"Not a city, but open air museum!!!" Saint Petersburg by Minashka
Saint Petersburg Travel Guide: 3,560 reviews and 7,606 photos
I had always heard much of Piter and that's why wanted to visit it, but I don't think anything can describe the real beauty of this city unless you see it with your own eyes. It was like visiting a huge museum that is outdoors and there is much to explore there... I was very lucky to be there for the 300th anniversary of St. Pete. The city was like a bride preparing for the wedding - for the big day! There were shows, exhibits, fairs everywhere and the spirit of celebration was spread out the whole city.
St. Petersburg was built by Peter I, whose ambition was to move the capital from Moscow. He had just come back from Amsterdam and wanted his new city to resemble it. But the strong winds and the muddy ground made it almost impossible for the canals. Instead, the Niva river has divided it into the main island, Hare Island and the Vasilyevsky Island. All three are connected by bridges and almost within walking distance if you like long walks ;-)
The city’s architecture is breathtaking. Every building is a masterpiece – I mean the old part of town and along the river. Once the residences of barons and dukes, most of the buildings now belong to the state and are open to public. There are many museums and parks so the sightseeing can never be tiresome.
Let me tell you about the Nevsky Prospekt, which is the Neva Avenue I guess… It is probably like the 5th Avenue in NYC or Champs-Elysees in Paris. Has got as many hotels, shops, restaurants and cafes and of course absolutely beautiful buildings along the road. I don’t even remember anymore where it starts and where it ends but it’s easy to turn onto one of the small streets and lose your way completely. No matter where you go though, none of the friendly locals will let you get lost. Anyway, when you’re on Nevsky definitely visit the Kazanski Sabor (Kazan Cathedral – see the picture above). It is beautiful both inside and outside and you can even attend the service. There are some other churches there as well but not as gorgeous! Gostinniy Dvor with all its might is also on Nevsky (see my Shopping Tip). Unfortunately I do not remember the name anymore, but there is an old building on Nevsky that used to belong to a rich family and now it’s a concert hall. Look for the sign so you can also get a chance to attend one of the concerts – the music is absolutely enchanting! And finally, when you’re on Nevsky, turn onto Dvorsovaya Ploshad (Palace Square) to see the grandioso Winter Palace a.k.a. the Hermitage!
People or the locals - as we like to call them, are always important part of our travels. So I could not finish my story about St. Pete if I didn't mention the people of this city. They are really, really nice and never lack for a smile - unlike the people in Moscow that are going to give you attitude. OK, I speak Russian so I did not have a problem but I was with an American friend and he always got the help he needed. The locals were very tolerant and always helpful. But one thing really shocked me and that was the number of people consuming alcohol or the number of alcohol being consumed. It didn't matter what time of the day or night, almost every second or third person would be holding a beer can or simply smell alchohol on the street. There was even a beer stand right in front of the Kazan Cathedral - god's house. Maybe it's normal for some countries or cultures but for me it was absolutely shocking... Although I must admit the behaviour of the people still wasn't as bad as those in Aberdeen ;-) Russians always know how to control themselves no matter how much they drink, so don't worry and have a great time in St. Petersburg!!!
- Pros:History, Architecture, Culture
- Cons:Too many drunkards
- In a nutshell:One must visit St. Petersburg in his/her lifetime
Gostinniy Dvor (Hotel yard) is right on Nevsky Avenue and is impossible to miss. It is a beautiful architecture and has... more travel advice
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