HOMECULTURAL PROGRAM

Welcome to Saint-Petersburg

The northernmost metropolis in the world and today’s Russia’s cultural capital and second largest city, St Petersburg bears on every corner the vestiges of his glorious past: founded in 1703 by the emperor Peter I the Great on the estuary of the River Neva, St Petersburg served as capital of the Russian Empire for over three centuries until the October Revolution, stocking up an impressive collection of palaces and residences built from the Romanov Tsars and the empire’s richest and most powerful aristocratic families, such as the Stroganovs, the Mihailovs and the Menshikovs. Built on over 200 islands set apart by a wide network of rivers and artificial canals, the city center is a true marvel of engineering, embellished by some of the finest achievements of 18th and 19th century European architecture.

We are glad to organize one of following excursions for individuals or groups:

1. City tour

If you are going to visit Saint-Petersburg, Russia, City Tour by Car is the best way to begin your sightseeing here. Surely our city is the best and the most amazing in the world. Within this City Tour while driving and looking around you will support our opinion.

The tour may begin and finish where it is suitable for you. In the beginning you will meet our professional licensed St. Petersburg guide and your driver. They will take you to the most popular places of interest in Saint-Petersburg and also to the sights that are not well-known but could be of great interest to any visitor. Your private St. Petersburg guide will tell you how and when the city was founded, how it lived and was developed in time of our tzars and tsarinas.

You will get a chance to visit Russian Christian Orthodox Cathedrals that are going to be on your way. It will be an opportunity to experience not only museums but functioning churches and cathedrals. Within this tour from the outside you see the following places of interest – Palace Square, Winter Palace, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, St. Nicolas’s Cathedral, Mariinskiy Opera and Ballet Theatre, Point of Basil Island, St. Peter and Paul’s Fortress, Bronze Horseman, Kazan Cathedral, Nevskiy Prospekt, Church on the Spilt Blood, Smolny Monastery and others.
To take proper photos you will have special stops for photographing at places that have wonderful views. The weather is not important for you as most of the time you are going to be in the car/mini-bus.
Also according to your wish we can arrange a visit to the farmer’s market or into our metro. Please do not be surprised, those metro stations that were made first (the red line) are considered to be really beautiful. Prominent Soviet architects dealt with their design and quite expensive materials, such as marble, mountain crystal, guilded bronze and others were used for their construction

2. City and religion (visiting Church on the Spilt Blood and St. Isaac’s Cathedral)

Orthodox objects of worship of Saint-Petersburg

• Orthodox temples of Saint-Petersburg
• Christmas, Easter and other Orthodox feasts
• City of all religions (Christian cathedrals, synagogue, mosque, Buddhist temple)
• Forgotten temples of Saint-Petersburg

Church on the Spilt Blood was created in the best traditions of Russian art from the 14th to 17th centuries and stands out among all St. Petersburg churches by its distinct national appearance. It was made in 1883-1907 on the spot where on March 1st, 1881, the terrorist mortally wounded Alexander II. Nowadays it is one of the biggest museum of mosaic in Europe. Outside and inside you can see only mosaics.

The guided tour inside Church on the Spilt Blood in Saint-Petersburg alone is very short (about 1 hour), that is why we usually combine it with a visit to one more museum. Usually this is St. Isaac’s Cathedral.

The stately monumental building of St. Isaac’s Cathedral was built in 1818-1858 by French architect Montferrand. The cathedral freely accommodates up to 14 thousand people. On the outer side the building is decorated with 112 monolithic columns made of red granite. Weight of the lower tier columns totals 114 tons, while the upper ones located on the drum at the height of 47 meters weigh 67 tons each. It took 40 years to make this cathedral. There are up to 600 pieces of painting, sculpture and mosaics on the front sides and in the interior of the cathedral.

Many kinds of precious stones were used for the interior decoration: lapis lazuli, malachite, porphyry and marble of various shades. On the pediment of the western portico in the left corner architect Montferrand is depicted holding a model of St. Isaac’s Cathedral in his palms. Following the twisted winding stairs, which consists of 562 footsteps, visitors of the cathedral can climb the observation site from which a wonderful panoramic view of the city opens before one’s eyes.

To have this guided tour of Saint-Petersburg we will meet in the city center and go to the first museum. Then you will have a tour inside the second one and we will finish on Nevsky Prospect.

3. Peterhof

Peterhof is a former summer residence of the royal family situated on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. It is twenrty-nine kilometers from Saint-Petersburg, Russia. Peter the Great travelled much and also to different European countries. He had been to Holland that was his favorite country. He visited Great Britain, Italy and France. Of course, he had been to Versailles. He decided to create ‘Russian Versailles’ in Peterhof.
Peterhof is a German word which means Peter’s yard. For the first time it was mentioned in Travel Diary of Peter I in 1705. This residence was opened to the public on August 15, 1723. It was a very beautiful, solemn ceremony.

It is often called “Russian Versailles”, the seaside paradise or the capital of fountains. In the lower park of Peterhof there are more than 170 fountains. They were made in different periods of time. Some of them even go back to Peter’s time. They all work by gravity force from the end of April to the beginning of October. The official ceremony of Openning the Fountains takes place usually in the middle of May. There are no pumps in the park. The park itself is dived into three parts: central, eastern and western. Apart from Grand Palace there are three small palaces situated in different parts of the park. Among them there is a favorite palace of Peter the Great – Monplaisir palace. This is where Peter the Great preferred to stay when he was in Peterhof.

To begin this private tour of Saint-Petersburg your St Petersburg guide will meet you on the Palace (Dvortsovaya) Square in front of the Hermitage and then you will travel to Peterhof Complex by hydrofoil (30 min each way). You will enjoy a wonderful view of the city and the Gulf of Finland from the hydrofoil. In Peterhof you will have a guided tour inside Grand Peterhof Palace and a walk around the gardens with fountains. We return to Saint-Petersburg the same way and finish our guided tour of Peterhof near the Hermitage.

4.Tour along rivers and canals of Saint-Petersburg

During this one of the best private guided tour in Saint-Petersburg, Russia you will find out that in the world there are many cities that were built near the sea, but there are only a few cities in the world where rivers and canals are as equal part of the city as buildings made of bricks and stones. The total length of rivers and canals that crisscross Saint-Petersburg is about 300 km. The tour along rivers and canals includes sailing along rivers and canals in the center of the city described below:

The Neva is the main river of our beautiful city that is located along the embankments of this river and also across many islands of the river’s delta. As it is only 72 km long it is one of the shortest rivers in Russia though it has a lot of water. The Neva goes out from Lake Ladoga and flows into the Gulf of Finland. To develop the country Peter the Great needed to develop the trade. For that, he was looking for the exit to the sea for Russia. This way Northern War with Sweden began. In the beginning of this war somehow he managed to capture some land in the mouth of the Neva where he decided to make a fortress. It became the beginning for Saint-Petersburg that was founded in 1703.

The Moika is a small whimsical river, that runs via the center of our city, became the border of Saint-Petersburg in the beginning of the 18th century. The neighborhood was being developed in 1720s – wooden embankments were made and Court Stables were constructed in 1723 by Nickolai Gerbel that still remain one of the biggest buildings along the Moika.

Comparing to the Neva with many canals the Fontanka has the embankment that goes for seven kilometers. This river was the southern border of our city until the middle of the 18th century. Later it became the boundary of beautiful buildings of Saint-Petersburg. When the city expanded there were a lot of buildings left along the Fountain embankment that are considered now to be the main sights of the city. The Fontanka got its name from Summer Gardens as its water was used for feeding the fountains in them.

Griboyedov Canal is artificial, narrow and stretches through the center of Saint-Petersburg for five km. For the most of its length this canal is parallel to the Fontanka and to the Moika. Though it is quite short it is crossed by 21 bridges. Most of these bridges are pedestrian.

Kryukov Canal is not as famous as the Moika, the Fontanka and Griboyedov Canal but it runs perpendicular to them and is the connection for all three of them. Granite embankments and bridges of it are stunning and such beautiful buildings as Mariinsky Theatre, St. Nicholas’s Navy Cathedral and the buildings of New Holland Complex are located along this canal.

Swan Canal (Lebyazhya Kanavka) goes in between Mars Field and Summer Gardens. This canal was made in 1719 thus became one of the oldest canals of our city. In those days the area around Mars Field and Summer Garden was swampy. It was decided to make a system of canals to drain it. Swan Canal was one of those canals appeared within the drain system. It connected the Moyka with the Neva, this way a small island appeared that is occupied now by Summer Garden.

Please do not miss the opportunity to have a private tour of rivers and canals with one of the best guides in St Petersburg, Russia.

Please write me your request ek@glavtouroperator.ru !

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