St. Petersburg Journals

St. Petersburg--A Window on Europe

Best of IgoUgo

A June 2001 trip to St. Petersburg by akakd

Neva Hotel Photo, More Photos
Quote: St. Petersburg, formerly Leningrad, was founded & constructed by Peter the Great. The city was his creation & in it he revealed himself w/ exceptional clarity as a distinctively Russian genius, capable of great vision. St. Petersburg is a result of his creativity, truly a work of art. I've included in this journal a comprehensive overview of top popular sites & little known treasures wrapped up in 17 journal entries & 22 photographs. Russia is rich w/ history. If you want to immerse yourself in Russian history, as I have, I recommend "The History of Russia" by Nicholas V. Riasanovsky. In addition, "Pushkin Threefold" by Walter Arndt has wonderfully translated works by Aleksandr S. Pushkin. Happy reading! :)

St. Petersburg--A Window on Europe

Overview

Quote:
Pushkin wrote of St. Petersburg, "Here we are predestined by nature to open a window on Europe & stand steadfastly by the sea; hither shall come, on waves new to them, guests flying flags from many lands, & we shall revel with them at our ease." St. Petersburg is one of the most beautiful & well thought out cities in the world. Highlights for us included: strolling the Nevsky Prospekt, spending a day in the wondrous Hermitage, marveling at Our-Saviour-on-the-Spilt-Blood Cathedral, seeing where Tolstoy was excommunicated, taking the hydrofoil out to Peterhof, attending a Sunday service at Chesme Church, meeting Svetlana & Sasha, eating blinnies, & watching the Russian version of "Who Wants to b...Read More

Neva Hotel

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

Neva Hotel Photo,
Quote:
The Hotel Neva (Heba, in Russian) is a small Russian hotel in a former palace. Our room on the 6th floor was very large & quite modern w/ pretty wallpaper & creaky, wooden floors. We had a king-sized bed, mini refrigerator, tv, working toilet, pedestal sink, towel warmer, & shower -- though we had to wait awhile to get hot water some days. The tiny elevator always worked going up, however, almost never came when summoned to go back down. The breakfast room was lovely & the food was generally good & plentiful. The Hotel Neva is located near the lovely Summer Gardens, where musicians play in the evenings during the summer months. Within a short walking distance of our hote...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 28, 2001

Neva Hotel
Tchaikovsky Street
St. Petersburg, Russia

Pushka Inn

Restaurant

Quote:
Looking for a quaint Russian cafe, we stumbled into the Pushka Inn right next door to the Pushkin Museum on Moika, not far from the Hermitage. Imagine our surprise when we were offered menus in English & discovered that Pushka Inn is Australian owned & operated. Regardless, the food was quite good & plentiful. We would definitely return.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 28, 2001

Pushka Inn
Moika 14
St. Petersburg, Russia
3184711

Tepemox

Restaurant

Tepemox Photo,
Quote:
Looking for a local eatery with traditional Russian Blinnie's? Try Tepemox on Nevsky Prospekt, just across from the statue of Catherine. Take a Menu Reader. The menu is only in Russian. Good food. Inexpensive. Afterwards, stop in at the exquisite shop on the corner for some tasty chocolate.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 6, 2006

Tepemox
Nevsky Prospekt
St. Petersburg

Repin Estate & Museum

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Repin Estate & Museum"

Repin Estate & Museum Photo,
Quote:
Wanting to learn more about the Russian artist Ilya E. Repin (1844-1930), we traveled to the town of Repino outside of St. Petersburg toward the border of Finland. Repin is buried on the Estate which includes beautifully landscaped grounds, along w/ Repin's home/studio/museum. Repin was the leading representative of Russian Realism. His genre scenes, historical paintings, & portraits of such prominent people as Pavlov & Tolstoy won him a reputation far beyond the bounds of Russia. After studying @ the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, Repin painted his best known painting "The Volga Boatmen" in 1873. He studied in Paris from 1873-1876. From 1884-1907, Repin taught @ the Academy of Arts....Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 1, 2001

Repin Estate & Museum
Outside St. Petersburg, Toward Finnish Border
St. Petersburg, Russia

Nevsky Souvenir

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Nevsky Prospekt"

Nevsky Souvenir Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
Russian Nikolay V. Gogol wrote in 1836 of the Nevsky Prospekt: "There is nothing finer than the Nevsky Prospekt, at any rate nothing in St. Petersburg; for in this city, it is everything. Indeed is there anything gayer, more brilliant, more resplendent than this beauty of our capital? I am sure that not one of its pale-faced inhabitants, not one of its innumberable civil servants, would exchange the Nevsky Prospekt for all the splendours of the world." We started our stroll of Nevsky Prospekt at the point where the Fontanka Canal meets Nevsky Prospekt. We quickly came across Ostrovsky Square which contains the Pushkin Theater & 1873 statue of Catherine the Great. We also saw St. Cathe...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 28, 2001

Nevsky Souvenir
22-24, Nevsky Prospekt (entrance Bolshaya Konyushennaya 12)
St. Petersburg, Russia
7 (812)9547853

Decembrists Square

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Decembrists Square Photo,
Quote:
Decembrists Square (once called Senate Square) is best known for the Decembrists Uprising when dissident officers refused to take the oath to Nicholas as the new Tsar. Leaders of the rebellion were arrested, imprisoned in the Peter & Paul Fortress & executed. Pushkin (who had friends among the Decembrists) wrote of Nicholas, "He was made emperor, & right then displayed his flair & drive: Sent to Siberia a hundred-twenty men & strung up five." The dominant feature of Decembrists Square is the statue of Peter the Great, known as the Bronze Horseman after a poem by Pushkin. The statue was erected in Peter's honour by Catherine the Great. The people of St. Petersburg have a...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 28, 2001

Decembrists Square
Decembrists Square, on the Neva River
St. Petersburg, Russia

Winter Palace/State Hermitage Museum

Attraction | "The Hermitage (Winter Palace)"

Quote:
The Hermitage, aka Winter Palace, formerly the residence of Russian Emperors, was constructed between 1754-1762. This wondrous Museum now houses over 3 million pieces of art, so allow some serious time to explore it! The building itself is a marvel. My favorite pieces included works by Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet, Gauguin, Cezanne, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, & Rembrandt. My goal is to attend one of the three-week summer sessions in order to more fully appreciate all the Hermitage has to offer.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 28, 2001

Winter Palace/State Hermitage Museum
Palace Embankment, On The Neva River
St. Petersburg, Russia

Pushkin Museum

Attraction

Pushkin Museum Photo,
Quote:
The Pushkin Museum is where the Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin, lived for the last months of his life. The house had belonged to Pushkin's friend, Prince Sergey Volkonsky, who had taken part in the Decembrist uprising & been exiled to Siberia. After a duel to defend the honour of his wife, Pushkin was brought here mortally wounded & died two days later on the divan in his study. There's a 1950 statue of Pushkin in the courtyard.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 28, 2001

Pushkin Museum
12 Moika
St. Petersburg, Russia

Chesme Church

Attraction

Chesme Church Photo,
Quote:
The unusual striped Chesme Church was built for Catherine the Great in 1777-1780. We were fortunate enough to attend part of a Sunday service here. Luckily, I kept a scarf w/ me, so was able to cover my head, as is the custom. There are no pews in a Russian Orthodox Church, you stand or kneel for the service, often lasting up to two hours. The music was lovely. I purchased an icon here, the Patron Saint of Travelers. Per Nicholas Riasanovsky in "A History of Russia": "Russian religious icons are characterized by elegance, grace, & fine taste."

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 1, 2001

Chesme Church
Ulitsa Lensoveta
St. Petersburg, Russia

Tsarskoe Selo

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Tsarskoe Selo Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
Tsarskoe Selo in the town of Pushkin has as its focal point Catherine Palace & Palace Church surrounded by beautifully landscaped grounds. The origins of Catherine Palace date back to 1717 w/ Catherine I. After her death, her daughter, Elizabeth I, inherited the property & carried out extensive building. She had an inscription carved on the pediment, "To Catherine I, in eternal happy memory." Inside the Catherine Palace is the famed "Amber Room", the amber a gift to Peter the Great from Frederick William I of Prussia in 1716. Germans carried off that original amber in WWII, however, in 1979 amber was again used to panel the room. We enjoyed strolling through the grounds to see the...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 1, 2001

Tsarskoe Selo
Pushkin
St. Petersburg, Russia

Pavlovsk

Attraction

Pavlovsk Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
Catherine the Great presented the estate of Pavlovsk to her son & his wife in 1777 on the occasion of the birth of their first child, the future Alexander I. While Catherine the Great's son, Paul, was said to be suspicious, irritable, & given to frequent outbreaks of rage, the child, Alexander, bonded w/ his paternal grandmother & was said to spend more time w/ Catherine than his parents from the very beginning. Catherine took a great liking to Alexander, apparently wanting to make him her succesor, bypassing her son, Paul.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 1, 2001

Pavlovsk
19 Miles South of St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg, Russia
+7 (812) 470-2155

Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Our-Saviour-on-the-Spilt-Blood"

Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood Photo,
Quote:
While I noticed other entries under the name Church OF the Spilled Blood, as I also first thought the name was, it is actually church ON the Spilt Blood. It is not, as one might think, a reference to the spilled blood of Christ, but rather refers to the church being built ON the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated, where his blood was spilt. A Parisian fortune teller was said to have foretold that Alexander II would die from the 8th attempt on his life. Six previous attempts had failed. The Tsar died from the 2nd bomb thrown at him that day, making the 8th attempt prophecy come true. The church was built in the middle of the street because the Tsar was crossing the street when the terr...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 30, 2001

Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood
Ploshchad Iskusstv
St. Petersburg, Russia

Michael Castle - Engineers' Castle

Attraction | "Michael Castle aka Engineers' Castle"

Michael Castle - Engineers' Castle Photo,
Quote:
Catherine the Great's son, Paul I, was 42 when he ascended the throne. During the course of his mother's reign, he came to hate her & everything she stood for. Paul was said to be highly suspicious, irritable, & given to frequent outbreaks of rage. His rudeness, violent temper, & unpredictable behavior only fueled the conspiracy against him. He desired to have a place where he would be safe from his enemies. It is said that Archangel Michael appeared to Paul in a dream & directed him to build a palace dedicated to St. Michael @ the place where he was born. Paul did not, however, live long to enjoy his new castle, nor did it offer him the security he sought, for in 1801 he was murdered in his bed...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 30, 2001

Michael Castle - Engineers' Castle
near Marsovo Pole Park
St. Petersburg, Russia

Peter and Paul Fortress/Peter and Paul Cathedral

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Peter and Paul Fortress"

Peter and Paul Fortress/Peter and Paul Cathedral Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
We arrived at the Peter & Paul Fortress shortly before the daily cannon shot was fired. Interestingly, the 1703 Fortress was never tested in battle. Its first prisoner was Peter the Great's own son, Alexis, who became a tool of opposition to his father. He died in the fortress. The main feature of the Fortress is the Cathedral of S/S Peter & Paul, dominated by its tall spire, a landmark of St. Petersburg. The original wooden spire was damaged in a storm. A volunteer was sought to repair it at the risk of his life, using only a rope. A roofer offered his services. He was rewarded w/ a "golden goblet", along w/ free drinks @ any inn in the country. As a result, legend has it, he s...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 30, 2001

Peter and Paul Fortress/Peter and Paul Cathedral
Zayachil Ostrov (hare Island)
St. Petersburg, Russia

Kunstkammer

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Kunstkammer Photo,
Quote:
This Museum was ordered by Peter the Great in 1718 to house his collection of "monsters & rarities". Peter issued a decree that any rare or unusual object be delivered to the Kunstkammer. Included in the collection are exhibits representing most every people & culture. One of the interesting "curiosities" is a several room exhibit of malformed fetuses. The one that caught my eye & tugged @ my heart was a seemingly full-term infant along w/ its twin that clearly had not developed in utero. The tiny undeveloped baby was almost sitting in the lap of the other & had its long arms wrapped around the neck of the other. Lots to see, including a reproduction of the Gottorp Globe.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 30, 2001

Kunstkammer
Universitetskaya Naberezhnaya 3
St. Petersburg, Russia

Peter the Great's Cabin Photo,
Quote:
On a site east of the Peter & Paul Fortress is Peter the Great's Cabin, the oldest building in St. Petersburg, erected in 1703 in just 3 days. In 1784 the original wooden cabin was wisely enclosed within a stone building for preservation from the weather. A bust of Peter the Great is in the courtyard.

I've greatly enjoyed reading & studying about Peter the Great, partly through the works of Pushkin who wrote, "Now an academician, now a hero, now a seafarer, now a carpenter; he, with an all-encompassing soul, was on the throne, an eternal worker."

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 31, 2001

Peter the Great's Cabin
6 Petrovskaya
St. Petersburg, Russia
232-4576

Peterhof Palace and Gardens

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Peterhof, via hydrofoil"

Peterhof Palace and Gardens Photo, St. Petersburg, Russia
Quote:
Located just 19 miles west of St. Petersburg, 30 minutes by hydrofoil from the Hermitage, is Peter the Great's palace complex reminiscent of Versailles. Construction began at Peterhof in 1704. It is said to be "especially evocative of the turbulent, highly creative age of Peter the Great". The centrepiece of the Great Cascade in front of the palace is the Samson Fountain to commemorate the Russian victory over the Swedes on St. Samson's Day in 1709. Numerous fountains are found on the complex, the ones near the little palace of Monplaisir ("My Pleasure") are trick fountains that spray you w/ water if you sit on a particular bench or stand on a particular stone. In addition to the Great Cascade, m...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 31, 2001

Peterhof Palace and Gardens
Petrodvorets
St. Petersburg, Russia