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When you are ready for a real vacation, a Week in Saint Petersburg will be that perfect holiday that will submerge you into the whirlwind of stunning palaces, colorful churches, and rich art collections. Plenty of secrets will be revealed, and mysteries will be solved!
See as many highlights as one can cover within a short period: Aurora cruiser, the first house of St. Petersburg, Nevsky Prospect, numerous rivers and bridges, Kazan Cathedral, Admiralty, Palace Square and the Hermitage museum, the Bronze Horseman monument to Peter the Great, Palace Bridge, St. Nicholas Cathedral, University Embankment with its historical buildings: Kunstkammer, the Academy of Sciences, and Saint Petersburg State University, Menshikov Palace, the Square of Arts with Michael's Palace, the Mosque, the Smolny Convent, the Taurida Palace, the Foundry Prospect with the "Big House" (the KGB headquarters) and many more!
This fortress, built to deflect Swedish raids, was the city's very first structure. While the view from the fortress ramparts is fantastic, the main attraction is Trezzini's Peter and Paul Cathedral, built in 1712. Almost all Romanov tsars, including Nicholas II, are buried here. There are several other museums scattered around the fortress grounds, like the political prison museum or St. Petersburg history exhibition, and you can buy a special day ticket which enables access to all.
The symbol of Saint Petersburg - onion-domed cathedral that stands out from the neo-classical surroundings of the city center. The church is decorated with lots of mosaics inside and outside, and the domes are covered with colorful enamels. The church was built on the very place where Tsar Alexander II was mortally wounded in 1881.
St. Isaac's Cathedral is dedicated to Peter the Great's favorite saint. It is the largest cathedral in Russia and ranks among the largest basilicas of the world. It was built between 1818 and 1858, by the French-born architect Auguste Montferrand, to be one of the most impressive landmarks of the Russian Imperial capital. It's not only the remarkable structure but also the collection of the greatest engineering innovations. One hundred and eighty years later, the gilded dome of St. Isaac's still dominates the skyline of St. Petersburg. Although the cathedral is considerably smaller than the newly rebuilt Church of Christ the Savior in Moscow, it boasts much more impressive fades and interiors.
Hermitage is one of the largest museums in the world. But it is also a magnificent Royal palace with stunning rooms and unbelievable views. The collection began as the project of Catherine the Great in 1764. Now ist's the temple of art, where you can see the works of Raphael, Titian, Rembrant, de Goya, and many other prominent painters from all over the world. Treat yourself with a grand exploration of the most amazing masterpieces of the European Art, including the French Impressionists, and marvel at the fantastic interiors of the Tsar's Winter Residence - the Winter Palace.
Explore the magnificent collections of the newly opened Faberge Museum - a unique private collection of Faberge eggs and Jewelry in Russia and the world. Boasting over 4,000 items beautifully displayed in an unrivaled Shuvalov Palace, this museum will surely be on top of your Favorite's list. The museum also features a collection of paintings, statuettes, applied art.
A relaxing walk in Peterhof Lower Gardens with a scenic view of hundreds of fountains. It's a real engineering masterpiece with no pumps, but with a unique location, selected specially to make this miracle happen. The force of gravity provides all the strength and the power of the fountains. A great photo opportunity for keen photographers. Take some time to see the surrounding gardens and Peter's villa Monplaisir. Unfortunately, in winter, the fountains are turned off, and wooden boxes cover the garden statues.
Explore one of the most beautiful Imperial Palaces - the Grand Palace of Peterhof. Severely damaged during the Second World War, thanks to the efforts of dedicated staff, this palace was brought back to life and restored to its former beauty from photographs and maps in the 1950s. A complex combination of Baroque and NeoClassical styles, this palace is a real gem of Russian architecture, and you will surely fall in love with it the way we have. Hundreds of fountains and golden statues surround Peter's Palace - Russia's answer to Versailles. Unfortunately, in winter, the fountains are turned off, and wooden boxes cover the garden statues.
In 1710, Peter the Great's friend and advisor Alexander Menshikov decided to outdo the tsar by building an even bigger palace than royal Peterhof. Unfortunately, Menshikov was exiled after Peter's death, midway through construction, and the castle at Oranienbaum wasn't finished until Catherine the Great made it one of her holiday spots. The Grand Palace hasn't changed a great deal over the centuries, and it's one of the few palaces on the outskirts of the city that wasn't destroyed by the Nazis. Lomonosov (town where the palace is located) is also a pleasant village, and the surrounding park is peaceful and quiet.
With one of the largest collections of Russian art housed in Rossi's impressive Mikailovsky Palace, this museum is worth a look. The museum was opened at the end of the 19th century to promote and celebrate national art. Its collection spans from 12th-century icons to 20th-century masters like Chagall, Malevich, and Kandinsky. Currently, the museum collection can be seen in several palaces around the city, but the best pieces are displayed in the main complex.
The wealthy Yusupov family purchased this palace in 1830, and since then, it was the main house for the family. A special wing was built to house their art collection. It also was the scene of the grizzly murder of the sleazy Siberian peasant Rasputin, who was exercising too much influence over the royal family for Felix Yusupov's liking. There is a Rasputin tour, and you can see where Felix and his entourage tried to poison and shoot Rasputin in the cellar in 1916 before they beat him and chucked him into the river, where he finally died.
This guided tour includes Catherine's palace tour with the world's famous Amber Room and the peaceful gardens with multiple photo opportunities. Catherine's Palace and the surrounding parks were created by Empress Elizabeth and Catherine the Great, which is why Pushkin was formerly known as 'village of the tsar's' (Tsarskoe Selo). The Palace, with its famous Amber Room, is an impressive post-WWII reconstruction. The adjoining Cameron Gallery has a magnificent view of the park and the Agate Room. The gardens of Catherine Park, which are spectacular in the snow, are dotted with unusual buildings, including a Chinese village.
Spend a Great day outside of the city exploring the most charming neoclassical palace of Emperor Paul I, the only son of Empress Catherine the Great. Pavlovsk is a beautiful place to get away from it all. While more humble and less touristy than the palaces at Peterhof or Pushkin, the reconstructed palace at Pavlovsk is still fascinating. The castle feels more like a family home, then like a royal palace. The palace park is a great place to walk or have a picnic. It has romantic ruins, statues, forests, and streams. Right now, it’s dotted with cross-country skiers, horse-drawn sleighs, and there is an outdoor ice-skating rink, where you can hire skates.
Tour of splendid Hermitage Museum: Winter Palace, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage, New Hermitage, and General Staff Building. Explore the state interiors of the Winter Palace, the most glorious tzar residence in Russia, started by Empress Elizabeth I and finished under Catherine the Great's rule.
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