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District: North West Russia
Subdivision: Federal city
Location: 59°56′N 30°20′E
Area: 606 km²
Population: 4,661,219 (2002 Census)
Population density: 7691 persons/km²
Altitude: 3 m
Postal code: 190000-199406
Dialing code: +7 812
License plate: 78, 98
The Neva river has been called the main street of St Petersburg.
The Neva river has been called the main street of St Petersburg.
Saint Petersburg ( Russian: Санкт-Петербу́рг, Sankt-Peterburg) is a city located in northwestern Russia on the delta of the river Neva at the east end of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. It is informally known as Питер (Piter) and was formerly known as Leningrad (Ленингра́д, 1924–1991) and Petrograd (Петрогра́д, 1914–1924).Founded by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703 as a "window to Europe," it served as the capital of the Russian Empire (the capital was moved to Moscow after the Russian Revolution of 1917). With about 4.7 million inhabitants (2002), today Saint Petersburg is Russia's second-largest city, Europe's fourth largest city, a major European cultural center, and the most important Russian port on the Baltic.Saint Petersburg is the northernmost city in the world with over one million people. The city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the city, which for over 200 years was Russia's political and cultural center, is impressive even today and is sometimes called "the Northern Capital" (северная столица, severnaya stolitsa). It is the administrative center of Leningrad Oblast (while being a separate region) and of the Northwestern Federal District.

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Landmarks and tourist attractions
Administrative divisions

Landmarks and tourist attractions - Contents

The majestic appearance of St. Petersburg is achieved through a variety of architectural details including long, straight boulevards, vast spaces, gardens and parks, decorative wrought-iron fences, monuments and decorative sculptures. The Neva River itself, together with its many canals and their granite embankments and bridges, gives the city a unique and striking ambience. These bodies of water led to St. Petersburg being given the name of " Venice of the North".
St Petersburg is known as the city of 300 bridges.
St Petersburg is known as the city of 300 bridges.
St. Petersburg's position near the Arctic Circle, on the same latitude as nearby Helsinki, Stockholm and Oslo (60° N), causes twilight to last all night in May, June and July. This celebrated phenomenon is known as the " white nights". The white nights are closely linked to another attraction — the nine drawbridges spanning the Neva. Tourists flock to see the bridges drawn and lowered again at night to allow shipping to pass through the city.The historical center of St. Petersburg, sometimes called the outdoor museum of Neoclassicism, was the first Russian patrimony inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

The palaces
St. Petersburg has been known as the city of palaces. One of the earliest of these is the Summer Palace, a modest house built for Peter I in the Summer Garden (1710–1714). Much more imposing are the baroque residences of his associates, such as the Kikin Hall and the Menshikov Palace on the Neva Embankment, constructed from designs by Domenico Trezzini over the years 1710 to 1716. A residence adjacent to the Menshikov palace was redesigned for Peter II and now houses the State University.Probably the most illustrious of imperial palaces is the baroque Winter Palace (1754–1762), a huge building with dazzlingly luxurious interiors, now housing the Hermitage Museum. The same architect, Bartolomeo Rastrelli, was also responsible for three residences in the vicinity of the Nevsky Prospekt: the Stroganov palace (1752–1754, now a wax museum), the Vorontsov palace (1749–1757, now a military school), and the Anichkov palace (1741–1750, many times rebuilt, now a palace for children). Other baroque palaces include the Sheremetev house on the Fontanka embankment (also called the Fountain House), and the Beloselsky-Belozersky palace (1846–1848) on the Nevsky Prospekt, formerly a residence of the Grand Duke Sergey Alexandrovich.
The Hermitage Museum complex with the Winter Palace at right.
The Hermitage Museum complex with the Winter Palace at right.
Of Neoclassical palaces, the foremost is St Michael's (or Engineers') Castle, constructed for Emperor Paul in 1797–1801 to replace the earlier Summer Palace. The Tauride palace of Prince Potemkin (1783–1789), situated nearby, used to be a seat of the first Russian parliament. Just to the left from the Hermitage buildings is the Marble Palace, commissioned by Count Orlov and built in 1768–1785 from various sorts of marble to a Neoclassical design by Antonio Rinaldi. The Michael Palace (1819–1825), famed for its opulent interiors and named after its first lodger, Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich, now houses the Russian Museum. Also built in the Neoclassical style are the Yusupov palace (the 1790s), where Rasputin was killed; the Razumovsky palace (1762–1766); the Shuvalov palace (1830–1838); and the Yelagin Palace (1818–1822), a sumptuous summer dacha of the imperial family, situated on the Yelagin Island.The last important residences were built for Nicholas I's children: the Maria Palace (1839–1844), located just opposite St Isaac's Cathedral and housing a city council, the Nicholas palace (1853–61), and the New Michael Palace (1857-1861).
According to the Russian tradition, each regiment of the imperial guards had its own cathedral.
According to the Russian tradition, each regiment of the imperial guards had its own cathedral.

The churches
The church buildings mostly belong to the Russian government. The largest church in the city is St Isaac's Cathedral (1818–1858), one of the biggest domed buildings in the world, constructed for 40 years under supervision of its architect, Auguste de Montferrand. Another magnificent church in the Empire style is the Kazan Cathedral (1801–1811), situated on the Nevsky Prospekt and modelled after St Peter's, Vatican. No tourist can miss the Church of the Savior on Blood (1883–1907), a gorgeous monument in the old Russian style which marks the spot of Alexander II's assassination. As Peter the Great forbade building onion spires, this church is exceptional in the city with its onion-shaped tower.The Peter and Paul Cathedral (1712–1732), a long-time symbol of the city, contains the sepulchres of Peter the Great and other Russian emperors. Apart from these four principal cathedrals, which operate today primarily as museums, there are numerous other churches.Of baroque structures, the grandest is the white-and-blue Smolny Cathedral (1748–1764), a striking design by Bartolomeo Rastrelli, but never completed. It is followed by the Naval Cathedral of St Nicholas (1753–1762), a lofty structure dedicated to the Russian Navy, the outside being covered with plaques to sailors lost at sea. The church of Sts Simeon and Anna (1731–1734), St Sampson Cathedral (1728–1740), St Pantaleon church (1735–1739), and St Andrew Cathedral (1764–1780) are all worth mentioning.
The Chesma palace church (1780) is a rare example of the Gothic Revival in Russia.
The Chesma palace church (1780) is a rare example of the Gothic Revival in Russia.
The Neoclassical churches are too numerous to count. Many of them are intended to dominate vast squares, like St. Vladimir's Cathedral (1769–1789), not to be confused with the church of Our Lady of Vladimir (1761–1783). The Transfiguration (1827–29) and the Trinity Cathedrals (1828–1835) were both designed by Vasily Stasov. Smaller churches include the Konyushennaya (1816–1823), also by Stasov, the "Easter Cake" church (1785–1787), noted for its droll appearance, St Catherine church on the Vasilievsky Island (1768–1771), and numerous non-Orthodox churches on the Nevsky Prospekt.The Alexander Nevsky Monastery, intended to house the relics of St Alexander Nevsky, contains two cathedrals and several smaller churches in various styles. It is also remarkable for the Tikhvin Cemetery, where many notable Russians are buried.The city has two small churches in the early Gothic Revival style, those of St John the Baptist (1776–1781) and the Chesmenskaya (1777–1780), both designed by Yury Velten. The late 19th-century and early 20th-century temples are all constructed from Russian Revival or Byzantine Revival designs. The cathedral mosque (1909–1920), reputedly the largest in Europe, is built after the model of Timurid temples in Samarkand.A Buddhist temple funded by subscriptions of the Dalai Lama and Russian and Mongolian Buddhists was completed in 1914. Together with its neighboring guesthouse and hospital it was a valuable resource to transient Buryats and Kalmyks during World War I. It survived until 1935 when the lamas passed into the Gulag and the temple and its grounds used for secular purposes. It reopened in 1991.

Public buildings
 The golden spire of the Peter and Paul Cathedral rises above the Peter and Paul Fortress on the Neva river
The golden spire of the Peter and Paul Cathedral rises above the Peter and Paul Fortress on the Neva river
The Peter and Paul Fortress, formerly a political prison, occupies a dominant position in the center of the city. A boardwalk was built along a portion of the fortress wall, giving visitors a clear view of the city across the river to the south. On the other bank of the Neva, the spit of the Vasilievsky island is graced by the former Bourse building (1805–1810), reminiscent of a classic Greek temple, with two great Rostral Columns, decorated with ships' prows, standing in front of it.Undoubtedly the most famous of St. Petersburg's museums is the Hermitage, one of the world's largest and richest collections of Western European art. Its vast holdings were originally exhibited in the Greek Revival building (1838–1852) by Leo von Klenze, now called the New Hermitage. But the first Russian museum was established by Peter the Great in the Kunstkammer, erected in 1718–1734 on the opposite bank of the Neva River and formerly a home to the Russian Academy of Sciences. Other popular tourist destinations include the Museum of Applied Arts (1885–1895), the Ethnography Museum (1900–1911), the Suvorov Museum of Military History (1901–1904), and the Political History Museum (1904–06).
The city is adorned with numerous monuments from the imperial period of Russian history.
The city is adorned with numerous monuments from the imperial period of Russian history.
The imperial government institutions were housed in the General Staff building on the Palace Square (1820–1827), with a huge triumphal arch in the centre, the Senate and Synod buildings on the Senate Square (1827–1843), the Imperial Cabinet (1803–1805) on the Nevsky Prospekt, the Assignation Bank (1783–1790), the Customs Office (1829–1832), and the splendid Admiralty (1806–1823), one of the city's most conspicuous landmarks. Most of these buildings were designed either by Giacomo Quarenghi, or by Carlo Rossi.The former imperial capital is rich in educational institutions. Saint Petersburg State University occupies several buildings on the Vasilievsky Island, including the spacious baroque edifice of Twelve Collegia (1722–1744). The Academy of Arts (1764–1788), an exceedingly handsome structure, overlooks a quayside adorned with genuine Egyptian griffins and sphinxes. The Smolny Institute (1806–1808), originally the first school for Russian women, was picked up by Lenin as his headquarters during the Russian Revolution of 1917. The Catherine Institute (1804–1807), also designed by Quarenghi, has been affiliated with the Russian National Library. Another Neoclassical building by Quarenghi, a roomy Horse Guards Riding School (1804–1807), was recently designated the Central Exhibition Hall.Some of the city shops and storehouses are landmarks in their own right. For example, the monumental New Holland Arch (1779–1787) and adjacent walls of the New Holland isle are occupied by commercial enterprises. The Merchant Court on the Nevsky Prospekt (1761–1785), also designed by Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe, houses the largest extant 18th-century supermarket in the world, as well as several coffee bars and a metro station. Nearby are the Circular Market, erected in 1785–1790, and the Passage, one of the great covered arcades of the mid-19th century. Other department stores, built in the majestic Art Nouveau style, line the Nevsky Prospekt and include the Eliseev emporium and the House of Books.St Petersburg is a home to many theatres. The Alexandrine Theatre, built in 1828–1832 by Carlo Rossi, was named after the wife of Nicholas I. Much more famous outside Russia is the Mariinsky Theatre (formerly known as the Kirov Theatre of Opera and Ballet), which has been styled the capital of the world ballet. The city conservatory, the first in Russia, was opened in 1862 and bears the name of Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov; its alumni include Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich.

Public monuments
The Bronze Horseman comes to life and races the streets of St. Petersburg in more than one work of Russian fiction.
The Bronze Horseman comes to life and races the streets of St. Petersburg in more than one work of Russian fiction.
Probably the most familiar symbol of St Petersburg is the equestrian statue of Peter the Great, installed in 1782 on the Senate Square. Considered the greatest masterpiece of the French-born Etienne Maurice Falconet, the statue figures prominently in the Russian literature under the name of the Bronze Horseman. Bronze Horseman poemThe Palace Square is dominated by the unique Alexander Column (1830–1834), the tallest of its kind in the world and so nicely set that no attachment to the base is needed. A striking monument to Generalissimo Suvorov, represented as a youthful god of war, was erected in 1801 on the Field of Mars, formerly used for military parades and popular festivities. St Isaac's Square is graced by a monument to Nicholas I, which was spared by Bolshevik authorities from destruction as the only equestrian statue in the world with merely two support points (the rear feet of the horse).The public monuments of St Petersburg also include the circular statue of Catherine II on the Nevsky Prospekt, fine horse statues on the Anichkov bridge, a Rodin-like equestrian statue of Alexander III, and the Tercentenary monument presented by France in 2003 and installed on the Sennaya Square.Some of the most important events in the city's history are represented by particular monuments. The Russian victory over Napoleon, for example, was commemorated with two triumphal arches, one at the Narva, another at the Moscow gates. Following this tradition, the Piskarevskoye Cemetery was opened in 1960 as a monument to the victims of the 900-Day Siege.

St Petersburg is surrounded with imperial residences, some of which were inscribed in the World Heritage list together with the city. These include Peterhof, with the Grand Peterhof Palace and glorious fountain cascades; Tsarskoe Selo, with the baroque Catherine Palace and the neoclassical Alexander Palace; and Pavlovsk, which contains a domed palace of Emperor Paul (1782–1786) and one of the largest English-style parks in Europe.Much of Peterhof and Tsarskoe Selo had to be restored after being dynamited by the retreating Germans in 1944. Other imperial residences have yet to be revived to their former glory. Gatchina, lying 45 km southwest of St Petersburg, retains a royal castle with 600 rooms surrounded by a park. Oranienbaum, founded by Prince Menshikov, features his spacious baroque residence and the sumptuously decorated Chinese palace. Strelna has a hunting lodge of Peter the Great and the reconstructed Constantine Palace, used for official summits of the Russian president with foreign leaders.Other notable suburbs are Shlisselburg, with a medieval fortress, and Kronstadt, with its 19th-century fortifications and naval monuments.

History - Contents

Inspired by example of Venice and Amsterdam, Peter the Great envisaged boats and coracles as principal means of transport in his city of canals. No permanent bridges across the Neva were allowed until 1850.
Inspired by example of Venice and Amsterdam, Peter the Great envisaged boats and coracles as principal means of transport in his city of canals. No permanent bridges across the Neva were allowed until 1850.
Tsar Peter the Great founded the city on May 27 ( May 16, Old Style), 1703 after reconquering the Ingrian land from Sweden. He named it after his patron saint, the apostle Saint Peter. The original name of SanktPiterburh was actually Dutch; Peter had lived and studied in that country for some time. The Swedish fortress of Nyenskans and the city Nyen had formerly occupied the site, in the marshlands where the river Neva drains into the Gulf of Finland.Since construction began during a time of war, the new city's first building was a fortification. Known today as the Peter and Paul Fortress, it originally also bore the name of SanktPiterburh. It was laid down on Zaiachiy (Hare's) Island, just off the right bank of the Neva, a couple of miles inland from the Gulf. The marshland was drained and the city spread outward from the fortress under the supervision of German engineers whom Peter had invited to Russia. Peter forbade the construction of stone buildings in all of Russia outside of St Petersburg, so that all stonemasons would come to help build the new city. Serfs provided most of the labor for the project. According to one estimate, 30,000 died. The first person to build a house in Saint Petersburg was Cornelis Cruys, commander of the Russian Baltic Navy.St. Petersburg was founded to become the new capital of Russia. By virtue of its position on an arm of the Baltic Sea, it was called by Pushkin a "window on the West". Russia would be a major British trading partner for years to come. It was also a base for Peter's navy, protected by the island fortress of Kronstadt, built soon after the city.In the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, Russia's elite built lavishly in the city, leaving many palaces that survive to this day. But the city also suffered from terrible floods, one of which was described by Pushkin in his Bronze Horseman.
The small church of Sts Simon and Anne (1734) was designed by Mikhail Zemtsov and dedicated to the patrons saints of Empress Anne.
The small church of Sts Simon and Anne (1734) was designed by Mikhail Zemtsov and dedicated to the patrons saints of Empress Anne.
Alexander II's emancipation of the serfs (1861) caused the influx of large numbers of poor into the city. Tenements were erected on the outskirts, and nascent industry sprang up. By the end of the century, St Petersburg had grown up into one of the largest industrial hubs in Europe.With the growth of industry, radical movements were also astir. Socialist organizations were responsible for the assassinations of many royal officials, including that of Alexander II in 1881. The Revolution of 1905 began here and spread rapidly into the provinces. During World War I, the name Sankt Peterburg was seen to be too German and, on the initiative of Tsar Nicholas II, the city was renamed Petrograd on August 31 ( August 18, Old Style), 1914.1917 saw the beginnings of the Russian Revolution. The first step (the February Revolution) was the removal of the Tsarist government and the establishment of two centers of political power, the Provisional government and the Petrograd Soviet. The Provisional government was overthrown in the October Revolution, and the Russian Civil War broke out. The city's proximity to anti-revolutionary armies, and generally unstable political climate, forced Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin to flee to Russia's historic former capital at Moscow on March 5, 1918. The move may have been intended as temporary (it was certainly portrayed as such), but Moscow has remained the capital ever since. On January 24, 1924, three days after Lenin's death, Petrograd was renamed Leningrad in his honor. The central committee's reason for renaming the city again was that Lenin had led the October revolution. Deeper reasons existed at the level of political symbolism: Saint Petersburg had stood as the head of the Tsarist empire. After Moscow it was the largest city and the change gave great prestige to Lenin. The renaming to Leningrad emphatically symbolised the upheaval that had occurred to the social and political system.The government's removal to Moscow caused a reversal of the mass immigration of the latter 19th century. The benefits of capital status had left the city. Petrograd's population in 1920 was a third of what it had been in 1915 (see table below).During World War II, Leningrad was surrounded and besieged by the German Wehrmacht in the Siege of Leningrad from September 8, 1941, until January 27, 1944, a total of twenty-nine months. A " Road of Life" was established over Lake Ladoga (frozen for a large part of the year), but it was open to airstrikes; only one out of three supply trucks that embarked on the journey reached its destination. Another route was opened on January 18, 1943 after the Red Army had succeeded in securing a narrow break-through of the Wehrmacht encirclement of the city. Some 800,000 of the city's 3,000,000 inhabitants are estimated to have perished. For the heroic tenacity of the city's population, Leningrad became the first Soviet city to be awarded the title Hero City.
The downtown preserves numerous profit houses built in the Art Nouveau style.
The downtown preserves numerous profit houses built in the Art Nouveau style.
According to some historians, Soviet ruler Joseph Stalin delayed the breaking of the siege and stymied the evacuation of the city with the intention of letting its intelligentsia perish at the hands of the Germans. Many of those Leningraders who were evacuated to distant corners of the Soviet Union never returned to their home city.The war damaged the city and killed off many of those old Petersburgers who had not fled after the revolution and did not perish in the mass purges before the war. Nonetheless, Leningrad and many of its suburbs were rebuilt over the following decades to the old drawings. Though changes in the social fabric were more permanent, the city remained an intellectual and arts centre.After the collapse of the Soviet Union on September 6, 1991, a bare majority (54%) of the population agreed to restore "the original name, Saint Petersburg"(see above). As well as the city, 39 streets, six bridges, three Saint Petersburg Metro stations and six parks were renamed. Nevertheless, some, especially older people, still use the old names and, for example, use the old addresses on letters. The name releases positive associations particularly in connection with the siege - so that on holidays even authorities call places connected with World War 2 "Hero city Leningrad". Among young people the name Leningrad seems to be a vague protest against the new society. One of the most successful bands in Russia, a Ska punk band from Saint Petersburg, called themselves Leningrad (not to be confused with Leningrad Cowboys from Finland).After a popular vote the name of the Oblast (administrative province) of which the city is the capital remained Leningrad Oblast.
St Petersburg docks in the morning smog.
St Petersburg docks in the morning smog.
On December 26, 2005, a gas attack took place in a supermarket in the city.

Population - Contents

According to results of the government website, St. Petersburg has 4,560,000 inhabitants. That amounts to roughly 3 % of the population of Russia as a whole. The average monthly salary 2003 was 6179 rubles (about 176 euros).Since it was founded, the city has seen strong social contrasts, the situation of many people hardened after the Perestroika. Beggars and old women selling what they brought from the countryside now can be seen frequently. About 15 % of the population lives in kommunalkas.People can only move to St. Petersburg if they can show they have a room and a job or if they are married to an inhabitant of St. Petersburg. Probably many people don't have this registration and are living thus on an illegal or semi-legal status (and they are not included in the census). The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates there are up to 16,000 children living on the street (as of 2000).Officially the city is inhabited by 89.1 % Russians. 2.1 % Jews, 1.9 % Ukrainians, 1.9 % Belarusians follow up, as well as substantial numbers of Tatars, Uzbeks, Vepsians, Finns, and peoples from Caucasus (with many illegal immigrants).As for religions most are Russian Orthodox, while many others are atheist etc.

Population development

The following charts show the numbers of inhabitants. Until 1944 these were mostly estimates, but the figures for 1959 to 2002 come from census returns, and the figure for 2005 is an estimate.
Population development
Population development
year inhabitants
1725 75,000
1750 150,000
1800 300,000
1846 336,000
1852 485,000
1858 520,100
1864 539,100
1867 667,000
1873 842,900
1881 876,600
1886 928,600
1891 1,035,400
1897 1,264,900
1901 1,439,400
year inhabitants
1908 1,678,000
1910 1,962,000
1915 2,318,600
1920 722,000
1926 1,616,100
1936 2,739,800
1939 3,191,300
1944 2,559,000
January 15, 1959 2,888,000
January 15, 1970 3,512,974
January 17, 1979 4,072,528
January 12, 1989 4,460,424
October 9, 2002 4,159,635
January 1, 2005 4,596,000


National demographics of St.Petersburg (1989) Russians-89.1% Ukrainians-3% Jewish-2.1% Belarusians-1.9% Tatars-0.9% Others-3%

Economy - Contents

One of St Petersburg's many canals.
One of St Petersburg's many canals.
The city is a major center of machine building, including power equipment, machinery, shipyards, instrument manufacture, ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy (production of aluminium alloys), chemicals, printing, and one of the major ports of the Baltic Sea.The Saint Petersburg Mint (Monetny Dvor) is apart from Goznak in Moscow the only place in Russia that mints Russian coins, medals and badges. Ford Motor Company began producing the Ford Focus automobile here in 2002. Toyota is building its plant in one of the suburbs.

Transportation - Contents

The city is a major transport hub. It is the center of the local road and railway system, and has a seaport (in the Gulf of Finland of Baltic Sea) and river ports (in the delta of Neva). It is the terminus of the Volgo-Baltic waterway which links the Baltic with the Black Sea.Saint Petersburg has regular railway connections to Helsinki, Finland via Vyborg (on the Russian side) and Kouvola and Lahti (on the Finnish side). Three beautiful, old-fashioned trains - the Sibelius, the Repin and the Tolstoi - operate exclusively on this route.The city is served by Pulkovo Airport, which carries both domestic and international flights. The Saint Petersburg Metro (subway/underground) system began operation in 1955 and now includes four lines.

Administrative divisions - Contents

The city has numerous islands on which many historically important parts of the city are located. Vasilyevsky island is the largest of them and forms the whole Vasileostrovsky Administrative District. Petrogradskaya, Krestovsky, Yelagin, and Kamenny islands form Petrogradsky Administrative District.

Culture - Contents

Music in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg has always been known for its high-quality cultural life. The world-famous Kirov Theater (known now by its pre-revolution name of Mariinsky Theater) is home to first-class ballet and opera. The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the best in Russia.St. Petersburg has also been home to the newest movements in modern music. For example, in 1972 mathematics student Boris Grebenshchikov founded the band Aquarium, an underground rock group that grew to huge popularity in the 70s and 80s. St. Petersburg was similarly home to Kino, headed by the legendary Viktor Tsoi.Today's St. Petersburg boasts many pioneering musicians. From Leningrad's Sergei Shnurov to the group Tequilajazzz.

St. Petersburg in the movies
Skyline of St Petersburg in the 19th century.
Skyline of St Petersburg in the 19th century.
(see also Cinema of Russia and Soviet Union)The end of the cultural predominance of St. Petersburg (and Moscow being chosen as the new capital) coincided with the dawn of film industry in Russia. Only few films achieved international acclaim and other international productions from Western countries couldn't film there. Lenfilm was the Soviet film studio based in St. Petersburg, however films that became known internationally were often based on famous literary works, such as quite a few Anna Karenina (a Russian and a French film, each of 1911; the first Western Anna Karenina has been shot in Petersburg after the end of communism) or several versions of Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Idiot (the first one, Russian, in 1910).Several Films deal with the complex history of the city many of which have propaganda purposes. Outstanding is the film Noi Vivi (Italy, 1942, see noi vivi at imdb), based on the novel We the Living by Ayn Rand, a film that comments on Italian politics by way of showing the October Revolution. Anastasia has been shot several times, famous especially the one from 1956 with Ingrid Bergman and Warner Brothers' musical ( USA, 1997). Giuseppe Tornatore plans a film about the Siege of Leningrad in 2005. The Russian Ark, shot in the Winter Palace (now the Russian State Hermitage Museum), let the audience meet various real and fictional personages from 300 years of Russian history, including the present. Der Untergang was also filmed in Petersburg because of similarities of the historical city centre and the center of Berlin of 1945.St. Petersburg also is seen in Interdevochka (also Интердевочка or Intergirl) by Pyotr Todorovsky in 1989 featuring impressive shots of the city. The cult comedy Irony of Fate (Cyrillic: Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!, English title: Irony of Fate) even if mostly shot at Cheremushki, Moscow) plays in St. Petersburg (showing some very nice pictures of St. Petersburg) and pokes fun at Soviet city planning.Fiction movies are e.g. GoldenEye (1995) or the action movie Midnight in St. Petersburg ( UK, 1996). Onegin (1999 featuring Liv Tyler) is based on the Pushkin poem and shows many tourist attractions. The Stroll (2003) by Director Aleksei Uchitel featured many attractions of the city with Irina Pegova playing the role of a mysterious, well endowed and enchanting Russian beauty. Two Brothers and A Bride (2002), originally titled A Foreign Affair starring David Arquette is a comedy about brothers seeking a mail order bride in St. Petersburg and end up finding much more. The International Film Festival in Saint Petersburg is held annually since 1993 during the white nights.

St. Petersburg in literature
The feverish life of St Petersburg's main avenue was described by Gogol in his stories, notably in The Nevsky Prospect.
The feverish life of St Petersburg's main avenue was described by Gogol in his stories, notably in The Nevsky Prospect.
It was said that St. Petersburg was the head of the Russian Empire, whereas Moscow was its heart. "The most purposeful city in the world" (as Dostoyevsky referred to it) frequently appeared to Russian writers as a menacing and unhuman mechanism. The grotesque and often nightmarish image of the city is featured in Pushkin's last poems, the Petersburg stories of Gogol, the novels of Dostoyevsky, the verse of Alexander Blok and Osip Mandelshtam, and in the symbolist novel Petersburg (by Andrey Bely).

Notable people
Numerous Russian and international aristocrats, politicians, artists, and scientists were born and/or have lived in Saint Petersburg. These include many of the Russian emperors, the novelists Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Ayn Rand, and Vladimir Nabokov, the composers Modest Mussorgsky, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Igor Stravinsky and Dmitry Shostakovich, the painters James McNeill Whistler and Kazimir Malevich, the scientists Leonhard Euler, Mikhail Lomonosov, Heinrich Schliemann and Alfred Nobel, the ballet dancers Vaslav Nijinsky, Anna Pavlova, George Balanchine and Rudolf Nureyev, and the politicians John Quincy Adams, Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, and Vladimir Putin.

Sister Cities - Contents

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