History and Culture of Saint-Petersburg

Saint-Petersburg was founded by Tsar Peter the Great on 27 May 1703, as a new capital of Russian Empire instead of Moscow. It was a capital for more than two hundred years (1713-1728, 1732-1918, minus time of board of Peter II when the capital status has for a short while returned to Moscow). The Russian Revolution of 1917 deprived the city of its status and the capital was finally moved to Moscow. Being Russia’s political and cultural centre for 200 years, Saint Petersburg is sometimes referred to in Russia as the Northern Capital. Due to its outstanding beauty, over its history it has also been referenced as «the Venice of the north» and the «northern Palmira». Saint Petersburg is not only Russia’s second largest city after Moscow, it is also a major European cultural centre, and an important Russian port on the Baltic Sea. Saint Petersburg is often described as the most Western city of Russia. The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The city was renamed 4 times. Founded as Saint Petersburg on May 27th, 1703, it carried its name until August 18th, 1914. Because of the World War I the original name was considered too «German-sounding» and the city was renamed to Petrograd which is a Russian translation of the former name. In 1924, January 26th, the city was given a new name — Leningrad, after Vladimir Lenin, and went under that name for 67 years, until in 1991, September 6th, the original name was returned.

The city is sometimes referred to as a Cradle of Revolutions because in the beginning of the XX-th century it has endured three revolutions: in 1905-1907, and February and October revolutions of 1917.

The Blokada (the Siege) of Leningrad during the World War II was the most tragic period for the city. It lasted from September 1941 till January 1944, about 900 days and nights. During the Blokada about a million of civilians died of hunger and were killed by bombs. The monuments of history and culture and the suburban palace complexes were ruined. But despite of the tragic ages of its history, Saint Petersburg was and remains one of the treasures of world art and architecture.

Many famous cultural figures lived here and have forever connected their names with the name of the city. The world-famous poets A. Pushkin, A. Blok, I. Brodsky, A. Akhmatova, writers F. Dostoyevsky, N. Gogol, S. Dovlatov, V. Nabokov, scientists D. Mendeleyev, L. Euler.