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“The Bronze Horseman.”

Although Saint-Petersburg founded 300 years ago is relatively young city according to European and Russian standards, it witnessed many fascinating and dramatic stories.

Fortress of St. Peter and Paul constructed to protect the area from the attacks of the Swedish army during the Northern war was not involved in the actual fighting, but became a centre of city's activities. During the first few years of its existence the city grew spontaneously around Trinity Square on the right bank of the Neva, near the Peter and Paul Fortress. However, Saint Petersburg soon started to develop according to a plan elaborated by Italian architect Domenico Trezini.

Since Saint-Petersburg became the capital in 1721 Peter the Great demanded to design the city according to the European style. During the reign of Catherine the Great in the 1760s–1780s the banks of the Neva were lined with granite embankments. In 1724 Academy of Science was founded in Saint-Petersburgand the first theater in 1756.

The Palace Square and the Alexander Column.

The victory over Napoleonic France in the Patriotic War of 1812 was commemorated with many monuments, including Alexander Column by Montferrand, erected in front of the Winter’s Palace in 1834.

By the 1840s the neoclassical architecture had given place to various romanticist styles, which were dominant until the 1890s, represented by Mariinsky Palace, New Michael Palace, Moskovsky Rail Terminal. The Church of the Savior on Blood designed in the Russian revival style commemorated the place where Alexander II of Russia was assassinated in 1881.

The first Russian railroad was opened between Tzarskoe Selo and Saint-Petersburg in 1837 to establish fast and convenient connection between Tzar’s residence and the capital. Fourteen years later, in 1851, the railroad connected Saint-Petersburg with Moscow. At the end of the 19th century Saint-Petersburg surpassed Moscow in population and industrial growth and grew into one of the largest industrial cities in Europe.

Modern St. Petersburg. Nevsky Prospect.

When the World War I has started, the name Saint-Petersburg was perceived to be too German, so in 1914 the city was renamed Petrograd. On January 26, 1924, three days after Lenin's death, Petrograd was renamed to Leningrad. For decades Leningrad was glorified by the Soviet propaganda as “the cradle of the revolution” and many spots related to Bolshevik revolution, such as the cruiser Aurora, were carefully preserved.

The hardest period of the city’s history happened in 1941–1943, when Leningrad withstood a 900-day blockade by German Nazi army. The terrible cold and hunger together with constant bombing took lives of hundreds of thousands people. The palaces of Peterhof and Pushkin completely destroyed during the siege were meticulously reconstructed according to the original plans. For the heroic resistance of the city and tenacity of the survivors of the Siege, in 1945 Leningrad became the first city in the Soviet Union awarded the title Hero City.

In 1991, after a city-wide referendum, the city of Leningrad returned to its original name — Saint-Petersburg.

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