The list of famous St Petersburg residents reads like a who's
who of Russian history: Dostoyevsky, Fabergé, Rasputin,
Tchaikovsky, Lenin and Putin, to name just a few, but the buildings
are what really take the breath away. Splendid palaces line the
rivers and canals, their pastel-coloured façades reflected in the
water, and no fewer than eight cathedrals grace the skyline. The
latter range in style from the onion domes of the Church on Spilled
Blood to the Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul, with its gilded
spire soaring 122m into the sky.
20th century landmarks include the battleship Aurora, which
fired the shot signalling the start of the 1917 Revolution, and the
impressive Monument to the Defenders of Leningrad, a memorial to
those who resisted the 900-day Nazi siege during World War Two.
For lovers of classical music, opera and ballet, there's the
renowned Mariinsky Theatre (formerly the Kirov). Just outside the
city are the lavish summer residences of the Tsars and Tsarinas,
which are also well worth a visit.
On a less cultural note, there are outdoor skating rinks (in
winter), shopping opportunities ranging from traditional markets to
the glitzy boutiques, and an ever-increasing number of bars and