Peterhof (Petrodvorets)

Peterhof (Petrodvorets)1

Peterhof (Petrodvorets) is a country residence of russian emprerors located in 29 kilometers from St. Petersburg, Russia. Peterhof is called a “capital of fountains”. There is a wonderful view you can observe when you are coming to Peterhof from the sea side: a huge Palace is situated at the higest point of 16 meters terrace.A huge cascade sparkles with golden sculptures and silver fountain streams at her slope.

Peterhof (Petrodvorets)2
In the middle of the water basin and in front of the casacde there is a fountain named “Samson”, further the water goes to the Gulf. The Gulf is the one of the oldest buildings in Peterhof,  it was created by Peter 1 and was built in 1715 during the building of Upper Gardens. The Gulf became transport artillery and a front entrance in Peterhof, but when in 1735 the Samson Fountain was built in the centre of the basin, it got complicated to use the Gulf.

Peterhof (Petrodvorets)3
Peter 1 suggested to built 22 fountains, that could look like in the stories of  Aesop, with sculptures along the Gulf. But later it was decided to make the fountains in a view of vases. In 1854-1860 the old vases were removed and there were left 14 fountains.Now their powerful streams creat a huge connonade that leads to the Great Cascade. The Gulf is considered to be one of the best attracts of the Peterhof, known for its beauty. It is decorated with granite and gold, but moreover the Gulf depicts an artistic and georaphical connection between the residence and the water.

Peterhof (Petrodvorets)4
The Gulf divides the Park into two parts: the eastern and western. In the eastern part there are situated many splendid attracts, such as: “Monplaisir”, “Rome Fountains”, “Pyramid Fountains”, “A chess mountain”, “The Sun”. In the western there are situated the “Hermitage”, “Marly Palace”, a “cascade Golden Mountain”.
Peter 1 chose this place for building of Peterhof because while his researches in the surroundings he found several water streams, that is how the creation of water system was given to Vasiliy Tuvolkov to charge over the building. Tuvolkov was a russian master educated in Holland and France.

Peterhof (Petrodvorets)5
In 1721 under the guidance of Tuvolkov were built channels and sluice-gates,by them from Ropshinskie visoty water moved by itself to the Upper Gardens basins, so that is why here it was possible to built only small fountains, though in the Lower Park,that was situated in the foot of the terrace, the water moved from the 16 meters height down to the basin of the Upper Garden and fell down with lots of streams making a huge fountain the park.
Nowadays is still greatly appreciated the talent of Peter 1, who found all the water resources, the water system works till now that tells us about his skills.

Peterhof (Petrodvorets)6
Peterhof is also known not only by its fountains, but also by a great quantity of Palaces and Museums. Museums are situated as on the territory of the Lower Park and above it. The Hermitage is situated in the eastern part of the Lower Park on the seaside of the Gulf. In terms of french language The Hermitage means – “a hut of a desert-dweller”. The front appearance of the Hermitage is depicted in its elegance. Its building started in 1721 by the order of Peter 1.

Peterhof (Petrodvorets)7
The Marly Palace is another beautiful building and a near gorgeous Marly Basin looks like a huge mirror that is divided into 4 sections. Building of the Marly Basin and its ponds started in 1719-1720. At first it was built as a one floor building, but by the order of Peter 1, there was added one more floor that gave the building an amazing balance.
The Great Palace is the largest and the most famous building in Peterhof, it is situated in the very center of the park. Near the Great Palace is situated the Great Basin, it is a balanced building built with three floors with galleries and with golden domes that stretches for almost 300 meters.

Peterhof (Petrodvorets)8
The look of the Great Palace today is a result of repairing and transformation of the building during 2 centuries. The Cottage Palace – is an architecture building of Alexandria Park in Petrodvorets. It is located on the Upper terrace in the south-eastern part of the park. From here you can observe the Finland Gulf and St.Petersburg surroundings. It was built in 1826-1829 by the project of Menelas architect in a gothic style.
14 September of 1947 is a historical moment in Peterhof, in front of the Great Cascade took its place golden bronze figures of Lions with open mouth. Peterhof impresses with its architecture, sculpter, harmony, art and nature.

Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg

Kazan_Cathedral-3

Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia – is a Slavonic catherdal church that is situated in the very centre of the city. Foresides of the building look on Nevskiy prospect and Griboedov channel. It is one of the largest buildings in Northern capital and its height is 71.5 meters. By its name are called an island in Neva River, a bridge through Nevskiy prospect and Griboedov channel, and a street that goes from the church.

Kazan Cathedral
In 1710 on the Nevskiy prospect near the wood building of the hospital was built a new chapel that later that wood church started to be called Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan. A new stone church was bilt in September of 1733 by the order of the Empress Anna Ioannovna. It was built by the project of Zemtsov and was called Christmassy.

Kazancathedral
The greatest decoration of the church was a bell in height 58 meters. On 2 july from the Trinity Cathedral arrived an icon of  Lady of Kazan, and the Christmas church started to call by the name of its icon, later this church got the status of a Cathedral, that became the main Cathedral in Northern capital.
At the end of 18th century the building was ruined and it was decided to build a new Cathedral. Pavel 1 wanted this Cathedral to look like the Cathedral of St.Peter’s Basilica in Rome and in 1799 there started a contest for this project.

Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg
Graf Stroganov, which residence was near the church suggested the project of young architect Voronihin, his previous bondman. So the project of Andrey Voronihin was approved. In the presence of Alexander 1, was built a new church.Graf Stroganov became responsible for the building which was over in 1811. Voronihin the author of the project was awarded with an order of second level and life-long pension.

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In the building of church toll part only Russian masters, most of builders were peasants who gave all their money to their owners. At first they lived in houses in the country and later in barracks. For the decoration of church were used soviet materials such as: marble, granite and limestone.

Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg4
Voronihin had the main task, as on the west of teh church should be the entrance and on the east – Holy table, then the church was turned to the Nevskiy prospect by its side. By the decision of teh architect before the north side, there was built a colonnade of 96 columns with height 13 meters, made in a half round. And that is how the north side of the church became front.

Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg3
The project was not the whole. By its plan there should be two cononnades from both sides – northern and southern, but it was built only the one norther. So the cononnades should be connected together with a fence and make a square. At the northern side there are 4 bronze sculptures, bronze door are situated at the entrance from the northern side and they are the copy of the Cathedral in Florence.The project was also not finished, there should be two figures at each of the side on the pedestal, figures of archangels Mihail and Gavriil.

SP_Cath_Kazan
The design of the church remains a huge Palace hall, the light that goes through the windows make an impression that the dome is on the huge height.
Actually all the main evwnts in Russian history are connected with the church, this place visited field marshal Kutuzov before he left in the army, here in 1813 arrived his ash, his body was burried in a crypt within the church. Monuments to Kutuzov and Barlay de Tolli were added to the Cathedral, they looked splendid together with sculpture and architecture of the Cathedral.

Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg5
Their fugures are depicted in the whole height, on their shoulders they have coats, they were made of bronze by sculptor Orlovskiy.
After the revolution of 1917 from the dome was taken away a cross, and on his place was located a golden ball, later here also opened a museum of Religion history. The look of Lady of Kazan was moved to Kniaz-Vladimirskiy Cathedral.

Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg2
The building got several tackles during the blockade of Leningrad, but after the war the Cathedral was rebuilt. Since 1991 Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg was opened again for church services. An icon of Lady of Kazan was returned into Cathedral and a golden cross appeared on the dome again.
To the anniversary of St.Petersburg the Cathedral got the largest casted dome with weight of 4 tonnes and with height more than 2 meters. Nowadays there take place church services.

Alexander Column

The Alexander Column

The Alexander Column – is a monument on the Palace Square of St.Petersburg made in Empire Style and considered to be one of the symbols of the city.The column is devoted to the victory of Alexander 1, the monument was built in his honour and have his name.

Before the project Rossi planned to locate the monument in the middle of the square. But his suggested variant of horse statue of Peter 1 was not acceptable for him, so this place was free untill 1829 when the Emperor Nikolay made a contest on the best project to his brother Alexander 1, in which participated a famous french architect Monferran.

Empire Style

His first project was not accepted, though he decided not to give up. According to wishes of Nikolay 1, he changed his project of an obelisk for a column, and as an example he took a famous look of Trajan column in Rome.

The height of the new monument is impressive, and leaves behind many prototypes in the world, and the usage in a column as a stem a piece of granite was only at the period of project was a strong provocation in the engineering.So Monferran won on 24 september in 1829 when his project was approved.

Alexander 1

So started a long and hard work, on the place of the column was a basin with depth of 4 meters, and during 3 months there were driven in more than 1250 piles of 6 meters. The next layer they were covered with was granite blocks with width of half a meter.

In one of the central blocks was put a casket full of coins medals made in honourof Alexander 1, and also with a memorable note about the start of the building. On the fundament was installed a huge onument with weight 400 tones as a basement of pedestal. So while the installation was also used an original water mixture of soap and vodka, vodka helped cement to hold better on frosts and addition of soap the monument was easier to move taking lesser efforts.

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So when on the monuments were installed the upper parts of the pedestal, the first preparation works were over. While on the Palalce Square were building works on the shores of Gulf of Finland workers under the leadership of Yakovleva and Kolodkina were preparing future steam of the Alexander Column.

For transportation of the steam was built a special boat named “Saint Nikolay”, on which 1 july 1832 the monument arrived to the shores of the Palace. But the most complicated part of works was still ahead.

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Under the leadership of Betankura were made special building forests were installed a system of blocks and 60 capstans. In 1832 among thousands of people and members of Emperor Family, the column was installed. This hard operation took 1 hour 45 minutes and required almost 2.500 workers and soldiers.

 

Works of the decoration of the monument lasted for more tahn 2 years. On the very top of the column was installed a fugure of an angel, that was work of sculptor Orlovskiy, in his left hand angel hold a cross, and his look was turned to the earth. So the Emperor family wished to add to his face features of Alexander 1, and on the pedestal was also added military bards, weapon and fugures of:  Victory, Fame, Charity, Justice, Wisdom and Wealth.

Bichebois_L__P_-A__Baillot_A__J_-B_-ZZZ-Raising_of_the_Alexander_Column

Four parts of pedestal are decorated with bronze high relieves, which were made by sculptors Svinzov and Leppe. On relieves from the side of the Main Office is depicted a figure of Victory that brings into a history memorable dates: 1812, 1813, 1814.

From the side of Winter Palace – there are two figures with wings and a note: “To Alexander 1, Grateful Russia”. There was a legend that people were still afraid to walk under the column, they were afraid that column would fall because it wasnt fixed and hold only by its own weight.

To Alexander 1, Grateful Russia

So by this reason every morning Monferran walked with his dog under the monument,by this way he tried to disperse fears of people.

In reality the Alexander Column is a personification of victory of kindness over evil, an allegory of peace that came in Europe after victory of Russian army over Napoleon. This Great Column made by Monferran even better than a Trajan Column in Rome and Vandomskaya Column in Paris.

The Alexander Column was even praised in a poem “Monument” written by the greatest Russian poet Alexaner Sergeevich Pushkin.

Cruiser Aurora

Cruiser Aurora1

Cruiser Aurora – is a cruiser that was well-known by its important role in Glorious October Socialist Revolution, it was built by a shipbuilding programm in 1895.And in the 1897 it appeared in St.Petersburg, at the same time three ships “Diana”, “Pallada” and “Aurora”. So Aurora got its name on honour of destroyer leader who was fighting in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy.

Cruiser Aurora

Actually this type of cruisers was made for the role of fighting and exploring. However, the cruiser’s possibilities were not enough for far distance, low speed, and poor military hardware.

So that is why the cruiser was called to become an educational cruiser. The team of the cruiser consistef of 600 people and its shell was protected with copper.

Cruiser Aurora3

The first war events where Cruiser Aurora took place were Russo-Japanese war, next was Zusimskiy fighting, Glorious October Socialist Revolution. After  Glorious October Socialist Revolution Cruiser Aurora was left its native name, as it supposed to be the only Emperor ship. But later the cruiser became again educational, some time after, the cruiser participated in Civil War that lasted not for a long time. But after this, Cruiser Aurora took part in the Great Patriotic war and protected Leningrad. But in 1941 after some damages it was repaired, but while this time Cruiser didnt lower the flag.

Cruiser Aurora4

So even before the war was over, it was a desicion to rebuilt the ship as a monument of an active participant in the Revolution of 1917. “Aurora” was taken for rebuilding in 1944 and after the whole repairing started to look the same as in 1917. Though it took for 3 years. As a result the ship became an educational place for the students of  Nahimovskiy college. Where future officers got their first service on the ship.

Cruiser Aurora2

And though while Soviet Goverment Aurora became an educational, it was considered to be a great symbol of revolution. While repairing Aurora was screened in a movie even.The Museum was created since 1950 by the common forces of enthusiasts and veterans. In 1956 it was decided to give the ship status of the Central Military Navy Museum.Since 1961 Aurora stoped to be an educational ship, it became a museum.

Cruiser Aurora5

In 1980 the ship was required to be repaired again. In Aurora were made restored works, and after this the whole design of the ship inside has changed. So there is a museum on the deck, there is a section of museum workers, a kitchen, a living block for officers, a companion cabin and a captain saloon. So everything inside is equiped with the rules as being on a Military Sea Navy.

Before pipes of air inlets partially latent spare blade of the screw is visible (????? ??????? ????????????????? ????? ???????? ??????? ???????? ??????? ?????)

So nowadays for 50 years Cruisere Aurora is situated near the front sea of St.Petersburgh. The appearance of the ship is very common already. And everybody knows that Cruiser Aurora is a monument to the Soviet Shipbuilding, though thу ship met a lot of events during its way in the history of 20th century.

Cruiser Aurora8

It is a defender of Russia in three wars, a participant in the events of February Revolution,  in october of 1917, it is a place of training many navy officers, that even later it became a Museum. And it still has saved the status of the number 1 ship of Russian Military Navy.

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So Cruiser Aurora has a legendary and unforgettable past, and even nowadays Aurora attracts millions of people all over the world.

The exposition at Aurora has 6 buildings, where are situated almost 1.000 of different exhibits. Among them are paintings and water-color works, flags and symbols of the ship, true historical documents, connected with cruiser, many pictures of sailors who worked on this ship, medals and awards, collections of coins with the ship, models of russian military navy, and also presents from the goverment, military men and different organizations from all over the world.

Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo)

Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo)

Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo) – is an outstanding example of world architecture and art. The best sculptors and painters of 18-20 century impersonated wishes and ideas of the Russian Emperors.

The history of Tsarskoye Selo is connected with goverment of three women: Catherine 1, Elizabeth Petrovna, and Catherine 2. The main building here is a Large Catherine Palace, which is located on the hill.

Tsarskoye Selo

It was built in the presence of Catherine 1, but Elizabeth Petrovna considered it to be uncomfortable and small. She invited a famous Rastrelli and till nowadays we can still observe his work.Catherine 2 also made a contribution to Tsarskoye Selo, she built an Alexander or so called New Tsarskoselskiy Palace. The new Palace was made as gift to her favourite grandson Alexander 1 on the day of his marriage. Both Palaces are surrounded by beautiful parks.

(Tsarskoye Selo)

The Catherine Palace that was built by Rastrelli was made in a barocco style. The Palace impresses with its luxury of halls among which is situated a famous “Amber Room”. The Alexander Palace was made in a classicism style, rooms where lived the Emperor Nikolay 2 and his wife Alexandra Fedorovna are decorated in a modern style.

Tsarskoye Selo)

Parks are also an essential part of Tsarskoye Selo Museum. In Pushkin parks there are more than 100 architectural buildings – palaces, pavillions, bridges, marble monuments, and emlements of gothic, Turkish, Chinese architecture.

(Tsarskoye Selo)1

The territory where is situated  Tsarskoye   Selo was a part of an ancient russian country named “Izhorskaya Zemlia Gospodina Velikogo Novgoroda ”, but in 17th century it was occupied with swedens and given back to Peter 1.The name Tsarskoye Selo came from Sweden.

In 1710 -1720 a new country residence was built. During 18th and 19th century and even beginning of 20th century Tsarskoye Selo was considered a front summer Emperor Residence. In 1813-1843 here was Tsarskoselskiy Lyceum, where Pushkin was educated.

Catherine Palace

In Soviet time Tsarskoye Selo was restructured into a Museum.The other buildings became educational and medical buildings, that is why in 1918 the city was renamed in Detskoye Selo. In 1937 there was an anniversary of Pushkin and to his 100 birthday the city was named Puskin.

During the Great Patriotic war the city was occupied for more than 2 years.

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In 1942 the covering of the famous “Amber Room” was taken away, till nowadays it is still absent. After the war the surroundings,the city, Palaces, parks were rebuilt and in 1980 it was decided to reconstruct this room. During next 20 years instaurators tried to reproduce this work of art, and to the St.Petersburg anniversary of 300 years this room was represented and opened for visitors.

Pushkin 3

Day by day park returned their previous look, the palaces were also reconstructed. The works of the Catherine Palace’reconstruction continue still. The Alexandrov Palace was given to the military navy army and not long ago there became a museum that is visited by thousands of people every day.

Tsarskoselskiy lyceum is also an interesting place to visit, it was built by Alexander 1 for children from noble family lines, so there were educated many famous people to us nowadays, for example writers and scientists, goverment and administrative leaders, outstanding people of Russia: Alexander Gorchakov, admiral Fedor Matushin, Ivan Puszhin and Wilgelm Kuhelbeker, a poet Anton Delvig and many others.

Pushkin 2

But the fame to the lyceum brought Alexander Pushkin, an outstanding and great poet and writer. He studied here in 1811-1817. At the exposition of the museum you can see his student room. Around the Palaces of Tsarskoye Selo there are splendid parks: Catherine, Lower, Alexandrov, Babolovskiy, Buferniy.

Pushkin 1

Actually nowadays Tsarskoye Selo is always busy with many thousands of tourists from all over the country and from abroad. That is why on weekends the quantity of the tourists raises up and it is recommended to visit the place in week day.

Pushkin 5

Many people from Germany will be also impressed to know many historical facts about the events and history connected with this place.

So Pushkin city or Tsarskoye Selo is a famous national park, which includes beautiful palaces, parks and many other interestings places you would enjoy.

Pavlovsk

Pavlovsk

Pavlovsk city is the nearest city to the Puskin city (Tsarskoye Selo). Pavlovsk is situated from 26 kilometers to the south of St.Petersburg. The history of Pavlovsk started on 12 december of 1777, when Catherine 2 gave the land as a gift to her son Pavel and his wife Maria to the birth of their first child – Alexander 1.

Pavlovsk city 2

The city was called “Pavlovskoye selo” and in 1779 two wood Palaces were built here: “Pavlova uteha” and “Dolina Marii”. In 1780 Charles Cameron was invited in Pavlovsk to help with architecture, he was the student of the famous Italian architecture Antonio Palladi. With Cameron the building in Pavlovsk changed greatly.

Pavlovsk city

In 1782 the building of Pavlovskiy Palace started, it was built during 4 years and at once Cameron worked at the creation of parks. In 1795 was ruined a Mariental Palace, at his place was built a fortress Mariental by Brenna in 1797.Pavel who prefered Gatchina more, gave Pavlovskoye Selo to his wife and a week later gave an order to change the name and named it Pavlovsk. After the death of Pavel 1 Pavlovsk became a summer residence of the Empress.

The-Pavlovsk-Palace

After the revolution the Palace and the park of Pavlovsk became a Museum. In 1918 Pavlovsk got a name Sluzk, in honour of Vera Sluzkaya.The main place in the mark takes Pavlovskiy Palace that is built at the bank of the river Slavyanka. Pavlovskiy Palace can be observed even from the most far away places of the park. Cameron chose a type of popular and well spread itallian villa with a large dome.

Pavlovsk city 1

The general scheme of the building looks like a Russian villa: cononnades lead to the very centre of the building, the entrance hall of Pavlovskiy Palace is decorated with Egyptian statues. The main hall of the Palace was surrounded with galleries and annexes. The Palace has a project that look like a horseshoe.In the middle of the entrance hall of the garden in 1872 was located a monument to Pavel 1. This look remains the square in front of Versailles with the monument to Ludovik.

Pavlovsk city 4

The main place among the interior of the palace take Italian and Greek halls. There are Italian sculptures in the Italian hall. A Greek hall got its name of its decoration in an ancient style; there are columns, statues, lamps and many other beautiful items.

In a painting gallery gathered all the best works of the oil painters on 18th century. A huge hall impresses with its sizes, its territory is 400 square kilometers. At first it was planned to become a front dining-room, but later there was installed Emperor’s throne, that is why the hall got the second name – Throne. The hall is decorated with frescoes that make the hall look even bigger and taller.

Pavlovsk city 3

In 1837 between Pavlovsk and St.Petersburg was opened the first railway in Russia. In 1918 Pavlovsk became Sluzk, though during the revolution and the Civil war the Palace in Sluzk suffered lesser than any other Russian Residences in the surburbs of St.Petersburg. In 1918 there was opened a museum, during 1920-1930 the Palace was ruined and lots of famous works of art and paitings were sold abroad.In 1926-1930 the Palace was closed and became a large storehouse.

In 1930 Sluzk entered Leningrad region, and in 1936 it became an administrative center of Sluzk region of the Leningrad area, there were added 13 local councils. In 1941 during the Great Patriotic war the most part of museum collections in Pavlovsk was closed and hidden. The Palace and the park suffered a lot during the invasion of fascist army.

Pavlovsk city 5

After the release of the city in 1944-1978, reconstructive works started in the city. In 1957 were opened the first halls of a new Palace. In January 1944, according to historical events Sluzk became Pavlovsk again and Sluzk region became Pavloskiy region.

Nowadays Pavlovsk – is an administrative region of St.Petersburg, where are two libraries, medical buildings, several schools and hostels, retirement homes, center of rest and enternaiment.

In general recontrructive works in this city lasted for 30 years and nowadays Pavlovsk protected by UNESCO.

Many famous russian poets and writers praised Pavlovsk in their works, among them Zukovskiy, Ahmatova and Dostoevskiy. There were even several movies screened in Pavlovsk.

Silver Age

St. Petersburg

The Silver Age was the calm before the tempest for both St. Petersburg and the rest of the country. Nicholas II, the son of Alexander III, and Russia’s last Emperor, reigned from 1894 till 1917.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the bureaucratic system was still intact. It hampered the country’s social, political and economical development, and first signs of instability appeared. However, the regime would not let go.

St. Petersburg 2

In January 1905, the tsar’s guards gunned down a peaceful demonstration of workers who had come to Palace Square to get their problems through to the Emperor. The ‘Blood Sunday’ fanned the flames of the growing public outrage and triggered the 1905-1907 Revolution. After that, on October 17, 1905, the tsar proclaimed a manifesto, which had a significant democratic veer. It instituted a new parliamentary system. The new parliament was supposed to consist of the State Council and the Duma.

St. Petersburg 1

The district where the parliament building was found boomed instantly. Sadly, most bills and decisions initiated by the Duma were blocked by the government. The WWI added more fuel to the fire, sending the country spiraling down into chaos and disintegration.

St. Petersburg 3

The Silver Age inspired new life in the city’s architecture. During that period, a lot of commercial apartment buildings were erected in St. Petersburg, featuring well-shaped inner yards and modernist, neoclassic and eclectic décor elements. In 1903, when St. Petersburg was celebrating its 200th anniversary, the Troitsky Bridge was built.  Outside the central and historic districts, large workers’ blocks were erected around factories.

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Despite the brewing trouble, St. Petersburg was still an attraction for poets, artists, musicians, composers and writers. Before 1917, the city was considered to be the citadel of the Russian culture.

The 900-day Siege

The 900-day Siege4

Definitely, this is the gravest chapter of the city’s history, since it is full of pain and sorrow. At the same time, the city residents have shown their ability to survive the toughest ordeals imaginable.

The 900-day Siege3

A bit more than two months since the invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the Germans staved the Red Army and encircled Leningrad (the city’s name had been changed to Leningrad after Vladimir Lenin’s death in 1924). The siege began on September 8, 1941, and ended on January 27, 1944. In total, the siege lasted 900 days.

The 900-day Siege

The city’s food and fuel stocks were exhausted shortly after the siege began. There was no electricity, heating, and the city transport stopped. The daily ratio was limited to about ¼ of a pound of bread per person. However, life went on in the besieged city, and some industries were still operational.

The 900-day Siege1

The Hermitage’s exhibits were secured in the museum’s and Saint Isaac’s Cathedral’s basements. So were those of Petrodvorets and the Tsarskoye Selo Museum. Cultural life was still brewing. It was during the siege that Dmitry Shostakovich wrote his famous ‘Leningrad’ symphony.

The 900-day Siege8

Neither city residents nor Red Army soldiers agreed to even consider the possibility of surrender. Many residents fled the city via the ‘Road of Life’ that ran across Ladoga Lake – the only connection with the mainland, which was attacked all the time. It was the only route by which food, water and fuel were delivered to Leningrad.

The 900-day Siege2

In January 1943, the Red Army broke the Siege, but it took one more year to lift it completely. Over the three years, more than 600,000 people died of diseases and starvation. Most victims are buried in the Piskariovskoye memorial Cemetery.

The Foundation Ground

Saint Petersburg4

Saint Petersburg is relatively young. Since its foundation in the early 1700s, the city was caught up in a stunning tapestry of historic economic, political and social events, which few one-thousand-year-old cities can boast.

Saint Petersburg2

Before the city’s foundation, Russian people had inhabited Neva banks and the coast of the Gulf of Finland for many centuries. The strategic importance of the region was evident even then, since it served as a springboard for successful economical and cultural relationships with rapidly evolving European societies. The area was also an attraction for Russia’s eternal rivals – the Swedes and the Germans. In the 16th century, when the country was in decline, the Swedes conquered a vast area lying between Ladozhskoye Lake and Narva and blocked access to the Baltic Sea for Russia for nearly 100 years.

Saint Petersburg

The history of regaining the area goes hand in hand with the history of the city’s erection. Peter the Great took reign over Russia in critical times. The tsar realized that there was no way for the country to rise from the ashes of the Time of Trouble without establishing a long-lasting relationship with the rest of Europe. He also realized that it would take a military action to free the northern lands from the Swedes and win back access to the Baltic Sea and therefore to Europe.

Saint Petersburg3

Saint Petersburg was founded in 1703, when the Swedes abandoned the area lying around the Delta of the River Neva. Here the river forms numerous forks and branches dissecting the piece of land into several big islands and scores of smaller ones. There were 101 islands in the delta formed by a network of canals, many of which were filled in as the city grew.

Saint Petersburg1

In 1720, one of the representatives of the Polish Embassy gave his own description of the St. Petersburg’s foundation ground. In his story, he mentioned fifteen little hutches owned by Swedish fishermen, which were found exactly where the city was started.

St. Petersburg Heading Toward Capitalism

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When Alexander II was crowned, the Russian Empire was dealing with economic decline and the consequences of the defeat in the Crimean War. With the thunder of social unrest drawing closer than ever and the gap between Russia and the leading European economies growing more evident, an immediate action was required.

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The abolition of serfdom was one of the most radical steps toward liberal economy. Also, Alexander introduced local self-government organs called ‘zemstvos’, which were authorized to provide roads, medical and schooling services. St. Petersburg obtained a radically new self-government system.

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Meanwhile, there was a growing public dissatisfaction with the reforms as being not sufficiently liberal and therefore failed to overcome the conservative trends that inhibited the country’s social and economic development. The government’s oppressive policy resulted in the appearance of the Narodnaya Volya  – a clandestine terrorist organization, whose members assassinated Alexander II on March 1, 1881. The beautiful Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood was erected right at the murder site. Infuriated by his father’s assassination, Alexander III took an extremely tough line against radical organizations and curtailed all liberal reforms.

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In the late 1800s, St. Petersburg became a capitalist city with national and foreign enterprises growing and banking systems developing. In the 1890s, construction was booming and blooming, and the city’s architecture began to grow taller. Liteiny bridge was built, and it was the first place in St. Petersburg to be equipped with street lights. It was the time when monuments to Catherine and Nicholas I were erected. Also, the first monument to the poet Alexander Pushkin was built.

Pushkin