Saint Petersburg has a special place in the history of Russia. For more than 200 years – from 1712 to 1918 St. Petersburg was the capital of Russia. The city changed its name three times: in 1914 it was renamed into Petrograd in connection with the increased anti-German sentiments during World War I. In 1924 the city was renamed into Leningrad after the revolution leader Lenin. In 1991 the city got its initial name – Saint- Petersburg.
The worst ordeal came during World War II, when the city known as Leningrad – withstood a 900-day siege and blockade by Nazi forces. Over 470,000 residents died of hunger and cold or were killed by shells. The war was not yet over, but Leningrad had already started to recover from the tragic years of the Siege and all the damage it wrought on the city. Some of the city’s museums, such as the House of Peter the Great reopened as early as 1944. In the course of reconstruction unlike many other cities Leningrad was not modernized, but restored to its pre war imperial glory. The palaces of Peterhof and Pushkin completely destroyed during the siege were meticulously reconstructed according to the original plans.
In 1991, after a city-wide referendum, the city of Leningrad returned to its original name - St. Petersburg. Nowadays St. Petersburg is a modern, rapidly growing economic, political and cultural center of Russia.