Friday, May 17, 2013

St. Petersburg Exceeds Expectations

Our guide is a St. Petersburg resident. A week ago, when we departed Moscow, he assured us St. Petersburg would exceed our expectation--it was beautiful place. As he often says, "wow!"

Peter the Great founded the city in the 1700's. His goal was to create the "Venice of the North" on the banks of the Neva River. To achieve this he adopted European architectural styles and laced the new city with bridges and canals. No building could exceed the height of one of his palaces, about five stories. His dream, restored after the Germans destroyed it during World War II, survives today.

Rather than Venice, the wide canals actually remind me more of Amsterdam and the five story height limit and many parks and plazas remind me of Washington D. C.

We are told that the city experiences just 60 sunny days a year. We experienced five of them. (Sorry to later sunless travelers 😢) The sun makes the many golden domes sparkle and walks in the gardens much more enjoyable.

Over the past few days we have visited:
The Church of the Spilled Blood, built where a Czar was murdered.
St Isaac's Cathedral, restored after World War II.
Peter and Paul Fortress where all the Romanov clan is buried.
Peterhof, a summer palace complex on the shores of the Sea of Finland.
The Neva River and connecting canals in a canal boat.
The Hermitage Museum, home to some of the largest art collections in the world.
The Yusupov Palace, home to a local nobel man.
Catherine's Palace and Park, home of the Amber Room.

I suspect we have only scratched the surface.

This is an incredible place whether you are interested in history, art, architecture or just seeing new and interesting places. This is a bucket list "must see."

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