The city tour of Saint-Petersburg
During the city tour of Saint-Petersburg you will become acquainted with architecture, history and present day life of the former capital of Imperial Russia, the history of the Romanov dynasty. Among the rich parade of sights to be enjoyed will be Palace Square with the Winter Palace, the Square of Arts with the Russian Museum, the Smolny Convent, the famous Nevsky Avenue, the Summer Garden and the Field of Mars. You will enjoy the classical ensemble of the Senate Square with its famous “Bronze Horseman”, the spit of Basil island, many other architectural monuments, gorgeous palaces, marvellous bridges and picturesque embankments.
Peter and Paul Fortress
Peter and Paul Fortress is the first construction of Saint–Petersburg. By the order of Peter the Great it was built here to defend these lands from Sweden, during the war, which lasted 21 years and came down into the history as the Northern War. The first day of the fortress’s construction – 27th of May 1703 – became the Birthday of the whole city. The architect of the fortress was Domenico Trezzini, the first architect of the city. For a long period of time the fortress was used as a political prison. The architectural centre of the ensemble of the Fortress is the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. The Cathedral is a burial place of Russian Emperors from the time of Peter I. In 1998 the remains of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family were buried in the Cathedral.
Hermitage is one of the largest museums in the world after Louvre in Paris and the National Gallery in London. Hermitage collection numbers over 3 million exhibits from prehistoric to modern times. The Russian Empress Catherine II founded it in 1764, when she bought a large number of Western European paintings. To house the collection she ordered a new building to be constructed. Now the permanent museum display occupies five buildings (The Winter Palace, The Small Hermitage, The Old Hermitage, The New Hermitage and the Hermitage Theatre), which form a brilliant architectural ensemble. The remarkable architects and sculptors of 18th – 19th centuries decorated the museum’s interiors. A number of staterooms, where official ceremonies used to be held, preserve their sumptuous décor. The Hermitage acquires authentic masterpieces by the greatest painters and sculptors of the World, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, El Greco, Claude Monet, August Renoir, Paul Cezanne, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso and Matisse. The Hermitage complex is a veritable spiritual universe created in the course of times and filled with the unique gifts of creativity.
The Yussupov Palace
The Yussupov Palace is one of the most sumptuous palaces in Saint–Petersburg. It’s one of the rare works of architecture whose history is closely associated with the names of the aristocracy, eminent architects, artists of the 19th and early 20th century. It belonged to the Yussupov family, the family of fabulous rich. The palace is also famed as the scene of Rasputin’s murder in December 1916.
Pushkin is a fascinating example of the world’s architecture and gardening. Peter the Great ordered to construct the small palace for his wife, future empress Catherine I. In the middle of the 18th century the palace was rebuilt and became the purl of that period architecture. The grandeur of the artistic decor of the facades, the moulded decorations, the gilding of architectural and sculptural details, all echoes the majesty and elegance of the interior decoration of the Catherine Palace. The Amber Room, which was presented to Peter I by the Prussian King in 1716, known as the Eighth Wonder of the World, used to be in this Palace. The amber ornamentation of this room, missing since 1945, is now reconstructed by Russian gem carvers. The park of Tsarskoye Selo (Tsar’s Village) was the favourite recreation place of the Russian Tsars. The paths around the Catherine Palace invite for a walk to see park pavilions built by the famous architects and sculptors of Russia. To the North of the Catherine Palace there is marvellous Alexander Palace which was build by the Catherine’s order for her favourite grandson Alexander, the future Russian Emperor Alexander I.
Pavlovsk is a superb park ensemble of the late XVIII – beginning of the XX centuries, which was, used as a summer residence of the Russian emperor Paul I and his family. The landscape park with different pavilions covers the area of 600 ha. The formation of the Pavlovsky Palace collections was closely connected with the trip of its owners around Europe. Paul I and his wife visited workshops of well–known artists, ordering and acquiring paintings, furniture, bronze articles, silk fabrics, china sets, etc. They brought to Russia large number of antique sculptures from Italy, as well as gifts from European royal courts. And now all these items are exhibited in the halls of the Palace.
Peterhof is a jewel of the Russian art, a town of parks, palaces and fountains. It was built by the order of Peter the Great to commemorate the victory of Russia over Sweden in the Northern War. The architectural ensemble of Peterhof is rivalling the summer residence of the French kings – Versailles. In the past Peterhof used to be an exquisite summer residence of the Russian tsars. The centre of the ensemble is the Grand Palace with the brilliant interiors, which were badly damaged during the time of the Second World War. The restoration works were made after the photos and descriptions of the palace of the beginning of the XX century. Three monumental cascading fountains lead from the Grand Palace to the Low Park, which is the real masterpiece in itself, 173 fountains of different kinds are on its grounds.
Boat trip “Along The Rivers and Canals”
Boat trip “Along The Rivers and Canals” is a relaxing cruise by boat along the Neva River and some other waterways out of the 66 rivers and canals of “Northern Venice”(as St. Petersburg used to be called). It is one of the unique ways to discover the city. The main river of the city is the Neva, which is one of the youngest rivers in Europe. The magnificent architectural ensembles, churches, cathedrals and monuments seem to exist in astonishing harmony with the watery element. All the St. Petersburg embankments are faced with granite and each has its own distinctive character.
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