St. Petersburg, Russia

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood / Getty Images

St. Petersburg was never intended to be Russian at all. Rather, it was founded to exemplify Peter the Great's vision for Russia, which was "Western." Built on marshland with slave labor, Peter the Great, one of Russia's emperors, established St. Petersburg city as the new capital of Russia. You may see the city referred to as St. Petersburg, Saint Petersburg, Sankt-Peterburg, or Petersburg.

St. Petersburg, Leningrad, Petrograd

From 1914-1924, Petersburg was known as "Petrograd." Then the name became "Leningrad" and stayed that way until 1991 in honor of the Soviet leader Lenin. Some individuals who haven't kept up with their current events (for the past two decades) may still call St. Petersburg by one of its former names. But St. Petersburg is St. Petersburg now, just as it was in Peter the Great's time.

St. Petersburg is often called "Petersburg" or simply "Peter" for short.

St. Petersburg was built on the Neva River in Russia on the Baltic Sea. It has about 4 and a half million inhabitants. Due to the age and beauty of St. Peterburg's city center, it has been named a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO World Heritage site committee.


You can expect St. Petersburg to be warm and pleasant during high summer, which occurs in June and July. Temperatures begin cooling in late August. Winters, starting in November, can last until April. While cold, St. Petersburg is beautiful in the winter - the Neva freezes and snow falls predictably throughout most of the winter months. St. Petersburg weather, however, can be unpredictable, so check weather forecasts in advance of your trip.

Getting To and Getting Around

St. Petersburg, Russia can be gotten to by train or plane from Moscow or other parts of Russia, and a ferry is available from Tallinn. While in St. Petersburg, it's possible to use the tram/trolley system or the St. Petersburg metro. Of course, really seeing St. Petersburg involves hoofing it.


What's not attractive about St. Petersburg, Russia? Whether you're catching a glimpse of the Church of the Spilt Blood over the St. Petersburg rooftops, visiting the Hermitage Museum, or strolling through the streets, you'll also get your fill of gorgeous, decorated bridges, monuments that are the stuff of legend, and the buildings that once housed Russia's nobility.

Day Trips from St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg is situated in such a way that visitors find day trips easy to take. Go to Vyborg, Catherine's Palace, Kizhi Island, or Peterhof.

St. Petersburg Hotels

St. Petersburg hotels range from the budget friendly to the luxurious. Shop around for the best hotel deals, which will be harder to come by during the tourist season. Also take into consideration the location of your hotel to make seeing the sights more convenient.