Two-day individual tour: The Hermitage and Saint Petersburg downtown
On the first day we are going visit the Hermitage and walk around the surrounding area. After that (if you feel like) we might visit several famous St Petersburg cathedrals.
In the Hermitage the tour usually starts from main staircase and state rooms of the Winter Palace and follow the route of the Zar's ceremonial procession toward the church. So you can compare changes of style from original baroque, typical to Empress Elisabeth's court architect Rastrelli, to classical which was Catherine's favorite style. Along the route I'll tell you about every highlight of the collection including history of its creation, acquisition and authentication. We'll see the Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Flemish, British and French sections and you'll learn about socio-economic progress of each country in conjunction with the development of its art. Along this route we talk about the history of rooms and their former royal owners.
On the second day I'd like to show you the city.
We can explore both sides of the Neva and walk in a complete loop the city center. We can start from any place, for example on Nevsky or any of those streets radiating from it. Nevsky is main thoroughfare of St. Petersburg stretched like a string between two major points on the bow of Neva river — Admiralty and Alexandr Nevsky monastery, certainly one of the must see places in the city.
We could go towards the Neva embankment along any canal that flow from Neva and empty back into it. You'll learn about the Fontanka river, the Catherine canal, the Moika river that are the channels built during the 18th-19th centuries and about major buildings on their banks and events happened in them. You'll hear the stories about St. Michael castle, Summer Garden, Field of Mars, Church on a Spilt Blood, Michael palace (Russian Museum), Marble palace and many more of those historical buildings that create unforgettable iconic image of St.Petersburg and directly connected with the Russian history for the last 300 years.
After we cross Neva river we get to the historical nucleus of the city and visit the main spots connected with its foundation such as Peter and Paul fortress and cathedral. You'll also see the Trinity square and Kshesinskaya mansion. Then we'll walk along the embankments to check out the grand Duke's magnificent palaces and spit of Vasilievskii Island (promontory of land created for former city port and latter used as official city center). We'll continue our rout along the Neva embankment, the only place where you could see first museum, first academy of science, first university, first military school, first art academy, first theater and first senate and synod (highest regulating body for Orthodox church). Impressive? All of those places are most recognizable images that gave St.Petersburg its brand name.
On the St Isaak square with impressive bulk of the cathedral you'll hear about the history of political reforms in Russia and bloody events connected with the reign of those tzars. We'll wind up at Big and Small Maritime streets that originally were the first two streets in St.Petersburg and later became the most prestigious ones in Russia. A lot of banks, insurance agencies and jewelry shops (Faberge was one of them) appeared there in the end of the 19-th century.
On our walk along the other canal we'll spot the mansions of the richest Russian families of the Usupovs, the Stroganovs, the Sheremetievs and the Demidovs. Each of them owned a land compared to any kingdom in Europe. You'll find out about their fortunes and their famous representatives influenced the history of Russia.
Along the way you'll aslo see some places connected with history of Russian literature, music and ball room dancing; nodel salons that were frequented by famous Russian writes and poets such as Pushkin and Dostoevsky, famous musicians and composers like Chaikovsky and Rubinstein, ballet dancers from Mariinsky and Bolshoi Theater. We'll finish our trip at Nevsky prospect.
So if you are interested to really dive into St Petersburg history and culture no need to look any further! I am your guide!
My time as a guide only
Entry tickets, transportation cost, food of your choice.
the Winter Palace
Alexandr Nevsky monastery
the Catherine canal
the Moika river
St. Michael castle
Field of Mars
Church on a Spilt Blood
Michael palace (Russian Museum)
spit of Vasilievskii Island
St Isaak square
Outside the city boat terminal/If you don't: please, send me a message, so we can figure out comfortable spot