St Petersburg Attractions!

St Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia after Moscow and is known for its rich and controversial history. If you are planning to visit St Petersburg you might be interested which of the city’s highlights are worth seeing most of all.  Founded in 1703 by the Russian tzar Peter I (Peter the Great) it was soon turned into a capital of the whole Russian Empire. Until the Revolution of 1917 (the end of the monarchy in Russia) the royal family and nobility lived in this city, built their magnificent palaces, impressive squares, monuments and beautiful churches.

Amazingly beautiful, St Petersburg really preserved its beauty and historical atmosphere throughout the turbulent 20th century (when it suffered from the 1917 revolution, WWII including the Siege of Leningrad (the former name of St Petersburg). And now the historical centre of the city is a UNESCO protected heritage site.

City Centre – Nevsky Avenue

If you stay in one of the centrally located hotels of St Petersburg, you’ll find out that many of the famous historical sites of the city are within walking distance. No wonder, the historical centre of the city is often called a museum under an open sky. You may start from the beginning of the Nevsky Avenue, the main thoroughfare of the city, admiring the majestic 18th and 19th-century buildings, carefully preserved and renovated after the WWII.

St Petersburg

Palace Square

Very close to the beginning of the Nevsky Avenue is the Palace Square, called so after the Winter Palace (the former residence of the Russian royal family) located nearby. The square, decorated with an impressive column of solid granite, which weighs 600 tons, is the site for all the major celebrations and events of the city, including different concerts, celebrations, festivals and military parades.

The Winter Palace

The Winter Palace of St Petersburg itself is interesting both from the outside and inside since it is a part of the world-famous art museum, the Hermitage, which is really a must-see for art-lovers and everyone who is interested in palace interiors.

St Petersburg

St. Isaac’s Cathedral

Not far from the beginning of the Nevsky Avenue in St Petersburg are the two main churches-museums of the city, the St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Saviour-on-the-spilt-Blood Church. The St. Isaac’s was the main Russian Orthodox Church in the whole Russian Empire before the Revolution of 1917. The cathedral was designed to accommodate 13 thousand standing worshipers and this is now one of the largest domed churches in the world.

The Saviour-on-the-spilt-Blood Church

The Saviour-on-the-spilt-Blood Church impresses one with 6600 square meters of mosaic inside.

Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan

St Petersburg

On the Nevsky Avenue you may also visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan, which is a functioning church, so you can enter free of charge, but it’s mandatory to observe the rules: men must wear no hats on, women are to cover their heads with a scarf, everyone is to keep quiet and no photo inside.

River and Canals’ Rides

Should you visit St Petersburg in summer when it’s quite warm and sunny, you may enjoy a boat ride along its rivers and canals. The city is frequently compared with Venice or Amsterdam because of numerous rivers and man-made canals and the opportunity to enjoy the city view from the water.

Bottom Line

These are some of the centrally located sightseeing attractions of St Petersburg, but there are a lot more to see and experience which are to be added to the RussiaTravel Guide shortly.


Have you visited St Petersburg? What was the highlight that impressed you most? Your comments are always welcomed!


  1. Your description of St Petersburg reminds me of my visit there back in 1980 when it was called Leningrad.
    It was different times then of course, but I’ve often wondered how it looks now. Thanks for your sharing your article

    • Well, now the city looks different, in many ways, but its historical beauty is still the same.
      From time to time I meet people who visited St Petersburg back in 1980s and all of them said, the city changed so much and looks even more beautiful today.
      It’s a pleasure for me to share my articles. Thanks for your feedback.


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