Federal city in and former capital of Russia
Top 10 Saint Petersburg related articles
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Government
- 6 Economy
- 7 Cityscape
- 8 Tourism
- 9 Media and communications
- 10 Culture
- 11 Education
- 12 Sports
- 13 Transport
- 14 Notable people
- 15 International relations
- 16 See also
- 17 Notes
- 18 References
- 19 External links
|Established||27 May 1703|
|• Body||Legislative Assembly|
|• Governor||Alexander Beglov (UR)|
|• Total||1,439 km2 (556 sq mi)|
| • Estimate |
|Time zone||UTC+3 (MSK
|ISO 3166 code||RU-SPE|
|License plates||78, 98, 178, 198|
Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербург, tr. Sankt-Peterburg, IPA: [ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk] (
The city was founded by Tsar Peter the Great on 27 May 1703 on the site of a captured Swedish fortress, and was named after apostle Saint Peter. Saint Petersburg is historically and culturally associated with the birth of the Russian Empire and Russia's entry into modern history as a European great power. It served as a capital of the Tsardom of Russia and the subsequent Russian Empire from 1713 to 1918 (being replaced by Moscow for a short period of time between 1728 and 1730). After the October Revolution in 1917, the Bolsheviks moved their government to Moscow.
Saint Petersburg is known as the "Cultural Capital of Russia", and received over 15 million tourists in 2018. It is considered an important economic, scientific, cultural, and tourism centre of Russia and Europe. In modern times, the city has the nickname of the "Northern Capital" and serves as a home to some federal government bodies such as the Constitutional Court of Russia and the Heraldic Council of the President of the Russian Federation. It is also a seat for the National Library of Russia and a planned location for the Supreme Court of Russia, as well as the home to the headquarters of the Russian Navy, and the Western Military District of the Russian Armed Forces. The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is home to the Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world, the Lakhta Center, the tallest skyscraper in Europe, and was one of the host cities of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Saint Petersburg Intro articles: 24
A proponent of westernising Russia, Peter the Great, the then Tsar, who established the city, originally named it Sankt-Pieter-Burch (Сан(к)т-Питер-Бурхъ) in Dutch manner and later its spelling was standardised as Sankt-Peterburg (Санкт-Петербургъ[a]) under German influence. (The Russian name lacks the letter s between Peter and burg.) On 1 September 1914, after the outbreak of World War I, the Imperial government renamed the city Petrograd (Russian: Петроград[a], IPA: [pʲɪtrɐˈgrat]), meaning "Peter's city", in order to expunge the German words Sankt and Burg. On 26 January 1924, shortly after the death of Vladimir Lenin, it was renamed to Leningrad (Russian: Ленинград, IPA: [lʲɪnʲɪnˈgrat]), meaning "Lenin's City". On 6 September 1991, the original name, Sankt-Peterburg, was returned by citywide referendum. Today, in English the city is known as "Saint Petersburg". Local residents often refer to the city by its shortened nickname, Piter (Russian: Питер, IPA: [ˈpʲitʲɪr]).
Saint Petersburg was traditionally called the "Window to the West" by the Russians. The northernmost metropolis in the world, Saint Petersburg is often called the "Venice of the North" or the "Russian Venice" due to its many water corridors, as the city is built on swamp and water. Furthermore, it has strongly Western European-inspired architecture and culture, which is combined with the city's Russian heritage. Another nickname of St. Petersburg is "The City of the White Nights" because of a natural phenomenon which arises due to the closeness to the polar region and ensures that in summer the nights of the city do not get completely dark for a month.
Saint Petersburg Etymology articles: 7
Imperial era (1703–1917)
Swedish colonists built Nyenskans, a fortress at the mouth of the Neva River in 1611, which was later called Ingermanland, which was inhabited by Finnic tribe of Ingrians. The small town of Nyen grew up around it.
At the end of the 17th century, Peter the Great, who was interested in seafaring and maritime affairs, wanted Russia to gain a seaport to trade with the rest of Europe. He needed a better seaport than the country's main one at the time, Arkhangelsk, which was on the White Sea in the far north and closed to shipping during the winter.
On 12 May [O.S. 1 May] 1703, during the Great Northern War, Peter the Great captured Nyenskans and soon replaced the fortress. On 27 May [O.S. 16 May] 1703, closer to the estuary (5 km (3 mi) inland from the gulf), on Zayachy (Hare) Island, he laid down the Peter and Paul Fortress, which became the first brick and stone building of the new city.
The city was built by conscripted peasants from all over Russia; a number of Swedish prisoners of war were also involved in some years under the supervision of Alexander Menshikov. Tens of thousands of serfs died building the city. Later, the city became the centre of the Saint Petersburg Governorate. Peter moved the capital from Moscow to Saint Petersburg in 1712, 9 years before the Treaty of Nystad of 1721 ended the war; he referred to Saint Petersburg as the capital (or seat of government) as early as 1704.
During its first few years, the city developed around Trinity Square on the right bank of the Neva, near the Peter and Paul Fortress. However, Saint Petersburg soon started to be built out according to a plan. By 1716 the Swiss Italian Domenico Trezzini had elaborated a project whereby the city centre would be on Vasilyevsky Island and shaped by a rectangular grid of canals. The project was not completed but is evident in the layout of the streets. In 1716, Peter the Great appointed Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond as the chief architect of Saint Petersburg.
The style of Petrine Baroque, developed by Trezzini and other architects and exemplified by such buildings as the Menshikov Palace, Kunstkamera, Peter and Paul Cathedral, Twelve Collegia, became prominent in the city architecture of the early 18th century. In 1724 the Academy of Sciences, University and Academic Gymnasium were established in Saint Petersburg by Peter the Great.
In 1725, Peter died at age fifty-two. His endeavours to modernize Russia had met with opposition from the Russian nobility—resulting in several attempts on his life and a treason case involving his son. In 1728, Peter II of Russia moved his seat back to Moscow. But four years later, in 1732, under Empress Anna of Russia, Saint Petersburg was again designated as the capital of the Russian Empire. It remained the seat of the Romanov dynasty and the Imperial Court of the Russian Tsars, as well as the seat of the Russian government, for another 186 years until the communist revolution of 1917.
In 1736–1737 the city suffered from catastrophic fires. To rebuild the damaged boroughs, a committee under Burkhard Christoph von Münnich commissioned a new plan in 1737. The city was divided into five boroughs, and the city centre was moved to the Admiralty borough, on the east bank between the Neva and Fontanka.
It developed along three radial streets, which meet at the Admiralty building and are now one street known as Nevsky Prospect (which is considered the main street of the city), Gorokhovaya Street and Voznesensky Avenue. Baroque architecture became dominant in the city during the first sixty years, culminating in the Elizabethan Baroque, represented most notably by Italian Bartolomeo Rastrelli with such buildings as the Winter Palace. In the 1760s, Baroque architecture was succeeded by neoclassical architecture.
Established in 1762, the Commission of Stone Buildings of Moscow and Saint Petersburg ruled no structure in the city can be higher than the Winter Palace and prohibited spacing between buildings. During the reign of Catherine the Great in the 1760s–1780s, the banks of the Neva were lined with granite embankments.
However, it was not until 1850 that the first permanent bridge across the Neva, Annunciation Bridge, was allowed to open. Before that, only pontoon bridges were allowed. Obvodny Canal (dug in 1769–1833) became the southern limit of the city.
The most prominent neoclassical and Empire-style architects in Saint Petersburg included:
- Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe (Imperial Academy of Arts, Small Hermitage, Gostiny Dvor, New Holland Arch, Catholic Church of St. Catherine)
- Antonio Rinaldi (Marble Palace)
- Yury Felten (Old Hermitage, Chesme Church)
- Giacomo Quarenghi (Academy of Sciences, Hermitage Theatre, Yusupov Palace)
- Andrey Voronikhin (Mining Institute, Kazan Cathedral)
- Andreyan Zakharov (Admiralty building)
- Jean-François Thomas de Thomon (Spit of Vasilievsky Island)
- Carlo Rossi (Yelagin Palace, Mikhailovsky Palace, Alexandrine Theatre, Senate and Synod Buildings, General staff Building, design of many streets and squares)
- Vasily Stasov (Moscow Triumphal Gate, Trinity Cathedral)
- Auguste de Montferrand (Saint Isaac's Cathedral, Alexander Column)
In 1810, Alexander I established the first engineering Higher education, the Saint Petersburg Main military engineering School in Saint Petersburg. Many monuments commemorate the Russian victory over Napoleonic France in the Patriotic War of 1812, including the Alexander Column by Montferrand, erected in 1834, and the Narva Triumphal Arch.
By the 1840s, neoclassical architecture had given way to various romanticist styles, which dominated until the 1890s, represented by such architects as Andrei Stackenschneider (Mariinsky Palace, Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace, Nicholas Palace, New Michael Palace) and Konstantin Thon (Moskovsky railway station).
With the emancipation of the serfs undertaken by Alexander II in 1861 and an Industrial Revolution, the influx of former peasants into the capital increased greatly. Poor boroughs spontaneously emerged on the outskirts of the city. Saint Petersburg surpassed Moscow in population and industrial growth; it developed as one of the largest industrial cities in Europe, with a major naval base (in Kronstadt), river and sea port.
The names of Saints Peter and Paul, bestowed upon original city's citadel and its cathedral (from 1725—a burial vault of Russian emperors) coincidentally were the names of the first two assassinated Russian Emperors, Peter III (1762, supposedly killed in a conspiracy led by his wife, Catherine the Great) and Paul I (1801, Nikolay Alexandrovich Zubov and other conspirators who brought to power Alexander I, the son of their victim). The third emperor's assassination took place in Saint Petersburg in 1881 when Alexander II fell victim to terrorists (see the Church of the Savior on Blood).
The Revolution of 1905 began in Saint Petersburg and spread rapidly into the provinces.
Revolution and Soviet era (1917–1941)
On 7 November [O.S. 25 October] 1917, the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, stormed the Winter Palace in an event known thereafter as the October Revolution, which led to the end of the post-Tsarist provisional government, the transfer of all political power to the Soviets, and the rise of the Communist Party. After that the city acquired a new descriptive name, "the city of three revolutions", referring to the three major developments in the political history of Russia of the early 20th century.
In September and October 1917, German troops invaded the West Estonian archipelago and threatened Petrograd with bombardment and invasion. On 12 March 1918, the Soviets transferred the government to Moscow, to keep it away from the state border. During the ensuing Civil War, in 1919 general Yudenich advancing from Estonia repeated the attempt to capture the city, but Leon Trotsky mobilized the army and forced him to retreat.
On 26 January 1924, five days after Lenin's death, Petrograd was renamed Leningrad. Later some streets and other toponyms were renamed accordingly. The city has over 230 places associated with the life and activities of Lenin. Some of them were turned into museums, including the cruiser Aurora—a symbol of the October Revolution and the oldest ship in the Russian Navy.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the poor outskirts were reconstructed into regularly planned boroughs. Constructivist architecture flourished around that time. Housing became a government-provided amenity; many "bourgeois" apartments were so large that numerous families were assigned to what were called "communal" apartments (kommunalkas). By the 1930s, 68% of the population lived in such housing. In 1935 a new general plan was outlined, whereby the city should expand to the south. Constructivism was rejected in favour of a more pompous Stalinist architecture. Moving the city centre further from the border with Finland, Stalin adopted a plan to build a new city hall with a huge adjacent square at the southern end of Moskovsky Prospekt, designated as the new main street of Leningrad. After the Winter (Soviet-Finnish) war in 1939–1940, the Soviet–Finnish border moved northwards. Nevsky Prospekt with Palace Square maintained the functions and the role of a city centre.
In December 1931, Leningrad was administratively separated from Leningrad Oblast. At that time it included the Leningrad Suburban District, some parts of which were transferred back to Leningrad Oblast in 1936 and turned into Vsevolozhsky District, Krasnoselsky District, Pargolovsky District and Slutsky District (renamed Pavlovsky District in 1944).
On 1 December 1934, Sergey Kirov, the popular communist leader of Leningrad, was assassinated, which became the pretext for the Great Purge. In Leningrad, approximately 40,000 were executed during Stalin's purges.
World War II (1941–1945)
During World War II, German forces besieged Leningrad following the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. The siege lasted 872 days, or almost two and a half years, from 8 September 1941 to 27 January 1944.
The Siege of Leningrad proved one of the longest, most destructive, and most lethal sieges of a major city in modern history. It isolated the city from food supplies except those provided through the Road of Life across Lake Ladoga, which could not make it through until the lake literally froze. More than one million civilians were killed, mainly from starvation. Many others escaped or were evacuated, so the city became largely depopulated.
On 1 May 1945 Joseph Stalin, in his Supreme Commander Order No. 20, named Leningrad, alongside Stalingrad, Sevastopol, and Odessa, hero cities of the war. A law acknowledging the honorary title of "Hero City" passed on 8 May 1965 (the 20th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War), during the Brezhnev era. The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR awarded Leningrad as a Hero City the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star medal "for the heroic resistance of the city and tenacity of the survivors of the Siege". The Hero-City Obelisk bearing the Gold Star sign was installed in April 1985.
Post-war Soviet era (1945–1991)
In October 1946 some territories along the northern coast of the Gulf of Finland, which had passed to the USSR from Finland in 1940 under the peace treaty following the Winter War, were transferred from Leningrad Oblast to Leningrad and divided into Sestroretsky District and Kurortny District. These included the town of Terijoki (renamed Zelenogorsk in 1948). Leningrad and many of its suburbs were rebuilt over the post-war decades, partially according to pre-war plans. The 1948 general plan for Leningrad featured radial urban development in the north as well as in the south. In 1953 Pavlovsky District in Leningrad Oblast was abolished, and parts of its territory, including Pavlovsk, merged with Leningrad. In 1954 the settlements Levashovo, Pargolovo and Pesochny merged with Leningrad.
Leningrad gave its name to the Leningrad Affair (1949–1952), a notable event in the postwar political struggle in the USSR. It was a product of rivalry between Stalin's potential successors where one side was represented by the leaders of the city Communist Party organization—the second most significant one in the country after Moscow. The entire elite leadership of Leningrad was destroyed, including the former mayor Kuznetsov, the acting mayor Pyotr Sergeevich Popkov, and all their deputies; overall 23 leaders were sentenced to the death penalty, 181 to prison or exile (exonerated in 1954). About 2,000 ranking officials across the USSR were expelled from the party and the Komsomol and removed from leadership positions. They were accused of Russian nationalism.
The Leningrad Metro underground rapid transit system, designed before the war, opened in 1955 with its first eight stations decorated with marble and bronze. However, after Stalin's death in 1953, the perceived ornamental excesses of the Stalinist architecture were abandoned. From the 1960s to the 1980s many new residential boroughs were built on the outskirts; while the functionalist apartment blocks were nearly identical to each other, many families moved there from kommunalkas in the city centre to live in separate apartments.
Contemporary era (1991–present)
On 12 June 1991, simultaneously with the first Russian presidential elections, the city authorities arranged for the mayoral elections and a referendum upon the name of the city, when the name reverted to Saint Petersburg. The turnout was 65%; 66.13% of the total count of votes went to Anatoly Sobchak, who became the first directly elected mayor of the city.
Meanwhile, economic conditions started to deteriorate as the country tried to adapt to major changes. For the first time since the 1940s, food rationing was introduced, and the city received humanitarian food aid from abroad. This dramatic time was depicted in photographic series of Russian photographer Alexey Titarenko. Economic conditions began to improve only at the beginning of the 21st century. In 1995 a northern section of the Kirovsko-Vyborgskaya Line of the Saint Petersburg Metro was cut off by underground flooding, creating a major obstacle to the city development for almost ten years. On 13 June 1996 Saint Petersburg, alongside Leningrad Oblast and Tver Oblast, signed a power-sharing agreement with the federal government, granting it autonomy. This agreement was abolished on 4 April 2002.
In 1996, Vladimir Yakovlev defeated Anatoly Sobchak in the elections for the head of the city administration. The title of the city head was changed from "mayor" to "governor". In 2000 Yakovlev won re-election. His second term expired in 2004; the long-awaited restoration of the broken subway connection was expected to finish by that time. But in 2003 Yakovlev suddenly resigned, leaving the governor's office to Valentina Matviyenko.
The law on election of the City Governor was changed, breaking the tradition of democratic election by a universal suffrage. In 2006 the city legislature re-approved Matviyenko as governor. Residential building had intensified again; real-estate prices inflated greatly, which caused many new problems for the preservation of the historical part of the city.
Although the central part of the city has a UNESCO designation (there are about 8,000 architectural monuments in Petersburg), the preservation of its historical and architectural environment became controversial. After 2005, the demolition of older buildings in the historical centre was permitted. In 2006 Gazprom announced an ambitious project to erect a 403 m (1,322 ft) skyscraper (the Okhta Center) opposite to Smolny, which could result in the loss of the unique line of Petersburg landscape. Urgent protests by citizens and prominent public figures of Russia against this project were not considered by Governor Valentina Matviyenko and the city authorities until December 2010, when after the statement of President Dmitry Medvedev, the city decided to find a more appropriate location for this project. In the same year, the new location for the project was relocated to Lakhta, a historical area northwest of the city centre, and the new project would be named Lakhta Center. Construction was approved by Gazprom and the city administration and commenced in 2012. The 462 m (1,516 ft) high Lakhta Center has become the first tallest skyscraper in Russia and Europe outside of Moscow.