Russian holidays are not complete without a visit to the historic and beautiful city of St Petersburg. Founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great, St Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia. Originally, the city was a small fortress. Peter the Great captured this fortress from the local peoples, intent on turning it into a major seaport to enhance Russia’s trade prospects. The Tsar had the Peter and Paul Fortress erected, setting the foundations for Russia’s trade with maritime nations. This Baltic city has many fascinating cultural and historic sites that must be included on any Russian holiday.
The Historic Centre of St Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a highlight of any visit. Architecture buffs will appreciate the different styles incorporated into this area, including Baroque, Neoclassical and Russian-Byzantine. To get the best experience you can in Russia, both cultural and historical, we’d recommend booking yourself onto an individual or group tour via a trusted travel company such as Regent Holidays, one of the first tour operators to offer holidays in Russia. With over 40 years of experience, you’d be sure to see and learn more about Russia via English spoken guides.
Nevsky Prospekt is the bustling main street of the city. Lined with upscale shopping, palaces, monuments, and more, this street has been mentioned in literature by prominent Russian authors such as Fyodor Dostoevsky and Nikolai Gogol. Tourists can experience the nightlife of St Petersburg on Nevsky Prospekt, which is also home to the city’s most expensive real estate. A stroll down Nevsky Prospekt leads tourists into the Palace Square, which is home to the famous Alexander Column.
The Winter Palace served as the official residence of the Russian monarchy for almost 200 years. The Palace is also known as the start of the Russian Revolution with the Bloody Sunday massacre in 1905. Today, it is one of the most famous museums in the world and attracts millions of visitors each year. The Winter Palace is among several buildings that comprise the State Hermitage.
The State Hermitage is the place to visit for those wanting art and culture on their Russian tour. This complex contains the Hermitage Theatre, the Old Hermitage, the Small Hermitage, and the Winter Palace, among other lesser buildings. Here, visitors can see paintings, sculptures, and artefacts from all around the world. The State Hermitage has something for everyone with modern, classic, and even prehistoric art.
Peter and Paul Fortress served as the base of the city and a prison for political prisoners. Leon Trotsky, Josip Broz Tito and Tadeusz Kosciuszko are among the famous names that have served sentences here. In 1917, the Bolsheviks attempted to take the garrison, however they surrendered to the government without conflict. Later that same year, the Bolshevik’s were successful in taking the Fortress and, in 1924, it was converted to a museum. Click here for more travel advice on Russia.