Once the Hermitage was the main residence of Russian emperors. Today it is one of the largest museums, not only in Russia, but in the world. It is interesting to note that if one wanted to see all works of art from its collections spending only one minute in front of each of them, it would take 81 years to complete the task.
The main city square emerged as an architectural ensemble in the second half of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century. This vast space includes the Hermitage, the Triumphal Arch of the General Staff building, the Alexander Column, the building of the Guards Corps Headquarters, and the Admiralty. The square that leaves a very deep impression indeed was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Every year it hosts concerts of world-famous stars, Victory Day parade, City Day celebrations, etc. On regular weekdays townspeople enjoy riding roller-skates on this square.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral
St. Isaac’s cathedral is an architectural wonder of sorts. It took 40 years (1818 -1858) to construct under the direction of its author, French architect Auguste de Montferrand. The decorations of the cathedral, both outside and inside, are dazzling and impressive. Breathtaking views of the city center from the cupola of the cathedral are world famous. You can climb the spiral staircase 300 meters high to the walkway at the base of the dome in order to get carried away by the combinations of roofs, by winding rivers and canals with their arciform bridges, by the outlines of the parks and the arrow-straight avenues.
This is the monument to Peter the Great, the founder of the city. Its name became well-known because of the famous poem by Aleksandr Pushkin. The pedestal of the monument is a huge “Thunder Stone” which was so big and so heavy it took almost a year to deliver to the capital of the empire. The Bronze Horseman is certainly an impressive sight, but so is the view from the Neva river quay where this monument stands.
Peter and Paul Fortress
St. Petersburg was founded on May 27, 1703 when the construction of this citadel started. In 1730s a custom was created that had become a tradition since then: every day at noon a cannon shot is fired from the wall of the Peter and Paul fortress. From a bird’s perspective the citadel looks like an irregular hexagon with protrusive ramparts. It was built as a defensive fortification for the war period, but it was never used for the purpose of defending the city. During the Tsarist period it served as a prison for political opponents.
The museum opened in 1898. It was the first Russian fine arts collection in the country and the largest depository of Russian fine arts in the world. According to the museum website its collection, as of January 1st, 2005, counted 394158 depository units.
Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
This cathedral was erected on the site where emperor Aleksandr II was fatally wounded on March 1st, 1881, as a result of a terrorist attack. Its construction was funded through a Russia-wide collection campaign. The church stands at a very picturesque spot at the shore of the Griboyedov canal, next to the Mikhailovski Garden and the Konyushennaya (Horse Stables) square, not far from the Marsovo pole (Field of Mars). Inside the cathedral there is a mosaic with an area of 7065 square meters.
This garden was started in 1704 as a summer park residence of Peter I. The elaborate cast-iron railing of the Summer Garden became a symbol of St. Petersburg—many poets, including Pushkin, Akhmatova, Vyazemski, extolled it in their poems. An exquisite ensemble of park and sculptures exists in the Summer Garden, so if you write poetry, you can go and get more inspiration sitting on a bench in the Summer Garden.
According to the Russian, pre-1917 tradition, each regiment of the imperial guards had its own cathedral. The Trinity Cathedral was the church of the Izmailovski Guards regiment, one of the oldest in the imperial army. Named after Izmailovo village located by Moscow, the regiment had to move to St. Petersburg during the reign of Empress Anna Ioannovna. On July 12, 1733, a temporary field church in a tent was consecrated here, closer to the estuary of the Fontanka river. Its icons were painted by I. Adolsky. The church could function only during warm months, and in cold periods both soldiers and officers had to attend other parish churches. In 1754–1756, Empress Elizabeth Petrovna ordered the construction of a wooden church to replace the temporary tent church. The church had two altars, the main one of which was consecrated in the name of the Trinity. The church suffered a lot of damage during the flood of 1824, and by the order of Emperor Nicholas I the task of building a new stone church to architect Vasily Stasov. So, the AZIMUT Hotel Saint-Petersburg is located right next to this cathedral and it is its sky-blue cupolas that one can study in all details from the windows of our hotel. AZIMUT Hotel St. Petersburg is located in less than 10 minutes’ walk from the Trinity Cathedral.
This theater has existed since 1783, but it was in 1859 that it received its name after the wife of Emperor Alexander II, Empress Maria Aleksandrovna. After 1988 Valery Gergiev, the world-famous conductor, became its artistic director. In 2013 the second stage of the Mariinsky was opened. The style of the building, as per popular local opinion, is definitely too far off from the architectural style of the city, but the new stage features outstanding acoustics and a very comfortable auditorium. AZIMUT Hotel St. Petersburg is located in 20 minutes’ walk from the Mariinsky Theater.