07/2007 - Russian Federation, St. Petersburg

7-day trip to the Russian Federation – St. Petersburg – visiting the Fortress of Peter and Paul , Rostral Columns, Hermitage, Admiralty, Moika River , Fontanka river, Griboyedov Canal , Canal Swan , Malaya Neva , the bridges of St. Petersburg ( Egyptian Bridge , Anichkov bridge , Bank Bridge ) , Holy Trinity Cathedral , Column of Glory , Church of St. Isidore of Yuryev , Grand Choral Synagogue , Mariinskiy Theatre , Yusupov Palace , Nikolayevskiy Theatre , Academy of Fine Arts, St. Andrew’s Cathedral , Menshikov Palace , Museum Kunstkammer Twelve Colleges , Naval Museum , Peter and Paul Cathedral , Cruiser Aurora , Summer Palace, Mikhaylovsky Castle , Castle of Engineers , Field of Mars , Millionaires Street , Marble Palace , Russian Museum , Hermitage Museum, Palace Square, Alexander Column , Victory Arch , Winter Palace, St. Isaac’s Cathedral , St. Isaac’s Square , Nevsky Prospekt , Literary Cafe , Cathedral of Santa Lady of Kazan , Stroganov Palace , Dutch Church , Duma Tower, Gostiny Dvor , Alexandrine Theatre , Church of Our Saviour , Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, Smolny Convent , Alexander Nevsky Monastery , Tikhvin Cemetery , House of the Soviets , Palace Pavlovsk, Tsarskoye Selo, Catherine Palace, Petrodvorets , Grand Cascade

There is not better way to start the tour of this wonderful city than to admire a panoramic image showing the landscape from the Peter and Paul Fortress to the Rostral Columns. Proceeding with the Hermitage and the Admiralty building and then two splendid palaces , all of them overlooking the Neva River.
We began to explore the city sailing its channels, in particular Moika and Fontanka rivers which offer particular views .

Sailing St Petersburg channels we could admire its numerous bridges, some of them are of outstanding beauty such as the Egyptian Bridge, the Bank bridge, the Lion bridge, the Anichkov bridge.

The beautiful Trinity Cathedral was recently damaged by a fire that destroyed the main dome. Beside the Column of Glory, a memorial column dedicated to fighters of all wars whose foundation are built using cannon barrels . Nearby there is the baroque Cathedral of St. Nicholas, patron saint of sailors, with light blue and golden domes . It has a beautiful bell-tower which is detached from the church and positioned near the channel.
From the nearby Staro- Nikolsky bridge you can see seven other bridges.
Going on we met the beautiful and colorful St. Isidore of Yuryev Church and the Grand Choral Synagogue , a remarkable building recently restored.

It is imposing the building of the famous Mariinsky Theatre with spiral columns; the decoration of the auditorium is quite rich and there is a wonderful imperial stage . The foyer is finely decorated and is enriched with doors with mirrors.
The impressive Yusupov Palace , overlooking the Moika river, stands out for its size and for its colour , yellow ochre. It is considered the building with the most luxurious interior and the best preserved palace of the city.

Preceded by a beautiful flowery garden, Nikolayevskiy Theatre has got an huge entrance staircase .
From a side room, small and unsuitable (there were two columns covering the view of the stage ) we saw a good folk show with many dancers.

We continued our tour crossing the Neva river. We went on the Lieutenant Smidt bridge and entered the Vasilevsky Island .
The Academy of Fine Arts overlooks the Neva river with a staircase embellished with two Egyptian sphinxes of the fourteenth century BC whereas the St. Andrew’s Cathedral is located on the Bolshoi Avenue where there are several beautiful palaces .
The Menshikov Palace which overlooks the Neva river, was a dépendance of Peter the Great . Its interior rooms are very interesting and well preserved.

Going further, another building faces the Neva river, it is the baroque Kunstkamera building which hosts the Museum of Anthropology.
Just inside we saw the long building called the Twelve Colleges built by Peter the Great to house his twelve Ministries .
The island ends with the two massive Rostral columns, ancient lighthouses , decorated with ship prows to symbolize naval victories .
Between the columns stands the imposing building of the Naval Museum, topped by a sculpture of the god Neptune .

Peter and Paul Fortress is characterized by solid bastions which are unhappily known because they were used as prison.
Inside, there are several historical buildings; the most important is the Peter and Paul Cathedral characterized by a beautiful golden spire which features at its top an angel as weather-vane.
The cathedral hosts the tombs of the Romanov.

A brick pavilion, built by Catherine the Great, protects against the elements the wooden house occupied by Peter the Great during the six years of the construction of the first buildings in St. Petersburg. On the steps outside , just on the Neva quay , two statues of Shih Tze frog-lions show off in all their beauty.
The cruiser Aurora is famous for having signaled the start of the assault on the Winter Palace in 1917.
It is also beautiful the nearby monument: the “Glory to Russia”.

The Summer Palace is the first brick residence of Peter the Great and is adorned with bas-reliefs representing the victorious Russian naval battles . The interior is spartan but decorous, not comparable to the magnificence of the palaces built in the following years (see for example Menshikov Palace ) .
The Summer Palace is surrounded by the homonymous garden in which stands a beautiful statue of the writer Ivan Krylon . On the pedestal there are bas-reliefs depicting the animals described in his fables.
Just outside the garden we met the Mikhaylovsky Castle, known as the Castle of Engineers, and the Field of Mars, a huge park in the middle of which burns the Eternal Flame commemorating the victims of the Bolshevik Revolution and, finally, the statue of the great strategist, General Suvorov .

On the left of the Field of Mars , towards the Hermitage , Millionaires Street begins, the street owes its name to its luxurious palaces .
First of all, the Marble Palace , which hosts exhibitions of the Russian State Museum, so called for the wide variety of marbles used in its construction . In the courtyard there is the nice equestrian statue of Alexander III.
Another building with a beautiful facade is the one where the writer Honoré de Balzac lived.
On the other side of the road, nearly opposite, there is the important entrance to the Hermitage Museum with the Ten Atlantes in the act of holding the entrance.
Finally , quite close, the characteristic Hotel Moika and, in front of it, the imposing palace of the General Staff Building.
With a panoramic photo I want to show, with a single shot, the Palace Square, the Alexander Column, the Arch of Victory and the Winter Palace.

Visiting the Winter Palace we admired numerous and important rooms. You start climbing the magnificent Jordan staircase and then cross several other halls. Among the most significant rooms I wish to mention the Military Gallery and the Raphael loggia.

Hermitage is the seat of the homonymous Museum considered , if not the most interesting, certainly one of the greatest museum in the world.
The museum is housed within the Winter Palace, the residence of Nicholas II .

The statue dedicated to the Tsar Carpenter ( Peter the Great) is located in front of the Admiralty that is a reference point in the city with its golden spire; it is beautiful the entrance gate flanked by nymphs that support large spheres .
It is magnificent the equestrian statue of Peter the Great which Catherine II dedicated to him. The statue is set on a single block of granite and the horse crushes with its hooves a snake, the symbol of betrayal.

Saint Isaac’s Cathedral is one of the churches with the largest domed roof in the world. It is a big building dominated by 48 huge granite columns.
The interior is too luxurious; it is enough to say that the dome is plated with over a hundred kilos of gold leaves.

Saint Isaac’s square is dominated by the majestic Cathedral and in the middle there is the equestrian statue of Nicholas I. On the square we could see numerous beautiful buildings, two to be remembered: the historical Hotel Astoria and the Mariinsky Palace , the current seat of the Municipality .
Nevsky Prospekt is the main Avenue of St. Petersburg along which numerous palaces and monuments stand out such as the Literary Cafe , the Cathedral of Santa Lady of Kazan , the Stroganov Palace , the Dutch Church, the City Duma Tower, the Gostiny Dvor (it is the largest department store in the city) , the statue of Catherine the Great, the Alexandrine Theatre , the Moskov railway station and finally the statue of Alexander Nevsky .

Because of the special beauty of these two palaces of Nevsky Prospekt –the Singer House (dom knigi) and the Eliseyev Emporium – I dedicated to them a specific photo-gallery.

The Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood ( he official name is the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ) is the symbol of Saint Petersburg with its many multicoloured domes in enamelled ceramic .
The interior is very rich in mosaics that completely cover the inner walls.

Close to Nevsky Prospekt, there are several other monuments such as the Russian Museum, the Grand Hotel Europe, the Architect Rossi Street and Yusupov Gardens .
St. Petersburg has many beautiful palaces, some recently restored. The most representative are: Marskaja , Konnogvardeysky , Post Office, Yakitoriya , Yorontsov , Apteka ( previously a pharmacy) and Suvoroy .

The metro stations were designed by famous architects and decorated with valuable marbles. I show them in this photo-gallery.

The Smolny Convent, white and blue , is Baroque . The Cathedral is considered the masterpiece of Rastrelli who joined Baroque elements with domed towers typical of the old Russian monasteries.
Alexander Nevsky Monastery includes the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in which are preserved the relics of Alexander Nevsky , venerated as a saint everywhere in Russia.
Just outside the monastery it is located in the Tikhvin Cemetery which contains the tombs of the most illustrious people of Russia.

We left the city to visit the three most important Imperial Residences .
Along the way, first we visited the House of the Soviets, with the statue of Lenin, then, going on, we met the monument erected in memory of the heroic citizens who defended Leningrad during the long 4-year siege (August 1941 – January 1944 ) of the Germans .
During our visit to the Imperial Residences , we were accompanied by the excellent Italian- speaking tour-guide Irina Lunichkina . She can be contacted at the following e -mail: iren-LU62@yandex.ru .
The Pavlovsk Palace was built by Catherine the Great in honour of his son Paul.
Inner rooms are very beautiful.

This complex, known under the name “Tsarskoye Selo” ( Tsar’s Village ), was a gift from Catherine to her husband Peter the Great.
The building, known as “Catherine Palace”, was built by Rastrelli and has a beautiful interior, completely restored after the destruction caused by Second World War . The gardens are beautiful and, in the Great Pond, visitors can enjoy a ride on a gondola donated by the City of Venice.

The most spectacular Palace of the Tsars is Petrodvorets (Peterhof Palace) thanks to the immense gardens where there are many fountains. The most beautiful waterfall is certainly the Grand Cascade.

In the wide gardens there are many fountains, some of great interest so that I have dedicated to them a special photo-gallery.

Among the sites dedicated to Puskin I show the University, some statues and his house which is now a museum .

As usual, I finish the photo-gallery with the curious aspects caught during the visit of the city.



The photos of this trip can be seen in the musical slideshow through the following link: www.viaggiaresempre.it – San Pietroburgo