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Six Must-See Attractions in St. Petersburg, Russia

Updated on April 24, 2015

Six Must-See Attractions in St. Petersburg, Russia

One of the most aristocratic places in Russia, St. Petersburg carries the spirit of centuries gone by. The heritage of the Romanov Dynasty is still there today, enabling you to take a trip through history and experience the glory and splendid lifestyle of the Russian tsars.
St. Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia. It was the Russian Imperial Capital from 1713 to 1728 and from 1732 to 1918. The amazing architectural wonders and lush gardens date back to this period. Built by Tsar Peter the Great and expanded by his successors, St. Petersburg is a city where thousands European architects have left their specific signature.
You will need months to explore all amazing attractions, palaces, museums and galleries of St. Petersburg. Still, here are six of the must-see places if you’re visiting this aristocratic city for the first time.

The State Hermitage

The Hermitage is one of the oldest and most popular museums in the world. The museum collections are located in the Main Museum Complex.
The Winter Palace protects some of the finest treasures of the Hermitage. You’ll get to see an amazingly rich collection of Russian and European art, as well as Egyptian and classical antiques.

The Hermitage has 350 rooms and depending on your interest, you can pre-arrange your visit. The Hermitage entry ticket costs 12 dollars (600 Russian Rubles). Every first Thursday of the month is a free entrance day.

Peterhof

Peterhof is St. Petersburg’s suburban area, located in the Gulf of Finland. Peterhof is often compared to Versailles due to its palaces, parks and system of fountains. Also known as Petrodvorets (Peter’s Palace), it’s a place where Russian and international cultures meet.

The Grand Palace is the largest of all Peterhof palaces. It is located in the heart of Peterhof and is mostly known for the Ballroom, Crown Room and white and turquoise Throne Room.

The Peterhof park and the gardens have beautiful masterpieces, fountains and artwork displayed throughout the walking areas. The two major parks are the Lower Park and the Upper Gardens. Take a stroll in the park to explore some of the smaller Peterhof palaces. The easiest way to reach the palace complex is to take the train from the central St. Petersburg station to Peterhof.

Peter and Paul Fortress

Peter and Paul Fortress is one of St. Petersburg’s most spectacular buildings. Today, it’s a history museum. The fortress was built in the beginning of the 18th century but it was never used for defense purposes. It was a military base, the burial ground of the Russian Imperial Family and a political prison.

Peter and Paul Fortress is the home of numerous permanent exhibitions. More than 1.5 million items tell the story of St. Petersburg. Visitors can also have fun during one of the many art workshops that take place in the fortress. The entrance ticket costs solely seven dollars.

St. Isaac’s Cathedral

The cathedral was the largest in Russia and one of the most impressive landmarks from the Russian Imperial Period. It was built between 1818 and 1858 and more than a hundred years later, it still impresses with a spectacular façade and ornate interior decorations. Today, the cathedral is also a museum.

The front of St. Issac’s Cathedral is decorated with massive granite columns. When you walk inside, you’ll be mesmerized by the massive Resurrected Christ stained glass composition. Climb the 300 steps to the cathedral’s colonnade and enjoy the view. The entrance ticket for the cathedral costs five dollars (250 rubles).

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

The church was built in the period from 1883 to 1907 at the place where Tsar Alexander the Second was assassinated in 1881. His successor to the throne, Alexander the Third, build a church in his memory.

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood presents the traditional Russian and Orthodox style with its amazing collection of mosaic icons. More than 7,500 square meters of mosaic icons tell the story of Alexander the Second. The church entry ticket costs five dollars (250 rubles).

The Russian Museum

The State Russian Museum is the home of the finest collection of Russian art. The main museum building is the Mikhailovsky Palace that keeps inside numerous spectacular masterpieces ranging in style from traditional icon painting to new visual arts.

The Marble Palace is known for its permanent collections, as well. The first collection includes more than 500 paintings, drawings, porcelain and antique clocks. Stroganov Palace, another part of the museum complex, hosts an exhibition of porcelain from the Gardener Factory. Ticket prices start from six dollars (300 rubles), depending on the palace you want to visit.

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