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St. Petersburg

Venice of the North

Built on a desolate swamp as a showcase capital of Imperial Russia, this grand city has certainly lived up to the expectations of its founder, Tsar Peter the Great. Today called simply "Peter" by its residents, for much of the 20th century the city bore the name of the country's first communist leader, Lenin. With its ornate mansions and tremendous cathedrals lining the riverbanks and winding canals, this dazzling metropolis seems almost frozen in time. The historical palaces are home to many museums, including Russia's largest collection of art and memorabilia from the country's political history. The birthplace of the Russian ballet and home of many celebrated composers, today the city has a growing underground art and music scene to offer. In early summer the legendary "white nights," when the northern sun barely dips below the horizon, add to the romantic atmosphere of the city aptly called the "Venice of the North," due to its network of canals crossed by more than 300 bridges. A full and diverse itinerary awaits visitors who choose to stay in the city more than just a few days. St. Petersburg is in Northwestern District. Make the most of your holiday in St. Petersburg by finding out about its attractions and choosing what to see using our Russia attractions planner .
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Best things to do in St. Petersburg

Where to stay in St. Petersburg

For luxury hotels with a price tag to match, you can't beat the city's historical heart--Palace Square--and Nevsky Prospekt, the main avenue that connects the square to the Neva River. The area around St. Isaac's Cathedral, at the west end of Nevsky Prospekt, also offers a great selection of luxury and mid-range options. If you want to see the other side of the city, consider staying on Vasilyevsky Island, at the mouth of the river. Increased competition means that St. Petersburg now offers a wide range of inexpensive but funky hostels scattered throughout the city.
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