St Petersburg: Part 1

By November 16, 2019 November 19th, 2019 Europe, Travel Stories

I loved everything about St Petersburg – the architecture, buildings, museums, cafes, theatres, ballet and stylish locals.

Founded by Peter the Great in 1703, St Petersburg has often been referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’ due to the numerous canals. Located on the Baltic Sea, this port city was once the capital of Russia for two centuries. St. Petersburg has had multiple name changes, from Saint Petersburg to Petrograd in 1914, then to Leningrad in 1924 and reverting to its original name in 1991.

As with most great cities, St. Petersburg hasn’t had an easy past, it has a very deep history such as the catastrophic Siege of Leningrad which lasted over two years in World War II and saw a loss of over four million lives.

There are endless ways to spend you days, the city is rich with museums, historic palaces, churches and cathedrals. The sheer grandeur and history of Russia’s imperial capital never fail to amaze, but this is also a city with a revolutionary spirit.

I arrive into St Petersburg on the Sapsan train from Moscow.  This was a great way to travel between these two cities. The four hour journey allowed me to see some of the Russian county-side and small towns along the way.  After the initial hiccup of going to the incorrect railway station in Moscow and trying to work out how to get to the correct station (slightly stressful), it was a pleasant experience.

I stayed at the beautiful historic Grand Europe Hotel.  The central location meant I was within walking distance to all sorts of fabulous things, my favourites where the Hermitage and Faberge Museum.

The awe-inspiring Winter Palace, which now forms part of the Hermitage—one of the world’s oldest and largest museums – is simply stunning. It is a treasure trove housing everything from ancient Egyptian artefacts to paintings by Rembrandt and Picasso and a vast collection of Impressionist works.  Also, the famous gold “Peacock clock”, the Throne room, a gold chapel, military artefacts and royal carriages. Everything that you could possibly dream of is located throughout six main buildings of the Winter Palace.

Since 2013 the lavish 18th century Shuvalov Palace, has been the home of Fabergé Museum and holds the world’s largest collection of Fabergé eggs. The extremely lavish collection was commissioned by the last Russian emperors Alexander III and Nicholas II.

Carl Fabergé created the first Fabergé egg in 1885 for Tsar Alexander III as an Easter gift for his wife, the Empress Maria Feodorovna, to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. The beautiful baubles and objects d’art created by Fabergé have been a source of fascination for me forever.

I look forward to sharing more of my St Petersburg sightseeing and adventures with you next week.