout the city at kiosks and shops called Teatralnaya Kassa, which charge a nominal (usually about 20 RR) fee for "insurance," which is theoretically optional. The theater box offices themselves sell tickets directly, too, and usually for the same price. Sometimes blocks of tickets sell out at the kiosks but tickets are still available at the theater, or vice versa, so it is worth checking both places if you have your heart set on a particular performance. It is possible to take not-so-small children into some performances if you take a private box, although you will need to ask when you buy your tickets.

  • Mariinsky Theater, Theater Square 1, 326 41 41, [22]. The Mariinsky Theater (formerly the Kirov, which is the name the troupe still uses when touring abroad) is world-class for both opera and ballet. There are English supertitles for operas sung in Russian; operas in other languages have Russian supertitles. Performances are offered in two halls: the main theater, and the newly-built Mariinsky Concert Hall. Tickets can be purchased on the theater's website.  edit
  • Mikhailovskiy Theater, Ploshad Isskustv 1 (Between the Russian Museum and the Grand Hotel Europe), 595 43 05. The exterior is not as recognizable as the Mariinsky, but the interior is nearly as grand, and the theater hosts both Russian and foreign headliners in opera and ballet.  edit
  • St. Petersburg Opera, Galernaya Ul. 33 (West of the Bronze Horseman), (812) 312 3982 (), [23]. An intimate theater (half-sized stage, and only about 150-200 audience seats) which puts on the major repertory operas at a lower price than the major theaters and has a fascinating foyer - one has to see it to believe it.  edit
  • Conservatory Theater, Theater Square 3 (Across the street from the Mariinsky Theater). While the hall itself is not lavish - quite sterile, really - a good option for seeing Russian and repertory operas cheaply, performed by faculty and students of the conservatory where Tchaikovsky (and many other famous figures from the Russian music world) studied.  edit


The music scene in St. Petersburg is diverse, with several classical, jazz, and pop concerts to choose from each week. Tickets are available at the same Teatralnaya Kassa locations as ballet and opera tickets, although tickets to pop concerts - especially US and European stars on tour - sometimes use exclusive distributors. For pop and rock concerts, unless you buy tickets for the dance floor (tanzpol), you are expected to sit quietly in your seat as if you were at a ballet - ushers are vigilant about keeping the audience from standing up, dancing, or cheering (polite applause is allowed, but that's about all).

Several of the ballet and opera theaters above also offer orchestral and recital performances, so those are not repeated below. Also, don't forget the many small clubs where up and coming bands play.

  • St. Petersburg Philharmonic Grand Hall, Mikhailovskaya Ul. 2 (Entrance across from the Grand Hotel Europe). A world-class orchestra which records and tours abroad. The Small Hall (Maliy Saal) hosts excellent chamber music performances and recitals.  edit
  • St. Petersburg Philharmonic Small Hall, Nevsky Prospekt 30 (Next to the Metro station on Nevsky Prospekt). The Small Hall (Maliy Saal) of the Philharmonic hosts excellent chamber music performances and recitals.  edit
  • Jazz Philharmonic Hall, Zagorodny Pr. 27 (South of Nevsky Prospekt, use Vladimirskaya Metro Station). Offers a variety of jazz performances several times per week.  edit
  • Ice Palace (Ledoviy Dvorets), (At Prospekt Bolshevikov Metro Station). One of several sports arenas that also serves as a concert hall for pop and rock concerts.  edit
  • Oktyabrskiy Concert Hall, Ligovskiy Prospekt 6 (Near Ploshad Vosstaniya). Pop and rock concerts in an auditorium close to the city center.  edit


Most cinemas in St. Petersburg show Hollywood films dubbed (often quite poorly) in Russian. DVDs of American/European films are also often dubbed. There have been crackdowns on sellers of bootleg DVDs, so it may be difficult or expensive to find DVDs in English these days. There are several DVD stores in the city - often near Metro stations - and it is worth asking about films in English.

Annual Message to Man [24] international documentary, short, and animated films festival takes place in June or July, screening many films in English.

  • Dom Kino, 12 Karavannaya Ulitsa (Near Gostiniy Dvor Metro Station), 314 56 14. Sometimes shows films in their original language.  edit
  • Avrora Cinema, Nevksy Prospekt 60.  edit

Canal boat tours

A tour of the canals by boat is a great way to see the city in the summer. The typical tour is through the Moika, out to the Neva to see the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Cruiser Aurora, then in through the Fontanka (sometimes as far as the Mariinsky Theater). Tours start at many points along the route and return to their starting point - hawkers for different boat companies abound - and the boats may or may not have a cafe and toilet on board. Almost all tours are in Russian. 400-600 Rubles seems to be the average price.

  • Anglotourismo Boat Tours, Fontanka Embankment 21, +7 921 989 47 22, [25]. Canal boat tours in English, departing from near the Anichkov Bridge (Nevksy Prospekt and Fontanka) in season (May 2 - Sept 30).  edit


Universities and private schools offer Russian language courses (individual and group tuition).

  • CREF - Centre of Russian, English & French Studies, [26]. Private language school in Saint Petersburg, Moscow & Nizhni-Novgorod.   edit
  • Center of Russian Language and Culture, [27]. Saint Petersburg State University, Smolniy Campus.  edit
  • Department of Philology/SPSU, [28]. Saint Petersburg State University on Vassilevskiy Island.  edit
  • EducaCentre, [29]. Private school in Saint Petersburg  edit
  • Language Studio, [30]. Private school in Saint Petersburg.  edit
  • Liden & Denz, [31]. Private school in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.  edit
  • ProBa Language Centre, [32]. Private school in Saint Petersburg.  edit
  • Study in Russia (Russian language courses), [33]. Provides details on education in Russia, preparatory training in university, and Russian language courses  edit
  • School of Russian and Asian Studies, [34]. Schools in major Russian cities.  edit


There are plenty of ATMs and legit currency exchange booths. ATM and big shops accepts usually following kind of card: Visa, Visa Electron, MasterCard, MasterCard Electronic and Maestro. Other card (e.g. American Express) accepted rarely. Do not exchange money on the street: the rate won't be any better, and you run a high risk of encountering any of numerous scams.

Apraksin Dvor is closed to reconstruction at end of 2008

  • Apraksin Dvor (Апраксаин двор) — The Apraksin Market (Apraksin Dvor) is perfect for people watching, but keep your purse and camera close since it is a favorite of both shoppers and pickpockets. You can find almost anything here.
  • Gostiny Dvor (Гостиный двор) — The city's oldest and largest shopping centre, dating to the mid-18th century. The name means "Merchant Yard", as its old role was to provide both shops and housing to merchants from far away. It sells almost everything from Playstations to Saint Petersburg Vodka. The prices of goods are the highest in St.Petersburg.
  • Nevsky Prospekt (Невский проспект) — Saint Petersburg's Champs-Élysées, lined with department stores and fancy shops. A recommended shop for souvenir hunters is Nevsky Gifts on the corner of the road entering Palace Square.
  • Passazh (Пассаж) — The Harrods of Saint Petersburg, a smaller and very beautiful shopping center for the elite.
  • Souvenirs Market sells a huge variety of cheap souvenirs from Matroyshka (матрёшка) dolls to Soviet Memorabilia. It can be found behind the Church of the Saviour next to the Griboedova Canal. There are also some souvenir stalls in the square across from St. Isaacs Cathedral.



Nothing, absolutely nothing, tastes better than hot Russian crepes with caviar, mushrooms, caramel, berries, or what have you with a cup of tea on a cold winter street.

  • Chainaya Lozhka (Чайная ложка), Several locations (Nevsky Pr. 44 is one of the most centrally located). These fast-food restaurants serve blini (Russian crepes) with a variety of fillings - you choose your own at the counter. They also have a wide selection of teas.  edit
  • Teremok (Теремок), Several locations. This blini chain began with street-corner kiosks throughout the city (many are quite easy to find), and they have expanded to include counter-service restaurants serving not only blini, but also kasha, salads, and other quick, inexpensive fare. Some central locations are Bolshaya Morskaya Ul. 11, Nevsky Pr. 60, and Nevsky Pr. 106. The restaurants have menus in English if you ask. 100-300 rubles for a filling meal.  edit
  • Samovar (Самовар), Ulitsa Gorokhovaya 27, 314-39-45. This neighborhood blini shop makes blini as good as homemade (so says a native Russian blini-maker). Choose from a wide range of fillings and have your tasty blini made fresh; also has a decent selection of tea. Better lunch than any of the chains. No English; but you can just point at the fillings on the counter if you don't want to bother translating the menu with your guide book. 20 rubles for a blin.  edit
  • U Tyoshi Na Blinakh (У тёщи на блинах), Several locations. Cafeteria-style Russian and Ukrainian food for a reasonable price with faux-rustic decor, not like a Soviet-era stolovaya. Has more than blini: soups, salads, meat dishes, desserts, etc. Those who know the Mu-Mu chain in Moscow will recognize this, although on a smaller scale. One location is near Sennaya Ploshad.  edit
  • St. Petersburg, kan. Griboyedova 7 or 9. Good and cheap food in the very centre (next to the "Saviour on the Spilled Blood" church). Pay attention, there are two restaurants called St. Petersburg next to each other and the second one is more expensive. 45 rubels for a Borsch soup, 140-200 rubels for a main dish, side dishes 35 rubels.  edit
Saint Michael's Castle by night
Saint Michael's Castle by night
  • 1,001 Nights (Тысяча и одна ночь), ул. Миллионная, 21. noon-23:00 daily, live music & belly dancing F-Su 20:00-23:00. This would be but an ordinary undistinguished Uzbek restaurant, were it not within one block of the Winter Palace. Given location, the place is spectacular in that it maintains decent service and very good food. 300-500 rubles.  edit
  • Acquarel, (next to the Birzhevoy bridge), +7 (812) 320-8600. Right on the water, this restaurant offers Italian food alongside a French/Asian fusion menu. Friendly people, delightful atmosphere, and a wonderful view, Acquarel is a wonderful and delicious dinner option or even a great place to relax and get a drink in their lounge chairs.  edit
  • Cafe Old Tbilisi (кафе Старый Тбилиси), В.О. 4-я линия, 5 (near the Vasilieostrovskaya metro station). 11:00-23:00 daily. You'll probably be the only foreign visitor to this small unassuming place on Vasilievsky Island, but the great Georgian food is absolutely worth the short metro trip. The quality for the price here is just outstanding. 650 rubles.  edit
  • Caravan-Sarai (Караван-Сарай), ул. Некрасова, 1, +7 (812) 272-7153. In a city with plenty of Uzbek food, this may outshine the competition. Not for the service or the decor, but for the very long menu of top-notch Uzbek cooking. 400-600 rubles.  edit
  • Gin-no Taki (Гин-но Таки), пр. Чернышевского, 17. 11:00-06:00 daily. A very reasonably priced Japanese chain restaurant just across the street from the Chernyshevskaya metro station. The interior is very stylish, even if the fashion shows on the TVs are a bit much, and you can control your service with the aid of a call button. The food is good, but the sodas might be even better—free refills! It's also a very solid choice for a place to unwind late-night after a wild night. 150-400 rubles.  edit
  • Gastronom (ресторан Гастроном), наб. реки Мойки, д. 7 (close to Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood; вход с Марсового поля), (812) 314-3849 (), [35]. Sun-Thu: 12PM-12AM; Fri, Sat: 12PM-3AM. Excellent desserts (Tiramissu is really great); good reviews for dinner. Wide selection of international fare: Thai, Italian, Russian, steaks. Rare place with 5 varieties of Caesar salad. Outdoor terrace is comfortable for a baby stroller, but closes before late Sept. Simple salads average at 200, sophisticated salads 300-400. Most soups are at 200. Pasta 300-400. Mains average at 350-400..  edit
  • Jan Jak (Жан-Жак Руссо), Ул. Марата д.10 (very close to Moskovsky vokzal), +7(812)315-49-03. Decent lower-end French cuisine. Nothing-special breakfasts: either omlet or croissant or kasha.  edit
  • Kafe Ket, 22 Ul. Stremyannaya. In a country where only 1% of the population is reported to eat out in a restaurant more than once a year, Kafe Ket is a wonderful alternative to the pushy alternatives which have no place in the city other than to cater for the culinary whims of busloads of foreign tourists. This little restaurant serves probably the nicest Georgian food, menu in English.  edit
  • Kafe Tbilisi, Sytninskaya ul, 10 (Metro Gorkovskaya behind the market), +7 (812) 232-9391. Georgian food. The dishes prepared in pots are excellent.  edit
  • The Idiot (Идиот), 82, Moika Emb, +7 (812) 315-1675. Named after the Dostoyevsky novel, and offering a wide variety of very tasty vegan, vegetarian, and seafood dishes at prices higher than what you'd expect. All served in a very cozy and attractive cellar stocked with books, ex-pats, and intellectuals.  edit
  • Montana Saloon, 20, Kirochnaya str. or 19, Izmailovsky pr. American cuisine, wonderful steaks (best in S-Petersburg), good wine and pleasant atmosphere. A bit expensive (the best steak costs 850 rubles), but it is worth it.  edit
  • Fasol na Gorokhovoy (Фасоль на Гороховой). Until 1am; kitchen closes at 11:30pm. Artictic minimalism interior; creative fusion cuisine. Avg bill: 1000rub per person (3 courses).  edit
  • Harbin, ул. Жуковского, 34/2. 12:30-23:30 daily. Chinese in Saint Petersburg is often better than in most parts of Europe. This restaurant is cozy and overcrowded (show up early or late if you want to ensure that you get a table), and has an extraordinarily long and complex menu. If you don't have a native speaker with you, it's a must to bring a food dictionary, since otherwise you'll have no idea what you are ordering! 800 rubles.  edit
  • Giuseppe Park (Парк Джузеппе), 2B Canal Griboyedova (just next to Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood and Russian Museum), (812) 571-7309; (812) 973-0943, [36]. 11am-1am. One of the rare cases when a prominent location doesn't a tourist trap nor exorbitant prices. Excellent Italian food in a white nearly-luxury setting. In peak hours, choose easier-to-cook dishes to minimize risk of mistake. Great gaspacho, "quatro formagio" pizza. Good for a late breakfast as well (although no breakfast-time menu: only omlets, 170rub). Heated outdoor terrace open until at least end of Sep. No wifi, for reason: it's a place to eat :) Average bill per person: 1500 rub (3 courses, no alcohol).  edit
  • Mama Roma, [37]. A chain of Italian restaurants; free wifi. Malaya Konyushennaya, 4/2: outdoor terrace is open heated until at least end of Sep; terrace perfect with toddler: spacious enough for baby strollers; has children-safe wide couches.  edit
  • Oliva (Олива), 31 Bolshaya Morskaya ul.. Kitchen closes at 11:30pm. Greek restaurant with a genuine Greek chef; popular with expats.  edit
  • Oriental Express (restaurant/buffet) (Восточный Экспресс), ul. Marata 21 (close to Moskovsky train station), [38]. Tourists-oriented and doesn't hide it, the place has a good selection of traditional Russian dishes. Buffet and restaurant share the same building and kitchen and have few common dishes, but are otherwise very distant from each other (at least in prices). Restaurant: pozharskie cutlets are really great. Free wifi (ask waiter for instructions). Restaurant: salads 220..310; soups 210..340; mains: 310-540. Buffet: salads 80, soups 80-130, mains 130-190.  edit
  • Tepló (Тепло), B. Morskaya, 45 (close to Isaakiyevsky cathedral), (812) 570 19 74, [39]. Mon-Thu, Sun 9am-12am, Fri-Sat 1pm-1am. Great value for money. Very charming and personal. Fireplace in winter and courtyard with umbrellas and flowers in summer. Pleasant, cheerful and positive staff, including waitresses that much resembles Snow Whites. Lunch set menu from 1pm. Equally great for breakfast (from 9am, Mon-Fri only) with omlets, pancakes, a weekly rotation of kashas and fritters. Free wifi (ask waiter for instructions); childrens playroom; separate non/smokers; outdoor terrace open until at least end of Sep (no gas heaters). Same owners as a nearby Zoom Cafe. Dinner: average bill per person: 1000rub (three courses, no alcohol). Breakfasts: omlet 110, kashas 80, tea 90.  edit
  • Traveling Sack for a Pregnant Spy (Саквояж для беременной шпионки), ул. Б. Конюшенная, 17 (close to Kazansky cathedral), +7 (812) 570-06-37. M-F 11am-01am, kitchen closes at 11:30pm; Sa-Su noon-02am. A very fun Russian restaurant, that would be worth visiting as a gallery of weird spy-kitsch, but the food is also decent. No wifi. Average bill per person, no alcohol: 800 rubles.  edit
  • Vostochny Ugolok (Восточный уголок), Гороховая ул., 52 (close to Isaakievsky cathedral), (812) 713-57-47 (). 24 hours. Good-quality Caucasian cuisine in a vivid interior. Excellent shahlyki and manty. Average bill per person (3 courses): 1000 rub.  edit
  • Zazhigalka (Зажигалка), Невский проспект, дом 74 (Nevsky Prospekt 74) (Opposite McDonald's (Rubinshteyna Street), next to Red Tower Chinese Restaurant. Walking distance from Anichkov Bridge over Fontanka River), (812) 272-24057, [40]. 24 hours. Located just opposite McDonald's (the one near ul. Rubinshteyna), this restobar is open 24 hours a day. They serve business lunch from 12-5 PM with 3 options. Choose the 250 RUB one, it includes salad, soup, main meal, garnish (a.k.a side dish), berry drink, and bread. The 200 RUB option doesn't include soup and the 150 RUB doesn't include main course/garnish. Food was very good. Looked classy and tasted great. Very great cool, lounge feel atmosphere. Menus have English translation and several staffs can speak English. Great service too. Business lunch - 250 RUB.  edit
  • Zoom, Gorohovaja str. 22 (close to Isaakiyevsky cathedral), (812)448-5001, [41]. Until 24; last order until 22:30. Same owners as Tepló. About 1000rub per person (three courses, no alcohol).  edit
  • Austeria (Аустерия), Iohann Alley, Peter & Paul Fortress (Near the entrance to the fortress). 12:00-24:00. This restaurant, offering a very European setting with mostly Russian food of high quality, nabs a lot of tourists visiting the fortress. But nonetheless, the service and food remain phenomenal—while tourists are trapped here, it is no tourist trap. During off season (particularly in the snow) the place can be almost magical, as you get the beautiful restaurant to yourself. 1150 rubles.  edit
  • Baku, +7 (812) 941-37-56, +7 (812) 571-84-70, [42]. 12:00-02:00. One of the city's more impressive interiors, modeled after the palaces of the Shirvan Shahs (imagine eating in Sheki's Khan-Saray). Only opened in 2006, but has received rave reviews from all quarters since. A great place to try out Azeri cuisine. 1300 rubles.  edit
  • Grand Hotel Europe Restaurant. The Sunday Jazz Brunch here is a "Not to Miss" if you are looking for a real splurge. About $90 USD per person includes a full caviar spread and sushi bar in addition to the normal brunch fare (carving station, omelette station, salads, fruit, baked goods, desserts, the options are nearly endless). There is also bottomless champagne glasses (and the champagne is quite good) and a huge frozen ice sculpture that is tapped where you can refill your glass with iced vodka as many times as you'd like. The jazz is very good and the pace is relaxed and enjoyable. The only caveat: As with most Russian eateries, there is no non-smoking section, so if you are not a smoker, ask for table away from the majority or risk having to inhale cigarette smoke while you dine.
  • Kalinka-Malinka (Калинка-Малинка), ул. Итальянская, 5. Its an overdone and overpriced Russian-kitsch tourist trap for foreigners (Russians wouldn't be caught dead here). But if you're staying nearby, they'll treat you fine and you can eat some bear meat. 1400 rubles.  edit
  • Na Zdorovye! (На здоровье!), П.С. пр. Большой , 13/4 (3 blocks up Bolshoy Prospect from the Sportivnaya metro station). 12:00-23:00. This is the kitschiest kitchen in town, but it's no tourist trap, not by a long stretch. Its way off on the Petrograd Side north of the stadium, and is frequented mostly just by Russians, who come to enjoy the fun over-the-top decor, and the delightful "tastes just like babushka makes it" cooking. Sending the kitsch even further over that top are the performances of Russian/Gypsy folk music and singing 19:00-23:00 daily. Come here for a full meal or the vodka shots + zakuski, and you'll have a memorable night. 900 rubles.  edit
  • Sunduk (Сундук), ул. Фурштатская, 42. M-F 10:00-24:00 Sa-Su 11:00-24:00. A great, small, cozy, and very stylish brick-walled Russian restaurant, with excellent food, and good enough service. Live entertainment comes often, and is often surprisingly good—imagine sitting down and only then seeing a solo jazz guitarist sit down to play some beautiful music. It's been open for more than a decade, and there's a reason why it's a fixture of the local restaurant scene around Furshtatskaya. 850 rubles.  edit
  • Terrassa, Kazanskaya, 3 (Highest floor of shopping center behind Kazansky cathedral), [43]. Offers magnificent view to Kazansky cathedral from terasse. Pastries are well worth the price. Averages: soups 330-380 rub; salads 400-700 rub; pizza 500rub; mains 550..1000 rub; tiramisu 320rub.  edit



The city acts as a beer destination for Moscovites visiting StPete for business or vacation reasons--hence its pubs frequently have much wider choice of beers than an average pub in Moscow (not to mention other cities in Russia).

  • Bristol Pub, ul. Marata, 36/38. Very home-atmosphere and friendly.  edit
  • Dickens Pub, 108 Fontanka Canal (Near Sadovaya & Technologichesky Institute metro stations, just off Moskovsky-Fontanka bridge), +7-812-380-7888. Dickens Pub offers good service, great food, and a wide range of English and other international beers, with over 15 on tap. There are also many superior whiskeys too! A good place to eat and then mingle with the fun-loving locals. Be prepared for a party - especially on Fridays & Saturdays!  edit
  • Tower Pub, Ul. Bolshaya Konyushenaya 14 (Very close to the metro station Nevkij Prospekt), +7 (812) 315 14 31. Open 24 hours. The Tower Pub is a great place to rest, have a quick drink or stay for the whole evening. The bartenders are really nice, do speak English and are in for a chat (on a quiet night). It's located in the basement of a large building but the atmosphere is really nice. No live music.  edit
  • Gordon & MacPhail's Whisky Bar, Nekrasova St 9, +7 812 579 4059. Lovely place where you can have a couple of whiskeys and a pint in the evening. Lots of brands and a cosy atmosphere.  edit
  • Hemingway Bar (Хемингуэй-бар), ул. Ломоносова, 3, +7 (812) 310-7007, [44]. 12:00-05:00. A comfortable, big bar with upscale drinks and cooking. The biggest draw is the cool clientele and live performances: blues, jazz, R&B. One tip though, if you open the door to a DJ blaring Russkaya popsa—leave because you won't be able to hear yourself think. ~1400 rubles to eat.  edit
  • The Other Side Gastro Bar & Refuge, 1 Bolshaya Konyushennaya St (Metro: Nevsky Prospect; a 2-minute walk from The Church of Our Saviour on The Spilled Blood), +7-812-312-9554, [45]. Open 12PM-?; kitchen closes at 11pm on weekdays. A favored spot among foreign visitors and their local friends, The Other Side offers eclectic world food, a solid selection of drinks, fabulous background and live music (on weekends), friendly, relaxed service and a cool, classy atmosphere. Former Management from Red Lion. Great eclectic bands.  edit


Saint Petersburgers know how to party. There is a wide and excellent selection of great clubs that will satisfy all tourists looking to spend the night out. The city hosts clubs of all music. Rock, pop, jazz, hip hop/RnB, and a lot more. The most popular trend within music and clubbing in Russia at the moment is house/techno.

  • BubbleBar, Konushenaya sq. 2 (Metro: Nevski Prospect), [46]. call: +7-911-251-90-99. Athmospheric night club in the St.Petersburg center, next to Church of the Savior on Blood. There is a big concert hall where bands and djs performs, one more smaller room for dancing and lounge bar upstairs. Most interested culture program: Evening concerts of russian bands from disco to funk, from sinth pop to indie. Starts at 21:00. Best electronic performances and djs residents and guests from all over the world. Menus on English, English-speaking bartenders. The entry is 300 RUR on Fridays and Saturdays, with free entry all other days.'
  • Mod Club (Мод), Konushenaya sq. 2 (Metro: Nevski Prospect), [47]. Cult club in the St.Petersburg center, next to Church of the Savior on Blood. Two rooms - one where bands / DJ`s are playing, the second with a jukebox and comfortable sofas + cosy balcony. Very diverse music program: from raggae to punk/metal, but mostly rock. Friendly atmosphere. The crowd is combined of students, musicians, artists and expats. Design of the club is worth cheking out as well. Menus on English, English-speaking bartenders (looks like the owner only hires sexy girls for this position, not counting famous French barman Oliver). Great on Tuesday Nights when DJ Atomiq hosts famous Indie Disco. The entry is 150 RUR on Fridays and Saturdays, with free entry all other days.
  • Trinity Club - now defunct - (ex club two, club one, club zero) (Троица), Ul Lomonosova 5 (Metro: Gostiny Dvor), [48]. Highly advised on Saturday nights for the insane nu-rave/indie parties. The venue is situated in the very heart of the city in the building of XVIII century market. Club is packed with mostly young & crazy girls (during the first half hour of the eveing, girls can enter the club for free) dancing to DJ's mixing dance rock with electro. Two dancefloors, cheap alcohol, and control preventing stupid people from entering. Most of the crowd speaks at least a little English and are friendly. Entry 50-300 rubles, cheaper with guestlist thru their site ($7).
  • Underground (ex-Tunnel) (Undergeound), Zverinskaya Ul (Metro: Sportivnaya), [49]. Reputedly Russia's first techno club and certainly its most legendary, Tunnel is back after an extended shutdown. This unused bomb shelter isn't exactly pretty and the crush and "face control" at the entrance when the doors open at 12 midnight sharp are legendary, but the crowd and the DJs are worth it. Entry 250-350 rubles depending on who's playing.
  • Griboedov (Грибоедов), Voronezskaya Ul. 2 (Metro: Ligovsky), [50]. A suitably spaced out place for a club whose name can also be interpreted as "the mushroom eater" or a famous Russian's poet surname, the acts here are famously offbeat, especially on weekdays when you're as likely to find a poetry reading as live reggae or a DJ spinning psychedelic trance. Also hidden in an underground bomb shelter, open daily except Tuesday.
  • Metro Club (Метроклуб), 174 Ligovsky Pr (Metro: Ligovsky), [51]. Saint Petersburgs biggest club. Mostly for people from age 16 to 30. Entry prices vary from 180 RUR to 400 RUR depending on the time of arrival. The club is open between 10 PM and 6 AM every day. The club boosts 3 floors and 6 bars. The preferred music is techno, trance and house.
  • Central Station [52]. The biggest gay club in Saint Petersburg, it features three floors, plays a selection of house and disco music, performances of drag queens, a dark room and also contains St Petersburg's only all day sushi restaurant. Be aware that gays are not very accepted among the locals and are even targeted once in a while. It is not uncommon for people to wait outside to beat up clubgoers.

The previous gay favourite in St Petersburg was 'Greshniki's', which had a dungeon decor and was considered one of the best gay clubs in Russia. However, it has now closed.

  • Cubahostel, Kazanskaya 5, 4th floor, +7 (812) 921 71 15 (), [53]. A Nice hostel, with modern and inventive decoration, just off Nevsky Prospekt, near the Church of Our Lady of Kazan. Although it's advertised as a party hostel and situated over a nice English pub, noise isn't a problem. 650 RUB. (59.933254,30.322073) edit
  • St. Petersburg apartments, 60 Moika embankment, +7 (812) 973-37-16, [54]. checkin: 12 AM; checkout: 11 AM. Budget stay in holiday apartments for rent. American owned and operated.4 apartments to choose - from basic to luxery.Downtown location. Dial up Internet access. Airport transfers.Credit cards and Pay Pal accepted on-line. 60 EUR.  edit
  • mini-hotel Krupskiy, ul. Marata, 33, +7 (812) 928-08-12 (), [55]. Located in the very center of the city  edit
  • RedMedved Hostel (From 12 eur. per night), 57 Zhukovskogo str., +7 (812) 272 21 82 (), [56]. REDMEDVED is a fun and party style hostel in St.Petersburg. Its located only 5 min from the main train station. Free towels and bedlinen. Light and spacious rooms. 12 EUR per night.  edit
  • Nevsky Hotel Moyka 5, 5, Moyka, +7 812.6010636 (), [57]. 3 star hotel located in the center near to the Hermitage Museum and Palace Square. Free internet. Buffet breakfest.  edit
  • Nordhostel, 10 Bolshaya Morskaya street, +7 (812) 571-03-42 (), [58]. Located in the very center of the city — a stone's throw from the Hermitage. Free internet access and continental breakfast. A grungy place, but it has an excellent location and is relatively cheap. 24 EUR (888 rubles) per night.  edit
  • Sleep Cheap, Mohovaya Ave. Very hard to find (go to number 18, and through the dark tunnel), no internet Access or hot water (for a couple of weeks during the summer). 700 rubles per night.  edit
  • Hotel Safari, Uliza Babushkaya. Good service and you might be able to negotiate a better price. Looks bad from outside, but from the inside is fairly new and clean. 2200 RBL double (includes an extra bed).  edit
  • Location Hostel, Admiralteijskij prospekt 8 top floor, +7 (812) 979-22-33 (), [59]. Good and new hostel in de city centre almost in front of the Hermitage. Great staff and good and clean rooms. You even get a towel with your stay! The showers are ok, worked all the time, but the ceiling in showers is not too high! Free WiFi for all customers and an internet computer to use. Microwave, fridge and washing machine available but no cooking plate available. 24h reception. 600RUB dorm and 700RUB for a twin room (1 available).  edit
  • 5th Corner Hotel (Отель Пятый Угол), Zagorodniy avenue 13 (metro: Vladimirskaya or Dostoevskaya, trainterminal: Moskovskiy Vokzal), +7 812 380 81 81 (, fax: +7 812 380 81 81), [60]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. Business hotel in a restored building from the 19th century. Al the rooms are decorated in warm autumn tones and equipped with AC, satTV, free wireless Wi-Fi, safe and mini-bar. (59.92613,30.34198) edit
  • 5th Sovetskaya 21 on 5th Sovetskaya 21, Saint-Petersburg, 5th Sovetskaya str21, +7(921)957 24 40, cell: 8(921)957 24 40,, [61]. checkin: 12.00; checkout: 12.00. A cosy swiss managed Bed & Breakfast in a nice neighborhood off the main drag. Rooms come including breakfast, with TV-sets with satellite channels, tea/coffee free, WiFi,Non-smoking. from 1600 rubles per night.  edit
  • Acme on Malaya Morskaya Str, Saint-Petersburg Malaya Morskaya str, 7-8, +7 (812)600 20 80, cell +(911)127 09 99, fax +7 (812)312 95 42 (), [62]. checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00. Stylish, modern design. Rooms come with a fridge, TV-set, tea/coffee makers, and WiFi. Non-smoking. from 1500 rubles.  edit
  • Acme on Rubinsteina str, Saint-Petersburg, Rubinsteina str 23-81, +7(812)575 82 33, cell: 8(911)008 00 99, fax: +7(812)575 86 53, [63]. checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00. An elegant, small, luxury hotel in a nice neighborhood off the main drag. Rooms come with LCD TV-sets with satellite channels, tea/coffee makers, WiFi, DVD players. Non-smoking. from 1500 rubles per night.  edit
  • Alexander House Boutique Hotel, 27 Kryukova kanala emb., +7(812)334-3540, [64]. checkin: after 14:00; checkout: before 12:00. A 4 star boutique Hotel close to the Mariinsky (Kirov) Theatre on the embankments of the Kryukov Canal . The hotel features designer interiors, and a homey atmosphere. Each of the 19 rooms is individually furnished and designed. from 116 euro per room per night. (59.9189,30.2996) edit
  • Northern Lights, Bolshaya Morskaya st.50/6, +7(812)571-91-99 (, fax: +7(812)570-64-09), [65]. checkin: 13:00; checkout: 12:00. A small, beautifully designed hotel located in the historical center of St. Petersburg. The hotel is Western owned and managed, ensuring that services are up to the highest international standard. Continental breakfast, free internet access, visa support, airport transfers and more, they have created a comfortable, home like atmosphere for their guests.  edit
  • Bed & Breakfast Sabrina, Bolshaya Morskaya st.21, +7(812)314-76-02 (, fax: +7(812)314-76-02), [66]. A family-run bed & breakfast perfectly located 1 block from Nevsky Prospect and the Hermitage. Basic, but very clean and comfortable. A bit difficult to find as it is on the fourth floor of an apartment building. Code for building entrance: 2230#. Prices are from 40 to 100.  edit
  • Ermitage Hotel, Millionnaya st.11, +7(812)571-54-97 (), [67]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. A small hotel with genuine St. Petersburg spirit. Located in the historical center, close to the Hermitage and the Marble Palace. Offers 4 double rooms that allow usage of a fully equipped study and a magnificent hall with fire-place - and with the whole staff of the hotel at your disposal. The price is from 4300 roubles.  edit
  • Herzen House, Bolshaya Morskaya st.25, +7(812)315-55-50 (), [68]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. A newly opened hotel right at the historical center. An ideal place for business or tourist trip. 20 rooms of different types, TV, bathroom,phone, wi-fi, air-condition in each room. 24-hours English speaking reception. Excellent breakfast (buffet) is included in the price, free internet access for guests. Room price - from 3100 roubles.  edit
  • Kamerdiner Hotel, 6 Ozernoi Pereulok (Metro: Ploschad Vosstaniya), +7(812) 273-0113, 272-5027 (), [69]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Small cosy hotel located in a quiet, leafy lane a short walk from the Moscow Railway Station. Walk along Ulitsa Vosstaniya from Nevsky and take first right after small park. Seven spotless rooms in lavishly restored former mansion looking onto monastery, very friendly service and attentive staff. Continental breakfast, Wifi, satellite TV, fridge, safe, air-conditioning, 24-hour security, visa support, theatre bookings, guided tours, airport transfer. Price: 5200 roubles, seasonal discounts.  edit
  • Comfort Hotel, 25 Bolshaya Morskaya Ul. (2 blocks off Nevsky Prospekt between the Moika and Admiralty), +7 (812) 570 67 00 (), [70]. Small hotel (18 rooms) with attentive service. Central to public transportation and walking distance to St. Isaacs Square and Palace Square. Rate includes breakfast buffet and free internet. They have English-speaking staff, above-average security and credit cards are accepted. 3200 to 7500 Rubles, depending on room and season.  edit
  • Nevsky Forum Hotel, Nevsky pr., 69 (800 m from Moscow Railway Station), +7(812)333-0-222 (, fax: +7(812)571-64-43), [71]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Just in 5 minutes walk from Moscow railway station. The hotel offers 29 rooms different categories. All rooms are equipped with: bathroom with bathtub or shower, Satellite TV, Telephone, Air conditioning, mini-bar, Internet (LAN/Wi-Fi), electronic safe-box, hair-drier. 24-hours receptions & Room-Service, Business & Conference facilities, Transport & Excursion service, Visa Support & Registration sevice, Laundry. The Price is from 5000 roubles per night.  edit
  • Matisov Domik, Matisov Island, [72]. A small, cosy hotel located a short walk away from the Mariinsky Theatre. The hotel has excellent service with large, clean rooms and satellite television (all but one News Channel, Russia Today, are in Russian). The hotel is a jewel in an otherwise poorer area of the city, however this should not put potential visitors off as it is the perfect way to see both perspectives of the city.  edit
  • Moskva Hotel, 2 Alexander Nevsky pl (Metro Ploschad' Alexandra Nevskogo), +7(812)274-4001, [73]. Incredibly gargantuan concrete monolith that continues to carry forward the Soviet traditions of former monopoly operator Intourist. Ugly and user-hostile, but the location right above a subway station is excellent and the price can be right, especially if booked in a package.  edit
  • Nevsky Grand Hotel, 10 Bolshaya Konyushennaya St, +7(812)703-38-60 (fax: +7(812)703-38-60), [74]. Just around the corner from Nevsky Prospect, 5 minutes from the subway and a 10 minute walk from the Hermitage Museum. Ideally located for city tours and excursions to the city's surroundings. Free and very reliable wi-fi access in all rooms (very speedy: 5Mbps), and air conditioning in every room. Rooms are very small, but functional. Staff speak English well, and breakfast is included in the room rate (available from 7AM til 11AM). Shortcomings: no fridges in rooms; steep staircase at the entrance is difficult for a stroller. From €80 for double; frequent special offers.  edit
  • Petro Palace, 14 Malaya Morskaya, [75]. A clean, very efficient, and ideally located hotel. It has a spa, swimming pool and gym (but only free for guests before 11AM) and the rooms maids are very efficient - appearing to clean rooms several times a day. It is within a few seconds of several excellent restaurants, coffee bars and a small shop.  edit
  • Hotel Vera, Suvorovsky prosp. 25/16, 5th floor (close to Grand Hotel Emerald), +7(812)702-72-06 (fax: +7(812)271-28-93), [76]. checkin: 2pm. Up-to-date and cozy rooms; 4th to 6th floors of an old building. Staff speak English by default, not Russian--which is quite rare. 6th floor features mansard windows. Some rooms have poor sound isolation from the corridor (eg. 514, 604). Free internet over wire, cable supplied. Breakfast: No-frills; no hot plates but fresh fruits; no espresso, only American coffee.  edit
  • Old Vienna, mini hotel, Malaya Morskaya13/ Gorohovaya 8, +7 (812) 314 35 14 (), [77]. checkin: 13; checkout: 12. A both stylish and "home-cozy" mini-hotel of buisiness class level, located just in the centre of St. Petersburg. 400 m. to Hermitage, 300 m. to St. Isaac's Cathedral.All 14 rooms of the hotel are equipped with: Air conditioning, Internet (Wi-Fi),bathroom, Satellite TV, Telephone, mini-bar, hair-drier, DVD. Breakfast(buffet)and Internet are included in the price.  edit
  • Grand Hotel Europe, 1/7 Mikhailovskaya st., +7(812)329-60-00 (, fax: +7(812)329-60-01), [78]. A five-star hotel in the centre of town on Nevsky Prospekt. Hosts Ballet, and several restaurants. Many rooms have great views over the city. Well worth a visit.  edit
  • Radisson SAS, 49/2 Nevskiy pr., +7(812)322-50-00 (, fax: +7(812)322-50-01), [79]. A five-star hotel located on Nevskiy Prospekt. The hotel boasts a fitness centre, sauna and massage parlour. Conveniently located.  edit


There are four GSM 900/1800 networks (MTS [80], Beeline [81], Megafon [82] and Tele2 [83]) and a CDMA 2000 network (SkyLink [84]) and the coverage is quite sufficient (every built-up area and most of the country roads). If you stay for a few days or more and need to make local calls it is advised that you buy a pre-paid SIM card (you may be asked for a passport) and a cell-phone if you don't have one matching local standards (possibly a used one) which is going to be much cheaper than roaming in most cases. A SIM card with a balance will cost you less then $10. Cell outlets are plentiful around the city (numerous at every subway station and shopping center). You can pay for your talks at most supermarkets, cell-phone shops and ATMs. The emergency service number is 112.

For international calls, consider buying a calling card which allows very cheap calls (a few rubles for a minute to Europe or the US). Calling from a hotel room may result in rather painful bill.

The following internet cafes offer computers with internet, gaming, and WiFi as noted.

  • CafeMax, Nevsky Prospekt 90. 24 hours. Large, well-lighted, and clean. Also offers copying and faxing services. 120 Rubles/hour for internet computer. Free WiFi with food purchase..  edit
  • Shangri La, Nevsky Prospekt 98. 24 hours. 90 Rubles/hour for internet computer. 100 Rubles/hour for WiFi..  edit
  • Players, 26/27 Kazanskaya Ulitsa (A few blocks behind Kazan Cathedral in the direction of Sennaya Ploshad). 24 hours. No WiFi service. 60 Rubles/hour for internet computer..  edit
  • Tvoyo (TBOE), Liteyniy Prospekt 63 (Northeast corner of Nevsky Pr. and Liteyniy Pr., entry off Liteyniy), [85]. 24 hours. Can be a bit smoky. 70 Rubles/hour for internet and WiFi..  edit

Also there are so-called computer clubs with dozens of computers for network gaming (usually crowded by kids playing CounterStrike) which also offer internet access in separate rooms for a little charge.

Free wifi is available in most hotels, business and shopping centers. In restaurants and pubs, wifi is really everywhere--thanks to huge amount of Finnish tourists that are used to it.

WiMAX is offered by Yota [86], with a decent coverage within city boundaries. 900rub/month (or 50 rub/day, starting Oct 19, 2009).

Also you can buy USB-modem with a pre-paid SIM card of any mobile network operators mentioned above. It will cost about 1200 rub for GSM operators and 3900 rub for SkyLink. Note that MTS, Beeline and Megafon offer high-speed UMTS interconnection, but Tele2 offer only standart GPRS. Tarif rates started at 1 rub/Mb for GSM operators and 0.30 rub/Mb for SkyLink. (The prices of 2009.)

Stay safe

Saint Petersburg has a somewhat undeserved dangerous reputation. Things have calmed down since the Wild West days immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but some common sense is still required, as pickpocketing and other petty scams are fairly common in tourist areas and the metro.

As with most major cities, avoid traveling alone at night, and do not get into altercations with drunks. If traveling at night, it is recommended to stay on the main sidewalks and not go into any dark alleys or yards. Gypsy cabs are not recommended in any circumstance, and those which linger near bars where expats and tourists congregate have been known to be especially dangerous.

The Downtown, western and south central parts of the city are the most safe. Suburbs like Kupchino, Kolpino are struggling with criminality and poverty.

As a general rule remember - the further you are from the city center, the more dangerous it is.

Gangs are a problem, although mafia gang wars are unlikely to affect tourists. Some gangs, however, such as neo-Nazis or angry hooligans, are out looking for trouble and committing crimes that can affect tourists. After the war with Chechnya and terrorist attacks in some Russian cities, local hatred is growing toward people with darker complexions, and neo-Nazism is a concern. As of 2007, St. Petersburg and Russia in general can be regarded as a seriously dangerous destination for tourists of darker complexions. Travelling in groups is highly advised.

Also, Saint Petersburg's football club, Zenit Saint Petersburg, is one of the biggest clubs in the country, and has its own band of hooligans. If you decide to visit the football stadium to watch the club play, you should buy tickets to center sectors. If you do not do this, and a fight starts, you are likely to get dragged into it by either the hooligans or the police since both will think you are part of the brawl.

Take care of money, documents, cameras, mobile phones, and anything of value because of pickpocketing. Especially watch out on the Metro during busy times, as people start pushing and pickpockets are frequent. In 2007, several expats and tourists have been pickpocketed at the Gostinyy Dvor Metro Station by the same scheme: a group of men will block the train door while their "mark" is trying to enter or exit, and they will lift items in the frenzy to get in or out of the car before the doors close. When riding the Metro, keep in mind that robbery is a real threat; you should constantly watch what is going on around you and who is standing very close to you. Cameras must be kept in bags slung across the body at all times, with your hands keeping a firm grip on them, and no watches or jewelry should be visible at all. Quite obviously, do not show in public that you have a lot of money. Robberies are not uncommon and many foreigners have been threatened at gun and knife point. However, foreigners are not targeted, and robbers attack both foreigners and tourists that openly show that they are wealthy. In the 90's, Moscow and Saint Petersburg experienced horrific times where rich people were hunted and murdered, many of whom were Westerners. These times are thankfully over.

Take special care on Nevsky Prospekt, particularly the area with the city tour buses, a favorite spot of pickpockets and particularly of those after photo equipment. A recent (November 2008) article in a local newspaper cites rampant theft of cameras and camera gear in this area with an open letter to the city's mayor asking for help since the police do not show an interest in reporting, much less putting an end to, these crimes. On the bright side "Nevsky Prospekt" is the safest concerning physical abuse.

Russian driving is wild. Drivers attack their art with an equal mix of aggressiveness and incompetence. Guidelines are lax and rarely followed. As a pedestrian, take great care when crossing the roads, as pedestrian crossings are in 99% of cases ignored (even by police). If you are thinking of driving yourself, bear in mind that the Russian traffic police is the most notoriously corrupt institution in the country.

Saint Petersburg has a relatively big problem with street children who make their living out of stealing. They could be a hassle and can beg you aggresively. Act like any other Russian would. Say no then just ignore them and go away.

Homosexuals must practice extreme caution while staying in Saint Petersburg as attacks often occur. Some Russian people really hate public demonstrations of homosexuality.

Bar fights do occur. In the center of the city and around Nevsky Prospekt they are unlikely to happen. However, in the suburbs and local pubs, fights occur almost daily. If you are staying with locals living in these areas, it might be a good idea avoid these bars. Police are unlikely to show up as they consider fights as small, unimportant, regular and a waste of time, and they will probably laugh at you for calling.

Overall, be warned that if you are used to living in the US and/or western Europe, Saint Petersburg, as well as the rest of Eastern Europe, will seem different, and, at times, a bit intimidating. Russian people are extremely friendly and welcoming towards foreigners and nothing should happen to you unless you really want it yourself. If you don't care about them, they don't care about you and nothing should be in your way of having a great holiday!

Stay healthy

The below private hospitals have English-speaking Russian doctors (very few, if any, hospital staff are expats). Depending on the type of service provided and the terms of one's insurance policy, these hospitals may be able to arrange direct billing with European and American medical insurance companies.

  • American Medical Clinic, Moyka Embankment 78 (Just west of St. Isaac's Square), +7 812 740 2090, [87]. 24 hours. Includes dental clinic and pediatric unit.  edit
  • Euromed, Suvorovsky Prospekt 60, +7 812 327 0301, [88]. 24 hours. Small clinic, but contracts with other hospitals to use their renovated facilities under the care of Euromed doctors.  edit
  • MEDEM, Ulitsa Marata 6 (near Mayakovskaya Metro), +7 812 336 3333, [89]. 24 hours. Includes dental clinic, pediatric unit, and other services.  edit

The city's water-system is not ideal because of a number of old pipes and as a result does not provide 100% clean water. Consult locals you trust; otherwise buy bottled water or filter tap water.

In Saint Petersburg cold water is cleaner than hot, also there isn't hot water for 3 weeks every summer.

There are numerous public toilets, most of which are attended by a person who will charge about 15 rubles for entry. It is a good idea to take your own toilet paper, as it is not often provided. The toilets are typically extremely dirty by Western standards. If you are a Westerner, you can get away with wandering into the Western hotels, which have lovely bathrooms— the Grand Hotel Europe in particular. Just don't ever push your luck with suit-clad men guarding the hotel entrances, they are tough as nails if provoked.

Not away from city center, 2001
Not away from city center, 2001

The first 24 hours in Saint Petersburg may be a shock to the system. The welcome from immigration officials seems like a hang-over from Communist times- don't expect to be spoken to or even looked at by officials. Flying into Saint Petersburg may seem unusual, with the sight of old concrete tower blocks and factory chimneys. The suburbs of the city are a contrast to those with which you may be familiar. Nevsky Prospekt is the most 'Westernized' street in the city and would be more familiar to Westerners traveling to Saint Petersburg. If you are from a Western country, you will find this either shocking or amusing.

Saint Petersburg is plagued by a number of mosquitoes during the summer, as the swampy surroundings of the city give the mosquitoes excellent living conditions. In budget accommodation with few counter measures against the mosquitoes, this can be a problem at night, putting your well deserved sleep at risk.

Get out

One-day excursions are popular with travellers to Saint Petersburg. Taxicabs and buses are the most common forms of transport and trips can often be organised either with the holiday operator e.g. Intourist, before traveling to Russia, or from your hotel. Several tour bus companies have kiosks in front of Gostinyy Dvor, with some tours (but not all) offered in English. Some of the most popular excursions include:

Oreshek fortess, a view from the right bank of Newa River
Oreshek fortess, a view from the right bank of Newa River
  • Gatchina — Big park and museum. Can be reached by train from Saint Petersburg Baltiskiy station to the Gatchina's Baltiskiy railway station, which is situated fairly close to the palace. One can also take a bus from near the former Warsaw station (next to Baltiskiy station) in St. Petersburg.
  • Kronshtadt — Old seaport town on the Kotlin island. Main Russian naval base from early 18 century.
  • Lomonosov (AKA Oranienbaum) — Park with museum honoring Michael Lomonosov. Not far from Peterhof (15 minutes by car). Station name is Oranienbaum.
  • Novgorod — Ancient town with churches and museums. About 180 km. from St. Petersburg.
  • Oreshek fortess — a medieval russian fortess at Orekhovy Island in the mouth of Newa.
  • Pavlovsk — Lusicous green park where you could feed the squirrels from your hands. Can be reached by train from Vitebskiy station (not the main hall, but the smaller hall for local trains, which is on the right side as you face the station). Pavlovsk train station is close to the northwestern gate to the park, and from there it is a long (but pleasant) walk though the park to the palace.
  • Peterhof — Home of the sumptuous "Russian Versailles". Fountains, parks, museums. Can be reached by train from Baltiskiy station, although figuring out which station you want to arrive at can be tricky if you can't read Cyrillic. Station's name is Noviy Peterhof.
  • Pushkin (A.K.A. Tsarskoye Selo) — City 25 km south of Saint Petersburg, with beautiful parks and palaces, most notably the Catherine Palace built for Tsarina Catherine I. Can be reached by train from Vitebskiy station (not the main hall, but the smaller hall for local trains, which is on the right side as you face the station). Take the train to Detskoe Selo station, but be advised that the palaces are still about a 20-minute walk through town from the station.
  • Repino — House-museum of the artist Ilya Repin, located just off the Gulf of Finland, where he lived and worked. To get there: Elektrichka train from the Finland Station (round trip fare 120 RR, eleventh stop on the westbound line - check in advance to make sure the train you board stops in Repino - then from the station cross the main road and walk down the path to the left of the supermarket through a resort complex to the next major road. Turn left and walk about 1.5km to the gate marked Penaty. The walk takes about 45 minutes. The museum and grounds close at 3PM, or earlier if there are no visitors.
  • Ivangorod and Narva - Two towns on the Narva river (border between Russia and Estonia). Twin castles (Russian, established Grand Duke Ivan III, and Danish/Swedish). Clarify your visa status before crossing to Estonia, as you may not be able to come back on single-entry Russian visa.
  • Vyborg - town situated on the Karelian Isthmus near the head of the Bay of Vyborg, 130 km to the northwest of St. Petersburg, 38 km south from Russia's border with Finland, where the Saimaa Canal enters the Gulf of Finland. Swedish built castle, started in the 13th century and extensively reconstructed by Russians in 1891–1894. Mon Repos, one of the most spacious English parks in Eastern Europe, laid out in the 19 century. Fortifications of the Mannerheim Line (built by Finland against the Soviet Union) are close by.
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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Proper noun


  1. name given to the city of Saint Petersburg from the time of Lenin's death in 1924 until 1991.
  2. name of Leningrad oblast, Russia, which excludes Saint Petersburg, the former administrative centre.




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