St. Petersburg has been defined the City of the Tsars. It was created by Peter the Great in 1703 to be his "Window on Europe". Considered the cultural heart of modern day Russia, St Petersburg offers visitors a fascinating mixture of Russian and European heritage.
It is located on the north-west of Russia overlooking the Baltic Sea. The weather in St Petersburg is extremely cold in winter when its river and canals freeze, but in summer, all the inhabitants go outdoors to enjoy the White Nights of this northern latitude when the sunlight never disappears completely.
Peter the Great decided to build a great northern capital to protect Russia from Swedish military threats. By the time of his death, in 1725, he had transformed the islands and swamps around the River Neva into a city of 40.000 inhabitants with the Russian parliament, a port where ships for the Russian navy were built and the imposing Peter Gate, which guarded the entrance to the Peter and Paul Fortress on Vasilevsky Island.
St Petersburg is full of beautiful palaces and churches built in accordance with the tastes of the various Tsars that ruled Russia. There is an amazing mixture of classical, baroque and neo-classical constructions.
Adding to the buildings' beauty are the canals and rivers, which cross Nevsky
prospekt. St Petersburg is often compared to Venice because of the winding waterways
which lead to the broad River Neva. Although the capital moved to Moscow after
the revolution, St Petersburg can be considered Russia’s most beautiful
city. It is also the prime centre for classical culture – from opera to
ballet to music.
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