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St Petersburg – Russia’s Cultural Capital


In 1703 Peter I founded St. Petersburg, intending for it to became Russia’s new capital. It was soon referred to as “Window on Europe” -- the city that was to fuse together both the European and Russian cultural traditions. Later on, St. Petersburg evolved to become the political center of the country and gained a previlaged status of the Russian cultural capital. St. Petersburg served as official capital for over 200 years, and it is to that period of its history that it owes the imperial look of its historic center designed and constructed by brilliant European and Russian architects.

St. Petersburg is one of world’s few cities to have been thought out and drafted on paper before the actual construction. The austerity of its clear-cut streets and avenues, combined with the charm of the city’s water-front, make St. Petersburg truly unique. Thanks to its rivers and canals, which, according to the Grand Plan, cross the city in every direction, and to the amazing architecture and long-standing cultural traditions, St. Petersburg is often referred to as the Venice of the North.

Today, the architectural masterpieces, built by Carlo Rossi, Domenico Trezzini, Bartolommeo Rastrelli, and many other genius architects, are venues for prominent events such as St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and St. Petersburg Dialogue, or may house public institutions, e.g. the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation.

St. Petersburg has one of Russia’s largest sea ports and is a major transport hub. Besides, its universities and research instiutes make St. Petersburg, perhaps, the most European city of Russia.

Millions of guests from all over the world come to St. Petersburg to visit the Hermitage and the Russian Museum to view their celebrated collections, or to enjoy ballet and opera in the famous Mariinsky Theatre. These cultural attractions are being perceived not just as the symbols of St. Petersburg but of the whole Russia. The city has a lot to offer in terms of cultural attractions -- there are over 200 museums and 70 theatres in St. Petersburg. The city has modern infrastructure and most importantly –- friendly residents who take pride in their city’s heritage wrapped in history and are always eager to help visitors and guests to find their way around the Northern Venice.

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