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The delightful city of St. Petersburg largely owes its fame and beauty to its founder, Tsar Peter the Great, who made it the capital of the Russian Empire until the communist revolution of 1917.

The city was founded on May 27, 1703, when Peter the Great ordered excavations to commence for the Peter and Paul Fortress on Hare Island, in the middle of the Neva River, at the point where the river flows into the Gulf of Finland.

The original name of the new capital was in Dutch, Sankt Peterburkh, because the tsar - who had lived and studied in the Netherlands - was a great admirer of the architecture in Amsterdam which was the inspiration for the canals of St. Petersburg.


The new capital quickly expanded, with a wealth of palaces and churches, and its main street, the famous Nevsky Prospekt was built.

After the death of Peter the Great, each of his successors contributed to enlarging and embellishing the city, building some of the most beautiful Orthodox cathedrals in the world, such as those of St. Isaac or Kazan, as well as splendid summer residences such as Peterhof and Tsarskoe Selo, and well as some of the largest theaters and museums in the world today, including the Hermitage.

A number of places in the city have been scenes of dramatic historical events: the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood was built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated, and the Winter Palace is where many innocent citizens were killed during a peaceful demonstration in 1905.

St. Petersburg is also famous for the role the city plays in Dostoevsky's novels and Pushkin's literary works, and it is a monument to Russian music thanks to composers such as Tchaikovsky. In addition, today it continues to offer unforgettable views, the chance to take romantic walks along the canals, and an exciting cultural and social scene.


An interesting fact: Peter the Great entrusted the building of his capital to Italian and French architects and forced thousands of skilled craftsmen, country folk and even soldiers to toil arduously. Some 30,000 of the workers who built St. Petersburg from scratch are believed to have lost their lives in the process.


So, get ready to visit the wonders of this splendid city. Enjoy your stay!


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