Imperial St. Petersburg is the Strelka of Vasilievsky island with a magnificent view of the Neva, the Peter and Paul Fortress, from which the construction of the city began at the beginning of the 18th century, and the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, which is the burial place of Russian tsars. This is the Bronze Horseman in the Decembrists Square – one of the symbols of St. Petersburg, the Cathedral of the Savior on the Blood – a memorial temple built on the place where Tsar Alexander II was killed. This is St. Isaac’s Square with the largest cathedral in Russia and the famous Astoria hotel, the Palace Square and the Winter Palace. This is the cruiser Aurora, a historical ship that is a symbol of the October Revolution and the completion of the imperial history of Russia.
THE HERMITAGE ART MUSEUM
In a city loaded with museums, there is one which stands above all. The Hermitage is one of the world’s great art museums with an unrivalled collection of art treasures embracing everything from Impressionism and Cubism to the Dutch and Italian masters, ancient Scythian goldwork to Chinese artworks.
You will see opulent Winter Palace – vast residence of the Russian Imperial family (with 1057 rooms) – you will see the Throne room, state rooms, reception rooms, ball rooms and the Imperial family’s cathedral.
THE RUSSIAN MUSEUM
The Russian museum is second best attraction for art lovers after the Hermitage. It is less ostentatious than the hermitage and quite different in spirit. Entirely devoted to native artists, it conveys the history of Russian art from medieval Church icons to Symbolism, avant-garde, Constructivist and Socialist Realist paintings. The collection is magnificent and contains the finest works of Russian art, which mirror Russia’s history.
THE USUPOV PALACE
If you have time to visit only one palace in St.Petersburg, the Yusupov palace is an excellent choice. This spectacular palazzo has some of the most perfectly preserved interiors of the 19th century and a fascinating history.
Interiors are sumptuously rich with gilded chandeliers, silks, frescoes, tapestries and some fantastic furniture. Stunning designs of the Turkish study and the Moorish room were the fashion of the late 19th century. One of the highlights of the tour is visiting the palace’s delightful private theater.
The other highlight is, of course, the Murder of Rasputin exhibit in the infamous cellar where Rasputin was killed in December 1916.
ST. ISAAC’S CATHEDRAL
Looming majestically above rooftops, St.Isaac’s Cathedral – one of St.Petersburg’s premier tourist attractions – is visible from way out in the Gulf of Finland. It is one of the largest dome buildings in the world, and over 100 kg gold leaf was used to cover the dome, which dominates the city’s skyline.
The Cathedral’s opulent interior covering 4,000 sq meters with 600 sq meters of mosaics, 14 types marble as well as jasper, malachite is really impressive.
SAVIOR ON THE SPLIT BLOOD CATHEDRAL
The multi-colored onion-domes Church on Spilled Blood has become one of the symbols of St.Petersburg. Built in memory of the assassination of the Tsar Alexander II, it was intended as a private place of mourning for the life of the tsar. 7.000 sq meters of mosaics line the walls inside.
THE CATHERINE PALACE
Few places in Russia are more strongly associated with the country’s history than Tsarskoye Selo – the glorious Catherine Palace, beloved of Catherine the Great, and the Alexander Palace, where the last tsar and his family lived. The place is also associated with the great poet Alexander Pushkin.
The Catherine palace intended to rival Versailles. The blue and white façade, which is nearly a kilometer in circumference, is now one of the symbols of St.Petersburg. Among the highlights of the tour are the ornate Great Hall glittering with mirrors, windows and gilded woodcarvings, and the spectacular Amber Room, whose walls are all inlaid with amber.
A stroll in the park will be an enjoyable extension of the excursion.
Peterhof is undoubtedly the most visually stunning of the Imperial estates around St.Petersburg.
The main attraction of the site today is a spectacular ensemble of gravity-powered fountains.
You will see the Grand Cascade and Water Avenue often referred to as the symphony of water, waterfalls, smaller cascades, elegantly shaped fountains, trick fountains and park pavilions.