Interesting facts about St Petersburg, Russia
St Petersburg is Russia’s second biggest city. Although its history is relatively young, there are plenty of different stories that can excite you. Learn the most interesting facts about St Petersburg with us.
Peter and Paul Fortress is known to be the first structure of the city. It was founded in 1703 by the Russian tsar Peter the Great for the protection of the lands. Nonetheless, the fortress has participated in 0 wars.
In the course of its history St. Petersburg was renamed several times: the original name that was given to the city in 1703 is Saint Petersburg. In 1914 when the First World War started it was renamed into Petrograd. In 1924 the city was called after Lenin: Leningrad. In 1991 St. Petersburg got its historical name back.
Other interesting facts about St Petersburg
St. Petersburg is the 3rd biggest city in Europe. Nowadays the population of the city is more than 5 million people. It only yields to Moscow (over 12 million people) and London (over 8 million).
Since there are many rivers and canals in St. Petersburg (92 waterways), the city has a lot of bridges. Altogether there are 350 of them within the city. This includes bridges made of stone, cast iron, steel, reinforced concrete, and even aluminum.
Throughout its history St. Petersburg underwent 288 floods. The flood is declared when the level of water rises 1.5 m (4,9 ft) over the regular water level. The most destructive flood occurred in 1824 when the level of water rose 4 m (13.1 ft) above the average.
The narrowest street in St. Petersburg is Repina street. The width of the street is just 6 meters (19.6 ft).
There are 268 different religious confessions and communities in St. Petersburg. The main confession is Orthodox Christianity, but among other religious temples you can find Catholic and Lutheran churches, Muslim mosques, Buddhist temples, and others.
St. Petersburg is known to be the cultural capital of Russia. No wonder! St. Petersburg accounts for 70 theaters, more than 20 annual international festivals of art, about 80 musical and theatrical contests, and over a hundred of exhibitions.
The City of Museums is an alternative name of St. Petersburg. There are 300 museums in the city, including the main Russian museum – the State Hermitage Museum Every year in May the so-called Museum Night is organized – it’s time when almost all of the museums are open at night and you can visit them buying one ticket only.
The climate in St. Petersburg is humid continental. Due to its location (coast of the Baltic Sea) there is no dry season in the area. The annual amount of precipitations is 634 mm.
If you visit St. Petersburg in the summer you might witness a real wonder of nature that locals call ‘White Nights’. It is a summer period when the nights stay very bright. The peak time for the White Nights is June 11 – July 2, when the day lasts for 19 hours.
The tallest structure of St. Petersburg is a TV tower. It is 310 m tall (1017 ft). Another famous tall structure is located in St. Petersburg historical center: St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral is 122,5 m tall (401,9 ft). The Cathedral is known to be the burial vault of the Russian emperors and empresses and it’s definitely worth seeing.
The first railway that was introduced in Russia connected St. Petersburg and Pavlovsk. It was open on November 11, 1837 during the reign of Nicholas I.
St. Petersburg has one of the deepest subway systems in the world. The deepest station is called Admiralteyskaya. To get to the platform you need to go 86 m (282 ft) down in the grown.
Moskovskaya Square is one of the biggest in Europe. It occupies over 130 000 sq. m. (about 32 acres). In the Sovet Era the square was supposed to become the administrative center of Leningrad.
In the USA there are 15 cities that are called St. Petersburg. The biggest one is located in Florida. The city was founded by Peter Demens (originally, Petr Alekseevich Dementiev – Russian by origin). It is interesting that the train station in this city is an exact copy of the one in Tsarskoe Selo (suburbs of Russian St. Petersburg).
Trans Siberian Railway
The Trans Siberian Railway is a legendary way that connects Europe and Asia. A trip on the Trans-Siberian can become one of the greatest travel experiences of a lifetime. The Trans-Siberian is not only the longest railroad in the world. It is also a unique adventure and a perfect chance to visit the most distant parts of Russia and touch its culture.
The original name of the railroad is the Great Siberian Way.
Being the longest railroad in the world it stretches across 11.024 kilometers (which is about 6.850 miles)
The Trans-Siberian railroad starts in Moscow and goes through 87 major East Siberian and Far Eastern cities, ending in Vladivostok – the biggest city in the Far East of Russia.
One of the railway stations of the Transsib is called Slyudyanka 1 – a remarkable building entirely made of marble.
The Trans-Mongolian railway is a branch of the Trans-Siberian that leads from Ulan-Ude to Beijing.
The railroad goes through the capital of Mongolia – Ulan-Bator.
The Trans-Siberian railroad goes through the area where the winter temperatures goes below – 60ºC (about -76ºF)
The shortest train trip will take you 6 days and 2 hours. In connection to this many trains running from Moscow to Vladivostok have showers, laundries and other services.
Tourism along Trans Siberian Railway
The Trans Siberian railway has become a popular tourist destination recently. Not only Russians, but also many foreign guests are striving to experience real Russia. Isn’t it an amazing feeling to cross the world’s biggest country from the west to the east? Trans Siberian railway Moscow – Vladivostok or Moscow – Beijing are among the most popular itineraries. It is a great chance to visit a number of big Russian cities, such as Moscow, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, and others. While doing your unforgettable Trans-Siberian trip you can explore the Ural mountains, mighty Russian rivers like Volga and Ob, the Baikal – the world’s deepest fresh lake, Altai mountains, and many other unforgettable places! Each of them do deserve your attention!
Visiting St. Petersburg would be incomplete without a tour to Peterhof Palace. It is one of the most fascinating former royal residences in the suburbs of St. Petersburg. Located on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland (Baltic Sea) it stretches along the waterline for 2.5 kilometers (about 1.5 miles). The history of Peterhof goes back to the early 18th century, when it was founded as a monument to the triumphal victory over Sweden in the Northern War. Due to its richest history, incredible architecture and amazing parks Peterhof has become a great tourist destination.
The museum complex is located in 1-hour drive from St. Petersburg city center. Using public transport it will take you about 1 hour 30 minutes to get there. However, if you are unsure how to use St. Petersburg metro or buses a private tour to Peterhof can always be an option.
A classic program of Peterhof tour normally includes the main attractions of the museum complex:
- Peterhof Grand Palace
- Fountains in the Upper and Lower Gardens
- Grand Cascade
- Monplaisir Palace
Peterhof Palace is the heart and the center of the whole Peterhof ensemble. The modern outlook of the palace has been formed for almost 150 years. The construction was initiated by the Russian tzar Peter the Great in 1714. Nevertheless, today we can observe the results of a few palace alterations that occurred later. The biggest one took place during the reign of Peter’s daughter Elizabeth. It is during her time when the Palace acquired its splendor of baroque architecture.
On two sides the rectangular elongated building of Peterhof Palace is framed by the famous Upper and Lower Gardens. The idea of creating this park came to Peter’s mind after visiting Versailles that encouraged him in many ways. It reflects the best gardening traditions of French regular parks. Among other attractions the Grand Cascade is the most outstanding. The iconic view of the Grand Cascade is the first thing that appears on our minds when we talk about Peterhof. The Cascade is a unique system of beautiful fountains and waterfalls, accomplished with over 250 statues and reliefs. It’s definitely a must!
Touring the highlights of the Lower Garden you can’t pass by the Monplaisir Palace. This structure is reasonably smaller than the Peterhof Grand Palace, but not less important. Initially being constructed for Peter’s wife Catherine I, this Palace became a true family nest for the royal couple. Many visitors find that the Monplaisir speaks a lot about Peter’s personality because it took in his spirit. Not to mention, that the palace did not have any changes throughout times. Inside you can also find a nice original collection of Italian, Dutch and Flemish painting of the 17th-18th centuries.
There is, for sure, much more to see in Peterhof and the list can continue forever. During our tour to Peterhof you will get a great chance to see it all!
When is the best time to visit Peterhof?
When planning your trip to Peterhof it is essential to know when the museum is open for visitors.
The Peterhof Grand Palace open hours:
10.30 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily, except Monday
Peterhof Fountain Park:
Open all year round, but in winter season (October – May) the fountains are closed. They start operating in the end of April. The season start is marked by a beautiful Fountain Festival. In 2017 the Fountain Festival is planned on May 20.
In May – September the park is open from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m.
The Monplaisir palace:
Open only in the summer time (May-September)
For more details check out Peterhof museum official page