Saint Petersburg was founded on May 16 1703, when Peter the Great seized control of the land surrounding the river of Neva during a protracted war with Sweden. Peter pursued his dream of a northern capital. It took enormous efforts and a significant number of lives to translate the dream into reality. But finally, in 1712 St. Petersburg became the capital and people started coming on their own account.
The best European artistic, literary and musical talents were welcomed and encouraged to settle down in the new growing city where foreign architects, mainly Italian, built fantastic palaces and awe-inspiring churches. St. Petersburg, envisaged by Peter as Russia’s ‘Window to the West’, was moving towards fulfilling its earlier promise in a fast pace and shortly after acquired the state of the cultural capital of Russia which has been kept ever since in spite of any political and social changes.
Despite the popular opinion the city is not named after its Emperor Peter the Great, the truth is that it was named in honor of Saint Peter, as the city was founded on the day of this saint patron.
Saint Petersburg is famous for its “white nights” which is a natural phenomenon that gradually occurs in the end of May and lasts through until the last decade of July. It stays bright for the whole duration the “white-nights-season” as the sun shines till the midnight and then rises as 3-4 in the morning so the dawn directly follows the sunset.
The warmest spot of the city is Nevsky prospect, where the temperature is always higher than in the rest of the city and its surroundings: it gets especially evident in winter when the difference creates a gap in 10-12 degrees compared to the neighboring areas. Now you know where to head to when you feel chilly in Saint Petersburg!
Peter and Paul Fortress was used as a prison in the past. Remarkable fact is that nobody could ever escape from this prison. It used to serve as a place of imprisonment for many famous personalities back in darker times of the country’s history.
Saint Petersburg is a “coffee capital of Russia”, there are a lot of coffee shops literally on every corner offering a huge variety of coffee blends.
There are more songs dedicated to St Petersburg than to any other city of Russia. Russian ballet is one of the oldest ballets and Mariinsky theater is one of the oldest theaters in the world.
There are 15 cities in the world bearing the same name – Saint Petersburg.
100% of the city land is covered with water.