Top 10 St Petersburg Russia Attractions
It is definitely a difficult job to select top 10 St. Peterburg Russia attractions and places to visit since this beautiful city is filled with them, thanks to Peter The Great, Catherine The Great and more than 200 years of being a modern European capital of Russia during the time of mighty Russian empire. City has been given many poetic names like “Northern Venice” and “Northern Palmyra” comparing its beauty of world’s famous other places. Our top 10 selection includes some of the architectural masterpieces, famous religious and historical places and magnificent Russian tsars’ palace and park complexes located in the city suburbs.
1. The State Hermitage Museum – The State Hermitage in St. Peterburg is one of the top museums in Russia and the world, and the museum includes close to three million works of art. The Winter Palace, main building of five-building museums is breathtaking, and is just as beautiful as the artwork it contains. Read more about the Top 10 State Hermitage Museum Attractions in a separate article on this site.
2. Peter and Paul Fortress – One of the most important St. Petersburg Russia attractions to its history is the Peter and Paul Fortress. It owes its earliest days to the Fortress, as it was built to fortify the newly founded city in 1703. The fortress’ Peter and Paul Cathedral was the city’s church, and until 1917 it was the burial site of the Russian tsars. The cathedral involves elaborate decor and exquisite chandeliers, and the fortress is also an exciting place to visit. Visitors today can see the Peter and Paul Fortress’ numerous historical buildings, including the housing for various military commanders, the sepulcher, and the cathedral itself. The Fortress still keeps the tradition of firing cannons at noon each day, and the site’s Russian Mint has operated since the 18th century.
3. Saint Isaac’s Cathedral – This cathedral is one of the most popular St. Petersburg Russia attractions located in the center of the city. This is a huge gilded cathedral, distinctive for its dome and red columns. It is the 3rd tallest cathedral in Europe only superseded by St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The gold dome, exquisite architecture, and ornate design and decoration make this cathedral one that inspires awe in anyone who views it. The facade’s columns are carved from single blocks of red granite, each weighing eighty tons. Inside the cathedral there are more breathtaking embellishments, from mosaic icons and stained glass, to a stunning set of columns made from malachite and lapis lazuli. The cathedral has standing room for 14,000 although it is more a museum than a place of worship. Since the 1930’s, the cathedral has only held services on major ecclesiastical occasions.
4. The State Russian Museum – Founded first in 1895-1897, the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg houses the largest collection of Russian art, sculpture, and craft in the world. It contains roughly six thousand Russian icons, dating all the way back to the tenth century; a numismatics collection of over seventy-thousand coins, bank notes, and medals from the fifteenth century and on; engravings and graphic art; and important modern works. The Russian Museum also hosts exhibitions, from Russian history to world wide themes. With such extensive collections The Russian Museum isn’t just one of the St. Petersburg Russia attractions for those well-versed in Russian lore, but anyone seeking to learn of Russia’s long and colored legacy.
5. Church of Our Savior On Spilled Blood – This church stands over a significant spot in Russia’s history: Where the church stands now Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881. Alexander II made drastic reforms during his reign, including freeing serfs from bondage. Now the church is open for visiting, and one of the most beautiful of the St. Petersburg Russia attractions. Intricate mosaics cover the interior and exterior of the cathedral; and it contains art pieces from many prominent Russian artists of the time of its construction between 1883 and 1907—including V.M. Vasnetsov, M.V. Nesterov, and M.A. Vrubel. It is conveniently located to many of the St Petersburg, Russia hotels, and is an experience that will be remembered forever.
6. Yusupov Palace – Any list of St. Petersburg Russia attractions for history fans must include a trip to Yusupov Palace. It was home to the wealthy Yusupov family, whose Prince Felix Yusupov went down in history for hosting a party that ended in the murder of Grigori Rasputin. Rasputin has become an infamous figure in the history books, a mysterious and reviled figure who all but puppeteered the ruling Romanov family. Thus, Yusupov and other noblemen in St. Petersburg conspired to have him killed, and the site of the murder is now a historical site open for tours. While the artfully crafted palace is alluring enough, the macabre tale of Rasputin’s demise makes the palace a must-see. You can take a guided tour where this crime occurred, and learn about the fascinating history of this palace.
7. Smolny Cathedral and Monastery – This place was initially constructed to house Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great. When she was not allowed to take the throne, she decided to live out her life as a nun, yet quickly abandoned the notion when her predecessor was overthrown and became an empress. The cathedral remained unfinished until 1835; much of the original architect’s (Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli) baroque designs for the cathedral’s interior were altered for the more contemporary Neo-Classical. Today it is one of the many St. Petersburg Russia attractions open for public viewing, mainly housing exhibits and concerts which are held on a weekly basis.
8. Pavlovsk Palace and Park – The numerous St. Petersburg Russia attractions that showcase its rich history extend even to the city’s borders. On the outskirts of St. Petersburg is the Pavlovsk Palace and Park, summer home to Russian Emperor Paul I and his family. This park covers fifteen hundred square acres, and was used in the past as a royal hunting preserve. The Palace was originally commissioned to be designed by Charles Cameron, a Scottish-born architect who was greatly favored by Catherine the Great. Cameron was supplanted by his assistant Vincenzo Brenna, who finished a much grander, regal palace than Cameron’s original intent. The inside of the palace is stately and ornate, full of fine examples of architecture, and the residents’ artwork collections from all Russia and across Europe. Tours are available for both the interiors and the extensive grounds that make up the park.
9. Peterhof Palace and Park – The fountains in the gardens that surround the Peterhof Palace complex are numerous, and are considered unique works of art. There are even fountains hidden in the landscaping, catching visitors unaware when they are sprayed. Read more about Peterhof Palace and Gardens in another article on this site.
10. Catherine Palace and Park – This gold, blue and white palace was originally designed for Catherine I, wife of Peter The Great, but grew to its fame and glory under Catherine The Great. The Palace sits among more than fourteen hundred gorgeously landscaped acres. There are many pieces of art in the palace which can be viewed including world’s famous Amber Room.