The famous Bronze Horseman statue of Peter the Great facing the Neva River
These photos are the result of Russia Blog editor Charles Ganske's visit to St. Petersburg between January 11 and 14, 2007. The city, known as Leningrad in Soviet times, was the capital of Russia from the 1700s until the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.Today it is the second largest urban center in the Russian Federation and the northernmost city with a population over one million people. St. Petersburg's northern latitude means that the sun doesn't quite set during the famous White Nights in June, when most tourists like to visit. The city of 4.7 million people also is the second largest in Europe in size, trailing only London in terms of landmass.
Peter the Great created St. Petersburg to be Russia's gateway to Europe and the West. The nearly 7 foot-tall emperor fought a long war with Sweden to secure this bustling port on the Baltic Sea and to build a base for the Russian Navy the Czar ordered built to make Russia a great European power.
In recent years Ford, Nissan and Toyota have all built auto plants near St. Petersburg, and the Chinese are investing billions of dollars into new infrastructure and commercial developments for the region. St. Pete (or "Piter" as it is known to Russians) also remains a center for high culture, the arts, and Russian breweries. Visitors will immediately notice the difference between the fresh air and tourist-friendly atmosphere in St. Petersburg and the more hurried pace of life in Moscow. By design, the old imperial capital has a more European, if not Scandinavian feel to it.
St. Petersburg is also the hometown of Russian President Vladimir Putin and many high government officials. The Governor of the St. Petersburg region, Valentina Matviyenko, is a personal friend of Putin. Matviyenko was a classmate of the future Russian President when they both attended what was then known as Leningrad State University. Russia's state-owned natural gas monopoly Gazprom plans to relocate its corporate headquarters from Moscow to the northern capital next year. For all of these reasons, some American expats have nicknamed the city "Putingrad".
This is the first part in a series of three photo posts about Russia's second city. To see Yuri Mamchur's photo series "Night Drive Through Moscow", click here. Click on the extended post to begin the St. Petersburg photo tour. Please be patient as photos may take some time to upload.
Hummer parked on Nevsky Prospekt - St. Petersburg's version of Tverskaya
Pizzeria off Nevsky Prospekt - prices were more reasonable here than in Moscow
There were also many more signs in English in St. Petersburg than in Moscow
Day 1 in St. Petersburg: Friday, January 12, 2007
Gorokhovaya Street near the Prestige Hotel where I stayed
The Admiralty viewed from Gorokhovaya Street
Traffic in front of the Admiralty headed for Palace Square
The Admiralty was once the headquarters for the Imperial Russian Navy and Russia's Baltic Sea Fleet
The Admiralty viewed from the Neva River
Boat on the Neva River in front of the Admiralty
Neva River looking toward the spire of the St. Peter and St. Paul fortress
St. Isaac's Cathedral viewed from the Neva
The Bronze Horseman statue of Peter the Great in front of St. Isaac's Cathedral
A wedding party visiting the Bronze Horseman statue
St. Isaac's Cathedral from the north
Another view of St. Isaac's Cathedral from near the north steps
Corinthian columns of St. Isaac's viewed from the south side
Main doors to the church
Dome of St. Isaac's
Paintings on the ceiling depicting Christ at the Last Judgement
Paintings of Christ and the Saints
Painting depicting Saints Elizabeth and Mary
Mother of God icon
One of the bell towers
Hotel Astoria (left) and the Mariinsky Palace (center) viewed from the cathedral
View of the port of St. Petersburg to the West
Looking east towards the Winter Palace (right) and the Church of the Savior on Spilt Blood
Stairwell leading down to the exit
Gazprom/FC Zenith ad near St. Isaac's on Bolshaya Morskaya
Bolshaya Morskaya near the Hotel Astoria
Canal near Nevsky Prospekt
UPDATE2: Photos from the train trip between Moscow and St. Petersburg have been moved to the bottom, since they aren't as nice to look at as Piter.
Thursday, January 11, 2007: Travelling to St. Petersburg from Moscow
Train station in the town of Bologoi
Train station in another town
A Russian village
Police car in a Russian village
A late winter afternoon in the Russian countryside - viewed from the train
Evening on the train
Russia Blog editor Charles Ganske on the train
All of these photos were taken with a Nikon Coolpix 5600 digital camera without a tripod. Link and reference to Russia Blog required when reposting these photos.