|— Federal city —|
|Saint Isaac's Cathedral rises over the city, Peter and Paul Fortress on Zayachy Island, Palace Square with the Alexander Column, the Winter Palace, Petergof, and Nevsky Prospekt.|
|Established||May 27, 1703|
|Federal city Day||May 27|
|Government (as of March 2010)|
|- Governor||Georgy Poltavchenko|
|- Legislature||Legislative Assembly|
|- Total||1,439 km2 (555.6 sq mi)|
|Population (2010 Census)|
|- Density||3,390.94 /km2 (8,782.5 /sq mi)|
|Population (2013 est.)||5,028,000 inhabitants|
|Time zone(s)||MSK (UTC+04:00)|
|License plates||78, 98, 178|
Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербург, tr. Sankt-Peterburg; IPA: [sant pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk] ( listen)) is a city and a federal subject (a federal city) of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. In 1914 the name of the city was changed to Petrograd (Russian: Петроград; IPA: [pʲɪtrɐˈgrat]), in 1924 to Leningrad (Russian: Ленинград; IPA: [lʲɪnʲɪnˈgrat]), and in 1991, back to Saint Petersburg.
In Russian literature, informal documents, and discourse, the "Saint" (Санкт-) is usually omitted, leaving Petersburg (Петербург, Peterburg). In common parlance Russians may drop "-burg" (-бург) as well, referring to it as Peter (Питер, Russian: [ˈpʲitʲɪr]).
Saint Petersburg was founded by the Tsar Peter the Great on May 27 [O.S. 16] 1703. From 1713 to 1728 and from 1732 to 1918, Saint Petersburg was the Imperial capital of Russia. In 1918 the central government bodies moved from Saint Petersburg (then named Petrograd) to Moscow. It is Russia's second largest city after Moscow with 5 million inhabitants (2012) and the fourth most populated federal subject. Saint Petersburg is a major European cultural center, and also an important Russian port on the Baltic Sea.
Saint Petersburg is often described as the most Western city of Russia, as well as its cultural capital. It is the northernmost city in the world to have a population of over one million. The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is also home to The Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world. A large number of foreign consulates, international corporations, banks and other businesses are located in Saint Petersburg.
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Swedish colonists built Nyenskans, a fortress, at the mouth of the Neva River in 1611, in a land then called Ingermanland, that was inhabitated by Finnic tribe of Ingrians. A small town called "Nyen" grew up around it.
Peter the Great was interested in seafaring and maritime affairs, and he intended to have Russia gain a seaport, so it could trade with maritime nations. He needed a better seaport than Arkhangelsk, which was on the White Sea to the north and closed to shipping for months during the winter.
On May 12 [O.S. 1] 1703, during the Great Northern War, Peter the Great captured Nyenskans, and soon replaced the fortress. On May 27 [O.S. 16] 1703, closer to the estuary (5 km/3 miles inland from the gulf), on Zayachy (Hare) Island, he laid down the Peter and Paul Fortress, which became the first brick and stone building of the new city.
The city was built by conscripted peasants from all over Russia; a number of Swedish prisoners of war were also involved in some years under the supervision of Alexander Menshikov. Tens of thousands of serfs died building the city. Later the city became the centre of Saint Petersburg Governorate. Peter moved the capital from Moscow to Saint Petersburg in 1712, 9 years before the Treaty of Nystad of 1721 ended the war; he referred to Saint Petersburg as the capital (or seat of government) as early as 1704.
During its first few years, the city developed around Trinity Square on the right bank of the Neva, near the Peter and Paul Fortress. However, Saint Petersburg soon started to be built out according to a plan. By 1716 Domenico Trezzini had elaborated a project whereby the city centre would be located on Vasilyevsky Island and shaped by a rectangular grid of canals. The project was not completed, and is evident in the layout of the streets. In 1716 Peter the Great appointed Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond as the chief architect of Saint Petersburg.
The style of Petrine Baroque, developed by Trezzini and other architects and exemplified by such buildings as the Menshikov Palace, Kunstkamera, Peter and Paul Cathedral, Twelve Collegia, became prominent in the city architecture of the early 18th century. In 1724 the Academy of Sciences, University and Academic Gymnasium were established in Saint Petersburg by Peter the Great.
In 1725, Peter died at the age of fifty-two. His endeavours to modernise Russia had met with opposition from the Russian nobility — resulting in several attempts on his life and a treason case involving his son. In 1728, Peter II of Russia moved his seat back to Moscow. But four years later, in 1732, under Empress Anna of Russia, Saint Petersburg was again designated as the capital of the Russian Empire. It remained the seat of the Romanov Dynasty and the Imperial Court of the Russian Tzars, as well as the seat of the Russian government, for another 186 years until the communist revolution of 1917.
In 1736–1737 the city suffered from catastrophic fires. To rebuild the damaged boroughs, a new plan was commissioned in 1737 by a committee under Burkhard Christoph von Münnich. The city was divided into five boroughs, and the city center was moved to the Admiralty borough, situated on the east bank between the Neva and Fontanka.
It developed along three radial streets, which meet at the Admiralty building and are now one street known as Nevsky Prospekt (which is considered the main street of the city), Gorokhovaya Street and Voznesensky Prospekt. A Baroque style dominated the city architecture during the first sixty years, culminating in the Elizabethan Baroque, represented most notably by Bartolomeo Rastrelli with such buildings as the Winter Palace. In the 1760s, Baroque architecture was succeeded by neoclassical architecture.
The Commission of Stone Buildings of Moscow and Saint Petersburg established in 1762 ruled that no structure in the city be higher than the Winter Palace and prohibited spacing between buildings. During the reign of Catherine the Great in the 1760s–1780s, the banks of the Neva were lined with granite embankments.
However, it was not until 1850 that the first permanent bridge across the Neva, Blagoveshchensky Bridge, was allowed to open. Before that, only pontoon bridges were allowed. Obvodny Canal (dug in 1769–1833) became the southern limit of the city.
Among the most prominent neoclassical architects in Saint Petersburg (including those working within the Empire style) were Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe (Imperial Academy of Arts, Small Hermitage, Gostiny Dvor, New Holland Arch, Catholic Church of St. Catherine), Antonio Rinaldi (Marble Palace), Yury Felten (Old Hermitage, Chesme Church), Giacomo Quarenghi (Academy of Sciences, Hermitage Theatre, Yusupov Palace), Andrey Voronikhin (Mining Institute, Kazan Cathedral), Andreyan Zakharov (Admiralty building), Jean-François Thomas de Thomon (Spit of Vasilievsky Island), Carlo Rossi (Yelagin Palace, Mikhailovsky Palace, Alexandrine Theatre, Senate and Synod Buildings, General Staff Building, design of many streets and squares), Vasily Stasov (Moscow Triumphal Gate, Trinity Cathedral), and Auguste de Montferrand (Saint Isaac's Cathedral, Alexander Column). In 1810 the first engineering Higher learning institution, the Saint Petersburg Main military engineering School were established in Saint Petersburg by Alexander I. The victory over Napoleonic France in the Patriotic War of 1812 was commemorated with many monuments, including the Alexander Column by Montferrand, erected in 1834, and the Narva Triumphal Gate.
By the 1840s, neoclassical architecture had given way to various romanticist styles, which dominated until the 1890s, represented by such architects as Andrei Stackenschneider (Mariinsky Palace, Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace, Nicholas Palace, New Michael Palace) and Konstantin Thon (Moskovsky Rail Terminal).
With the emancipation of the peasants undertaken by Alexander II in 1861 and an industrial revolution, the influx of former peasants into the capital increased greatly. Poor boroughs spontaneously emerged on the outskirts of the city. Saint Petersburg surpassed Moscow in population and industrial growth; it developed as one of the largest industrial cities in Europe, with a major naval base (in Kronstadt), river and sea port.
The names of saints Peter and Paul, bestowed upon original city's citadel and its cathedral (from 1725 – a burial vault of Russian emperors) coincidentally were the names of the first two assassinated Russian Emperors, Peter III (1762, supposedly a conspiracy led by his wife, Catherine the Great) and Paul I (1801, Nicholas Zubov and other conspirators who brought to power Alexander I, the son of their victim). The third emperor's assassination took place in Petersburg in 1881 when Alexander II fell victim of narodniki (see the Church of the Savior on Blood).
1900 to present
The Revolution of 1905 began in Saint Petersburg and spread rapidly into the provinces.
On November 7, 1917 (O.S. October 25), the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, stormed the Winter Palace in an event known thereafter as the October Revolution, which led to the end of the post-Tsarist provisional government, the transfer of all political power to the Soviets, and the rise of the Communist Party. After that the city acquired a new descriptive name, "the city of three revolutions", referring to the three major developments in the political history of Russia of the early 20th century.
In September and October 1917, the German troops invaded the West Estonian archipelago and threatened Petrograd with bombardment and invasion. On March 12, 1918, the Soviets transferred the government to Moscow. During the ensuing Civil War, in 1919 general Yudenich advancing from Estonia repeated the attempt to capture the city, but Leon Trotsky mobilized the army and forced him to retreat.
On January 26, 1924, five days after Lenin's death, Petrograd was renamed Leningrad. Later some streets and other toponyms were renamed accordingly. The city has over 230 places associated with the life and activities of Lenin. Some of them were turned into museums, including the cruiser Aurora – a symbol of the October Revolution and the oldest ship in the Russian Navy.
In the 1920s–1930s, the poor outskirts were reconstructed into regularly planned boroughs. Constructivist architecture flourished around that time. Housing became a government-provided amenity; many 'bourgeois' apartments were so large that numerous families were assigned to what were called 'communal' apartments (kommunalkas). By the 1930s, 68% of the population lived in such housing. In 1935 a new general plan was outlined, whereby the city should expand to the south. Constructivism was rejected in favor of a more pompous Stalinist architecture. Moving the city center further from the border with Finland, Stalin adopted a plan to build a new city hall with a huge adjacent square at the southern end of Moskovsky Prospekt, designated as the new main street of Leningrad. After the Second World War, the Soviet-Finnish border was moved to the north. Nevsky Prospekt with the Palace Square maintained the functions and the role of a city center.
In December 1931, Leningrad was administratively separated from Leningrad Oblast. At that time it included the Leningrad Suburban District, some parts of which were transferred back to Leningrad Oblast in 1936 and turned into Vsevolozhsky District, Krasnoselsky District, Pargolovsky District and Slutsky District (renamed Pavlovsky District in 1944).
During World War II, Leningrad was besieged by German forces following its invasion in June 1941. The siege lasted 872 days from September 1941 to January 1944. The Siege of Leningrad was one of the longest, most destructive, and most lethal sieges of a major city in modern history. It isolated the city from most supplies except those provided through the Road of Life across Lake Ladoga. More than one million civilians died, mainly from starvation. Many others were eventually evacuated or escaped, so the city became largely depopulated.
On May 1, 1945 Joseph Stalin, in his Supreme Commander Order No. 20, named Leningrad, alongside Stalingrad, Sevastopol, and Odessa, hero cities of the war. A statute marking the honorary title of 'Hero City' was erected on May 8, 1965 (the 20th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War), during the Brezhnev era. The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR awarded Leningrad as a Hero City the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star medal 'for the heroic resistance of the city and tenacity of the survivors of the Siege'. The Hero-City Obelisk bearing the Gold Star sign was installed in April 1985.
In October 1946 some territories along the northern coast of the Gulf of Finland, which had passed to the USSR from Finland in 1940 under the peace treaty following the Winter War, were transferred from Leningrad Oblast to Leningrad and divided into Sestroretsky District and Kurortny District. These included the town of Terijoki (renamed Zelenogorsk in 1948). Leningrad and many of its suburbs were rebuilt over the post-war decades, partially according to pre-war plans. The 1948 general plan for Leningrad featured radial urban development in the north as well as in the south. In 1953 Pavlovsky District in Leningrad Oblast was abolished, and parts of its territory, including Pavlovsk, merged with Leningrad. In 1954 the settlements Levashovo, Pargolovo and Pesochny merged with Leningrad.
Leningrad gave its name to the Leningrad Affair (1949–1952), a notable event in the postwar political struggle in the USSR. It was a product of rivalry between Stalin's successors (where one side was represented by the leaders of the city Communist Party organization – the second most significant one in the country after Moscow. The entire elite leadership of Leningrad was destroyed, including the former mayor Kuznetsov, the acting mayor Popkov, and all their deputies; overall 23 leaders were sentenced to the death penalty, 181 to prison or exile (exonerated in 1954). About 2,000 ranking officials across the USSR were expelled from the party and Komsomol and removed from leadership positions.
The Leningrad Metro underground rapid transit system, designed before the war, opened in 1955 with its first eight stations decorated with marble and bronze. However, after the death of Stalin in 1953, the perceived ornamental excesses of the Stalinist architecture were abandoned. In the 1960s–1980s, many new residential boroughs were built on the outskirts; while the functionalist apartment blocks were nearly identical to each other, many families moved there from kommunalkas in the city centre in order to live in separate apartments.
On June 12, 1991, simultaneously with the first Russian presidential elections, the city authorities arranged for the mayoral elections and a referendum upon the name of the city. The turnout was 65%; 66.13% of the total count of votes went to Anatoly Sobchak, who became the first democratically elected mayor of the city.
Meanwhile the economic conditions were deteriorating as the country tried to adapt to major changes. For the first time since the 1940s, food rationing was introduced, and the city received humanitarian food aid from abroad. This dramatic time was depicted in photographic series of Russian photographer Alexey Titarenko. In 1995 a northern section of the Kirovsko-Vyborgskaya Line of the Saint Petersburg Metro was cut off by underground flooding, creating a major obstacle to the city development for almost ten years.
In 1996, Anatoly Sobchak was defeated by Vladimir Yakovlev in the elections of the head of the city administration. The title of the city head was changed from "mayor" to "governor". In 2000 Yakovlev was reelected again. His second term expired in 2004; the long-awaited restoration of broken subway connection was expected to finish by that time. But, in 2003 Yakovlev suddenly resigned, leaving a governor's office to Valentina Matviyenko.
The law on election of the City Governor was changed, breaking the tradition of democratic election by a universal suffrage. In 2006 Matvienko was reapproved as governor by the city legislature. The residential building had intensified again; real estate prices inflated greatly which caused many new problems for the preservation of the historical part of the city.
Although the central part of the city is watched by UNESCO (there are about 8,000 architectural monuments in Petersburg), the preservation of its historical and architectural environment became controversial. After 2005, the demolition of older buildings in the historical centre was permitted. In 2006 Gazprom announced an ambitious project to erect a 396-meter skyscraper opposite to Smolny, which[according to whom?] could result in the loss of the unique line of Petersburg landscape. Urgent protests by citizens and prominent public figures of Russia against this project were not considered by Governor Valentina Matvienko and the city authorities until December 2010, when after the statement of President Dmitry Medvedev, the city decided to find a more appropriate location for this project.
The area of Saint Petersburg city proper is 605.8 square kilometers (233.9 sq mi). The area of the federal subject is 1,439 square kilometers (556 sq mi), which contains Saint Petersburg proper (consisting of eighty-one municipal okrugs), nine municipal towns – (Kolpino, Krasnoye Selo, Kronstadt, Lomonosov, Pavlovsk, Petergof, Pushkin, Sestroretsk, Zelenogorsk) – and twenty-one municipal settlements.
Petersburg is situated on the middle taiga lowlands along the shores of the Neva Bay of the Gulf of Finland, and islands of the river delta. The largest are Vasilyevsky Island (besides the artificial island between Obvodny canal and Fontanka, and Kotlin in the Neva Bay), Petrogradsky, Dekabristov and Krestovsky. The latter together with Yelagin and Kamenny island are covered mostly by parks. The Karelian Isthmus, North of the city, is a popular resort area. In the south Saint Petersburg crosses the Baltic-Ladoga Klint and meets the Izhora Plateau.
The elevation of Saint Petersburg ranges from the sea level to its highest point of 175.9 meters (577 ft) at the Orekhovaya Hill in the Duderhof Heights in the south. Part of the city's territory west of Liteyny Prospekt is no higher than 4 meters (13 ft) above sea level, and has suffered from numerous floods. Floods in Saint Petersburg are triggered by a long wave in the Baltic Sea, caused by meteorological conditions, winds and shallowness of the Neva Bay. The four most disastrous floods occurred in 1824 (421 centimeters or 166 inches above sea level, during which over three hundred buildings were destroyed), 1924 380 centimeters or 150 inches, 1777 321 centimeters or 126 inches, 1955 293 centimeters or 115 inches, and 1975 281 centimeters or 111 inches. To prevent floods, the Saint Petersburg Dam has been constructed.
Since the 18th century the terrain in the city has been raised artificially, at some places by more than 4 meters (13 ft), making mergers of several islands, and changing the hydrology of the city. Besides the Neva and its tributaries, other important rivers of the federal subject of Saint Petersburg are Sestra, Okhta and Izhora. The largest lake is Sestroretsky Razliv in the north, followed by Lakhtinsky Razliv, Suzdal Lakes and other smaller lakes.
Due to location at ca. 60° N latitude the day length in Petersburg varies across seasons, ranging from 5:53 to 18:50. A period from mid-May to mid-July when twilight may last all night is called the white nights.
Under the Köppen climate classification, Saint Petersburg is classified as Dfb, a humid continental climate. Distinct moderating influence of the Baltic Sea cyclones result in warm, humid and short summers and long, cold wet winters.
The average daily temperature in July is 23 °C (73 °F); a maximum temperature of 37.1 °C (98.8 °F) occurred during the 2010 Northern Hemisphere summer heat wave. A winter minimum of −35.9 °C (−32.6 °F) was recorded in 1883. The average annual temperature is 5.8 °C (42.4 °F). The Neva River within the city limits usually freezes up in November–December and break-up occurs in April. From December to March there are 118 days average with snow cover, which reaches an average snow depth of 19 cm (7.5 in) by February. The frost-free period in the city lasts on average for about 135 days. The city has a slightly warmer climate than its suburbs. Weather conditions are quite variable all year round.↑Jump back a section
Saint Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia. As of the 2010 Census, the federal subject's population is 4,879,566 or 3.4% of the total population of Russia; up from 4,661,219 (3.2%) recorded in the 2002 Census, and down from 5,023,506 recorded in the 1989 Census.
- Vital statistics for 2012
- Births: 62 343 (12.6 per 1000)
- Deaths: 61 910 (12.5 per 1000) 
- Total fertility rate: 1.52(e)
The 2010 Census recorded the ethnic composition as follows:Russian 80.1%, Ukrainian 1.3%, Belarusians 0.8%, Tatar 0.6%, Armenian 0.6%, Jewish 0.5%, Uzbek 0.4%, Tajik 0.3%, Azeri 0.3%, Georgian 0.2%, Moldovan 0.2%, Finns 0.1%, other – 1.3%. The ethnicity of the remaining 13.4% of the inhabitants was not specified.
The 20th century saw hectic ups and downs in population. From 2.4 million in 1916 it had dropped to less than 740,000 by 1920 during the Russian Revolution of 1917 and Russian Civil War. The minorities of Germans, Poles, Finns, Estonians and Latvians were almost completely transferred from Leningrad during the 1930s. From 1941 to the end of 1943, population dropped from 3 million to less than 600,000, as people died in battles, starved to death during the Siege of Leningrad, or were evacuated. After the siege, some of the evacuees returned, but most influx was due to migration from other parts of the Soviet Union. The city absorbed about 3 million people in the 1950s and grew to over 5 million in the 1980s. From 1991 to 2006 the city's population decreased to 4.6 million, while the suburban population increased due to privatization of land and massive move to suburbs. Based on the 2010 census results the current population is over 4.8 million. The birth rate remains lower than the death rate; people over 65 constitute more than twenty percent of the population; and the median age is about 40 years.
People in urban Saint Petersburg live mostly in apartments. Between 1918 and the 1990s, the Soviets nationalised housing and forced residents to share communal apartments (kommunalkas). With 68% living in shared flats in the 1930s, Leningrad was the city in the USSR with the largest number of kommunalkas. Resettling residents of kommunalkas is now on the way out, albeit shared apartments are still not uncommon. As new boroughs were built on the outskirts in the 1950s–1980s, over half a million low income families eventually received free apartments, and about an additional hundred thousand condos were purchased. While economic and social activity is concentrated in the historic city centre, the richest part of Saint Petersburg, most people live in commuter areas. For the first half of 2007, the birth rate was 9.1 per 1000.
Saint Petersburg is a federal subject of Russia (a federal city). The political life of Saint Petersburg is regulated by the city charter adopted by the city legislature in 1998. The superior executive body is the Saint Petersburg City Administration, led by the governor (mayor before 1996). Saint Petersburg has a single-chamber legislature, the Saint Petersburg Legislative Assembly.
According to the federal law passed in 2004, heads of federal subjects, including the governor of Saint Petersburg, are nominated by the President of Russia and approved by local legislatures. If the legislature disapproves the nominee, it is dissolved. The former governor, Valentina Matviyenko, was approved according to the new system in December 2006. She was the only woman governor in the whole of Russia till her resignation on August 22, 2011. Matviyenko stood for elections as member of the Regional Council of St. Petersburg and won comprehensively with allegations of rigging and ballot stuffing by the opposition. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has already backed her for the position of Speaker to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and her election qualifies her for that job. After her resignation, Georgy Poltavchenko was appointed as the new acting governor the same day. In 2012, following passage of a new federal law, restoring direct elections of heads of federal subjects, the city charter was again amended to provide for direct elections of governor.
Saint Petersburg city is currently divided into eighteen districts. Saint Petersburg is also the administrative centre of Leningrad Oblast, and of the Northwestern Federal District. The Constitutional Court of Russia moved to Saint Petersburg from Moscow in May 2008.
Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast, being two different federal subjects, share a number of local departments of federal executive agencies and courts, such as court of arbitration, police, FSB, postal service, drug enforcement administration, penitentiary service, federal registration service, and other federal services.
Saint Petersburg is a major trade gateway, financial and industrial centre of Russia specialising in oil and gas trade, shipbuilding yards, aerospace industry, radio and electronics, software and computers; machine building, heavy machinery and transport, including tanks and other military equipment, mining, instrument manufacture, ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy (production of aluminium alloys), chemicals, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, publishing and printing, food and catering, wholesale and retail, textile and apparel industries, and many other businesses. It was also home to Lessner, one of Russia's two pioneering automobile manufacturers (along with Russo-Baltic), Lessner; founded by machine tool and boiler maker G. A. Lessner in 1904, with designs by Boris Loutsky, it survived until 1910.
10% of the world's power turbines are made there at the LMZ, which built over two thousand turbines for power plants across the world. Major local industries are Admiralty Shipyard, Baltic Shipyard, LOMO, Kirov Plant, Elektrosila, Izhorskiye Zavody; also registered in Saint Petersburg are Sovkomflot, Petersburg Fuel Company and SIBUR among other major Russian and international companies.
Saint Petersburg has three large cargo seaports: Bolshoi Port Saint Petersburg, Kronstadt, and Lomonosov. International cruise liners have been served at the passenger port at Morskoy Vokzal on the south-west of Vasilyevsky Island. In 2008 the first two berths were opened at the New Passenger Port on the west of the island. The new port is part of the city's "Marine Facade" development project and is due to have seven berths in operation by 2010.
A complex system of riverports on both banks of the Neva river are interconnected with the system of seaports, thus making Saint Petersburg the main link between the Baltic sea and the rest of Russia through the Volga-Baltic Waterway.
The Saint Petersburg Mint (Monetny Dvor), founded in 1724, is one of the largest mints in the world, it mints Russian coins, medals and badges. Saint Petersburg is also home to the oldest and largest Russian foundry, Monumentskulptura, which made thousands of sculptures and statues that are now gracing public parks of Saint Petersburg, as well as many other cities. Monuments and bronze statues of the Tsars, as well as other important historic figures and dignitaries, and other world famous monuments, such as the sculptures by Peter Clodt von Jürgensburg, Paolo Troubetzkoy, Pavel Antokolsky, and others, were made there.
In 2007, Toyota opened a Camry plant after investing 5 billion roubles (approx. 200 mln dollars) in Shushary, one of the southern suburbs of Saint Petersburg. Opel, Hyundai and Nissan have signed deals with the Russian government to build their automotive plants in Saint Petersburg too. Automotive and auto-parts industry is on the rise there during the last decade.
Saint Petersburg is the location of a significant brewery and distillery industry. It is known as the "beer capital" of Russia, due to the supply and quality of local water, contributing over 30% of the domestic production of beer with its five large-scale breweries including Europe's second largest brewery Baltika, Vena (both operated by BBH), Heineken Brewery, Stepan Razin (both by Heineken) and Tinkoff brewery (SUN-InBev).
The city has a lot of local distilleries which produce a broad range of vodka brands. The oldest ones is LIVIZ (founded in 1897). Among the youngest is Russian Standard Vodka introduced in Moscow in 1998, which opened in 2006 a new $60 million distillery in Petersburg (an area of 30,000 square meters, production rate of 22,500 bottles per hour). In 2007 this brand was exported to over 70 countries.
Saint Petersburg has the second largest construction industry in Russia, including commercial, housing and road construction.
In 2006 Saint Petersburg's city budget was 179.9 billion rubles (about 6.651 billion US$ at 2006 exchange rates), and is planned to double by 2012. The federal subject's gross regional product as of 2005 was 667.905 billion Russian rubles (about 23.611 billion US$ at 2005 exchange rates), ranked 4th in Russia, after Moscow, Tyumen Oblast, and Moscow Oblast, or 145,503.3 rubles per capita (about 5,143.6 US$ at 2005 exchange rates), ranked 12th among Russia's federal subjects, contributed mostly by wholesale and retail trade and repair services (24.7%) as well as processing industry (20.9%) and transportation and telecommunications (15.1%).
Budget revenues of the city in 2009 amounted to 294.3 billion rubles (about 10.044 billion US$ at 2009 exchange rates), expenses – 336.3 billion rubles (about 11.477 billion US$ at 2009 exchange rates). The budget deficit amounted to about 42 billion rubles. (about 1.433 billion US$ at 2009 exchange rates)
Saint Petersburg has three skyscrapers: Leader Tower (140 m), Alexander Nevsky (124 m) and Atlantic City (105 m) all three being situated far away from the historical centre. Current regulations forbid construction of high buildings in the city centre. The 310-meter (1,020 ft) tall Saint Petersburg TV Tower is the tallest completed structure in the city. However, there was a controversial project endorsed by the city authorities, and known as the Okhta Center, to build a 396 meters (1,299 ft) supertall skyscraper. In 2008, the World Monuments Fund included the Saint Petersburg historic skyline on the watch list of the 100 most endangered sites due to the expected construction, which threatens to alter it drastically. The Okhta Cernter project has been finally cancelled at the end of 2010 and instead of that Lakhta Center project is started at the city outskirts. The complex shall include 463 meter tall office skyscraper and several low rise mixed use buildings. Lakhta center project causes much less controversy and, unlike the previous unbuilt project, is not seen by UNESCO as potential threat to cultural heritage because it is located far away from historical center. Skyscraper construction has already started, the building should be constructed in 2017. It is assumed that the building will be the tallest in Russia and Europe.
Unlike in Moscow, in Saint Petersburg the historic architecture of the city centre, mostly consisting of Baroque and neoclassical buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries, has been largely preserved; although a number of buildings were demolished after the Bolsheviks' seizure of power, during the Siege of Leningrad and in recent years. The oldest of the remaining building is a wooden house built for Peter I in 1703 on the shore of the Neva near Trinity Square. Since 1991 the Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments in Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast have been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The ensemble of Peter and Paul Fortress with the Peter and Paul Cathedral takes a dominant position on Zayachy Island along the right bank of the River Neva. Each noon a cannon fires a blank shot from the fortress. The Saint Petersburg Mosque, the largest mosque in Europe when opened in 1913, is situated on the right bank nearby. The Spit of Vasilievsky Island, which splits the river into two largest armlets, the Bolshaya Neva and Malaya Neva, is connected to the northern bank (Petrogradsky Island) via the Exchange Bridge and occupied by the Old Saint Petersburg Stock Exchange and Rostral Columns. The southern coast of Vasilyevsky Island along the Bolshaya Neva features some of the city's oldest buildings, dating from the 18th century, including the Kunstkamera, Twelve Collegia, Menshikov Palace and Imperial Academy of Arts. It hosts one of two campuses of Saint Petersburg State University.
On the southern, left bank of the Neva, connected to the spit of Vasilyevsky Island via the Palace Bridge, lie the Admiralty building, the vast Hermitage Museum complex stretching along the Palace Embankment, which includes the baroque Winter Palace, former official residence of Russian emperors, as well as the neoclassical Marble Palace. The Winter Palace faces Palace Square, the city's main square with the Alexander Column.
Nevsky Prospekt, also situated on the left bank of the Neva, is the main avenue in the city. It starts at the Admiralty and runs eastwards next to Palace Square. Nevsky Prospekt crosses the Moika (Green Bridge), Griboyedov Canal (Kazansky Bridge), Garden Street, the Fontanka (Anichkov Bridge), meets Liteyny Prospekt and proceeds to Uprising Square near the Moskovsky railway station, where it meets Ligovsky Prospekt and turns to the Alexander Nevsky Lavra. The Passage, Catholic Church of St. Catherine, Book House (former Singer Manufacturing Company Building in the Art Nouveau style), Grand Hotel Europe, Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Great Gostiny Dvor, Russian National Library, Alexandrine Theatre behind Mikeshin's statue of Catherine the Great, Kazan Cathedral, Stroganov Palace, Anichkov Palace and Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace are all situated along that avenue.
The Alexander Nevsky Lavra, intended to house the relics of St. Alexander Nevsky, is an important centre of Christian education in Russia. It also contains the Tikhvin Cemetery with graves of many notable Petersburgers.
On the territory between the Neva and Nevsky Prospekt the Church of the Savior on Blood, Mikhailovsky Palace housing the Russian Museum, Field of Mars, St. Michael's Castle, Summer Garden, Tauride Palace, Smolny Institute and Smolny Convent are located.
Many notable landmarks are situated to the west and south of the Admiralty Building, including the Trinity Cathedral, Mariinsky Palace, Hotel Astoria, famous Mariinsky Theatre, New Holland Island, Saint Isaac's Cathedral, the largest in the city, and Senate Square, also known as Decembrist's Square with the Bronze Horseman, 18th century equestrian monument to Peter the Great, which is considered among the city's most recognisable symbols.
Other symbols of Saint Petersburg include the weather vane in the shape of a small ship on top of the Admiralty's golden spire and the golden angel on top of the Peter and Paul Cathedral. The Palace Bridge drawn at night is yet another symbol of the city. Every night during the navigation period from April to November, 22 bridges across the Neva and main canals are drawn to let ships pass in and out of the Baltic Sea according to a schedule. It was not until 2004 that the first high bridge across the Neva, which does not need to be drawn, Big Obukhovsky Bridge, was opened. There are hundreds of smaller bridges in Saint Petersburg spanning across numerous canals and distributaries of the Neva, some of the most important of which are the Moika, Fontanka, Griboyedov Canal, Obvodny Canal, Karpovka and Smolenka. Due to the intricate web of canals, Saint Petersburg is often called Venice of the North. The rivers and canals in the city centre are lined with granite embankments. The embankments and bridges are separated from rivers and canals by granite or cast iron parapets.
Southern suburbs of the city feature former imperial residences, including Petergof, with majestic fountain cascades and parks, Tsarskoe Selo, with the baroque Catherine Palace and the neoclassical Alexander Palace, and Pavlovsk, which contains a domed palace of Emperor Paul and one of the largest English-style parks in Europe. Some other residences situated nearby and making part of the world heritage site, including a castle and park in Gatchina, actually belong to Leningrad Oblast rather than Saint Petersburg. Another notable suburb is Kronstadt with its 19th-century fortifications and naval monuments, occupying the Kotlin Island in the Gulf of Finland.
Since around the end of the 20th century a great deal of active building and restoration works have been carried out in a number of the city's older districts. The authorities have recently been compelled to transfer the ownership of state-owned private residences in the city centre to private lessors. Many older buildings have been reconstructed to allow their use as apartments and penthouses.
Saint Petersburg is home to more than two hundred museums, many of them hosted in historic buildings. The largest of the museums is the Hermitage Museum, featuring interiors of the former imperial residence and a vast collection of art. The Russian Museum is a large museum devoted to the Russian fine art specifically. The apartments of some famous Petersburgers, including Alexander Pushkin, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Feodor Chaliapin, Alexander Blok, Vladimir Nabokov, Anna Akhmatova, Mikhail Zoshchenko, Joseph Brodsky, as well as some palace and park ensembles of the southern suburbs and notable architectural monuments such as St. Isaac's Cathedral, have also been turned into public museums.
The Kunstkamera, with its collection established in 1714 by Peter the Great to collect curiosities from all over the world, is sometimes considered the first museum in Russia, which has evolved into the present-day Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography. The Russian Ethnography Museum, which has been split from the Russian Museum, is devoted to the cultures of the people of Russia, the former Soviet Union and Russian Empire.
Other notable museums include the Central Naval Museum hosted in the building of the former stock exchange and Zoological Museum, the Railway Museum, Museum of the Siege of Leningrad, Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art, the largest non-governmental Museum of contemporary art in Russia, Saint Petersburg Museum of History in the Peter and Paul Fortress and Artillery Museum, which in fact includes not only artillery items, but also a huge collection of other military equipment, uniform and decorations.
Saint Petersburg is home to numerous parks and gardens, some of the most famous of which are situated in the southern suburbs, including one of the largest English gardens of Europe in Pavlovsk. Sosnovka is the largest park within the limits of the city proper, occupying 240 ha. The Summer Garden is the oldest one, dating back to the early 18th century and designed in the regular style. It is situated on the southern bank of the Neva at the head of the Fontanka and is famous for its cast iron railing and marble sculptures.
Among other notable parks are the Maritime Victory Park on Krestovsky Island and the Moscow Victory Park in the south, both commemorating the victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War, as well as the Central Park of Culture and Leisure occupying Yelagin Island and the Tauride Garden around the Tauride Palace. The most common trees grown in the parks are the English oak, Norway maple, green ash, silver birch, Siberian larch, blue spruce, crack willow, limes, and poplars. Important dendrological collections dating back to the 19th century are hosted by the Saint Petersburg Botanical Garden and the Park of the Forestry Academy.
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Saint Petersburg has significant historical and cultural heritage and is thus considered[by whom?] a highly attractive tourist destination.
The 18th and 19th century architectural ensemble of the city and its environs is preserved in virtually unchanged form. For various reasons (including large-scale destruction during World War II and construction of modern buildings during the postwar period in the largest historical centers of Europe), Saint Petersburg has now become a unique nature reserve of European architectural styles of the past three centuries. Saint Petersburg's loss of capital city status significantly helped the city in retaining many pre-revolutionary buildings, as modern architectural 'prestige projects' tended to be built in Moscow; this largely prevented the rise of mid-to-late-20th century architecture in the city and helped maintain the architectural appearance of the historic center.
Saint Petersburg is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list as an area with 36 historical architectural complexes, and around 4000 outstanding individual monuments of architecture, history and culture. New tourist programs and sightseeing tours have been developed for those wishing to see Saint Petersburg's cultural heritage.
The city has 221 museums, 2000 libraries, more than 80 theaters, 100 concert organizations, 45 galleries and exhibition halls, 62 cinemas, and around 80 other cultural establishments. Every year the city hosts around 100 festivals and various competitions of art and culture, including more than 50 international ones.
Despite the economic instability of the 1990s not a single major theatre or museum has been closed in Saint Petersburg; on the contrary many new ones have opened, for example, a private museum of puppets (opened in 1999) is the third museum of its kind in Russia, where collections of more than 2000 dolls are presented, including 'The multinational Saint Petersburg' and 'Pushkin's Petersburg'. The museum world of Saint Petersburg is incredibly diverse. The city is not only home to the world-famous Hermitage Museum and The Russian State Museum with its rich collection of Russian art, but also the palaces of Saint Petersburg and its suburbs, so-called small town museums and others like the museum of famous Russian writer Dostoyevsky; Museum of Musical Instruments, the museum of decorative arts and the museum of professional orientation.
The musical life of Saint Petersburg is rich and diverse, with the city now playing host to a number of annual carnivals.
Ballet performances occupy a special place in the cultural life of Saint Petersburg. The Petersburg School of Ballet is deservedly named as one of the best in the world. Traditions of the Russian classical school have been passed down from generation to generation among outstanding educators. The art of famous and prominent Saint Petersburg dancers like Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, Mikhail Baryshnikov was, and is, admired throughout the world. Contemporary Petersburg ballet is made up not only of traditional Russian classical school, but also ballets by those like Boris Eifman's, who expanded the scope of strict classical Russian ballet to almost unimaginable limits. Remaining faithful to the classical basis (he was a choreographer in Vaganova Academy of Dance), he combined classical ballet with the avant-garde style, and then, in turn, with acrobatics, rhythmic gymnastics, dramatic expressiveness, cinema, color, light, and finally with spoken word.
With a packed cultural program and a large number of world heritage sites, as well as a developing tourist infrastructure, Saint Petersburg has started to enter into the number of the world's leading centers of culture and tourism.
Saint Petersburg is a major transport hub. The first Russian railway was built here in 1837, and since then the city's transport infrastructure has continued to develop and keep pace with the growth of the city. Petersburg has an extensive system of local roads and railway services, maintains a large public transport system that includes the Saint Petersburg tram and the Saint Petersburg Metro, and is home to a number of riverine services that convey passengers around the city efficiently and in relative comfort.
The city is connected to the rest of Russia and the wider world by a number of federal highways and national and international rail routes. Pulkovo Airport serves the majority of air passengers departing from or arriving to the city.
Roads and public transport
Saint Petersburg has an extensive city-funded network of public transport (buses, trams, trolleybuses) and several hundred routes served by marshrutkas. Trams in Saint Petersburg used to be the main transport; in the 1980s, Leningrad had the largest tramway network in the world, but many tramway rail tracks were dismantled in the 2000s (decade).
Buses carry up to three million passengers daily, serving over 250 urban and a number of suburban bus routes. Saint Petersburg Metro underground rapid transit system was opened in 1955; it now has 5 lines with 67 stations, connecting all five railway terminals, and carrying 2,5 million passengers daily. Metro stations are often elaborately decorated; with examples of materials used being marble and bronze.
Traffic jams are common in the city, because of high daily traffic volumes between the commuter boroughs and the city centre, intercity traffic, and at times excessive snow in winter. The construction of the Saint Petersburg Ring Road was finished in 2011.
Saint Petersburg is part of the important transport corridor linking Scandinavia to Russia and Eastern Europe. The city is a node of the international European routes E18 towards Helsinki, E20 towards Tallinn, E95 towards Pskov, Kiev and Odessa and E105 towards Petrozavodsk, Murmansk and Kirkenes (north) and towards Moscow and Kharkiv (south).
The city is also served by the passenger and cargo seaports in the Neva Bay of the Gulf of Finland, Baltic Sea, the river port higher up the Neva, and tens of smaller passenger stations on both banks of the Neva river. It is a terminus of the Volga-Baltic and White Sea-Baltic waterways.
In 2004 the first high bridge that does not need to be drawn, a 2,824-meter (9,265 ft) long Big Obukhovsky Bridge, was opened. Meteor hydrofoils link the city centre to the coastal towns of Kronstadt, Lomonosov, Petergof, Sestroretsk, and Zelenogorsk from May through October. Throughout the city, smaller boats and water-taxis maneuver the many canals in the warmer months.
Today, the city is the final destination of a web of intercity and suburban railways, served by five different railway terminals (Baltiysky, Finlyandsky, Ladozhsky, Moskovsky, and Vitebsky), as well as dozens of non-terminal railway stations within the federal subject. Saint Petersburg has international railway connections to Helsinki, Finland, Berlin, Germany, and all former republics of the USSR. The Helsinki railway was built in 1870, 443 kilometers (275 mi), commutes three times a day, in a journey lasting about three and a half hours with the new Allegro train.
In 2009 Russian Railways launched a high speed service on the Moscow-Saint Petersburg route. The new train, known as Sapsan, is a deriative of the popular Siemens Velaro train; various versions of which are already in service in a number of European countries. It set records for the fastest train in Russia on May 2, 2009, travelling at 281 km/h and on May 7, 2009, traveling at 290 kilometers per hour (180 mph).
Since December 12, 2010 Karelian Trains, a joint venture between Russian Railways and VR (Finnish Railways), has been running Alstom Pendolino operated high-speed services between Saint Petersburg's Finlyandsky and Helsinki's Central railway stations. These services are branded as 'Allegro' trains.
Saint Petersburg is also served by Pulkovo International Airport, and by three smaller commercial and cargo airports in the suburbs. Lappeenranta Airport, which is located near Saint Petersburg in Finnish side of the border, is also popular among Russian travellers.
Pulkovo airport opened to passengers as a small aerodrome in 1931. As of 2011, the airport is the 4th busiest in Russia after Moscow's Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo airports. With two main terminals (one domestic, one international), Pulkovo is widely regarded as one of the larger and more modern airports in the Russian Federation. However, as it is anticipated that by 2025 Pulkovo airport will handle around 17 million passengers annually, plans have been laid out to build a new mid-field terminal extension directly to the north of Terminal 1 (domestic); it is planned to initially contain 18 gates, with the option of later extend the terminal by means of a mid-apron pier. Construction began in November 2010, and is scheduled to complete in 2013.
There is a regular, 24/7, rapid-bus transit connection (marshrutka) between Pulkovo airport and the city center.
As of 2006/2007 there were 1024 kindergartens, 716 public schools and 80 vocational schools in Saint Petersburg. The largest of the public higher education institutions is Saint Petersburg State University, enrolling approximately 32,000 undergraduate students; and the largest non-governmental higher education institutions is the Institute of International Economic Relations, Economics and Law. Other famous universities are Saint Petersburg Polytechnical University, Herzen University and Saint Petersburg Military engineering-technical university. However, the public universities are all federal property and do not belong to the city.
Among the city's more than fifty theaters is the world-famous Mariinsky Theater (also known as the Kirov Theater in the USSR ), home to the Mariinsky Ballet company and opera. Leading ballet dancers, such as Vaslav Nijinsky, Anna Pavlova, Rudolph Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Galina Ulanova and Natalia Makarova, were principal stars of the Mariinsky ballet.
Dmitri Shostakovich was born and brought up in Saint Petersburg, and dedicated his Seventh Symphony to the city, calling it the "Leningrad Symphony." He wrote the symphony while in Leningrad during the German siege. The 7th symphony was premiered in 1942; its performance in the besieged Leningrad at the Bolshoy Philharmonic Hall under the baton of conductor Karl Eliasberg was heard over the radio and lifted the spirits of the survivors. In 1992 a reunion performance of the 7th Symphony by the (then) 14 survivors was played in the same hall as they done half a century ago. The Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra remained one of the best known symphony orchestras in the world under the leadership of conductors Yevgeny Mravinsky and Yuri Temirkanov.
The Imperial Choral Capella was founded and modeled after the royal courts of other European capitals.
Saint Petersburg has been home to the newest movements in popular music in the country. The first jazz band in the Soviet Union was founded here by Leonid Utyosov in the 1920s, under the patronage of Isaak Dunayevsky. The first jazz club in the Soviet Union was founded here in the 1950s, and later was named jazz club Kvadrat. In 1956 the popular ensemble Druzhba was founded by Aleksandr Bronevitsky and Edita Piekha, becoming the first popular band in the 1950s USSR. In the 1960s student rock-groups Argonavty, Kochevniki and others pioneered a series of unofficial and underground rock concerts and festivals. In 1972 Boris Grebenshchikov founded the band Aquarium, that later grew to huge popularity. Since then "Peter's rock" music style was formed.
In the 1970s many bands came out from "underground" and eventually founded the Leningrad rock club, which has been providing stage to such bands as DDT, Kino, headed by the legendary Viktor Tsoi, Alisa, Zemlyane, Zoopark, Piknik, Secret and many other popular groups. The first Russian-style happening show Pop Mekhanika, mixing over 300 people and animals on stage, was directed by the multi-talented Sergey Kuryokhin in the 1980s. The Saint-Petersburg. The annual International Music Festival SKIF (Sergey Kuriokhin International Festival) is named after him. In 2004 the Kuryokhin Center was founded, were the SKIF as well as the Electro-Mechanica festival and Ethnomechanica festival takes place. SKIF focuses on experimental pop music and avant garde music, Electro-Mechanica on electronic music, and Ethnomechanica on world music.
Today's Saint Petersburg boasts many notable musicians of various genres, from popular Leningrad's Sergei Shnurov, Tequilajazzz, Splean, Korol i Shut, to rock veterans Yuri Shevchuk, Vyacheslav Butusov and Mikhail Boyarsky. In the early 2000s on a wave of popularity of metalcore, rapcore, emocore and there are such groups as Amatory, Kirpichi, Psychea, Stigmata, Grenouer and Animal Jazz.
Over 250 international and Russian movies were filmed in Saint Petersburg. Well over a thousand feature films about tsars, revolution, people and stories set in Saint Petersburg were produced worldwide, but were not filmed in the city. First film studios were founded in Saint Petersburg in the 20th century, and since the 1920s Lenfilm has been the largest film studio based in Saint Petersburg. The first foreign feature movie filmed entirely in Saint Petersburg was the 1997 production of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, starring Sophie Marceau and Sean Bean, and made by international team of British, American, French and Russian filmmakers.
The cult comedy Irony of Fate (also Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!) is set in Saint Petersburg and pokes fun at Soviet city planning. The 1985 film White Nights received considerable Western attention for having captured genuine Leningrad street scenes at a time when filming in the Soviet Union by Western production companies was generally unheard of. Other movies include GoldenEye (1995), Midnight in Saint Petersburg (1996), Brother (1997) and Tamil romantic thriller film-Dhaam Dhoom (2008). Onegin (1999) is based on the Pushkin poem and showcases many tourist attractions. In addition, the Russian romantic comedy, Питер FM, showcases the cityscape significantly, almost as if it were a main character in the film.
Several international film festivals are held annually, such as the Festival of Festivals, St. Petersburg, as well as the Message to Man International Documentary Film Festival, since its inauguration in 1988 during the White Nights.
Saint Petersburg has a longstanding and world famous tradition in literature. Dostoyevsky called it “The most abstract and intentional city in the world," emphasizing its artificiality, but it was also a symbol of modern disorder in a changing Russia. It frequently appeared to Russian writers as a menacing and inhuman mechanism. The grotesque and often nightmarish image of the city is featured in Pushkin's last poems, the Petersburg stories of Gogol, the novels of Dostoyevsky, the verse of Alexander Blok and Osip Mandelshtam, and in the symbolist novel Petersburg by Andrey Bely. According to Lotman in his chapter, 'The Symbolism of Saint Petersburg' in Universe and the Mind, these writers were inspired from symbolism from within the city itself. The effect of life in Saint Petersburg on the plight of the poor clerk in a society obsessed with hierarchy and status also became an important theme for authors such as Pushkin, Gogol, and Dostoyevsky. Another important feature of early Saint Petersburg literature is its mythical element, which incorporates urban legends and popular ghost stories, as the stories of Pushkin and Gogol included ghosts returning to Saint Petersburg to haunt other characters as well as other fantastical elements, creating a surreal and abstract image of Saint Petersburg.
20th-century writers from Saint Petersburg, such as Vladimir Nabokov, Ayn Rand, Andrey Bely and Yevgeny Zamyatin, along with his apprentices, The Serapion Brothers, created entire new styles in literature and contributed new insights to the understanding of society through their experience in this city. Anna Akhmatova became an important leader for Russian poetry. Her poem Requiem focuses on the tragedies of living during the time of the Stalinist terror. Another notable 20th-century writer from Saint Petersburg is Joseph Brodsky, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature (1987). While living in the United States, his writings in English reflected on life in Saint Petersburg from the unique perspective of being both an insider and an outsider to the city in essays such as, "A Guide to a Renamed City" and the nostalgic "In a Room and a Half".
In boating, the first competition here was the 1703 rowing event initiated by Peter the Great, after the victory over the Swedish fleet. Yachting events were held by the Russian Navy since the foundation of the city. Yacht clubs:St. Petersburg River Yacht Club, Neva Yacht Club, the latter is the oldest yacht club in the world. In the winter, when the sea and lake surfaces are frozen and yachts and dinghies cannot be used, local people sail ice boats.
Equestrianism has been a long tradition, popular among the Tsars and aristocracy, as well as part of military training. Several historic sports arenas were built for equestrianism since the 18th century, to maintain training all year round, such as the Zimny Stadion and Konnogvardeisky Manezh, among others.
Chess tradition was highlighted by the 1914 international tournament, partially funded by the Tsar, in which the title "Grandmaster" was first formally conferred by Russian Tsar Nicholas II to five players: Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Tarrasch and Marshall.
Kirov Stadium (now demolished) was one of the largest stadia anywhere in the world, and home to FC Zenit St. Petersburg in 1950–1993 and 1995. In 1951 an attendance of 110,000 set the record for Soviet football. In 1984, 2007, 2010 and 2011/2012 Zenit became champions of the Soviet and Russian leagues, respectively, won the Russian Cup in 1999 and 2010, won the UEFA Cup 2007–08 season and the 2008 UEFA Super Cup. Team leader was Andrei Arshavin, who retired in early 2009 to Arsenal F.C.. Zenit currently play their home games at Petrovsky Stadium. The new stadium, which will host the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches, is currently in construction, replacing the Kirov stadium. Seven players played for Russia national football team: Vyacheslav Malafeev, Aleksandr Anyukov, Roman Shirokov, Igor Denisov, Vladimir Bystrov, Viktor Fayzulin, Aleksandr Kerzhakov. Three players played for Portugal national football team: Danny, Bruno Alves and Luís Carlos Novo Neto. In the summer of 2012 the team goes Brazilian superstar Hulk and the young player of Belgium Axel Witsel. There is also a second professional football club in St. Petersburg which is called FC Petrotrest Saint Petersburg.
Hockey teams represented SKA Saint Petersburg from KHL, HC VMF St. Petersburg from VHL ; SKA-1946 and Silver Lions from MHL. SKA Saint Petersburg is one of the favorites from KHL, the team played well-known players Maxim Afinogenov, Patrick Thoresen, Dmitri Kalinin, Petr Průcha and Viktor Tikhonov. During the lockout in the NHL, the team played Ilya Kovalchuk, Sergei Bobrovsky, Vladimir Tarasenko. А match has not had time to play Kris Letang also signed a contract with the club. SKA won 4 Spengler Cup (1970, 1971, 1977, 2010). The team also became the bronze medal Soviet Championship League in 1971 and 1987. In 2012–13 KHL season SKA took first place in the regular season and won Continental Cup. In the playoffs the team was Western runners-up and won 3rd place in the Gagarin Cup. Home arena is Ice Palace Saint Petersburg.
Basketball in the city is BC Spartak Saint Petersburg, which launched the career of Andrei Kirilenko. Spartak became 2 times Champions (1975, 1992) on Soviet/Russian Super League and 3 times winner (1978, 1987, 2011) on Russian Basketball Cup. Legends of the club are Alexander Belov and Vladimir Kondrashin.
Vladimir Putin - President of Russia
Dmitry Medvedev - Prime Minister of Russia
Vladimir Lenin - Russian communist revolutionary
Peter the Great - Later the Russian Empire
Catherine the Great - Empress of Russia
Alexander II - Emperor of Russia
Grigori Rasputin - Russian mystic and advisor to the Romanovs
Alexander Suvorov - Generalissimo of the Russian Empire
Mikhail Kutuzov - Field Marshal of the Russian Empire
Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly - Russian Field Marshal and Minister of War
Aleksandr Menshikov - Russian statesman, Generalissimo, Admiral, Princes of the Holy Roman Empire
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim - Finnish military leader and statesman
Alexander Pushkin - Russian author of the Romantic era
Alexander Blok - Russian lyrical poet
Anna Akhmatova - Russian modernist poet
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Russian novelist, short story writer and essayist
Nikolai Gogol - Ukrainian-born Russian dramatist, novelist and short story writer
Mikhail Lermontov - Russian Romantic writer, poet and painter
Nikolai Leskov - Russian novelist, short story writer and journalist
Fyodor Tyutchev - Russian lyrical poet
Vasily Zhukovsky - Russian poet
Nikolay Nekrasov - Russian poet, writer, critic and publisher
Vladimir Mayakovsky - Russian poet
Joseph Brodsky - Russian poet and essayist
Vladimir Nabokov - Russian-American novelist
Arkady and Boris Strugatsky - Russian science fiction authors
Alfred Nobel - Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator, and armaments manufacturer
Dmitri Mendeleev - Russian chemist and inventor
Mikhail Lomonosov - Russian polymath, scientist and writer
Carl Heinrich von Siemens - German entrepreneur
Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay - Russian explorer, ethnologist, anthropologist and biologist
Igor Sikorsky - Russian aviation pioneer
Georgy Grechko - Russian cosmonaut
Grigori Perelman - Russian mathematician
Nikolai Vavilov - Russian botanist
Ivan Pavlov - Russian physiologist
Dmitry Likhachov - Russian philologist
Lev Gumilev - Russian historian, ethnologist, anthropologist and translator
Sergei Rachmaninoff - Russian composer, pianist, and conductor
Modest Mussorgsky - Russian composer
Mikhail Glinka - Russian composer
Valery Gergiev - Russian conductor and opera company director
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov - Russian composer
Dmitri Shostakovich - Russian composer and pianist
Igor Stravinsky - Russian composer, pianist and conductor
Peter Carl Fabergé - Russian jeweller
Domenico Trezzini - Swiss Italian architect
Andrey Voronikhin - Russian architect and painter
Carlo Rossi - Italian-born Russian architect
Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli - Italian-born Russian architect
Giacomo Quarenghi - Italian-born Russian architect
Kazimir Malevich - Russian painter and art theoretician
Ilya Repin - Russian painter and sculptor
Anna Pavlova - Russian ballerina
Vaslav Nijinsky - Russian danseur and choreographer
Evgeni Plushenko - Russian figure skater
Fedor Emelianenko - Russian politician and retired heavyweight mixed martial artist, sambist, and judoka
Andrei Kirilenko - Russian professional basketball player
Nikolai Valuev - Russian professional boxer
The crime dynamic in Saint Petersburg is tightly associated with the general social situation in the country. A sharp spike in the crime level occurred at the end of the 1980s – beginning of the 1990s as a result of Perestroika-time turmoils (redistribution of property, privatization, decline of living standards, decrease of the effectiveness of militia etc.) By that time the city had fallen under the control of a number of organized criminal groups such as Tambov Gang, Malyshev Gang, Kazan Gang and ethnic criminal groups, engaged in racket, extortion, paying off local government, and violent clashes with each other.
After the assassinations of City Property Committee Chairman and vice-Governor Mikhail Manevich (1997), State Duma deputy Galina Starovoytova (1998), acting City Legislature Speaker Viktor Novosyolov (1999) and a number of prominent businesspeople, Saint Petersburg was dubbed Capital of Crime in the Russian press. There were a number of movies filmed in Saint Petersburg about the life of crime; Banditskiy Peterburg: Advocat,Brother (1997) reinforcing its image as the Crime Capital of Russia.
According to official sources the number of crimes committed by foreigners in Saint Petersburg in 2010 increased by 11.1%. Law enforcement authorities consider it is associated with an increased number of people from some CIS republics who live in Saint Petersburg illegally. On the other hand, some media reported that in recent years there had been a notable increase in racially motivated violence, in particular towards foreign students. One of the notable white supremacist groups, Belaya Energia (White Energy, inspired by US "White Power" groups) has reportedly been one of the gangs involved in murdering foreign university students.
The official portal of the Government of St. Petersburg provided data on significant improvements in the crime situation. In particular, it is reported the number of crimes against tourists has decreased by more than half during 2009–2011.
In 2012, Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs warned LGBT travellers about a vaguely worded law in St. Petersburg (which came into effect on March 17, 2012) that makes it a criminal offence to publicize acts of male or female homosexuality, bisexuality, or transgenderism. It is purportedly designed to protect minors. A Russian travel advisory on the Foreign Affairs website notes that while homosexuality is legal in Russia (it was decriminalized in 1993), LGBT Canadian travellers should avoid "displaying affection in public, as homosexuals can be targets of violence… Public actions (including dissemination of information, statements, displays or conspicuous behaviour) contradicting or appearing to contradict this law may lead to arrest, prosecution and the imposition of a fine."
Twin towns and sister cities
Other sisterhoods not on the government list:
Milan and Venice were formerly a twin cities of Saint Petersburg, but suspended this link due to St Petersburg's adoption of a law prohibiting the publicising of homosexuality. Milan suspend the relationship with Saint Petersburg on 23 November 2012  and Venice did so on 28 January 2013. The City of Los Angeles will debate whether to suspend the sister city status in 2013  and Carl Katter, half-brother of Australian politician Bob Katter, is campaigning for Melbourne, Vic., to drop ties as well.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Saint Petersburg|
- City Tourist Portal
- Marina Sidyakina (April 10, 2008). "Destination: St Petersburg". Helsinki Times.
- Saint Petersburg (Russia) travel guide from Wikivoyage
- St Petersburg on In Our Time at the BBC. (listen now)
- Official list of foreign partner cities and regions on the website of the city government's Committee for External Relations (in Russian)
- Life of Saint Petersburg in photos
- Saint Petersburg Travel 2012
- Saint Petersburg sights and attractions
- Over 1600 pre-Revolution postcard views of Saint Petersburg
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- St-Petersburg, Virtual Tour • 360° Aerial Panorama
- Bob Atchinson (2010). "Saint Petersburg, 1900: a photographic travelogue of the capital of Imperial Russia". Retrieved February 9, 2011 [50 photographs of St. Petersburg from «Travelogues» of Burton Holmes (Vol. 8, 1914) and other sources
- "Официальный портал администрации Санкт-Петербурга" [The Official Portal of the Saint Petersburg City Authority]. The Saint Petersburg City Authority: 191060, St. Petersburg, Smolny [Администрация Санкт-Петербурга 191060, СПб., Смольный] (in ru). 2001–2011. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
- Committee for Investment and Strategic Projects (2010). "Saint Petersburg – open city". The Government of St. Petersburg [Analytical materials and white papers upon economy, business and social environment, comfort and doing business in St. Petersburg
- "Encyclopaedia of Saint Petersburg". St. Petersburg: The Likhachov Foundation. 2004. Retrieved February 9, 2011 [3500 entries, 9200 personalities, 3500 addresses, 2000 pictures and 40 geographical maps, 3800 bibliographical references from the original "Encyclopaedia of Saint Petersburg" (SPb., Rosspen, 2004)]
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