Weekend in St Petersburg by nileguide


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									Weekend in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg, 3 Days

Table of contents:
Guide Description 2
Itinerary Overview 3
Daily Itineraries 4
St. Petersburg Snapshot 10

Guide Description

AUTHOR NOTE: Even if you only have a weekend, much of
the more beautiful parts of St. Petersburg, Europe's third largest
city, can be easily crammed into those few days. St. Petersburg
is a great city to explore on foot, and a stay in the historic city
centre makes that even easier, since there are gardens, palaces,
museums, and more within easy walking distance.

                                                                                                                            things to do
Itinerary Overview                                                                                                           restaurants

Day 1 - St. Petersburg                                                           Aleksandrovskaia Kolonna (Alexander
DAY NOTE: Since your time is limited, stay in the center of St.
                                                                                 Triumphal column
Petersburg at the Angleterre Hotel, in walking distance of many
of the main sights and relatively inexpensive for its class and                  Zimnyi Dvorets (Winter Palace)
location. Begin exploring the city by starting out at the Bronze
                                                                                 The heart of Imperial Russia
Horseman and walking down Nevskii Prospekt, which features
many interesting buildings and shops, as well as the statue of
Catherine the Great. Stop in the Beloselskii-Belozerskii Palace                  Bliny Domik
to look around the Wax Museum, or just at the amazing interior.                  More bliny than you can shake a stick at
There are also several great restaurants in the hotel, notably the
elegant Caviar Bar, which is the perfect introduction to Russian                 Ermitazh (Hermitage, The)
cuisine.                                                                         World famous museum

            Mednyi Sadnik (The Bronze Horseman)                                  Dvortsovyi Most (Palace Bridge)
            Most prominent monument to Peter the Great                           Panorama at the city's tourist heart

            Nevskii Prospekt                                                     Petropavlovskaia Krepost' (Peter and
            Massive-scale and bustling main street                               Paul Fortress)
                                                                                 The origins of St Petersburg
            Monument to Catherine The Great                                      Senat bar
            Tribute to an empress                                                Luxurious bar and restaurant

            Dvorets Beloselskogo-Belozerskogo                                    Angleterre Hotel
            (Beloselskii-Belozerskii Palace)                                     Overlooking St Isaac's Square
            Cultural center and waxworks

            Angleterre Hotel
            Overlooking St Isaac's Square                            Day 3 - St. Petersburg
                                                                     DAY NOTE: On your last day, the Summer Gardens and the
                                                                     State Russian museum are a short walk north from the area
Day 2 - St. Petersburg                                               around the hotel. Eat lunch at Zoom, a charming literary cafe
                                                                     with a great selection of soups, sandwiches, salads, and fresh
DAY NOTE: There are plenty of incredible buildings and artifacts     squeezed juices, with Russian and other European influence, for
on and near Palace Square by the hotel, including St. Isaac's        a perfect goodbye to St. Petersburg.
Cathedral, the Alexander Column, the Winter Palace, the
Admiralty, and the incredible collection of the Hermitage. Stop
in for some blini at the cozy and friendly Bliny Domik for lunch                 Letnyi Sad (Summer Gardens)
or a late breakfast. Cross the Palace Bridge for a great view of                 Elegant and relaxing gardens by the Neva
the Neva, and visit the Peter & Paul Fortress and Cathedral, just
across from the Palace Square. Back across the Neva, stay in
the historic neighborhood for dinner at Senat, a refined Russian                 Gosudarstvennyi Russkii Muzei (State
restaurant popular with the locals.                                              Russian Museum)
                                                                                 Largest musem of Russian art

            Isaakievskii Sobor (St. Isaac's                                      Zoom
                                                                                 Health for the body and mind
            Vast gold-domed cathedral

Day 1 - St. Petersburg
                                                                                              QUICK NOTE

DAY NOTE: Since your time is limited, stay in the center of St. Petersburg at the Angleterre Hotel, in walking distance of many of the
main sights and relatively inexpensive for its class and location. Begin exploring the city by starting out at the Bronze Horseman and
walking down Nevskii Prospekt, which features many interesting buildings and shops, as well as the statue of Catherine the Great.
Stop in the Beloselskii-Belozerskii Palace to look around the Wax Museum, or just at the amazing interior. There are also several great
restaurants in the hotel, notably the elegant Caviar Bar, which is the perfect introduction to Russian cuisine.

                                      1 Mednyi Sadnik (The Bronze Horseman)
tel: +7 812 576 6094

                                     DESCRIPTION: The Bronze Horseman (Mednyi Vsadnik) is probably St.
Ploschad Dekabristov                 Petersburg's best known monument to Peter the Great. Rearing above
St Petersburg 190                    a huge stone, the horse and its rider seem set to conquer the city. The
                                     dynamic sculpture was created in 1782 by E. Falconet. It rests on a
hours:                               roughly polished slab of stone eight meters high and weighs 1,638 tons.
24 hrs M-Su                          The monument is illuminated at night and is a popular meeting place for
                                     young lovers. Elegant and inspiring, the Bronze Horseman is one of the
                                     great symbols of St. Petersburg. © wcities.com


                                      2 Nevskii Prospekt
                                     DESCRIPTION: On a map of the city center, this grand-scale thoroughfare
location:                            forms a spine with the many canals appearing as spindly but graceful ribs.
Nevsky Prospekt                      On the ground "Nevskii" is the city's vital artery, heaving with people from
St Petersburg                        well before dawn until well after dusk. The street's western end lies at The
                                     Admiralty, and from there it runs three miles all the way to the Alexander
hours:                               Nevskii Monastery. The street is a dizzying and sometimes exhausting mix
Daily 24 hrs                         of hectic traffic, street poverty, high fashion and eye-turning architecture. ©


Day 1 - continued...

                                 3 Monument to Catherine The Great
Ploschad Ostrovskovo, just
off Nevsky Prospekt
St Petersburg                   DESCRIPTION: Catherine II (more popularly known as Catherine the
                                Great) had a huge influence on Russian history. The German-born
hours:                          empress reigned from 1762-1796. The monument on a little square at
Daily 24 hrs                    Nevskii Prospekt shows her as she probably would have liked. Catherine
                                stands on a podium surrounded by G. Potemkin (politician and her long-
                                time lover), princess E. Dashkova (her good friend), poet G. Derzhavin
                                and general A. Suvorov. The monument was erected in 1873, designed by
                                M. Mikeshin and sculpted by M. Chizhov. © wcities.com


                                 4 Dvorets Beloselskogo-Belozerskogo (Beloselskii-
tel: +7 812 319 9790
fax: +7 812 311 1750                  Belozerskii Palace)
location:                       DESCRIPTION: Once home to Grand Duke Sergei and his wife Grand Duchess Elizabeth in the
Nevskii Prospekt, 41            late 19th century, the deteriorating red colored Beloselskii-Belozerskii Palace is now a wax museum
                                and cultural center. If anything, it is one of the most fantastic looking buildings on Nevskii Prospekt.
St Petersburg 191025
                                The site was acquired by the ultra-wealthy Beloselskii-Belozerskii family in 1797 and the building
                                was erected in the mid-1800's. It is without question, one of the best examples of Russian baroque
                                style in St Petersburg. Overlook the wax works and sneak upstairs—the rococo interiors will leave
Call for details                you breathless. © wcities.com

                                 5 Angleterre Hotel
tel: 7 812 4945666
fax: 812/494-5059
http://www.angleterrehotel.co   DESCRIPTION: Angleterre Hotel is a grand late-19th century
m/                              hotel centrally located in the historical district of St Petersburg
                                overlooking St Isaac's Square. Contemporary, air-conditioned
location:                       guestrooms feature parquet flooring, embroidered fabrics and
Ulitsa Bol'shaia Morskaia, 39   marble bathrooms. Guests can workout on fitness equipment,
St. Petersburg                  swim in the pool, try their luck in the casino and dance the night    .
Leningradskaya 190000           away in the club. © wcities.com

Day 2 - St. Petersburg
                                                                                             QUICK NOTE

DAY NOTE: There are plenty of incredible buildings and artifacts on and near Palace Square by the hotel, including St. Isaac's
Cathedral, the Alexander Column, the Winter Palace, the Admiralty, and the incredible collection of the Hermitage. Stop in for some blini
at the cozy and friendly Bliny Domik for lunch or a late breakfast. Cross the Palace Bridge for a great view of the Neva, and visit the
Peter & Paul Fortress and Cathedral, just across from the Palace Square. Back across the Neva, stay in the historic neighborhood for
dinner at Senat, a refined Russian restaurant popular with the locals.

                                      1 Isaakievskii Sobor (St. Isaac's
tel: +7 812 315 9732
http://www.cathedral.ru/                   Cathedral)
location:                            DESCRIPTION: St. Isaac's mighty, somber facade rose only
Isaakievskaia Ploshchad', 4          in the mid-19th century but has become an indelible part of
                                     St. Petersburg's skyline since then. Critics of the day called
St. Petersburg 190000
                                     it "The Inkwell" because of its boxy shape topped by a single
                                     enormous gray dome, in contrast to the multilayered and
                                     multicolored domes and towers of most Orthodox churches.             .
Winter: Th-Tu 11a-7p.                Its massive hall can accommodate 14,000 people, though it
summer: 10a-8p                       probably never has. More popular with tourists than believers,
                                     the church earned residents' respect during World War II, when
                                     it endured Nazi shelling and its grounds were planted with
                                     cabbage to help residents survive the 900-day Nazi blockade.
                                     Its interior is as awesome as its exterior, with columns made
                                     of single chunks of granite, malachite, and lazurite; floors of
                                     different-colored marble; and never-ending frescoes. If the
                                     viewing balcony around the dome is open, it's well worth a
                                     climb for the view of the city and of the cathedral from on high.
                                     However, ticket prices for this activity are rising at an alarming
                                     pace. Allow an hour, more if you visit the balcony. © Frommer's

                                      2 Aleksandrovskaia Kolonna (Alexander
tel: +7 812 576 7123(Tourist
Information)                               Column)
location:                            DESCRIPTION: This mighty Doric column, cut from a giant granite
Dvortsovaia Ploshchad'               monolith with a bronze base, cap, bas-reliefs and a sculpture on top, was
                                     put on Palace Square in memory of victory in the war of 1812. The huge
St Petersburg
                                     granite monolith weighs 704 metric tons. It took 2000 soldiers and 400
                                     workers just one hour and 45 minutes to complete the construction of
                                     this monument. The column itself has a height of 25.58 meters. It is the
Daily 24 hrs                         highest triumphal column in the world. © wcities.com


Day 2 - continued...

location:                      Zimnyi Dvorets (Winter Palace)
Dvortsovaia naberezhnaia, 34
St Petersburg 191186           DESCRIPTION: It takes some time for your eyes to get used
                               to the Winter Palace, the outlandish and colorful former home
hours:                         of Tsars that dominates Palace Square on one side and the
Hermitage museum: Tu-Su        Neva waterfront on the other. The existing building is the
10:30a-6p                      fourth-generation version and was designed by Italian architect
                               Rastrelli and completed in 1762. After the Revolution the
                               existing museum inside the palace was extended, and the
                               Hermitage is now one of the world's foremost art collections. ©    .

contact:                       Bliny Domik
tel: 7 812 3159915
                               DESCRIPTION: Bliny Domik is a cozy, casual restaurant specializing in bliny of all sorts. Here you
location:                      can sample sweet and savory, stuffed, rolled, and plain bliny all lovingly made. Evenings include
Kolokolnaya ul 10.             local musicians singing jazz standards in a warm, casual environment.
St. Petersburg

                                3 Ermitazh (Hermitage, The)
tel: +7 812 710 9625/ +7 812
710 9079
fax: +7 812 312 1550           DESCRIPTION: It was Catherine the Great who was
http://www.hermitagemuseum     responsible for creating the celebrated Hermitage museum
.org/                          within the walls of her glorious Imperial residence, the Winter
                               Palace. At the time of her death the collection contained nearly
location:                      4,000 paintings. Today there are more than three million items
Dvortsovaya Ploshchad, 2       making the Hermitage one of the largest and most prestigious
                                                                                                          Photo courtesy of Ermitazh
St Petersburg 190000           museums in the world. Visitors can be forgiven for being unsure                     (Hermitage, The)
                               where to begin, coronation carriages, the Malachite Room,
hours:                         centuries old porcelain and antiques, Faberge, Rembrandt,
Tu-Sa 10:30a-6p, Su            Raphael, DaVinci, Michelangelo, and Van Gogh, Matisse,
10:30a-5p, on holidays and     Renoir, Degas, and Rodin, and all that just for starters. It can
preceding days 10:30a-5p       take a complete day to see the highlights, but investigating
                               every corner in each of the five linked buildings could take
                               years. © wcities.com

                                4 Dvortsovyi Most (Palace Bridge)
tel: +7 812 576 6094

                               DESCRIPTION: Dvortsovyi Most (Palace Bridge) is a
Dvortsovyi Most                drawbridge that is 250 meters long, 27.7 meters wide and
St Petersburg 190              stretches across the Neva near the Winter Palace. In so
                               doing, it connects the Admiralteiskii area of the city with
hours:                         Vasil'evskii Ostrov. It was built between 1912 and 1916 by
24 hrs                         engineer A. I. Pshenitskii. During summer months, the central      .
                               section composed of two wings, opens during the night
                               to allow shipping traffic to pass. The lights created (called
                               "White Nights") provide tourists with good nighttime photo
                               opportunities. © wcities.com

Day 2 - continued...

                                 5 Petropavlovskaia Krepost' (Peter
tel: +7 812 576 6094
http://www.spbmuseum.ru/pe            and Paul Fortress)
                                DESCRIPTION: This is the historic heart of the city. Tsar
location:                       Peter I built the fortress in just six months in 1703. Situated
                                on the Zaiachii (Rabbit) island, the fortress faces the Winter
Petropavlovskaia Krepost' 3
                                Palace and is one of the city's symbols. The fortress houses an
St Petersburg 197046            assembly of interesting monuments such as the Peter and Paul
                                Cathedral, the Trubetskii prison, Peter's Boathouse and the The       .
hours:                          Mint. Peter and other Russian Tsars are buried at the cathedral.
11a-6p Th-M                     © wcities.com

contact:                        Senat bar
tel: 7 812 314 9253
                                DESCRIPTION: Situated near the famous statue of the Bronze Horseman down Galernaia Ulitsa
location:                       (Galernaia Street), Senat consists of both a bar and restaurant, both of which are popular with
Galernaia Ulitsa, 1             monied Russians more than westerners. The menu in the restaurant is extensive, and consists
St. Petersburg 190000           mostly of elegantly prepared and luscious Russian dishes. The camambert served on a leafed
                                bedding with pine nuts and tomato dressing is delicious, as is the 'Sibirskaia Solianka' (Siberian
hours:                          solianka) - a meat soup. © wcities.com
Noon-midnight M-Su

                                 6 Angleterre Hotel
tel: 7 812 4945666
fax: 812/494-5059
http://www.angleterrehotel.co   DESCRIPTION: Angleterre Hotel is a grand late-19th century
m/                              hotel centrally located in the historical district of St Petersburg
                                overlooking St Isaac's Square. Contemporary, air-conditioned
location:                       guestrooms feature parquet flooring, embroidered fabrics and
Ulitsa Bol'shaia Morskaia, 39   marble bathrooms. Guests can workout on fitness equipment,
St. Petersburg                  swim in the pool, try their luck in the casino and dance the night    .
Leningradskaya 190000           away in the club. © wcities.com

Day 3 - St. Petersburg
                                                                                           QUICK NOTE

DAY NOTE: On your last day, the Summer Gardens and the State Russian museum are a short walk north from the area around the
hotel. Eat lunch at Zoom, a charming literary cafe with a great selection of soups, sandwiches, salads, and fresh squeezed juices, with
Russian and other European influence, for a perfect goodbye to St. Petersburg.

                                     1 Letnyi Sad (Summer Gardens)
tel: +7 812 314 0374

                                    DESCRIPTION: This is the place to rest on a bench after a day of visiting museums, or to escape
Letnii Sad                          from the crush of city sidewalks -- or to imagine how Peter the Great spent his summer afternoons.
St. Petersburg 191186               The lush greenery (at least for a few months of the year) almost makes you forget that these
                                    gardens were entirely planned, designed for Peter's pleasure walks and adhering to the city's rules
hours:                              of classicism. Peter brought in marble Renaissance-era statues from Italy to give the park a more
Daily 10a-7p                        European feel. He and his successors threw grand receptions here with dancing, drinking, and
                                    fireworks under the endless sun of the White Nights. The statues and fountains serve as landmarks
                                    in case you get disoriented. The shrubbery was once carefully trimmed but now its groomers allow
                                    trees to take on more abundant forms. The Summer Palace is open to visitors, its rooms re-created
                                    as they would have been in Peter's time. The small two-story building was not heated, so it was a
                                    summer treat. Glance inside the Coffee House and the Tea House, too. The park closes for a few
                                    weeks in spring, usually in April, for a "drying out" period as the slush melts. © Frommer's

                                     2 Gosudarstvennyi Russkii Muzei
tel: +7 812 595 4248/ +7 812
314 3448                                  (State Russian Museum)
                                    DESCRIPTION: Acknowledged in 1992 by the President of the
location:                           Russian Federation as one of Russia's most precious objects
                                    of cultural heritage, The State Russian Museum is home to the
Inzhenernaia Ulitsa, 4
                                    largest collection of Russian fine art in the world. Founded in
St Petersburg 191186                1898 by Emperor Nicholas II in memory of his father Alexander
                                    III, it became the first state museum of Russian art. Today it      .
hours:                              holds over 400,000 exhibits spanning a period of one thousand
W-Su 10a-6p, M 10a-5p               years including an overwhelming collection of medieval icons
                                    and works from well-known Russian masters such as Repin,
                                    Shishkin, Nesterov, Cahagall, Rublev and Brullov. A visit to
                                    The State Russian Museum is to experience the essence of
                                    Russia in a fantastic display of style, shape, color and meaning.
                                    © wcities.com

                                     3 Zoom
tel: 7 812 972 1805

                                    DESCRIPTION: Swanky and relatively new, Zoom is aptly named, for time seems to fly by when
22 Gorokhovaya Ulitsa               you're having fun. Very slick black glass-topped tables set off the blue walls. Books are revered
St. Petersburg 191186               here, as you will realize when two menus are handed to you – one for books and the other for your
                                    meal! The menu consists of loads of salads and soups, well-balanced by steak and fish dishes.
hours:                              Leave room for a wholesome dessert, such as an apple baked with honey and nuts. Regular
11a-midnight M-Su                   drinkers will be a tad disappointed, though, for liquor is not served all the days of the week. ©

St. Petersburg Snapshot
Local Info                                       to this strange new city, still afflicted by the   Towards the end of the 20th Century,
                                                 threat of flood and the danger of marauding        Russia finally embarked upon a
Introduction                                     wolves.                                            period of significant industrialisation
St. Petersburg was a planned city from                                                              but the conservative Tsar Alexander
                                                 Peter died in 1725, having given Russia
day one, and therefore makes sense                                                                  III(1881-94) was even less inclined than
                                                 an ambitious new capital and, incidentally,
to most visitors right away. The center                                                             his predecessor to political change. This
                                                 a radically redesigned Russian state. In
of town is relatively compact, and the                                                              was a potentially explosive situation,
                                                 Petersburg itself we can thank Peter for
increasing use of English on street signs                                                           especially as Russia's intelligentsia
                                                 tourist attractions like the country palace
and billboards breaks up the puzzling array                                                         had already begun soaking up Marxist
                                                 of Peterhof, the Summer Gardens and the
of Russian lettering and helps visitors                                                             theories on the revolutionary potential
                                                 Kunstkammer museum.
get their bearings. But globalization has                                                           of the emergent working class. On St
encroached only so far, and even though          After numerous fairly ineffective rulers, the      Petersburg's Vasilievskii Island, the
the city was Peter the Great's window to         next great figure in St Petersburg's history       workers' slums and the potentially radical
the Western world, there's no mistaking St.      was Catherine the Great, who was second            student population(which was located in
Petersburg's Russianness. Here are some          only to Peter the Great in the shaping of          close proximity) was a volatile combination.
tips on how to get oriented and get on with      modern St Petersburg. A voracious reader
your Petersburg adventure.                       and enthusiastic scholar, she conducted            Alexander III died in 1894 and power was
© 2000-2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc.            extensive correspondence with Voltaire             duly passed to his son Nicholas II. In 1905,
                                                 and hosted many scholars from western              a minor revolution of sorts took place. St
                                                 Europe, including the philosopher Diderot.         Petersburg played host to the bloody and
History                                          Smolnyi Cathedral was largely her doing,           entirely unnecessary slaughter which took
                                                 and the Hermitage—now one of the world's           place on what came to be known as Bloody
                                                 greatest museums—was comprised of                  Sunday, when government forces fired on
The statue of the Bronze Horseman
                                                 Catherine's own art collection in the Winter       what was by all accounts a peaceful protest
depicts a strident Peter the Great atop a
                                                 Palace.                                            in front of the Winter Palace. This action
rearing horse. His finger is thrust forward,
                                                                                                    sparked a wave of mutinies, strikes and
pointing out the city's glorious history. St     By the 19th Century the Empire was                 uprisings which were threatening enough
Petersburg's beginnings are inseparable          increasingly subject to both internal and          to force Nicholas II to create a pseudo-
from the historically and physically huge        external pressures. Nicholas I took over           democratic parliament(the Duma) and
figure of Tsar Peter. Ambitious, optimistic      the reigns after the failed Decembrist             provide the people with a guarantee of
and uncompromising, he conceived this            uprising and promptly set out on a reign           basic civil rights. This largely placated the
northern capital while still at war with         characterized by harsh repression and              country's stormy mood until the start of the
Charles II of Sweden. St Petersburg was          extreme political conservatism. The flip-          First World War.
to be both a"window to Europe" and a             side of this political conservatism was the
progressive antidote to the conservative         growth of a dissident intelligentsia(the           World War I proved utterly disastrous for
and backward Holy Russia(symbolized by           word itself is of Russian origin) who began        Russia – incompetent leadership and huge
the city of Moscow) which Peter hated so         whispering of revolution. The great Russian        casualties proved troubling to a population
intensely. For a while, Peter lived rough(by     writer Dostoevskii was a member of the             already suffering wartime hardships. This
Tsarist standards) in a log cabin known          Petrashevskii circle of St Petersburg              discontent only fueled revolutionary fires
as Peter's Cabin in order to personally          dissidents, a crime for which he was later         and by March 1917, Nicholas' position
oversee the construction of the Peter and        sent into Siberian exile.                          was untenable. He abdicated, and after
Paul Fortress—the city's first major building.                                                      his brother Mikhail wisely refused to take
                                                 Despite the relative liberalism of Alexander       over, Nicholas and his family were shipped
Building a city in such harsh physical           II's rule(which included the emancipation of       off to the town of Ekaterinburg beyond
conditions proved difficult: countless           the serfs) the forces of revolution continued      the Urals where the Romanov dynasty
prisoners-of-war carved the city out             to gain steam. A political demonstration           was consigned to the past. By the end of
of marshland in unimaginably torrid              was held before the Kazan Cathedral in             the year, the precarious new bourgeois
conditions. Thousands perished as a result.      1876. In 1881, the Tsar was assassinated           state had collapsed and was replaced by
When Peter finally defeated the Swedes at        by the revolutionary terrorist group               a communist regime that would last over
Poltava in 1709, a future for St Petersburg      the"People's Will," and the Saviour on             70 years. During the tumultuous events
was secured. By 1712, construction was           Spilled Blood Cathedral was erected in his         of the October revolution, Lenin and his
well underway and the Imperial family and        memory.                                            cohorts used the Smolnyi Institute as an
much of the government had transferred                                                              administrative base.

St. Petersburg Snapshot continued
                                                                                                 of the gargantuan St Isaac's Cathedral, it
The years leading up to the World War           Modern St Petersburg has undergone a
                                                                                                 is in the center but sufficiently far removed
II were marked by major upheaval and            radical transformation and differs greatly
                                                                                                 from the buzz of Nevskii Prospekt to give
mass repression under Stalin. As the            from what it looked like at the time of the
                                                                                                 it a definite air of exclusivity. The Nevskij
capital city, the newly-named Leningrad         breakup of the Soviet Union. The central
                                                                                                 Palace is a thoroughly modern hotel sitting
bore the brunt of Party purges. The city's      thoroughfare Nevskii Prospekt is a cluster
                                                                                                 on the strictly commercial section of Nevskii
great 20th-century poet Anna Akhmatova          of new entertainment venues, expensive
                                                                                                 Prospekt. It offers very modern services
lost numerous friends and family and was        restaurants and upscale shops. However,
                                                                                                 including excellent conferencing facilities.
herself condemned as"half-nun, half-whore"      beneath the glittering new look lies both
but she survived until 1966.                    brand new poverty and St Petersburg's            The Oktiabrskaia is the most central of the
                                                eternally thriving cultural life.                mid-range hotels, located just off Nevskii's
During World War II the city suffered more
                                                © wcities.com                                    Ploshchad' Vosstaniia. It is however a little
than any other in the world. For three
                                                                                                 shabby and unaccommodating. A better
years the Germans besieged Leningrad,
                                                                                                 option up the road is the Moskva, a vast
starving up to one million of its population    Hotel Insights                                   Soviet effort situated near the Alexander
to death. Although today the number
                                                                                                 Nevskii Monastery and a good choice for
ofblokadniks(survivors of the blockade)
                                                The state of accommodation in St                 foreigner visitors due to its uncomplicated
is dwindling rapidly, the siege is still
                                                Petersburg reflects the post-Soviet history      access to the city center(the metro station
firmly embedded in the city's collective
                                                of the city. After the fall of Communism,        is right next door). Their wide experience
consciousness. A Victory Monument stands
                                                big money was spent on only a handful of         with foreign guests dates from Soviet times
in the middle of Moskovskii Prospekt and
                                                hotels to bring them up to scratch. Other        and visitors should feel comfortable here.
elsewhere there is a Blockade Museum
as well as the Piskarevskoe Cemetery, a         hotels have not been lucky enough to be          The cream of the crop when it comes to
solemn place where many of the dead were        injected with Western cash. While most           backpackers lodging is undoubtedly the
buried in mass graves.                          are more than adequate in their level of         St Petersburg International Hostel. Not far
                                                service, some of the cheaper options are         from the center, it's got rooms of three to six
After the destruction caused by the war,
                                                mired with problems, mainly ill-kept rooms       beds, and the prices are quite reasonable.
Leningrad had to go through a period of
                                                and indifferent staff. Careful selection is a    The staff are helpful, efficient and English-
extensive reconstruction. Some buildings—
                                                must when choosing your hotel.                   speaking, while the rooms are immaculately
like St Isaac's Cathedral—still bear scars of
                                                Central                                          kept. The travel service affiliated with the
wartime bombardment.
                                                                                                 hotel, Sinbad, will help you plan your future
Russia experienced something of a political     Undisputedly at the top-end of the scale         movements to Moscow and beyond.
and cultural thaw after the death of Stalin     stand three hotels – the Grand Hotel
in 1953, but that was quickly followed by a     Europe, the Astoria and the Nevskij Palace.      Vasilievskii Island
period of stagnation under the complacent       Of these three, only the last is completely      On Vasilievskii Island to the northwest
Brezhnev. When Gorbachev came to                new. Both the Grand Hotel and the Astoria        of the city center, the king of hotels is
power in 1985, the USSR was in dire             were premier Soviet hotels with a long           undoubtedly the Pribaltiiskaia, a giant
need of renovation and Gorbachev sought         history behind them, re-modernized               Swedish-Soviet effort from the 1970s
to achieve this through the twin motors         and renovated with Western dollars to            located a fair distance from the city center
ofglasnost(openness in public discourse)        accommodate the post-Soviet influx of            but affording an excellent panorama(if you
andperestroika(economic reconstruction).        corporate travelers and discerning tourists.     get a western-facing room) over the Gulf
However, by the end of the 1980s the entire     They are all situated in or around the city      of Finland. Like the Moskva, they are more
system was looking untenable and by 1990        center.                                          than used to foreign clientèle here.
things were beginning to come apart. By
                                                The Grand Hotel Europe is about as central       The Petrograd Side& the Kirov Islands
June 1991 Leningrad had been renamed
                                                as you can get, standing just off the main
St Petersburg in defiance of Gorbachev's                                                         The rooms here tend to be cheaper to
                                                stretch of Nevskii Prospekt and right beside
wishes.                                                                                          compensate for its awkward location.
                                                Arts Square. It's normally the first choice
When Gorbachev was sidelined by a                                                                Further to the east but still well south of
                                                of visiting celebrities and top-end officials,
conservative coup, hundreds of thousands                                                         the city center you'll find the Mir, which is
                                                attracting an occasional bustle of media
of people massed on Palace Square                                                                located close to Victory Park and many
                                                and security outside. Inside, the styling is
as they awaited the result of events in                                                          interesting cafes. The Hotel Leningradskiy
                                                Art Nouveau, the ambience is elegant and
Moscow. In the end, the coup broke down                                                          Dvorets Molodezhi(LDM) used to target
                                                the service is excellent.
and with it any future for the Soviet Union.                                                     a young crowd, but now hosts a more
                                                The Astoria is one of the Grand Hotel's          universal group of travelers. There are
The post-Communist era had begun.
                                                close competitors. Standing in the shadow

St. Petersburg Snapshot continued
four bars to choose from and an exquisite        course appear simultaneously. Who said           shops. Coming here to eat is well worth
restaurant.                                      predictability was interesting?                  it, however. The gem of the bunch is
                                                                                                  Staraia Tamozhnia, one of the few
South& West of Nevskii                           Central
                                                                                                  restaurants on Vasilievskii Island. It is an
There are plenty of great hotels to choose       A perennial favorite of visitors to the city     upscale restaurant frequented by wealthy
from that lie outside the city center.           has to be the famous Kafe Idiot. It's mid-       businessmen and those looking to have an
The Matisov Domik for example, is a              priced, vegetarian, nearly always busy and       enjoyable, extravegant meal. The menu is
small family-run affair lying west of the        a relaxing place to be. Located in the city      filled with decadent options and exquisite
Mariinskii Theatre. There are many               center, the Kafe Lagidze specializes in          wine selections. There is also live jazz from
public transportation options nearby. The        Georgian cuisine, while Valhall is a Viking-     a local band in the evenings.
Pulkovskaia is a tentatively refurbished         themed restaurant offering a mixture of
                                                                                                  The Petrograd Side& the Kirov Islands
Soviet contribution that is distinguished        Russian and European dishes. Known
by its location next to the thoroughly           for its modern take on the traditional           The Golden Dragon serves an abundant
impressive Victory Monument.                     Russian"meat and potatoes" approach to           mix of Asian cuisine: the menu lists over
                                                 dining is the lively Pushka Inn Restaurant       100 items. This is a good place for families
Also, there's the Holiday Hostel. It's not far
                                                 and Bar located in the city center.              or couples, as the interior is comfortable
from the Finland Station on the north side
                                                                                                  and inviting. Sharovnia na Aptekarskom
of the Neva and as such is perhaps slightly      Both St Petersburg and Moscow have
                                                                                                  is a sports club and restaurant where
remote, especially in summer when you'll         their fair share of immigrants from
                                                                                                  you can go and shoot pool or bowl. The
have to contend with the bridge-opening          former Soviet republics. Georgian food
                                                                                                  rustic interior makes it a great place to
timetable. Still, rooms are cheap and in         is particularly popular, with several fine
                                                                                                  spend a relaxing evening. Picasso is
good condition.                                  outlets in St Petersburg: the Kavkaz
                                                                                                  named for the legendary Spanish artist,
© wcities.com                                    Café and Restaurant for example, is
                                                                                                  and serves food inspired by his country
                                                 reasonably-priced and centrally located.
                                                                                                  of birth. The dishes on the menu here are
                                                 European cuisine comes in all varieties
Restaurants Insights                             and at all prices. Italian is predictably well
                                                                                                  named for his paintings.There is also live
                                                                                                  music to keep things energetic. The meat-
                                                 represented, from the bustling Patio Pizza
                                                                                                  centric Miasorubka serves expertly-spiced
St Petersburg's current restaurant scene         on Nevskii Prospekt.
                                                                                                  Mongolian dishes. The interior is comforting
is unrecognizable compared to that of            Mama Roma is famous for its superb               and warm.
ten years ago. Old Soviet-style cafés and        business lunch, while Federico Fellini's         © wcities.com
canteens selling meat of questionable origin     Cinema Restaurant is a film fan's dream.
are still around but further up the scale the    One of the city's Irish bars, the aptly named
city offers an amazing variety of cuisines       Mollie's Irish Bar, is a popular ex-pat          Nightlife Insights
from around the world. While things slowed       hangout that isn't far from Nevskii Prospekt.
down a bit after the economic crisis of          Burgers, juicy steaks and apple pie can all
                                                                                                  St Petersburg has always been renowned
1998, today a new wave of openings is well       be had at California Grill or else you could
                                                                                                  for its vibrant cultural life; music and drama
underway, with new restaurants and bars          try the reasonably new frontier-style Fort
                                                                                                  have long been an integral component of
appearing with even greater frequency.           Ross Bar just off Nevskii Prospekt. The City
                                                                                                  the city's identity. Today, such traditional
Also, there is the inevitable selection of       Bar also offers a Western-style menu as
                                                                                                  entertainment has been offset by the
standard international chains–McDonalds,         most of its clientele are ex-pats.
                                                                                                  more hedonistic pleasures of the city's
KFC and Pizza Hut can all be found here.
                                                 If Oriental food is what floats your boat,       burgeoning club scene. Additionally, a
The quality of service normally corresponds      and you have money to burn, you could try        wide range of cinemas show movies
to price although generally speaking,            out Chopsticks in the Grand Hotel Europe.        ranging from old Soviet classics t? modern
Western service culture is conspicuously         Other options include the decent Krasnyi         Hollywood blockbusters.
absent. Indifferent staff and inexplicable       Terem(a surprisingly inexpensive option on
                                                                                                  Classical Music: Opera, Ballet, Symphony
delays are a common feature of many              Nevskii Prospekt), and the Zolotaia Panda
establishments. This tends to be mitigated       Cafe.                                            This is a city of countless great composers
the higher up the price scale you go. Many                                                        —including Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov
                                                 Vasilievskii Island
places haven't got the hang of serving                                                            and Shostakovich—and possibly the most
courses in the correct order and don't be        The dining options become a bit thin             famous ballet troupe in the world: the Kirov
surprised if you wait for three-quarters         West of the city center. Most of this            Ballet. In the financially uncertain world of
of an hour before your starter and main          district is taken up with residences and         post-Soviet Russia, the city's cultural life
                                                 sporadically placed, privately-owned             has been hard-hit and many of it's music

St. Petersburg Snapshot continued
ensembles make money by heading out                                                               Marstall...the list goes on and on. They all
                                                  Located in a beautiful Rossi-designed
of Russia t? cash in on their excellent                                                           offer varying degrees of...well, maybe it's
                                                  auditorium, the Aleksandrinskii Theatre
reputation. That said, St Petersburg                                                              best to find out for yourself.
                                                  draws on the full canon of Russian and
remains one of the greatest cities in the
                                                  Soviet works.                                   Cinema
world for lovers of classical music.
                                                  The Malyi Drama Theatre is another              The Russian film industry is in a state of
Foreigners may have some problems
                                                  popular option as is the Komissarzhevskaia      some disorder. Though it has produced
purchasing tickets for events, especially
                                                  Drama Theatre just off Palace Square. Both      the odd blockbuster in recent times such
in more popular venues like the Mariinskii
                                                  show mainly Russian works, the latter with      asThe Barber of Siberia or theBrat movies,
Theatre for which a dual-price system is in
                                                  a much more classical bent.                     mainstream cinemas are Hollywood-
operation(visitors have t? pay more than
                                                                                                  dominated. The most obviously blockbuster
twice the amount Russians do). Formerly           The Baltiiskii Dom hosts a number of the
                                                                                                  cinema is the shiny Crystal Palace on
known as the Kirov, this theater is the           city's more progressive and innovative
                                                                                                  Nevskii Prospekt(just follow the smell of
jewel in the crown of the city's cultural         drama groups as well as a number of rock
                                                                                                  popcorn). Barrikada shows pretty much
life. Luxuriously outfitted, it hosts several     and pop concerts.
                                                                                                  the same range of films, but in a decidedly
major premieres every year and affluent
                                                  Clubs                                           more elegant and spacious environment.
tourists flock t? catch showings of major
Russian pieces such asSwan Lake andThe            The club scene in St Petersburg is a lively     At the opposite end of the scale, Spartak is
Nutcracker as well as performances of             affair. From low-end discos to glitzy strip-    the best of the art-house bunch, showing
major works from the European canon.              bars(of which there are many), there is a       both contemporary and older Russian
                                                  plethora of options to suit the tastes of any   movies along with art-house foreign
For opera and ballet, your next best bet is
                                                  clubber.                                        imports.
the Mussorgsky Theatre on Arts Square,
not quite as luxurious or prestigious as the      For techno/dance music you can head for         Dom Kino is housed in an impressive Style
Mariinskii but still worth a visit. Elsewhere,    the underground chill of Griboedov or the       Moderne building and shows both major
the Oktiabrskii Kontsertnii Zal("October"         sparkling expanse(and expense) of Metro.        Russian and Western films, as do the
Concert Hall) hosts performances in its           There's also the huge Port nightclub and        Khudozhestvennyi,(which means"art"), and
large Soviet-era hall, but these are only t? a    the smaller hangout Fish Fabrique.              the Parisiana.
recorded soundtrack.                              For live music your best bets are               If you're looking t? catch up on some
Symphony concerts can be attended at a            Manhattan, Zoopark or Money Honey.              classics, you could try the Molodezhny or
variety of excellent venues, among them                                                           the Leningrad cinema.
                                                  The city has a few gay venues, by far
the Philharmonia on Arts Square and the           the most popular of which is Club 69—           The bar/nightclub Fish Fabrique has
Glinka Kapella just off Palace Square.            a hedonistic and expensive mix popular          also started showing films on a frequent
Smaller venues such as the Iusupov                among clientèle of all sexual orientations.     basis, complete with English translation on
Theatre and the Hermitage Theatre(both                                                            headphones.
                                                  Jazz has a long history of popularity
former private theatres for the Imperial elite)                                                   © wcities.com
                                                  here and the city boasts both a string of
offer more intimate performances.                 well-known bands and a devoted and
The recently renovated Smolnyi Cathedral          knowledgeable following. There are              Things to Do Insights
also hosts classical music performances.          numerous venues: the Jazz Philharmonic
                                                  Hall is something of an establishment and
Theater                                                                                           Several of these self-guided tours begin
                                                  charges the highest prices. JFC Jazz Club
St Petersburg has a grand dramatic                is a small and nearly always packed venue       at the romantic heart of the city—Palace
tradition and takes the theatrical arts very      notable for the enthusiasm of its crowd and     Square. It's a majestic setting, lying
seriously. There are a huge variety of            the variety of music played: dixieland, Latin   between the magnificence of the Winter
venues t? visit, offering a wide range of         jazz, acid jazz…it's all here. There's also     Palace and the pale yellow sweep of the
performances.                                     the seemingly underground Jimi Hendrix          General Staff building. Not more than five
                                                  Blues Club, which caters to fans of blues       minutes away lies the thriving commercial
The premier venue is the Bolshoi Drama
                                                  music as well as straight jazz, plus the        street Nevskii Prospekt, while beyond the
Theatre on the Fontanka canal, whose
                                                  Neo Jazz Club, a smaller venue near the         Winter Palace lies a panoramic vista across
repertoire takes in a broad range of
                                                  Summer Gardens.                                 the Neva river.
Russian material plus the occasional
interpretation of Western works.                  The numerous strip clubs also deserve           Nevskii Prospekt
                                                  a mention: Tribunal Bar, Sahara,

St. Petersburg Snapshot continued
                                               site where Alexander II was assassinated         of the Fontanka canal. If you fancy stopping
Nevskii Prospekt is St Petersburg's main
                                               by members of the revolutionary terrorist        for a bite to eat, there's two options nearby.
street, stretching for more than four
                                               organization""People's Will"" on March 1,        The restaurant/bar Propaganda lies just off
kilometers(two miles) from the Admiralty
                                               1881. Kanal Griboedova also plays host to        Nevskii to the north along the far side of the
across the arc formed by the Neva within
                                               a number of cafés and restaurants—try out        Fontanka.
the city. It is St Petersburg's busiest
                                               Laima Bistro for some Russian fast food.
thoroughfare, with a history almost as                                                          St Isaac's Cathedral
old as the city itself. After the foundation   Russian Museum
                                                                                                Crossing the busy main road from the
of St Petersburg in 1703, shipyard carts
                                               Once you have swept around the back of           Palace Square takes you to the park in
carried all manner of materials along the
                                               the Saviour on Spilled Blood Cathedral,          front of the Admiralty. Initially a major
Novgorod road t? the shipyards at the
                                               take your first left along Inzhenernaia Ulitsa   shipyard and as such one of the city's
Neva. The original thoroughfares were not
                                               and you'll reach Arts Square. Designed           most important locations in Peter's time,
intended for heavy traffic and so a decision
                                               by architect Carlo Rossi, it's an elegant        the Admiralty was reconstructed between
was eventually made t? carve out a main
                                               area surrounded by a cornucopia of cultural      1806-1823 by Zacharov as a development
road through four kilometers(two miles)
                                               attractions—three museums and three              of the earlier building by Korobov. It had
of marsh, meadow and forest, enabling
                                               theaters, including the famous Russian           been remodeled between 1727-1738 but
easy movement from the Novgorod road
                                               Museum, the Apartment-museum of                  retains the original layout. Its weather vane
t? the Admiralty on the Neva. By the
                                               the poet Blok, the Mussorgsky Opera              —topped by an elegant spire in the form
mid-18th Century this thoroughfare had
                                               and Ballet House and the St Petersburg           of a ship—is one of the city's principal
already become the city's main street and
                                               Philharmonia. Each owner of a plot of land       landmarks. The building today houses a
commercial center, and many cathedrals,
                                               on the square had the right to build a house     Naval College and naval administrative
palaces, mansions and public buildings
                                               of his own choice, but only on the condition     offices. Continuing through the gardens
were erected along it. From the Palace
                                               that the façade overlooking the street or        in front of the Admiralty and veering right
Square you can slip on to Nevskii Prospekt
                                               the square conformed to Rossi's standard         beyond the end of the building, you'll
along the Moika canal. Look out for the
                                               project. In 1957, a statue of Pushkin was        eventually see the most famous statue
newly renovated Kapella building just over
                                               erected in the center of the square's public     in Russia, that of the Bronze Horseman,
the canal off the square and the popular
                                               garden. From here you can nip back onto          sitting on a granite obelisk weighing 600
ex-pat hangout City Bar tucked away
                                               Nevskii Prospekt via Mikhailovskaia Ulitsa,      tons, designed by Falconet and erected in
in the same courtyard. Having reached
                                               with the prestigious(and expensive) Grand        1782 on the orders of Catherine the Great.
Nevskii Prospekt, you can see the 18th-
                                               Hotel Europe appearing on your right-hand        This statue is the symbol of Peter the
century Stroganov Palace(1753-1754)
                                               side. At this point you emerge onto the          Great. This is the first stop for newlyweds
on the opposite side of the street. This
                                               bustling heart of Nevskii. Across the road       posing for photos after taking their vows
is an elaborate but rather jaded creation
                                               stands the vast shopping complex that is         —the statue is believed to bestow good
of the Italian architect Rastrelli. A little
                                               Gostinyi Dvor, a two-storied colonnaded          luck on any marriage. Away from the Neva
further up the road(again on the south
                                               quadrangle built by architect Jean-Baptiste      behind the Bronze Horseman stands the
side) stands Kazan Cathedral, designed
                                               Vallin de la Mothe from 1761 to 1785.            gargantuan form of St Isaac's Cathedral,
and erected in 1801-1811 by the architect
                                               Opposite Gostinyi Dvor is another of the         the third highest cathedral in the world.
Andrei Voronikhin. The cathedral with
                                               largest and most famous department stores        It was completed in 1858 after 40 years
its semi-circular Corinthian colonnade
                                               in the city: Passazh(meaning""passage""          of construction. The granite and marble
comprised of 96 13-meter(42-foot) high
                                               or""arcade""). Walking along the southern        building is cruciform and the great golden
columns is the dominant feature in one
                                               side of the street(you can cross via several     dome is one of the earliest examples of the
of the most elegant areas of the city.
                                               underground passages at this point),             use of iron as a structural material. For a
Opposite Kazan Cathedral stands the city's
                                               continue along Nevskii and on the right          delicious meal in this area, head to Rossi's
major book store Dom Knigi, a building
                                               you'll come across Ostrovskii Square, in         for delicious Italian or to Kafe Lagidze
with a polished granite façade, crowned
                                               the center of which stands a Monument            specializing in Georgian cuisine.
with a globe atop a glass tower. Built in
                                               to Catherine The Great built in 1973. She
1907, before the Revolution this building                                                       Marinskii Palace
                                               is shown in an ermine robe, holding a
belonged to the Singer Sewing-Machine
                                               scepter, and surrounded by her associates        On the other side of the cathedral lies
Company. Stretching away from Kazan
                                               at the foot of the high granite pedestal.        St Isaac's Square, in the center of which
Cathedral on the other side of the street
                                               Further along Nevskii, past the Anichkov         stands an impressive Monument to
is Kanal Griboedova, at the visible end of
                                               Palace and colonnaded Kabinet building           Nicholas I. Also here is the luxurious
which stands the Saviour on Spilled Blood
                                               of Alexander I, you'll come to the elegant       Astoria hotel, where Hitler had planned
Cathedral and Museum, an elaborate and
                                               Anichkov Bridge spanning a broad sweep           to hold celebrations after taking the city.
colorful domed building erected on the

St. Petersburg Snapshot continued
On the opposite side of the square to the       ads but are full of information. Pick up a       no. 13 takes you to the Moskovskaya metro
cathedral stands the Marinskii Palace, a        copy ofThe St. Petersburg Times, a twice-        station, south of the city center, for a few
building given as a somewhat generous           weekly English-language newspaper, for           rubles. No trains serve the airport.
birthday present from Nicholas I to his         local and international news.                    Domestic flights into St. Petersburg,
daughter. Joining the Moika here, you can       Tips: Don't Drink the Water-- Most hotels        from Moscow for example, come into
continue along its south side, where things     have their own clean water supply, or use        the neighboring Pulkovo-1 Airport(tel.
get a little quieter. Look out for the Kafe     filtered water, because of St. Petersburg's      812/704-3822). The facilities are similar
Idiot, a popular haunt for tourists and new     often bacteria-infected groundwater. It's        to those of Pulkovo-2, though more basic.
arrivals to the city and a good place to stop   a good idea to ask before brushing your          Taxi service is the same as at Pulkovo-1,
off for a decent(vegetarian) lunch. Another     teeth with tap water. Numerous brands of         and public bus no. 39 takes you to the
dining option is Chopsticks.                    locally bottled spring water are good cheap      Moskovskaya metro station. To book your
Guided Tours                                    sources of clean water. Some safe brands         transfer by Internet, go to www.saint-
                                                are Saint Springs(Svyatoi Istochnik) and         petersburg.com/transfers/index.asp.
Walking Tour                                    Natalia. Make sure you ask forvoda bez           By Train
Peter's Walking Tours(+7 812 943 1229/          gaza-- literally, water without gas-- unless
                                                                                                 Entering St. Petersburg by overnight train
http://www.peterswalk.com/)                     you want the carbonated kind.
                                                                                                 from Moscow is one of the most romantic
                                                Getting There                                    things you can do in Russia. The Moscow-
Historical Center Walking Tours(+7
812 970-6802/http://www.oksanas.net/            By Plane                                         based trains arrive at, appropriately,
tours.htm)                                      All international flights into St. Petersburg    Moskovsky(Moscow) Station, right on
                                                land at Pulkovo-2 Airport(tel. 812/704-3822      Nevsky Prospekt, within walking distance
Bike Tour                                                                                        of several major hotels and adjacent to the
                                                for Pulkovo-1[domestic flights] or tel.
White Nights Bike Tour(+7 812 943 1229/         812/704-3444 for Pulkovo-2[international         Ploshchad Vostanniya and Mayakovskaya
http://www.peterswalk.com/)                     flights]; www.pulkovo.ru), which is friendlier   metro stations. The official taxis in front of
                                                and more manageable than Moscow's                the station set their own prices, which are
Bus Tour
                                                Sheremetevo-2 Airport. Pulkovo also has          invariably higher at the train station than
Siege of Leningrad battlefield                                                                   elsewhere in town.
                                                the advantage of a 2003 renovation that
bus tour(+8 904 630 44 03/http://
                                                opened up the halls and lightened up the         Another easy train connection is from
                                                atmosphere, making the long lines for            Helsinki, 5 1/2 hours away(plus a 1-
                                                security and passport control much more          hr. time difference). The trip ends at St.
                                                tolerable.                                       Petersburg's Ladoga Station(Ladozhsky
© wcities.com
                                                Use of luggage carts is free. The airport        Vokzal, Zanevsky Prospekt 73; tel.
                                                money-exchange booths offer poorer               812/436-2310). Taxis from there to Nevsky
Travel Tips                                     rates than downtown; a better bet are the        Prospekt cost about$30(£15). Three daily
                                                airport ATMs, which give rubles at the           trains run to and from the Finnish capital,
Planning a Trip                                                                                  both stopping in Vyborg to clear Customs.
                                                official Central Bank exchange rate. Internet
The St. Petersburg City Tourist Office          access is available. The arrivals hall has       From Poland, Germany, and the
is quite modest for such a significant city,    an information desk with English-speaking        Baltic states, trains arrive at Vitebsky
with not much more to offer than most           personnel, car-rental desks, and airline         Terminal(Vitebsky Vokzal), metro station
hotels. Still, it's worth a visit to find out   ticket offices.                                  Pushkinskaya, 52 Zagorodny Prospekt. If
about festivals or special events that you                                                       you are entering Russia from a European
                                                Tour groups won't have to worry about
might otherwise miss. The main offices are                                                       Union member country, you will need only
                                                transfers to and from the airport, which
at 14 Sadovaya Ulitsa(tel. 812/310-2822).                                                        a Russian visa. But if you enter through
                                                is 16km(10 miles) south of the city limits
Maps are available free in most hotels,         or about a 30-minute ride to the center          Belarus or Ukraine, you will need transit
and for a low price at bookstores and           of town. If you're an individual traveler,       visas for those countries. Be aware, too,
newspaper stands, though sometimes              arrange a taxi in advance from Pulkovo-2         that rail passes that serve the rest of
they're only in the Cyrillic alphabet. An       by calling the official airport cab company      Europe do not include Russia.
easy-to-read and richly detailed map to         at tel. 812/312-0022. Otherwise, you             By Bus
look out for is the bilingual"St. Petersburg    can negotiate a ride upon arrival. Official      A few tour companies offer bus tours to St.
Guide to the City." Avail yourself of the       cabs are often scarce, and charge about          Petersburg from Scandinavia on top-class
numerous free listings magazines at nearly      $60(£30) to Nevsky Prospekt. The                 Finnish coaches. From Helsinki the ride
all hotels and many restaurants. Most are       ubiquitous independent cabbies rarely go         takes about 6 hours, including the long stop
in English and Russian and are heavy with       below$40(£20) for the same trip. Public bus      to clear Customs. Ordinary, nontour buses,

St. Petersburg Snapshot continued
which are cheaper than the train, are            $20(£10) to Nevsky Prospekt in the city        easier and often cheaper than driving on
also available to and from Helsinki. If you      center.                                        your own.
travel on your own, you must take care of        By Car                                         © 2000-2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc.
your Russian visa yourself. The road from        A few intrepid travelers come to St.
Helsinki is relatively well maintained, unlike   Petersburg by car from Finland. Not            Fun Facts
many others in the region. Buses arrive at       including the long lines for Customs
St. Petersburg Bus Station(Avtobusny             and document check at the border, the
Vokzal; 36 Naberezhnaya Obvodonovo               370km(230-mile) drive from Helsinki is         St. Petersburg
Kanala; tel. 812/766-5777).                      about 6 hours. Once in St. Petersburg,         Country: Russia
By Boat                                          head straight to your hotel and settle the
                                                                                                St. Petersburg by the Numbers:
Many Scandinavian cruises include a stop         parking question. It's easy to park in St.
in St. Petersburg, at the major commercial       Petersburg, since nearly any sidewalk          Population: 4,030,000 Annual Rainfall: 538
port 20 minutes north of the city center, at     or embankment is fair game, though             mm/21.2 in Annual Snowfall: 140 mm/5.5 in
1 Morskoy Slavy Sq.(tel. 812/355-1310;           underground garages are extremely              Average January Temperature:-6.6°C/20°F
metro: Primorskaya and Vasileostrovskaya).       scarce in this city built on swampland.        Average July Temperature: 17°C/63°F
Minibuses to the metro(K-47, K-128, K-129,       It's harder to guarantee secure parking,
                                                                                                Quick Facts:
K-183, K-273, K-310, K-349, K-359, and           however. Existing maps in English do
K-690) run frequently and cost around            not indicate one-way streets or other          Electricity: 220 V, 50 Hz, two pin thin
$1(50p).                                         crucial driving details, though the Russian-   European plugs Time Zone: GMT+3
                                                 language pocket-sizeAtlas of St. Petersburg    Country Dialing Code: 7 Area Code: 812
Most cruises include an organized bus trip
                                                 Roads(Atlas Dorog Peterburga) is quite
to the center. This is the most convenient                                                      Did You Know?
                                                 useful. Traffic in St. Petersburg has gone
option, since the metro is a long walk and
                                                 from a trickle to a substantial rush-hour      St. Petersburg was known as Petrograd
the minibuses are often overcrowded.
                                                 event over the past decade. Be sure to         from 1914 to 1924 and Leningrad from
The official taxis serving the port charge
                                                 have all of the car's documentation in         1924 to 1991.
more than elsewhere; expect to pay about
                                                 perfect order, as the ever-hungry traffic
                                                                                                It was designed by Peter the Great in 1703
                                                 police will quickly spot and fine any
                                                                                                and intended to foster trade with Europe.
                                                 infraction. Renting a car with a driver is
                                                                                                © wcities.com

StatisticsJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec Temperature C Average High-3-318152022201481-2 Average
Mean-5-5-15111518161160-3 Average Low-7-8-41611141283-1-5 Temperature F Average High252635486068726958473428 Average
Mean212129415260656252433125 Average Low181724344453585547392922 Rainy Days1099779101112121212 Rain Fall
(cm) Rain Fall (in)
                                                                                                                             © wcities.com


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