Historical Сenter route

This route will introduce you to the most significant sights of the center of Saint Petersburg

Natural and climatic features of the site, where was founded St. Petersburg, did not contribute to the construction of a big city here, especially the capital. Due to the absence of  stone on the Neva banks  for construction of the  buildings during some period after foundasion of the  city for all the guests was introduced stone tax. 

Over the 311 years of St. Petersburg's history the city suffered from floods for  288 times. The most destructive floods took place in 1777, 1824 and 1924. Because of the gteat bogginess of the territory, there is the most expensive and long construction and one of the deepest subway systems.

Nevertheless, despite all these troubles, St. Petersburg is one of the most majestic, beautiful and harmonious cities in the world.

  • hotels 1 ,
  • palaces 1 ,
  • museums 1 ,
  • parks 2 ,
  • monuments 6 ,
  • bridges 1
3 km, 174 m
Mariinsky Palace

Mariinsky Palace

St. Petersburg, Isaakiyevskaya Square, 6

The palace was named after the daughter of Emperor Nicolas I, the Great Princess Mary

The palace that is now considered an architectural landmark was designed by A.Stackenschneider. It was built in 1844. For one day it was open to public, which was a bright and memorable event for that time.

After great princess Mary died in 1876 the palace was inherited by her sons, who were forced to sell it to settle the debts. In 1884 emperor Alexander III signed an order to announce Mariinski palace the residency on the State Council.

In February 1917 the palace was the seat of the Provisional Government, later on – of the Pre-parliament (the Council of Russian Republic established by the Mensheviks). Since December, 14, 1994 Mariinski palace is the seat of the Legislative Assembly of Saint-Petersburg (the city Parliament).

According to a city legend, Princess Mary refused to live in the palace built specially for her for the reason that she was not pleased by the location of the monument to Emperor Nicolas I in the centre of Isaakiyevskaya square. The monument backs the main entrance to the Mariinski palace, which was a sign for the Princess that her father turned her back on her. 

The palace is open for visits by previous appointment.

1
Blue Bridge

Blue Bridge

St. Petersburg, Siny most

The first wooden bridge through Moika near Isaakiyevskaya Square arose in 1737

This unusual simple-span bridge was constructed in 1818 after a typical project of W.Hastie. In 1842-1844 the Blue Bridge was widened in the course of the arrangement of Isaakiyevskaya square. That is the story how the “invisible bridge” appeared. Thousands of tourists daily find themselves on it and only few of them notice that it is in fact a bridge, owing to the fact the width of the bridge span is equal to the width of the square.

River Moika is knows for the “bridges of color”: the Blue, the Green, the Yellow and the Red bridges used to span the river, now only the Blue and the Red bridges having remained.

The Blue Bridge is the widest bridge in the world. Its width is three times more than its length (approximately 97.3 m). 

Search for a boat trip that floats along Moika under the Blue Bridge. It seems like a true tunnel when you see it from the water level. 

159 m
2
Monument to Nikolay I

Monument to Nikolay I

St. Petersburg, Isaakiyevskaya Square

The 11th emperor Vserossiysky, the third son of the emperor Pavel I and Maria Fyodorovna; began reign with Decembrist uprising suppression.

The monument is located on St Isaac's Square. The Neo-Baroque monument to the Russian Emperor Nicholas I was designed by architect Auguste de Montferrand in 1856. The pedestal is decorated with allegorical female figures of Wisdom, Force, Faith and Justice, in whose faces one can notice the likeness with the wife and daughters of the Empereros. High reliefs on the pedestal represent the most important events of the time of Nikolas I's ruling: the Decembrist uprising (1825), suppression of cholera revolt on Sennaya Square (1831), Speransky's rewarding concerning the creation of the first code of laws (1832) and Verebyinsky Bridge opening on the railroad from St. Petersburg to Moscow (1851).

The monument to Nikolay I is erected on the same axis with the well-known Bronze Horseman, the tsars look outward in the same direction, they are separated only by St. Isaac's Cathedral building.Due to this fact, some sayings in St. Petersburg folklore were creatded. For example: "The fool follows the clever man but  "Isaaky" (People call so the cathedral, for shortl) prevents him".

Please, pay your attention at the lanterns near the monument, they are among the most beautiful ones in the city.

87 m
3
Rocco Forte Hotel Astoria

Rocco Forte Hotel Astoria

Bol'shaya Morskaya street , 39

Since 1912, the Hotel Astoria is one of the most famous places city. Names of famous guests on special engraved metal plate: Vladimir Lenin, Grigory Rasputin, and Herbert Wells. Walk in their footsteps along the corridors of historical, modern furnishings that blend with the aristocratic traditions.

The Rocco Forte Astoria Hotel has an excellent location across from the beautiful St. Isaac’s Cathedral, and within 10 minutes walk of Nevsky Prospekt, Palace Square and the Hermitage. Energize at the gym. Rejuvenate at the spa, in the sauna and Turkish baths. Have a massage and a dip in the pool. When ready to go out, ask the friendly staff for tickets, and tours advice. The ATM is also useful. Enjoy a tea or coffee at the attractive Hotel Astoria lounge with live music, during the day. For later, the restaurant features excellent, authentic Russian cuisine. Then move to the stylish bar for a drink.
Business travellers are well provided for, with the ballroom and Winter Garden Hall catering for up to 450 guests. After work, soak up the atmosphere of St. Isaac’s Square just outside the hotel.

98 m
4
St.Isaac's Square

St.Isaac's Square

St. Petersburg, Isaakiyevskaya Square

St.Isaac's Square is a classic example of landscape ensemble second half of XIX century

The square which is situated in the historic center of the city between St.Isaac's Cathedral and the statue to Nicolas I. This statue was the first equestrian statue with two support points erected in Europe – the technical wonder that saved it from being demolished in the Soviet times. The “Angleterre” hotel, notorious for the tragic death of S.Yesenin, turn its facade to the square. The composition of the square includes the Blue bridge connecting the two banks of the Moika river famous for its series of “bridges of color”. The Blue bridge is the widest in St.Petersburg. 

In the days of the Siege of Leningrad the garden-beds were used for raising vegetables.

Seek for the water measuring column at the corner of the house N 44, Bolshaya Morskaya st, at the Blue bridge. The column shows the levels of most important floods of the city. The greatest took place in 1824 when the flood lifted up to 421 cm. Note the sun-clock.

137 m
5
Konnogvardeysky Arena

Konnogvardeysky Arena

St. Petersburg, Konnogvardeysky Boulevard, 2

A historic building constructed in classical style

The building constructed after the project of G.Quarenghi in 1804-1807 for His Imperial Highness Life Guard Mounted regiment. The Manege was deemed for training and for the gala rides of the regiment. 

The main façade is accompanied with the statues made by an Italian sculptor P.Triscorni. These are the copies of Dioscuri – the twin-brothers Castor and Pollux. The originals are situated in front of the Quirinal palace in Rome.

Inside there is a large hall for training. The main entrance was decorated as “a gallery for ladies and noble gentlemen”; the premises for the staff were on the other side of the hall. 

In the Soviet period the Manege was used as a garage for the NKVD troops. For this purpose the building was reconstructed by making an additional floor. Since 1967 the halls serve as the Central exhibit hall “Manege”.

During a long time there was a legend telling about a tunnel connecting the Winter Palace and the Horse Guards Manege. The tunnel was high enough for a rider to pass.

The smaller hall of “Manege” is a branch of the Central exhibit hall. It is located in the centre of St.Petersburg (Nab. Kan. Griboyedova, 103). The smaller hall is a popular place for performances, workshops and chamber exhibits.   

323 m
6
Senate and Synod building

Senate and Synod building

St. Petersburg, Galernaya Street

Historical building in the Empire style

Originally built to house the two main governance bodies of the Russian Empire - Directing Senate and the Holy Synod. It was built in 1829-1834 under the project of Carlo Rossi and A.E. Shtaubert.

Senate and Synod are two separate buildings, united by a triumphal arch. Arch symbolized the unity of church and state, it is decorated with the sculptural group "Justice and Godliness." Bas-reliefs and high reliefs around the triumphal arch show the history of Russian legislation: bas-relief "Civil Law", busts of Peter I and Catherine II, bas-relief "The Law of the Lord", bas-relief "Natural Law."

The Russian State Historical Archive is located in these buildings from 1925 till 2006. The Russian Constitutional Court is housed in the former Senate building since May 2008, and the Presidential Library named by B.N. Yeltsin is placed in Synod building since 2009, in which the Patriarch private quarters and the head of state apartments are located. 

 

The Senate Square which is situated in front of the building of Senate and Synod changed its name for three times. The first name of the square was Senate Square but when The Bronze Horseman monument was established in the middle of the square in 1782 it was renamed and became Peter’s Square. In 1925 it was renamed Decembrists Square to commemorate the Decembrist Revolt, which took place there in 1825. The first name Senate Square was given back to the square in 2008.

 

For visiting The Presidential Library named by B. N. Yeltsin it is necessary to sign up at its official website.

227 m
7
Alexander Garden

Alexander Garden

St. Petersburg, Alexander Garden

The garden was opened in 1874. It is called in honor of the emperor Alexander II

The garden is situated in the very center of St.Petersburg nearby its landmarks: the Winter palace, the Admiralty, St.Isaac's Cathedral and the Bronze Horseman monument. It is named after the emperor Alexander II famous for the abolition of serfdom in Russia, who ruled the country in the days when the garden was opened to public. The territory would once be occupied by fortifications defending the Admiralty, years after that the Admiralty meadow was set up to be later on divided into three squares: Admiralteyskaya, Isaakiyevskaya and Senatskaya. In 1874 the Alexander garden was opened with more than 5 thousand trees, more than 12,5 thousand bushes of 52 kinds having been planted. The landmarks that call the public attention are, firstly, the Bronze Horseman – the monument to Peter the Great, secondly, a part of the rail tracks of the first line of the tramway launched in St.Petersburg, marked by a memorial stone, and thirdly, by a great fountain surrounded by the statues of Russian poets and composers. 

During the Siege of Leningrad none of the trees were felled to make logs for the fire.

During the rule of the empress Anna Ioannovna in the 18th century the Admiralty meadow was the place to host public feasts accompanied with bonfires, fountains of wine and «amusement palaces» made of ice being constructed.

There is a camel somewhere in the park.

421 m
8
General Staff Building

General Staff Building

The most significant buildings of Russian classicism of the beginning of XIX century

General Staff Building on the Palace square designed by architect K.Rossi.
 
The immense building created for the General Staff and for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs perfectly fits into the ensemble of the Palace square. The majestic monumental arch with a span measuring 17 m incorporates the idea of the victory in the Patriotic war of 1812 against France; it is topped by a six horsed cart, warriors and a statue of Glory.
In 2013 a large-scale reconstruction of the Eastern wing of the General Staff building was completed. Today it houses the exhibits of the State Hermitage museum.

Under the coffering of the Arch of the General Staff one may see the clock with a lettering on its face saying “The main chamber. Right time”. The clock was set in 1905 on the initiative of D.Mendeleev.

If you fear losing time in the queue to the Winter palace, pop in the General Staff. This will give you the grounds to tell your friends that you have visited the exhibits of the Hermitage.

807 m
9
Alexander Column

Alexander Column

St. Petersburg, Dvortsovaya pl.

Alexander Column received the name in honor of the emperor Alexander 

The Alexander Column (Russian: Aleksandrovskaya kolonna) also known as Alexandrian Column (Russian:  Aleksandriyskaya kolonna), is the focal point of Palace Square in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The monument was erected after the Russian victory in the war with Napoleon's France. The column is named for Emperor Alexander I of Russia, who reigned from 1801 - 25.

The Alexander Column was designed by the French-born architect Auguste de Montferrand, built between 1830 and 1834 with Swiss-born architect Antonio Adamini, and unveiled on 30 August 1834. The monument — the tallest of its kind in the world — is 47.5 m (155 ft 8 in) tall and is topped with a statue of an angelholding a cross. The statue of the angel was designed by the Russian sculptor Boris Orlovsky. The face of the angel bears great similarity to the face of Emperor Alexander I.

The pedestal of the Alexander Column is decorated with symbols of military glory, sculpted by Giovanni Battista Scotti.

 

143 m
10
The State Hermitage Museum

The State Hermitage Museum

St. Petersburg, Dvorzovaya square, 2

The collection of the State Hermitage includes more than three million works of art and artefacts of the world culture

The State Hermitage Museum is one of the largest artistic and cultural and historical museums in Russia and one of the largest in the world.The museum starts its history from collections of works of art which were gained by Russian empress Catherine II in private capacity.

The main expositions of the State Hermitage are placed in the Main Museum Complex, which is situated in the historical centre of Saint Petersburg. It is represented by  the Winter Palace, which is a former emperor's residence, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage and New Hermitage, and also Hermitage Theatre.

In the Main Museum Complex of the State Hermitage are presented the monuments of culture and arts of the ancient world, Europe, Russia, the East, archaeological and numismatic collections. In the  Hermitage collection there are two paintings by Leonardo da Vinci and sculpture by Michelangelo, which can be found nowhere else in Russia, as well as the  largest collection of Rembrandt's paintings outside Netherlands.

The expositions of the State Hermitage Museum are also located in the General Staff, the Winter Palace of Peter I, Menshikov Palace, the Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory, Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Centre.

Ticket price — 600 roubles

300  roubles – entry ticket to one of the Hermitage branches (Winter Palace of Peter the Great, Menshikov Palace, the Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory, Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Centre)

 

191 m
11
Guard Headquarters Building

Guard Headquarters Building

St. Petersburg, Palace Square, 4

The building has created a complete ensemble of the square by balancing the Winter Palace and the General Staff Building

Guard Headquarters building is situated on Palace Square in St. Petersburg. Established in 1847 by architect A.Briullov, the elder brother of the great Russian artist Karl Briullov. The building has never lost its military function - for a long time it housed the command of the Imperial Guard, and then Command of Petrograd Military District and Stuff of 6-th Air Forces Army.

During major city events the Guard Headquarters Building becomes a screen for colorful compositions, dedicated to the  upcoming celebration.

Walk along beautiful Millionnaya street, which originates from the Palace Square. The Atlantes of the Hermitage, the Navy archive building and the Marble Palace are within walking distance.

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12

Useful information

Description: The itinerary located in central part of the city presents the main famous sights. Itinerary: Dvortsovaya Square, the Alexander Column, the Winter Palace, the General Staff Building, Guard Headquarters Building, the New Hermitage - the Admiralty, the Alexander Garden - Senate Square, the Bronze Horseman, the Senate and Synod Building, Horse Guards Manege - Isaac's Square, St. Isaac's Cathedral - The Monument to Nicolas I, the Mariinsky Palace, Blue Bridge, Astoria Hotel.

Duration: 2 hours