Sankt Petersburg’s Best Attractions
Sankt Petersburg is the local way of pronouncing “saint” in the name St. Petersburg. Over the centuries, other names for Sankt Petersburg have been Petrograd and Leningrad. But whatever you call it, Sankt Petersburg is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Travellers have been coming to Sankt Petersburg since it was founded by Peter the Great in the early 1700’s. From 1713 until 1918, it was the capital of Russia. Now, it is a center for culture, sport and tourists. You could spend a lifetime in St. Petersburg and still not see all it has to offer, but you can enjoy these attractions in a vacation.
Sankt Petersburg is home to many priceless works of art in several museums. The oldest and perhaps most famous is the Russian Museum, which opened to the public in 1898. The collection has grown so vast that the museum is now made up of several buildings. Perhaps the most unique is the warship Aurora which has been transformed into a floating museum.
Unless you’re stone blind, it’s really hard to miss the sculptures. Many of the major monuments to past political figures are massive, realistic sculptures. The city features a bronze statue of its founder riding a rearing horse, as well as huge sculptures to Vladimir Lenin outside of Finland train station and one to Sergey Kirov in Kirov Square.
Although technically not a museum, the St. Petersburg Botanical Garden is definitely a work of art. St. Petersburg has many parks where you can reflect and renew your spirit, but the Botanical Garden is arguably the most impressive. When the weather cooperates, you can stroll through an English garden that can put Kew Gardens to shame. When the weather doesn’t cooperate, you can visit those greenhouses that are open to the public.
You don’t need to know Russian in order to fully appreciate the grand spectacle of sport. Sankt Petersburg was, after all, sight of the 1980 Olympic Summer Games. The main stadiums with events open to the public include the Petrovsky Stadium and Zimney Stadium. For those travelling in winter, check out the city’s ice skating rinks. You may just see a new Olympic champion in training. Just north of the city is Okhta Park, where you can snowboard or ski.
Depending on the season, you can watch football (soccer), boat racing and horse shows. Chess is also a passion in St. Petersburg. If you know anything about the game, you may be vigorously invited to play. If you want to let off steam and get to know more of the city than you can by foot, many bike rentals are available.
Since St. Petersburg was a meeting place for people of many cultures, many beautiful buildings can be seen in a casual walk. You may not want to think about money, but the outside of the Old Stock Exchange is worth your time. No matter what your religious beliefs, the Church of the Savior of Blood cannot be missed. It is no longer an active church, but does make you think about heaven.