Located on the banks of Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, St Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia. In the year 1914, the name of the city was changed to Petrograd and was changed back to Saint Petersburg in the year 1991. The city which once served as the imperial capital of Russia today has become a major European culture center and an important Russian Port on the Baltic Sea. Currently the city is home to 5,191,690 people who live here. Often tagged as Russia’s most Westernized city and the country’s culture capital, St Petersburg has numerous UNESCO approved world heritage sites. The city also houses numerous foreign consulates, international corporations, banks, and other businesses headquarters. Russian is the official as well as the most commonly spoken language in the city. The total land area of the city is 1,439 km2 and it is the northernmost city in the world with a population of over one million.
All the flights flying to Saint Petersburg land at the St Petersburg Pulkovo Airport which is 23 km away from the city center and is the primary hub for Rossiya Airline and a focus city for Nordavia. Currently the airport is served by more than 70 airlines. The city of Saint Petersburg experience humid continental type of climate which is categorized by warm, humid and short summers and long, moderately cold wet winters. It snows heavily during the winter season especially between December and January and the average minimum temperature in February remains around −8.5 °C. July is the warmest month of the year and average temperature is 23 °C. If you want to enjoy the true Northern winter with snowfall, visit during the winter season otherwise summer months from mid of June till September, is the best time to visit the city. White Night Festival and New Year Festival is the most popular festivals celebrated here.
Boasting of numerous heritage and historical attractions, Saint Petersburg is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Russia. The State Hermitage is one of the top places in Saint Petersburg and houses nearly three million pieces of art in several buildings across St. Petersburg. The Peter and Paul Fortress are the oldest structure in St Petersburg and are located on an island in the Neva River. The bell tower inside the fortress is the highest tower in the city and offers commanding views of the surrounding. St. Isaac’s Cathedral is one of the tallest Orthodox churches in the world and the intricately decorated interiors will surely please your eyes. Yusupov Palace served as residence of Prince Felix Yusupov, who was the riches man if Russia and today tourists come here to know more about the history of the Romanov family.
Tikhvin Cemetery is the burial place of some of the most prominent personalities of Russia like scientist Mikhail Lomonsov and composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky and the graves are festooned with sculpted angels, crosses or family coats of arms. Nevsky Prospekt is Russia's most popular boulevard that includes many shops and Gostiny Dvor which is one of the world’s first indoor shopping malls. Petergof, with majestic fountain cascades and parks, Catherine Palace, and Alexander Palace are located in the Southern suburb of Saint Petersburg. The city also serves as gateway to many tourist places which are located close to St Petersburg. Saint Petersburg is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list and has 36 historical architectural complexes and around 4000 outstanding individual monuments of architectural, historical and cultural importance.
Eating and Shopping
Food and wine are the most important component in the lives of the people living in Saint Petersburg. The city boasts of a cosmopolitan culture which implies that a lot of restaurant serving varieties of cuisines and menus are available across the city. Most of the Russian dishes in Saint Petersburg include seasonal ingredients and due to the extreme cold climate, locals rely mostly on ingredients that were storable, such as meats, fish, and root vegetables. Borscht, Solyanka, Pelmeny, Blini, Beef Stroganoff and Piroski are some of the Russian specialties tourists can savor in Saint Petersburg. Besides the traditional fare, the restaurant in St Petersburg also serves variety of international dishes.
At Saint Petersburg tourists can go for modern shopping in the various malls and high end stores or can also go traditional by shopping in the local markets. From precious porcelain to charming antiques, the option of shopping in Saint Petersburg is endless. Tourists can go to the numerous flea markets that are located in the city. Beautiful table cloths, woolen, cotton and silk headscarves and shawls for women and neck scarves for men, matryoshka dolls, copies of Faberge eggs, amber products and paintings are some of the specialized items tourists can shop for.
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