Lufthansa Highlights St. Petersburg

 

Lufthansa travel report highlights St. Petersburg

 

Pomp and Circumstance in Petersburg

The "capital that rose from nothing" is how Russia’s national poet Alexander Pushkin described St. Petersburg. In the early 18th century, the entire Russian aristocracy moved their place of residence to the city that had been nothing but a vast expanse of marshland just years before. The magnificent buildings that sprang up virtually overnight would inform the face of what is the world’s northernmost city of millions today

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The Venice of the north

Lufthansa travel report highlights St. Petersburg

St. Peter and Paul Fortress:
Where it all began: In 1703, Tsar Peter the Great captured the region of present-day St. Petersburg from Sweden – and immediately began to turn an island in the Neva Estuary into a fortress. Once the Scandinavians were defeated, the stronghold served mainly as a barracks and a prison for – in some cases famous – political prisoners, such as Mikhail Bakunin, Fyodor Dostoevsky und Maxim Gorky. Today the St. Peter and Paul Fortress is one of the city’s main attractions and houses a variety of exhibitions and museums.

Information:
St. Peter and Paul Fortress: Troitskaya Ploshchad, +7-812/230 64 31. Opening times: fortress daily, museums and prison, Tue 10am-5pm, Thu-Mon 10am-6pm. Admission: Visitors are welcome to make an admission-free tour of the fortress itself, but tickets must be purchased for a variety of attractions on the island. www.spbmuseum.ru (Russisch)

Lufthansa travel report highlights St. Petersburg

Winter Palace/Hermitage:
In 1711 Tsar Peter commissioned the building of his first winter palace and pushed ahead with his drive to establish St. Petersburg as the Russian capital, recruiting every stonemason in the land to the project and prohibiting the construction of stone buildings anywhere else in Russia. Ten thousands of forced laborers and serfs died of disease and exhaustion there. The Imperial Winter Palace was later demolished and rebuilt repeatedly – each time emerging more splendid and sumptuous than before. Today it is the main building in the Hermitage ensemble, one of the foremost art museums in the world.

Information:
The Hermitage: Dvortsovaya Ploshchad 2, +7-812/710 90 79. Opening times Hermitage: Tue-Sat 10:30am-6pm, Sun 10:30am-5pm (the Winter Palace always closes an hour earlier than the Hermitage). Admission: 400 roubles (for international visitors, 100 roubles for Russian citizens, schoolchildren and students free). www.hermitagemuseum.org (English and Russian)

Lufthansa travel report highlights St. Petersburg

Egyptian Bridge:
Peter the Great envisioned his new capital as the Amsterdam or Venice of the North, where citizens would in summertime travel by boat along artificial waterways that in winter would be covered in ice thick enough to support sleighs. It soon became clear that road traffic was the more practicable solution so that bridges had to be built at hundreds of spots along the newly created canals – and later also across the broad Neva River. One of the most extraordinary of these is the sphinx-guarded Egyptian Bridge over the Fontanka River

 
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Steeped in history

Lufthansa travel report highlights St. Petersburg

Grand Hotel Europe:
Tschaikovsky, Stravinsky, Debussy – just three of a host of illustrious guests who have enjoyed imperial luxury at this hotel, which first opened its doors in 1875. Art Nouveau elements adorn the building, which is located close to Nevsky Prospect, where most Russian aristocrats resided at the time. Following the October Revolution of 1917, the hotel was nationalized and for a time also used as a military hospital. It was not until 1991 that it reopened as a 5-star hotel once more frequented by international superstars and state visitors: The simplest rooms can be had for around 300 euros, the
most exclusive suites for a little less than 4000 euros.

Information:
Grand Hotel Europe: Mikhailovskaya Ulitsa 1/7, +7-812/329 60 00. www.grandhoteleurope.com.

Lufthansa travel report highlights St. Petersburg

Dostoevsky Museum:
By the 19th century, St. Petersburg was undeniably a flourishing cultural center. A number of Russia’s best-known writers also lived there, although more than a few were persecuted by the tsarist regime for their liberal views. Indeed, Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Demons, The Idiot, The Gambler) was even sentenced to death. Tsar Nicholas I only granted his reprieve after a mock execution, sending him into exile in Siberia instead, where he remained for many years. The apartment in St. Petersburg where he lived out his final years (1878-81) was extensively reconstructed in the 1970s and now houses the Dostoevsky Museum.

Information:
Dostoevsky Museum: Kuznechny Pereulok 5/2, +7-812/571 40 31. Opening times: Tue-Sun 11am-6pm. Admission: 160 roubles, reduced, 80 roubles (rates for international visitors) http://eng.md.spb.ru (English and Russian)

Lufthansa travel report highlights St. Petersburg

Cruiser Aurora:
Where it all ended: The October Revolution put an end to an era. The significance of the imperial Russian city rapidly waned as Moscow replaced St. Petersburg as the new (and old) center of power in the Russian-dominated Soviet Union declared in 1922. Yet it was right here in St. Petersburg that the Bolshevik revolution had begun, when, on the evening of October 25, 1917, the cruiser Aurora fired a blank shot from its bow cannon, giving the signal to storm the Winter Palace. Today, the former warship is open to visitors.

Information:
Cruiser Aurora: Petrogradskaya Naberezhnaya 4, +7/812/230 84 40.
Opening times: Tue-Thu, Sat+Sun 10:30am-4pm. Admission: 300 roubles, reduced 100 roubles. http://www.aurora.org.ru

 

Pictures: Scicluna/Heaton/Schmid/Corbis (3), Hilger/Standl/laif (2), mauritius images, PR

 
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