My View of Saint Petersburg

If you don't know, I can tell you that Saint Petersburg (former Leningrad) is situated on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. In my opinion, it is the most beautiful Russian city. Those who have been there once, always long to return there and quite a number of repeat visitors begin to dream of living there.

That is exactly what happened to me: my first trip to St. Petersburg took place when I was a schoolgirl and it made me fall in love with the city forever. After my first year at the university, I returned there with a friend.We were having such a great time seeing the sights of the city, that we decided to stay there. Unfortunately, St. Petersburg University didn't agree to transfer us. During my third stay I spent a whole month in the city of my dream and learned really a lot about it. But notwithstanding all the time spent there I can't say that I know the city inside out.

What struck me in the first place is that every citizen, no matter what his social position is, knows the history of the city and is proud of it. Each person I met told me some interesting facts so vividly as if he/she had lived at those far-away times.

The most unusual thing for me was the climate. Leaving home on summer mornings a St. Petersburg citizen can never be sure what will be needed later in the day: a swimsuit or an umbrella. So, one habitually takes both. As to winter, it is usually not very cold and rather slushy.

I have visited quite a number of places in St. Petersburg but two of them can be named between my absolute favourites.  

Catherine Palace in Pushkin (St. Petersburg's suburb) is by far the most luxurious palace I have ever seen. Both its exterior and interior are so immaculately beautiful that it takes your breath away. I fell in love with Rastrelli's architecture style and colour combinations (white, celestial blue and gold as in the first photo; pink and dark-green as in the second).



St. Isaac's Cathedral with its gilded dome dominating the skyline is an extremely impressive landmark of St. Petersburg and one of the biggest cathedrals in Russia. Its facades are decorated with sculptures and massive granite columns (made of single pieces of stone and put up by hand, without any machinery!). The magnificent view over the city from the cathedral's colonnade is certainly worth climbing the 300 steps up the spiral staircase.


So if you're planning a trip to Russia, I'd recommend you to choose St. Petersburg for the first stop on your itinerary .

Pearl's twirl аватар

Olga, thank you for sharing. it's my favorite Russian city too. when i was i college i spent 3 summer months there as an exchange student from kishinev and it was amazing. we never made it to class, we spent all our time at the museums. Great post, it gave me nostalgia.

admin Olga-ekb аватар

Glad you liked it, Ariana!

notjustagranny аватар

wow! Olga, what a beautifully written piece. I am on my way!!! Happy gosh it looks so beautiful and that palace.... Oh my word!!! Ok, so St petersburg is now definitely on my top ten places to visit.
thanks so much for your kind gesture.
have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to welcoming you to London one day in the future.
warm regards
Cindy @notjustagranny

admin Olga-ekb аватар

Yes, Cindy, it’s extremely beautiful. I bet you won’t be disappointed.
Speaking about London, I’ve read quite a lot about it and I’d love to see it one day. Hope my dream will come true.
Thank you, Cindy!

Cameron Brooks аватар

I've always wanted to see St. Petersburg. When I visit a new place, I enjoy algorithmic walking because I get to see more than just the popular sights. Is it true that foreigners are required to have an escort/guide to ensure they only see state-approved tourist locations?

admin Olga-ekb аватар

Cameron, there are lots of foreigners in St. Petersburg, at least as many as there are native citizens. And all of them walk about the city quite freely on their own. Many of them live there. Happy

Though there is one peculiarity concerning foreigners: when they visit a museum, the entrance costs more for them than for Russians. Once I was trying to help a foreigner to get into the Hermitage at a lower price, but somehow the attendant learned he was a foreigner and asked him to pay more. Sad

amblerangel аватар

I've always wanted to visit here. Unbelievable colors.

admin Olga-ekb аватар

I wish you will see it one day.

E.B.A. аватар

Thanks for sharing your view of my favourite Russian city. I've been living here since 2005 and it's absolutely marvellous. I like everything - the people, sights, atmosphere, even the climate Happy Olga, and where do YOU live?

admin Olga-ekb аватар

I’m from Ekaterinburg.

Terpsichore аватар

As far as I have been living in St Petersburg during 4 years it was really interesting to get familiar with your point of view about the city.
Firstly, I also was impressed by the State Hermitage, Peterhof and the balet "The Nutcracker" when I was about 10 years old. Everything was gorgeous there. Unfortunately, I have never felt the emotions like those again.
For now, I would tell that people are not so polite and even too arrogant as they believed to be.
As to the weather, it disappoints me each winter:-(
Anyway this city is amazing and worth being visited.

admin Olga-ekb аватар

Marina, I didn't know you speak English too!

I'm sorry to say but the Hermitage didn't impress me so much as I expected. I left it absolutely exhausted. As to Peterhof, I did see the palace but the fountains were under reconstruction each time we were there. Sad

It's a pity people are not so friendly as they used to be. And yet there is still hope in my heart that one day I'll be able to show this wonderful city to me daughter. And meet you of course. Happy

Terpsichore аватар

I always thought that it is obvious that I speak English, isn't it?
First of all, I was impressed by the Jordan Staircase in the Winter Palace. When I was 10 or 12 I believed it was the most luxurious place I had ever seen. Unfortunately, you cannot step into the same river twice and now I do not find this staircase so amazing. But I adore the Hermitage for its Italian and Dutch expositions and a lot of other interesting things.
I believe your dream will come true some day!

admin Olga-ekb аватар

No, it was not obvious at all! But I'm glad you do. Happy