St Petersburg Short Break Tourist Attractions - Russian City Attractions
St Petersburg’s cultural wealth is the envy of Europe and first-time visitors can find themselves going round in circles trying to cram everything in. However, with just 24-48 hours you’ll be amazed at what you can get out of a St Petersburg short break:
Stepping into St Petersburg’s architectural centrepiece is like being swallowed up by a gigantic wedding cake. Dominating one side of the square is the fabled Winter Palace; once home to the czars and their entourage of serving staff (which numbered as many as 1500). The main palace was completed in 1762 and the Hermitage Museum was later added by Catherine the Great to house her collection of paintings. The square is watched over by the monolithic bulk of Alexander Column. Erected in 1834 the 47.5-meter column was commissioned to celebrate Russia’s defeat of Napoleon.
St Petersburg’s main drag is breathtaking in its scale and is where the city’s cultural and economic heart beats the loudest. Stretching east-west from Alexander Nevskiy Monastery to Palace Square in this handsome civic thoroughfare provides a succinct lesson in St Petersburg’s architectural history; covering everything from the Baroque to austere Stalinist buildings. Walking down Nevskiy Prospect you’ll be struck by Kazan Cathedral, whose impressive dome gives London’s Saint Paul’s Cathedral a run for its money.
The Hermitage is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest art museums; boasting an immense collection of more than three million artifacts. The museum’s scale mean that entire weekends can disappear wandering the 350 exhibition halls, brushing up on everything form the Renaissance (Boticelli and Michelangelo) through the Flemish masters (Rembrandt and Rubens) to the modern ‘greats’ such as Picasso, Cezanne and Van Gough.
The Mariinsky Theater
St Petersburg’s leading concert theater dates back to the 1780s and has been one of the cities best-loved landmarks ever since. Ballet and opera performances are surprisingly affordably and the lavish sets and costumes make the experience an unforgettable one. Past performers include such classical heavyweights as Igor Stravinsky and Anna Pavlova.
The Kunstkammer on Vasilevskiy Island
first opened to the public in 1714 by Peter the Great the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography is the oldest state run museum in Russia. Inside there are more than one million artifacts, ranging form extinct stuffed animals to what the czar dubbed ‘human monsters’ pickled in a mixture of vinegar and vodka. Exhibitions span the history of time from the Early Paleolithic era to the present day.