St Petersburg: Cultural Capital of Russia
Our World | On 16, Jun 2011
It’s the 4th largest city in Europe, it’s only 3.5 hours away and with just 3 hrs time difference St Petersburg is a real contender for any incentive. St. Peterburgers are kind, hospitable and friendly. Scratch the surface of a Russian and you will find a romantic, happy to believe their leaders, who promise paradise on earth!
Russia is a huge country and its people like everything big. This is so apparent in St Petersburg, with its wide avenues, massive palaces and buildings, the long river and the deep metros. As a nation they are also fairly superstitious, a black cat crossing your path cannot be ignored!
St Petersburg has always been the cultural centre of Russia and is quickly reshaping itself into a true international city with high quality hotels, restaurants and shopping malls alongside the traditional Marinsky and Mussorgsky theatres, Palace Square, the Byzantine Church of Spilled Blood (where Alexander was murdered), the Philharmonic, the Winter Palace, the Russian Museum and St Isaacs Cathedral. Not to mention the multitude of art exhibits concentrated in the Hermitage State Museum (honestly it makes the Louvre look like NoddyLand).
Ancient churches in Russia are part of the national cultural pride, and many of the thousands that were ruined under communism are being restored. St Isaacs Cathedral is the largest in Russia and has the 4th largest dome in the world (after St Peters, St Pauls and Florence). The facades are decorated with massive columns while the interiors dazzle with mosaic icons, rich paintings and gorgeous decor. The church itself was designed to accommodate an impressive 14,000 standing worshippers.
On a practical note, visas are necessary in advance of entry to the country and cost about £50. The airport is small and the extended version won’t be ready until 2025! I have a nasty feeling that if congested on the way out the authorities could well make you stay outside the terminal building until necessary to check-in. Let’s hope the 2018 World Cup will rectify all that.
Right I’ve run out of space for now, but next week I’ll update you on the rest…
Susan Sexton, Events Team