The city of St Petersburg is known as the jewel of Russia. With tons of extravagant palatial buildings, the finest collection of art in the world, and a dark and bloody history, you’re guaranteed to have an amazing trip. AllTheRooms has rounded up five of the top places that you have to visit in St Petersburg.
1. Winter Palace
No trip to St Petersburg would be complete without a visit to the iconic Winter Palace. The palace is an extravagant, baroque building that was once home to Russian royal family before they fled ahead of the Russian Revolution. The Winter Palace played an important role in the history of the country — a bloody massacre took place in the nearby Palace Square in 1905, when demonstrators were killed by imperial guards.
2. The Hermitage Museum
The Hermitage Museum is known as the best art gallery in the world and is housed in the Winter Palace. The incredible collection features thousands of artworks, including masterpieces from the likes of Van Gogh, Picasso and Da Vinci. The collection is housed in a line of theatres and former palaces (including the Winter Palace), which sit on the beautiful River Neva. It would be easy to spend several days at the museum however if you’re pushed for time you can still see the best bits — but be prepared to do a lot of walking. If you need a place to rest after being on your feet all day, find a comfy bed in St Petersburg.
3. Kresty Prison
Fancy doing something a little different? Take a trip to Kresty Prison. The prison, which is known as one of the most notorious in Europe, was originally the largest prison for solitary confinement on the continent. It was home to a lot of political prisoners, including top revolutionary leaders such as Leon Trotsky. You can take a guided tour of the prison that takes you to the prison chapel and prison museum. The Kresty Prison Museum displays the stories of famous inmates, the truth behind Russian criminal tattoos and a collection of artifacts made creatively by inmates. You can also get a sense of the inhumane conditions of the prison — although things have improved in recent years.
4. Church of the Savior of Spilled Blood
The Church of the Savior of Spilled Blood looks like something from a candy shop. The church features an elaborate Russian Orthodox design, with five colorful, onion-shaped domes covered in candy-cane-stripes. The church was neglected during the Soviet-era, however, it was painstakingly restored in the 1970s. Make sure your camera is fully charged — you’ll be wanting to take a lot of pictures!
5. The Bronze Horseman Statue
The Bronze Horseman Statue is one of the most iconic landmarks in St Petersburg. It’s a bronze statue of Peter the Great, who was one of the most popular Emperors in Russian history. He was responsible for creating the laws that ended slavery in Russia. The statue was immortalized by famous Russian poet and novelist Alexander Pushkin, who gave it the name of ‘The Bronze Horseman’. The statue sits in Senate Square, which lies on the beautiful River Neva. Take a picnic and sit by the river, observing the statue and the view across the water.