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Saint Petersburg also known as Sankt Peterburg or Piter

Bronze Horseman

Bronze Horseman

Page Contents
General Information
Evenings
Additional Days
Mondays
News and Cultural Information
Weather and Climate
Tour guides
Inexpensive Accommodations
Hostels
Other Accomodations
Homestays
Offerings from the Lonely Planet's TT
Note: The Bronze Horseman
Note: The Amber Room

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General information 

Everbrite's personal suggestions for 5 days in Petersburg would be as follows:

  • day 1 - St. Petersburg city tour including the Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Isaac's Cathedral, Church on the Spilled Blood, and walk along Nevsky Prospekt to see some other notable buildings - note that these places are all open on Monday and since lots of other things are closed on Monday, this is important to keep in mind. See below for more things to do on Mondays.
  • day 2 - full day at the Hermitage including the two Gold Rooms. (There are several cafe/buffet options in the museum where you can get a snack. Take is slow and enjoy yourself.) Generally speaking the lines for tickets are long in the summer, but they can be avoided by ordering your tickets from the internet: Hermitage tickets. The price of 16 USD includes video and photo permits. Try to be there by 10:30 when the museum opens for a good walkthough.

    The Golden Rooms One and Two require separate tickets, which can be purchased at the museum for 350 rubles. If you do't buy your tickets via the internet, these special Gold Room tickets permit you to visit the rest of the museum for the same fee. No video or photos allowed; you will be accompanied by a museum guide.
    Room 1: Exhibition of medieval gold and precious gemstones. If you've been to the Moscow Kremlin Armory, you can avoid this.
    Room 2: Exhibition of gold and precious items from ancient times. This includes the Sythian gold collection and is not to be missed!! Tour times in English seem to vary from day to day, especially in the winter when we were the only people on the tour.
  • day 3 - Catherine's Palace and park in Pushkin and if you want to push, you could also visit the Pavlovsk Palace (this is easily all day and it might be too tiring to do both if you try to see more than just the main palaces.)
  • day 4 - Palace of Peter I and fountains in Peterhof, and take the hydrofoil back to Petersburg for a change of pace. The fountains are open from May 1 until mid October. (You could also visit the Chinese Pavilion in Lomonosov, but this would make for another long day)
  • day 5 - Yusupov Palace and the Menshikov Palace, which focus on two different periods of Petersburg history. The Yusopov Palace is where Rasputin was murdered in 1914. To visit requires that you make prior arrangements. The Menshikov Palace was the home of Peter the Great's side kick two hundred years earlier.

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Petersburg Evenings 

  • One summer or early fall evening take a night time boat ride through the canals. Be sure to bring along a jacket and a blanket as it does get chilly on the water.
  • For another evening check out if there is anything playing at the Mariinsky Theater.
  • Consider visiting a real Russian banya complete with dining room, swimming pool and sauna. Note that they don't permit you to bring birch branches, but you can bring in all the prepared food you want, and they provide tea service. Although the hotel itself is nothing to talk about, the sauna at the Hotel Neva is new and quite nice. You and perhaps up to 7 of your closest friends can rent it for several hours in the evening and have a pleasant time. There is a 24 hour grocery around the corner at which you can get supplies for a nice supper. The Hotel Neva is located at 17 Tchaikovbskovo Ulitsa, about 10 minutes walk from the Chernyshevskaya Metro Station. Telephone number for the sauna is +7 (812) 278 05 12.

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Day Trips or Additional Days 

Amber Room - Tsarskoye Selo

Amber Room

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Mondays in Petersburg 
Peter Paul Fortress
1703 House of Peter, the Great
Mikhailovsky Castle, an affiliate of the Russian Museum
Marble Palace
Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology but not the Kuntskammer Museum
Summer Garden
Russian Museum until 4 pm

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News and cultural information 
The St. Petersburg Times - THE English language paper in Petersburg.
City Vision
Exploring St. Petersburg
In Your Pocket.com site

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Weather for St. Petersburg 
Temperatures

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Centigrade
ave. temp. -5 -7 -2 5 9 16 18 16 10 6 -1 -5
ave. high -2 -3 2 10 14 21 23 21 15 9 1 -2
ave. low -8 -11 -6 3 9 12 10 6 2 -4 -8
Fahreinheit
ave. temp. 22 19 27 41 49 61 64 61 51 42 30 22
ave. high 27 26 35 50 58 70 74 70 59 48 34 27
ave. low 17 11 19 32 38 49 54 50 42 36 24 15

Average Number of Days of Precipitation

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
rain 5 4 6 9 8 11 9 8 9 13 9 4
snow 17 14 11 5 1 0 0 0 0 2 10 11

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Tour guides 
Palladium Travel contact Aleksei
Peter of Peter's walks
Russian Guide Network

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Getting Registered 
This was posted on the TT in fall 2004:
Puppet Theater is decent place with friendly staff that is not too far from major attractions, but the facilities are pretty basic compared to some of the others. Their fee for registration is higher than expected however. Try Intel-T in the courtyard of #29, Ligovsky pr, near Vosstania metro on Nevsky pr. They will register your visa for 600 Rubles for 2 months of registration. It is a little confusing to find. Go straight through the archway and turn left to a dark corner and turn left again to a short set of steps and you will come to a metal security door with intercoms next to it, one will be labled InTel-T in Latin characters. If the door is locked use the intercom. If it is open, go up to the second floor. (They are good people, doing travel for a very long time, but they just have to get a new entrance;>) There are others as well such as Baltic Transit at 108 Nevsky pr., but they charge a bit more. They are located on the right side of the second courtyard through the second archway.

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Inexpensive accommodations 
Hostels in Petersburg: 
hostels.com
hosteleurope.com
hosteling-russia.ru
Hotelling International or HI

The two most commonly known hostels in Petersburg are:

  • International Hostel
    28, 3-rd Sovetskaya St., St. Petersburg, Russia
    Correspondence address:
    PO Box 8, 53501, Lappeenranta, Finland
    Metro: Ploschad Vosstania
    Tel.: +7 (812) 329 8018
    Fax: +7 (812) 329 8019
    Email: ryh@ryh.ru

  • and the
  • International Hostel Holiday, which according to their website is currently closed for renovations.
    9, Arsenalnaya emb./1,Mikhailova str
    St. Petersburg, 195009, Russia
    Tel./fax: +7 (812) 327 1070, +7 (812) 327 1033
    Email: info@hostel.spb.ru

  • The International Hostel also operates the
  • Puppet Hostel
    12, Nekrasova St., St. Petersburg 191014, Russia
    Metro and then trolley
    From Finland station - trolleys #3, 8 & trams #14, 90 (3 stops).
    From Moscow station - tram #25 (2 stops).
    From Baltic & Warsaw stations – metro to Vladimirskaya, then trolley #3, 8, 15 or tram #28(3 stops).
    From Vitebsky station - trolleys #3, 8, 15 (6 stops).
    Correspondence address:
    PO Box 57, St. Petersburg 193312, Russia
    Tel.: +7 (812) 272 5401
    Fax: +7 (812) 272 8361
    Email: puppet@ryh.ru

  • and the International Hostel Holiday operates the
  • All Seasons Hostel can be booked through International Hostel Holiday
    4th floor, 11 Yakovlevskiy Lane, St. Petersburg, 196105, Russia
    Entrance code: 369
    Tel.: +7 (812) 327 10 70
    Fax.: +7 (812) 327 10 33
    E-mail: info@hostel.spb.ru
    Metro: 10 minute walk from the metro station Elektrosila
    Note that there is no lift.
    Reservations are made through the International Hostel Holiday.

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    Other hostels listed alphabetically include:
  • Menshikovskiy Hostel
    8 Menshikovskiy Prospect
    St Petersburg,195067,Russia
    Tel.: +7 812 2999806
    Fax.: +7 812 2998977
    Email: info@mhostel.netz-zinfo@mhostel.spb.ru

  • Metro tour doesn't seem to have a website or email address
    47 Blagodatnaya Str,
    St Petersburg, 196105, Russia
    Tel.: +7 812 388 5969
    Fax.: +7 812 388 5969
    located near the Electrosila metro station

  • Ostrovok doesn't seem to have its own website and it isn't located downtown, but it is near a metro.
    130 Bukharestskaya str, Korp 2, 13th Floor,
    St Petersburg, 192288, Russia
    Tel.: +7 812 7016497
    Fax.: +7 812 7762340
    Email: ostrovok-13@yandex.ru

  • Nord Hostel
    10 Bolshaya Morskaya Street
    Tel/Fax: +7 (812) 117 03 42
    Email: info@nordhostel.com
    Metro: Nevsky Prospekt
    This is a relatively new hostel in a great location just outside of the palace square, free internet, new facilities, breakfast included but not much communal space.

  • The St. Petersburg Traveller Hostel
    Sadovaya 25, St Petersburg, Russia
    Entrance from Bankovsky Pereulok
    St Petersburg,191023, Russia
    Tel.: +7 812 314 0814
    Fax.: +7 812 3100412
    Email: tenzorspb@mail.ru
    It is located 700 meters from the Nevsky Prospekt metro station.
    It doesn't seem to have it's own website but reservations can be made through BootsNAll.com

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Other accommodation options: 
The Helvetia Suites, an apartment hotel.
Hotel Guide for Petersburg - This is a comprehensive listing of hotels in Petersburg and reviews collected in 2002 by fellow TT user IdeaManEd. This list was updated and added to in early 2004.
The St. Petersburg "Official" website listing of hotels has several places that don't seem to be listed anyplace else on the web.
WayToRussia Apartments - apartment rentals,
Palladium Travel apartment mentals TT travelers have reported Alexei to be very helpful,
Apartment rentals also offered by Alexei and recommended by fellow TT travelers,
Premier Voyage Travel apartment rentals.
Apartment Hotel - an apartment hotel
Hotels on Nevsky Assoc.. The location is great, and prices are quite reasonable.

Homestays 
Homestays - HOFA or a mirror site Hofa in Russia These folks although located in Petersburg can arrange homestays in a variety of places including Petersburg, Moscow and Irkutsk.
Petersburg for tourists - they can arrange home stays and have some budget accommodation listings

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Offerings from the Lonely Planet TT 
March 2003 - Send a PM to Yaroslava, a resident of Petersburg is offering the spare room in her flat as a B & B.
June 2003 - B & B in St P, offered for 34 Euro/room for 2 people with breakfast, in the center, metro Vasilostrovskaya, can send picts, Email: edmarina@inbox.ru
June 2003 - Going to St. Petersburg for the first time? Hotels seem too expensive? I offer you my own apartment in St Petersburg with breakfast for only 19 Euro per night. Plus I'll provide you with all necessary info about my city for free. You are WELCOME! Email: natprivat@mail.ru
December 2004 - From Natalie:
Having moved to the US I still keep my apartment in the historical center of St. Petersburg. It is right on 93 Nevsky Avenue, the main street of the city. Only a 5 min walk to 3 main subway stations and a 10 min ride to all tourist attractions, entertainment and shopping. The windows face a quiet courtyard, though.
Can't be more central than this location.

Currently I am renting it to fellow travellers like myself - being aware of challenges to find a reasonable, clean, safe and central place to stay in a foreign country. More info about the place is at Nevsky Apartment.

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The statue, immortalized in a famous poem by Pushkin entitled, "The Bronze Horseman," stands on Senatskaia Ploschad' (Square), facing the Neva River and surrounded by the Admiralty, St Isaac's Cathedral and the buildings of the former Senate and Synod - the civil and religious governing bodies of pre-revolutionary Russia. This impressive monument to the founder of St. Petersburg was built by the order of the Catherine the Great as a tribute to her predecessor, Peter the Great. Catherine was a German princess, who had married into the Romanov family. After the death of her husband, Peter III, grandson of Peter the Great, she sought to establish her claim by linking her name to that the Peter the Great. On each side of the pedastal is the same inscription, once in Russian and once in Latin, "to Peter, the first, from Catherine, the second."

The huge granite boulder (called Thunder-stone) that serves as the pedestal, was discovered in 1768 on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. Weighing about 1,600 tons, it took nine months, until October 1770, just to move it into place. It was another twelve years before the statue, St. Petersburg's first public monument, was unveiled on August 7, 1782.

The sculpture was created by the Frenchman Etienne-Maurice Falconet, although the head was designed by his mistress and pupil, Marie Colot. Falconet wrote, "The monument will be simple, I shall limit myself to the statue of this hero, and I am treating him neither as a great marshal, nor as a victor, though he was both. More important is his creative personality, that of the benefactor of the whole country, and it is this personality that is to be shown to the people. My tsar is not holding any warder; he is stretching his benefactory arm over the country that he is trying to 'break in'. He is going up to the top of the rock that serves as a pedestal—this is the symbol of the hardships that he had to overcome... He overcame them by the persistence of genius... In other words, this is a monument to Russia and its Transformer."

It has frequently been noted that Peter gestures to the West, the source and inspiration for his ideas of transforming Old Russia. Peter's horse tramples on a serpent, generally interpreted to stand for the backwardness of Old Russia or its enemy Sweden whom Peter defeated. The equestrian statue has three points of support: the two hind legs of the horse, and the horse's tail connecting to the serpent.

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At the beginning of the 18th century, King of Prussia Friedrich the 1st Hohenzollern decided to renovate his castle. Andreas Schluter, the chief architect of the Prussian royal court, had the idea of using amber, a material never before used for interior decoration, to complete one of the rooms of the Great Royal Palace in Berlin. With help of the best German, Swedish, and Dutch amber masters the work started in 1701 and continued until 1713 when the old king died. Friedrich Wilhelm I, his son, had no interest in the project and ordered the work to cease; the finished parts to be packed and shipped to the Armory in Berlin. There they remained until the 1716 the visit of Russian czar Peter the Breat at which time the Prussian king ordered the craftsman to assemble the amber panels into a study and had them presented as a diplomatic gift to Peter the Great.

The pieces were shipped to St. Petersburg and eventually arrived but were left unassembled until 1746 when parts were placed in the Winter Palace. Then in 1755 Martelli - a worker in amber, who had begun to decorate one of the rooms in the Winter Palace, received an order to stop that work, collect the amber and use it for a study in Catherine's recently built Palace at Tsarskoe Selo. The panels were originally designed for a space smaller than this room in the third suite. Originally only sections of three walls were decorated with the amber panels. The uncovered parts were supplemented by mirrors, trompe l'oeil amber wallpaper and mosaics of the Ural and Caucasian decorative stones. The ceiling was beautifully painted and the floor was covered by mosaic of the most valuable wood species. The furniture was white with a light gilding and yellow silk, and glass display cases near the windows housed amber objects from Peter's collection. The room was completed about 1770, but required restoration three times during the 19th century because of damage caused by stove heating and temperature changes.

Before WWII began the Amber Room had be scheduled for restoration and so the decision was made not to remove the fragile panels but to disguise the walls of the Palace with paper, guaze and cotton. In 1942 German troops dismantled The Amber Room and transported it to Koenigsberg where it was mounted in the castle of Krolewiec. British bombing forced the Germans to disassemble the room as they retired from the area. However, it is known to have remained packed in boxes in the Koenigsberg castle as late as April 1945. Theories abound as to what then happened, was it destroyed by Allied bombing, buried in a silver mine not far from Berlin, hidden on the shores of the Baltic Sea, preserved in a private German collection. No one knows. In the late 1990s fragments of amber and a chest that was part of the decoration in the room surfaced but nothing more.

Work began in 1979 to reconstruct the Amber room using old photographs, drawings, descriptions and personal recollections. The project moved slowly and completion seemed unlikely until the German company, Ruhrgas AG, agreed to sponsor the work. It was completed in May 2003 for the 300th anniversary of the founding of the city.

This digital photo was taken in April 2003 before the room was completely finished. It is a small panel at the base of the wall, near the doorway through which one enters the room. It is taken in natural light.

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last revised 24 Jun 2006 © 2003-2011 Ruth E. Imershein
The information contained on these pages is intended to assist in making travel plans but things change, mistakes can be made.
Please do not depend entirely on this information when making your decisions.

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