Russia: Saint Petersburg

After spending a couple days in Moscow, we headed north to Russia’s former capital of Saint Petersburg.  Unlike Moscow, this was a city designed to rival the greatest capitals of Europe.  It is located along the Neva with canals flowing throughout and leading to a beautiful city core with grandiose buildings and gilded palaces along the main water front.

The center of the city is very compact and seems to be best toured on foot due to the one way streets, canals, and bridges.  After settling into our hostel we began to explore.  One of the first places we approached was the Winter Palace which now houses the Hermitage museum.  This is one of the largest museums in the world, and we will talk more about what we say in a future post.  The square in front of the Hermitage, Palace Square, spreads out like the one in front of St. Peter’s in Rome and was the scene of one of the earliest uprisings in the Bolshevik Revolution.

From here we headed along the Neva to the Field of Mars, a large park near the palace, and took a nap near a fountain, continuing what has inadvertently become a vacation ritual.  After recharging, we headed across the river to the Peter and Paul Fortress.  This we explored for a couple of hours.  We couldn’t imagine spending a night in its prison (Emily especially focused on how very cold the temperature would be), but we wouldn’t have minded bringing some of the gold leafed spires of the cathedrals and churches back to the US.  As we continued our walk around the central water area, we understood why photographers love this city.  The buildings are gorgeous along the water and during the long summer days the light is beautiful for hours.

As our days in Saint Petersburg continued we explored more and more of the city.  This exploration took us to Saint Isaac’s Cathedral which is one of the tallest structures in the city and offers stunning views across the colorful rooftops that are punctuated by ornate churches and other religious spires.  Most of all, we enjoyed meandering through the streets and discovering hidden treasures.  One of the evenings we stumbled onto an arts fair in the park adjacent to the Russian Museum.  While there were men on stilts, blooming ‘flowers,’ and acrobats twisting from the trees Emily’s favorite thing to watch were all the baby’s expressions.

On our final day in Saint Petersburg we took in a couple of Russian things that we hadn’t previously had the opportunity to do.  The first of these was indulging ourselves at the Banya, a traditional Russian bathhouse.  After that we were a little hungry so we stopped off at Teremok, a roadside stand that sells delicious blini.  Yummy!  You have to try them if you visit.  Finally, as Emily was reading Crime and Punishment during our trip, we took a walking tour through the alleys and canals that Radya paced while insane.  The tour even highlighted the apartment where Radya committed the murder and the staircase that allowed him to cover up his deed. Enjoy a couple of the photos below or head over to SmugMug for the rest.

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~ by pagespages on July 20, 2009.

2 Responses to “Russia: Saint Petersburg”

  1. very beautiful places, awesome photographs , very colorful.

  2. The buildings in Saint Petersburg are truely beautiful. You captured their inner beauty also in your photos!

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