St. Petersburg - Peter the Great's European City in Russia

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    Griffins on Bank Bridge on the Griboedov Canal in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Griffins on Bank Bridge of the Griboedov Canal in St. Petersburg
    ••• Griffins on Bank Bridge of the Griboedov Canal in St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg (c) Linda Garrison

    Saint Petersburg Is Great Cruise Destination in Northern Europe and Baltic

    Travelers have two cruise options for visiting St. Petersburg. They can either take a northern European cruise of the Baltic Sea, or they can take a Russian Waterways cruise between St. Petersburg and Moscow. Peter the Great founded the city in 1703 as the capital of his Russian empire, and over 300 years later the city still attracts visitors from around the world.

    There are so many sites to see in St. Petersburg that cruises usually overnight for two or three nights. The city is wonderful for walking, and the long summer days are delightful.  Fall is a good time to visit the city since the crowds have all gone home.

    This photo gallery is a compendium of some of the St. Petersburg sights from all around the city. The city is flat, and perfect for walking. Peter the Great's capital is also a fascinating mix of opulent palaces, canals, museums, and history.

    More Photo Galleries of Saint Petersburg

    Catherine Palace

    C...MOREatherine Palace Photo Gallery #2

    Peter and Paul Fortress

    Peterhof Palace

    St. Isaac's Cathedral

    Hermitage Museum

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    Griffin Statue on the Bank Bridge over the Griboedov Canal in St. Petersburg

    Griffin Statue on the Bank Bridge over the Griboedov Canal in St. Petersburg
    ••• Griffin Statue on the Bank Bridge over the Griboedov Canal. St. Petersburg (c) Linda Garrison

    I loved seeing all these wonderful old bridges while strolling the streets of St. Petersburg.

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    Lion Bridge in St. Petersburg

    Lion Bridge - Pedestrian Suspension Bridge Over the Griboedov Canal in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Pedestrian Suspension Bridge Over the Griboedov Canal Lion Bridge - Pedestrian Suspension Bridge Over the Griboedov Canal in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    The Lion Bridge is one of many beautiful canal bridges in St. Petersburg. This one was within easy walking distance of our hotel, the Hotel Ambassador.

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    Church on Spilled Blood in Saint Petersburg, Russia

    Church on Spilled Blood in Saint Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Church on Spilled Blood Is also Known as Resurrection Church of Our Savior Church on Spilled Blood in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    The Church on Spilled Blood in Saint Petersburg is arguably the most-photographed site in the city.

    The Church on Spilled Blood was built in the late 19th century on the assassination site of Tsar Alexander II, who was killed by a terrorist's bomb. The church's fascinating, colorful appearance is the result of the numerous materials used in its construction. Much like the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, the church is a challenge to the visual senses--there is so much to see. For example, the bell tower is covered in 144 mosaic coats of arms, representing the regions and towns of Russia. The five domes are covered in jeweler's enamel, and glazed ceramic tiles cover much of the exterior.

    The intricate design and detail of the church are an interesting contrast to the simplicity of most of the rest of the buildings in St. Petersburg.

    For those who have been to Moscow, the resemblance to St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square is no coincidence. The architect, Alfred Parland, was...MORE trying to copy St. Basil's, and most would say the two churches do look much alike, although their environs are certainly different.

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    Church on Spilled Blood in Saint Petersburg, Russia

    Church on Spilled Blood in Saint Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Church on Spilled Blood in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    The Church on Spilled Blood in Saint Petersburg, Russia is no longer an active church; it is now a museum.

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    Church on Spilled Blood in Saint Petersburg, Russia

    Church on Spilled Blood in Saint Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Church on Spilled Blood in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Building Across the Street from the Church on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg

    Building Across the Street from the Church on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Building Across the Street from the Church on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    City Hall Building in Saint Petersburg, Russia

    City Hall Building in Saint Petersburg, Russia
    ••• City Hall Building in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Gostiny Dvor Shopping Center in Saint Petersburg, Russia

    Gostiny Dvor Shopping Center in Saint Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Arcade of Shops on Nevsky Prospect in Saint Petersburg Gostiny Dvor Shopping Center in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    Gostiny Dvor has been St. Petersburg's main shopping area for over 200 years. The building is not one big department store, but houses hundreds of small shops.

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    Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Gostiny Dvor Shopping Center in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Gostiny Dvor Shopping Center in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Gostiny Dvor Shopping Center in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Our Lady of Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Magnificent Church on Nevsky Prospect Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    During Soviet times, the Kazan Cathedral was transformed into a Museum of Atheism. It was returned to religious use in 1999.

    The Our Lady of Kazan Cathedral is distinguished by its curved colonnade of numerous huge columns. The church was built following the war with Napoleon in 1812. Russian Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov, who was immortalized in Tolstoy's War and Peace, is buried here. A statue of General Kutuzov and Mikhail Barclay de Tolly have stood in front of the church since 1837.

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    Ice Bar in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Ice Bar in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Exterior View of the Ice Bar in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    The Ice Bar in St. Petersburg is much like the Absolut Ice Bar in Stockholm--a great place for a photo and a drink. The Ice Bar in St. Petersburg is found on a small street right behind the Kazan Cathedral.

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    Ice Bar in Saint Petersburg, Russia

    Ice Bar in Saint Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Marv and Jackie at the Ice Bar in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

     Like the Ice Bars in Stockholm and London, visitors don silvery coats, gloves, and boots to go inside, and the drinks are served in glasses formed of ice.

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    Nevsky Prospect Buildings in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Nevsky Prospect Buildings in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Main Street of St. Petersburg Is Great for Strolling and Sightseeing Nevsky Prospect Buildings in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Limousine at Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg

    Limousine at Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg
    ••• Limousine at Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    Newlyweds often tour St. Petersburg immediately after their wedding, stopping to make photos with friends in front of famous sites in St. Petersburg.

    I am glad that this couple used a limousine to do their touring! (Note the champagne bottle next to the limousine door.)

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    Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Russia

    Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Mariinsky Theatre Is Home to the Kirov Opera and Ballet Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Russia

    Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Grand Hotel Europe on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg

    Grand Hotel Europe on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg
    ••• Grand Hotel Europe Is St. Petersburg's Most Famous Old Hotel Grand Hotel Europe on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    St. Petersburg's Grand Hotel Europe and its restaurants have long been famous as a meeting place for the rich and famous, diplomats, and artists.

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    Rusca Portico in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Rusca Portico in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Rusca Portico in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    The Rusca Portico, designed by Luigi Rusca, was originally the entrance to a large arcade of shops next to Gostiny Dvor on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg.

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    Globe on the Top of the Singer Building on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg

    Globe on the Top of the Singer Building on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg
    ••• Singer Building Is One of the Most Recognizable Buildings on Nevsky Prospect Globe on the Top of the Singer Building on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    Singer Building was built for the Singer Sewing Machine Company.

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    Russian Navy Cruiser Aurora on the Neva River in St. Petersburg, Russia

    The Cruiser Aurora fired a single shot from its bow gun on October 25, 1917, signaling the storming of the Winter Palace by the Bolsheviks.

    The Cruiser Aurora entered service in 1903, and is most famous for its 1917 signaling shot. However, the Naval vessel was deliberately sunk by the Russian Army during the World War II siege of Leningrad (the Soviet name of St. Petersburg) to protect the ship from the possible invasion by the German army.

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    Church of Saint Catherine on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Church of Saint Catherine on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Saint Catherine's Is the Oldest Catholic Church in Russia Church of Saint Catherine on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Yeliseev Building on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Yeliseev Building on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Yeliseev Building on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Singer House on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Singer House on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Singer House on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    The Singer House on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg was built in 1904 for the Singer Sewing Machine Company.

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    Naval Museum and Two Rostral Columns in Saint Petersburg, Russia

    Naval Museum and Two Rostral Columns in Saint Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Naval Museum and Two Rostral Columns in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    The two Rostral columns honor the Russian Naval fleet and were completed in the early 1800's. The name comes from the Latin word rostrum, meaning prow. The columns are decorated with the prows of numerous ships and were originally used as lighthouses. The Rostral columns provide a nice frame for the old Stock Exchange, which is now the Naval Museum.

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    Close-up View of Rostral Column in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Close-up View of Rostral Column in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Close-up View of Rostral Column in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    The Rostral Columns are decorated with the prows of ships, and the figures on the base represent four of Russia's great rivers.

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    Rostral Column in Saint Petersburg, Russia

    Rostral Column in Saint Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Rostral Column in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Duma Watchtower on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Duma Watchtower on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Duma Watchtower on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    This watchtower stands in front of the former city hall of St. Petersburg. Equipment in the tower once sent messages between the Winter and Summer Palaces.

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    Naval Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Naval Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Naval Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    St. Peterburg's Naval Museum was modeled after a famous Greek temple. At one time, it was the Stock Exchange.

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    Quiet Canal in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Quiet Canal in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Quiet Canal in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Smolny Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Smolny Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Smolny Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    The Smolny Cathedral is part of the Smolny Convent complex in St. Petersburg. The Cathedral was designed by Rastrelli in 1748, and over 50,000 wooden piles were needed to secure the foundation in the marshy soil of St. Petersburg.

    Tsarina Elizabeth planned the convent as a school for young noblewomen, but Catherine the Great did not like the design of the Cathedral and stopped funding in 1762. Nicholas I commissioned the completion of the complex in 1835, and the cathedral has great views of the city from its tower.

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    Walking Around St. Petersburg, Russia

    Walking Around St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Walking Around St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    St. Petersburg is a wonderful town to explore on foot, but you will need to have a Russian Visa unless you are accompanied by a licensed guide.

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    Rolling Stones Poster in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Rolling Stones Poster in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Rolling Stones Poster in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    The Rolling Stones entertained the crowds in Palace Square in St. Petersburg in the summer of 2007.

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    Street Scene in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Street Scene in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Street Scene in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    View of St. Isaac's Cathedral and Neva River Bridge in St. Petersburg, Russia

    View of St. Isaac's Cathedral and Neva River Bridge in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• View of St. Isaac's Cathedral and Neva River Bridge in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    McDonald's Restaurant in St. Petersburg, Russia

    McDonald's Restaurant in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• McDonald's Restaurant in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    McDonald's Restaurants are everywhere, but how many use Cyrillic script on their umbrellas?

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    St. Petersburg, Russia Statue Near the Russian Museum

    St. Petersburg, Russia Statue Near the Russian Museum
    ••• St. Petersburg, Russia Statue Near the Russian Museum. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    The Admiralty in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Admiralty in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Fortified Shipyard Was Once Home to Thousands of Shipbuilders Admiralty in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    The Admiralty is decorated with dozens of sculptures and reliefs documenting the glories of the Russian Naval fleet of the 19th century.

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    St. Petersburg Canal

    St. Petersburg Canal
    ••• St. Petersburg Canal. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    St. Petersburg Canal with St. Isaac's Cathedral

    St. Petersburg Canal with St. Isaac's Cathedral
    ••• St. Petersburg Canal with St. Isaac's Cathedral. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    St Petersburg Canal View

    St. Petersburg Canal View
    ••• St. Petersburg Canal View. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia

    St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Canal Ride in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Canal Ride in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Canal Ride in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Apraksin Market in Saint Petersburg, Russia

    Apraksin Market in Saint Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Saint Petersburg Shopping Area Is Filled with Arcade Shops Apraksin Market in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    The Apraksin Market in Saint Petersburg is filled with small shops selling liquor, cigarettes, clothing, and a little bit of everything else.

    The Apraksin Market (Apraksin Dvor) is perfect for people watching, but keep your purse and camera close since it is a favorite of both shoppers and pickpockets.

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    The Bronze Horseman - Peter the Great Statue in St. Petersburg, Russia

    The Bronze Horseman - Peter the Great Statue in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Bronze Horseman Statue Is Carved from Single Block of Granite The Bronze Horseman - Peter the Great Statue in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    Catherine the Great commissioned this statue of Peter the Great, and it is called the Bronze Horseman after the famous Pushkin poem.

    The Bronze Horseman statue is in a small park along the palace embankment in St. Petersburg. It depicts Peter the Great on a rearing horse trampling a serpent, which is often symbolically used as a sign of treason. Many newlyweds find their way to the statue (especially on weekends), since having a wedding photo there is considered good luck.

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    Monument to Nicholas I on St. Isaac's Square in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Monument to Nicholas I on St. Isaac's Square in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Monument to Nicholas I on St. Isaac's Square in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    The statue honoring Tsar Nicholas I was completed in 1859. The faces of the Tsar's wife and three children are carved into the base of the statue.

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    Canal Boats in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Canal Boats in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Canal Tour Is Great Way to See St. Petersburg Canal Boats in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    St. Petersburg is filled with canals, and many of the sights are accessible by water, so a canal tour is a great way to see some of the city.

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    Bridal Shop in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Bridal Shop in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Strolling the Streets of St. Petersburg Bridal Shop in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    I loved the design of this lovely bridal shop near the Sennaya Ploshchad (square).

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    St. Nicholas Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia

    St. Nicholas Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• St. Nicholas Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    St. Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, and this cathedral honors him.

    After visiting St. Petersburg, I guessed that this icon on the bridge of the M/S Rossia was St. Nicholas, and I was right!

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    Gate to Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Gate to Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Gate to Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Gallery Spanning the Winter Canal in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Gallery Spanning the Winter Canal in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Gallery Spanning the Winter Canal in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    This gallery connects the Large Hermitage to the Theatre.

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    St. Nicholas Cathedral Belfry in St. Petersburg, Russia

    St. Nicholas Cathedral Belfry in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• St. Nicholas Cathedral Belfry in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Neva River Fountain in St. Petersburg

    Neva River Fountain in St. Petersburg
    ••• Neva River Fountain in St. Petersburg. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Bridge Over the Neva River in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Bridge Over the Neva River in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Bridge Over the Neva River in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Bridge Over the Neva River in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Bridge Over the Neva River in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Bridge Over the Neva River in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia

    Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Former Tsar's Winter Palace Is Now Home of Hermitage Museum Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Sunset Over the Neva River in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Sunset Over the Neva River in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Long Summer Days Lead to Gorgeous Sunsets in St. Petersburg Sunset Over the Neva River in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Winter Palace and Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Winter Palace and Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Winter Palace and Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Alexander Column in Saint Petersburg's Palace Square

    St. Petersburg's Alexander Column and General Staff Building in Palace Square
    ••• Red Granite Alexander Column Is Found in Most Famous Square in Saint Petersburg St. Petersburg's Alexander Column and General Staff Building in Palace Square. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    The Alexander Column commemorates Tsar Alexander I and his role in Russia's victory over Napoleon in the War of 1812. It is the largest free-standing monument in the world. The Alexander Column is made of red granite and stands 154 feet (47 meters) high.

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    Palace Square in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Palace Square in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Palace Square in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    Palace Square has been the setting for military parades, massacres, demonstrations, and rock concerts.

    Palace Square in St. Petersburg is one of the world's largest public squares. It is almost twice as large as Red Square in Moscow.

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    St. Petersburg's Palace Square and Statue of Victory in Her Chariot

    St. Petersburg's Palace Square and Statue of Victory in Her Chariot
    ••• St. Petersburg's Palace Square and Statue of Victory in Her Chariot. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Palace Square in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Palace Square in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Palace Square in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Palace Square in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Palace Square in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Palace Square in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Ambassador Hotel Room in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Ambassador Hotel Room in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Ambassador Hotel Is Used by Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises in St. Petersburg Ambassador Hotel Room in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    This spacious room was our hotel room in St. Petersburg. We stayed four nights in St. Petersburg as part of our Grand Circle Russian Waterways cruise tour.

    We loved staying in St. Petersburg and walking around the city. St. Petersburg is very flat, with wonderful canals and lots of interesting sites to see while strolling the numerous fascinating streets. The Ambassador Hotel is located across from Yusupov Park in the western part of St. Petersburg called Sennaya Ploshchad.

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    Ambassador Hotel Dining Room in Saint Petersburg, Russia

    Ambassador Hotel Dining Room in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises' Russian Waterways Cruise Hotel Ambassador Hotel Dining Room in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    Grand Circle uses the Ambassador Hotel in St. Petersburg for its Russian Waterways cruise passengers. The hotel is in the downtown area near from Yusupov Park.

    While in Saint Petersburg, Grand Circle uses a hotel to house its passengers since the river cruise port is a 30 minute to one hour ride from the downtown area. The Ambassador Hotel was in a good location in the western part of St. Petersburg, just a couple of blocks from St. Nicholas Cathedral.

    Grand Circle passengers spend either three or four nights in St. Petersburg on this cruise tour. A buffet breakfast and two dinners are held in this private dining room on top of the hotel. The restaurant provides an excellent view of downtown St. Petersburg, including St. Isaac's Cathedral.

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    Academia Restaurant in Saint Petersburg, Russia

    Academia Restaurant in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Lunch with Grand Circle Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Academia Restaurant in St. Petersburg, Russia. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison

    While on one of our included tours with the Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises' Russian Waterways cruise tour, we enjoyed lunch at the Academia Restaurant.

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    St. Petersburg, Russia Sunset Over the Neva River

    St. Petersburg, Russia Sunset Over the Neva River
    ••• St. Petersburg, Russia Sunset Over the Neva River. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Saint Petersburg Sunset Over the Neva River

    Saint Petersburg Sunset Over the Neva River
    ••• Saint Petersburg Sunset Over the Neva River. Saint Petersburg Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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    Peterhof, Peter the Great's Palace of Peterhof near Saint Petersburg, Russia

    Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Summer Imperial Palace of Peterhof Designed by Peter the Great Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. St. Petersburg (c) Linda Garrison

    The magnificence of Peterhof, Peter the Great's summer imperial palace on the Gulf of Finland on Baltic Sea, is somewhat reminiscent of Versailles near Paris. Peter the Great visited Versailles in 1717 and he returned to Saint Petersburg with many ideas for enhancing his own summer palace and grounds, which were already under construction. Peterhof Palace sits in 1500-acres of formal gardens and park 18 miles from Saint Petersburg, and its 173 glorious fountains are fed by underground springs that are 14 miles away. Like the Catherine summer palace, Peterhof was almost in ruins following World War II. However, many photos of Peterhof allowed reconstruction of the magnificent palace and park.Most visitors to Peterhof come with an organized group or guide for a half-day tour, riding a hydrofoil for 45 minutes along the Neva River one way and a tour bus the other. As shown in these photos, Peterhof and its park are well worth the visit.

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    Peter and Paul Cathedral at the Peter and Paul Fortress in Saint Petersburg

    Peter and Paul Fortress in St Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Political Prison and Burial Place of the Tsars Peter and Paul Fortress in St Petersburg, Russia. St. Petersburg (c) Linda Garrison

    The Peter and Paul Fortress was the first structure Peter the Great built in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 1703. Today it marks the founding of the city, but the fortress was used as a political prison for centuries and the cathedral holds the tombs of the Romanov Tsars. The Peter and Paul Fortress sits on the northern banks of the Neva River, and the tall golden spire of Peter and Paul Cathedral marks the location. This spire was the tallest point in Saint Petersburg until a television tower was built in the mid-1960s.Cruise ships sailing northern Europe and the Baltic Sea include shore excursions to the Peter and Paul Cathedral, as do river cruise tours sailing between Saint Petersburg and Moscow. I found the Baroque architecture of the cathedral fascinating, especially since it is so different than most Russian Orthodox churches.

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    http://cruises.about.com/od/Grand-Circle-River-Cruises/ss/Hermitage-Museum.htm

    Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Hermitage Is One of the World's Great Museums and a Must-See in St. Petersburg Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. St. Petersburg (c) Linda Garrison

    The Hermitage (officially the State Hermitage Museum) is one of the most famous museums in the world. Spread over several buildings lining the Neva River in St. Petersburg, this museum is way too large to see in just a few hours. Most cruisers visit with a tour group on a half-day excursion and can see many of the art pieces and gaze at the beautiful decor.The Hermitage was once the palace of Catherine the Great, who used it as a private place of retreat and solitude, or a Hermitage. Tours enter through the Winter Palace on the ground floor and walk up the magnificent Jordan Staircase to the first floor. The rooms on the first floor are breathtaking, with many of the rooms restored as they were during Imperial times. The second floor is not architecturally as dramatic as the first floor, but has many important French paintings. Be sure to glance through the windows on the second floor for a great view of the Palace Square and the Alexander Column.

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    St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia

    St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• St. Isaac's Is One of World's Largest Domed Cathedrals St. Isaac's Cathedral. St. Petersburg (c) Linda Garrison

    St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg is one of the world's largest domed cathedrals, holding 14,000 people. This massive church and its golden dome can be seen from many locations in St. Petersburg.St. Isaac's was commissioned in 1818 by Tsar Alexander I to celebrate the victory over Napoleon, and the French architect Auguste de Montferrand was the designer. St. Isaac's took 40 years to build, and Montferrand died the year it opened. It sits on a marshy bank of the Neva River, and thousands of huge wooden pilings were sunk into the mud to support the church. The exterior of St. Isaac's is of Renaissance and Baroque design, and the interior is spectacular because of the mosaics and many precious stones and minerals used. The golden dome is covered with 220 pounds of gold. During the Soviet era, the Orthodox Church was closed to worshipers and became a museum of atheism. Fortunately, many of the wonderful 19th century works of art were retained and decorate today's St. Isaac's.

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    Catherine Palace Near St. Petersburg, Russia

    Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Imperial Summer Palace Includes Famous Amber Room Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia. St. Petersburg (c) Linda Garrison

    Tsarina Elizabeth commissioned Rastrelli to build a grand summer palace about 15 miles from St. Petersburg. The Catherine Palace, named for Elizabeth's mother Catherine I, was the result of his work. The Catherine Palace, also known as Tsarskoe Selo or Tsar's Village, was completed in the mid-1700's, but has been significantly changed over the centuries, first by Catherine the Great (Catherine II), and then after World War II. The palace was ransacked and almost destroyed by the Germans, but photos have allowed the magnificent reconstruction.The Amber Room is the most famous of the palace rooms, and a recreation of the original room was completed in 2003. The Great Hall, filled with mirrors and gilded carvings, is a perfect remembrance of what life was like for the Russian aristocracy of the 18th and 19th centuries. These photos, accompanied by an article on a day at Catherine Palace, help show why this palace is one of the most popular cruise ship shore excursions in St. Petersburg.

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    Yusupov Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Red Parlor at Yusopov Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia
    ••• Home of Aristocratic Yusupov Family Is Site of 1916 Murder of Grigory Rasputin Red Parlor at Yusopov Palace. St. Petersburg (c) Linda Garrison

    The Yusupov Palace in St. Petersburg provides an interesting look at the lives of the aristocracy of the 19th and early 20th century. The palace has exotic rooms such as the Moorish room with its beautiful mosaics and a pool room with a secret compartment under the table. The palace has a wonderful Rococo theater, which seats 180 and is still used for concerts. However, Yusupov Palace is best known as the site of the murder of Grigory Rasputin, the "mad monk" who was killed in December 1916 by Prince Yusupov and others loyal to Nicholas II. They believed Rasputin had a mystical hold over the Empress Alexandra that was damaging the imperial family.Rasputin was not easy to kill. Prince Yusupov first tried poison, then shot him. He escaped, was pursued by the assassins and shot three more times before being battered and thrown in the Neva River. Rasputin's body was found in the freezing river three days later and an autopsy showed he had drowned. Perhaps he did have mystical powers!