Top 10 very touristy attractions of Saint Petersburg

1. Summer garden (Letniy Sad)

After three years of reconstruction, the Summer Garden, the miracle of park and sculpture art, has recently opened.  Founded in the 17th century by Peter The Great, Summer Garden still remains one of the most romantic places in Saint Petersburg.  It amazes with its historical fountains, its symmetric alleys, and its 91 statues referring to ancient Greek myths.  Also, the famous gates of the Summer Garden inspired many classic poets and have been mentioned in their lyrics.  The Garden greets you with a peaceful lake populated by two swans, which constantly inhabit it.  Once greeted, you start to feel the atmosphere of imperial Saint Petersburg.  The Garden is closed on Tuesdays, so plan accordingly.

Address:  Dvortsovaya Embankment
Metro: Nevsky Prospekt, Gostiny Dvor
Open: May-September: 10 am- 10 pm.
October- March: 10 am – 8 pm.
Closed: Tuesdays. April - whole month
Price: free

2. St. Isaac`s Cathedral

Located in the heart of Saint Petersburg, St. Isaac`s Cathedral is now the biggest Russian Orthodox Cathedral in the city. It took approximately 40 years for Cathedral to be constructed under the direction of French-born architect Auguste de Montferrand.  By 1858, the church opened its door for the public. Now it works as a museum and impresses visitors with its monumental decorations.  The interior combines all types of materials and techniques: you can see mosaic icons, paintings, and sculptures made of malachite and lapis lazuli. Even local people passing by the Cathedral are still amazed by the massive red granite columns weighing eighty tons each.  

Do not miss this opportunity to enjoy the city from atop the St. Isaac`s Cathedral! It is definitely worth climbing up 300 steps to the Cathedral`s colonnade to be impressed with a breathtaking view over the city.

Address: Isaakievskaya Ploschad 4
Metro: Admiralteyskaya
The Cathedral Open: Thursday to Tuesday, 11am to 7pm, last admission is at 6pm
The Colonnade observation point is open: Thursday to Tuesday, 11am to 6pm, last admission is at 5pm
Closed: Wednesdays
Price: 250 rub. (150 with ISIC) 

3. Church of the Savior on Blood.

While walking down Nevskiy prospect, it is impossible to miss a breathtaking view of the Church of the Savior on Blood from Naberezhnaia Kanala Griboedova. Undoubtedly, this church is consdiered a masterpiece of mosaic art.

The word “blood” included in the name of the church refers to Emperor Alexander II, who was mortally wounded in March 1881. After the tragedy, the decision was made to build a church as a memorial right on the spot where the Emperor was killed.  Funding of the church was provided by the Royal family and private donators.  

It is fantastic how one building can combine so many types of materials and techniques and look so harmonious at the same time! During the construction, marble, granite, enamel and copper were used. But what really astonishes every visitor is the fact that the church contains over 7,500 square meters of mosaics.

Address: Naberezhnaya Kanala Griboedova 26
Metro: Nevsky Prospekt, Gostiny Dvor
Open: Thursday to Tuesday, 11am to 7pm, last admission is at 6pm
Closed: Wednesdays
Price: 250 rub. (150 with ISIC) 

4. The Hermitage

The Hermitage is considered to be the main museum of art in Saint Petersburg. Even if you have checked all the other places in the city, you still cannot say that you were in Saint Petersnurg until you visit the Hermitage.  This pearl of Baroque style is located on the main square in St. Petersburg- Palace Square and was created by Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the favorite of Catherine the Great. Being already a piece of art from the outside, the Hermitage also includes one of the biggest art collections in the world. Here you can enjoy the paintings of such famous artist as Leonardo da Vinci and Rembramdt. Moreover, for those who are interested in modern art, it will be a pleasant surprise to explore the rich collection of nineteenth and twentieth century art on the third floor.

Address: 2 Palace Sq
Metro: Admiralteyskaya
Open: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday:
Wednesday: 10.30-21.00
Ticket windows shut half an hour before the museum closes
Closed: Mondays
Price: 400 rub. 

5. Smolny cathedral

Located on the bank of the Neva River, Smolny Cathedral is just a part of the big architectural ensemble. The construction of Cathedral started under the direction of Italian master Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who also created the Baroque masterpiece Winter Palace. Unfortunately, the initial project of Rastrelli wasn't completed. The architect planned to construct a multitier bell tower having an altitude of 140 meters near the Cathedral. This bell tower should have been the highest in Russia.

In spite of this, the blue-and-white building of the Smolny Cathedral still amazes with its ceremonial and at the same time delicate look.

Nowadays Smolny Cathedral is used as a hall for the concerts and exhibitions. However, you can also climb up and enjoy the beautiful view of the city from the top.

Address: Rastrelli sq., 1
Metro: Chernishevskaya. Buses: 22, 46, 105 Trolley-buses: 5, 15
Open: Thursday to Tuesday, 11am to 7pm, last admission is at 6pm
Closed: Wednesdays
Price: 150 rub. (90 with ISIC) 

6. Peterhof.

If you are in Saint Petersburg in summer, one of the greatest activities for you will be visiting Peterhof.  Being a separate city, Peterhof is mostly famous for its Imperial Residence, also known as “Russian Versaille.” Peter the Great, while visiting Europe, was so inspired with Versaille that he decided to found the residence outside the city as well. Now Peterhof is a fabulous ensemble including Palaces and a world-famous fountains system. It will take you a while to recover after your first look of the amazing and luxurious Great Cascade.  This first impression will follow you till the end. You will see more and more wonderful things:  designed fountains like Chess Mountain and Golden Mountain, statues of Adam and Eve, and even a special invention of Peter the Great, hidden fountains which can suddenly turn-on (making you both surprised and wet!).  With this in mind, you should be careful, or at least have one more complete set of clothes.

Now Peterhof is considered to be the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

From Metro “Avtovo” :
Buses 200, 210
Minibuses 224, 300, 424, 424-A
1 May - 14 October
The Grand Palace: 10:30 am - 7 pm
The low park and fountains: 9am -8pm
14 October- 1 May
Grand Palace 10.30am - 6 pm (last entry 5pm)
The low park and fountains: 9am- 7 pm
Closed: 14 October - 1 May Grand Palace is closed every Monday
1 May - 14 October
Grand Palace 550 rub. ( 300 for students)
Low park and fountains: 450 rub. ( 250 for students)
14 October- 1 May
Grand Palace 450 rub. ( 200 for students)
Low park and fountains: free

7. House of Books (Dom Knigi) na Nevskom

Located on Nevsky prospect just opposite Kazan Cathedral, the House of Books can be recognized with its outstanding modern architecture. Initially it was designed for the Russian branch of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, but after 1919 year the building was given to the Petrogad State Publishing House. Since then it has been the biggest bookstore in the city. Now you can not only enjoy the seven story building from outside (the architect creatively decorated the top with a glass globe), but also find a lot of interesting things inside. The House of Books has a big collection of books in foreign languages, maps and guides. On the first floor you can also find nice souvenirs, calendars, magnets and postcards with views of Saint Peterburg as well.

Address: Nevsky Prospekt 28

Metro: Nevsky Prospekt, Gostiny Dvor
Open: Monday- Sunday 9 am - 12 am
Price: free  

8. State Russian Museum

Do you want to feel the Russian art in its real way? Then the Russian Museum is the best place for you! It is here where you can find one of the best collections placed chronologically: starting from iconic and ending with soviet art.  The Russian Museum keeps such a heritage as The Ninth Wave (perhaps the most impressive and well-known painting by Russian marine artist Ivan Aivazovsky) and The Last Day of Pompeii (the monumental historical painting by Karl Briullov).  Also, you can try to read the mysterious riddle of the Black Square of Kazimir Malevich and enjoy the radical abstract art of one of the most influential Russian artists Wassily Kandinsky.

Address: Inzhenernaya str., 4
Metro: Nevsky Prospekt, Gostiny Dvor
Open: 10 am. - 6 pm,
           10 am. - 5 pm. - on Monday.
Closed: Tuesdays
Price: 350 rub. ( 150 rub. for students) 

9. Peter and Paul Cathedral

Discover the origins of the city by visiting Peter and Paul Cathedral, the birthplace of Saint Petersburg.  As the legend goes, Peter the Great established the church by laying the first brick by himself on 23rd of May 1703.  This is now considered the birthday of the city.  Peter and Paul Cathedral was designed and built by Domenico Trezzini between 1712 and 1733. Yet, it still has the tallest Orthodox bell tower in the world.  The golden spire has a height of 122,5 meters and is decorated with a little angel holding a cross.

The cathedral itself is the burial place of all Russian tsars from Peter I to Alexander III, with the exception of Peter II and Ivan VI. 

Except for Peter and Paul Cathedral you can find a lot of permanent and temporary exhibitions on the territory, including Trubetskoy and Alekseyevsky bastions with their prison cells, and the city museum. 

Address: 3 Petropavlovskaya krepost
Metro: Gorkovskaya, Sportivnaya
Open: Monday- Friday: 10 am. - 7 pm,
           Saturday: 10am-5:45 pm
           Sunday: 11 am- 7 pm
Price: 200 rub. ( 90 for pupils, 70 for seniors) 

10. Pushkin ( Tsarskoye selo)

If you want to experience the atmosphere of imperial Russia Tsarskoye Selo is a right place for you! Tsarskoye Selo is the amazing residence of Romanov Family with  a great park and palace complex.  Currently, there are two imperial palaces; the baroque Catherine palace and the neoclassical Alexander Palace.

In the Catherine Palace designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli you will find a mysterious and famous Amber room which was destroyed by Nazi during the II World War. After the War, reconstruction began on Tsarskoye Selo and now it is renovated and opened for the public.

Moreover, here you can follow the steps of Alexander Pushkin – the greatest and world-known Russian poet- by visiting museum in the former Imperial Lycee, where he was schooled.  

Address: 7 Sadovaya Street, Pushkin
Metro: Moskovskaya Metro Station then Minibus 342, 545 to the Catherine Palace and Park
Open: 10.00-18.00 (last entry 17.00) daily
Closed: Tuesdays and the last Monday of each month.
Price: Catherine Palace 320 rub. ( 160 for students)
          Catherine Park: 100 ( 50 for students)
          Alexander Palace: 250 rub. (130 for students)

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