St. Petersburg still boasts several examples of Peter the Great’s architecture. A stroll through its vibrant streets will allow you to discover a city so great, a tsar named it after himself. Figure out which season is best to visit the city, search for a St. Petersburg hotel and then set out to explore a city full of unique architecture and history.
The Cabin of Peter the Great
The first house built in Peter’s new city, the carefully preserved Cabin of Peter the Great combines traditional Russian and Dutch styles.
Peter lived in this modest wooden home, featuring tall ceilings to accommodate for his considerable height, from 1703 until 1708. Several rooms still contain his original belongings.
The Peter and Paul Fortress
On a small island in the Neva River, the Peter and Paul Fortress was built in the early 1700s to protect the area from Swedish attacks. However, Peter the Great’s army was able to divert the Swedish navy before it reached the city. As a result, the fortress never saw any military action.
Soon after, the complex was turned into a high-security jail for political prisoners, a role it maintained until the early 20th century. It contains a cathedral, the City History Museum and a mint.
For the perfect St. Petersburg day trip, you can pay a visit to Peterhof, Peter’s imperial estate, founded in 1710. Sometimes nicknamed “the Russian Versailles”, Peterhof includes the sprawling Grand Palace, the Grand Cascade and several gardens. While best enjoyed in the warm summer months, the estate is impressive even in the heart of St. Petersburg’s freezing winter.
Peter the Great’s Summer Palace and Garden
Located across the river from the Peter and Paul Fortress are the Summer Palace and Garden. The latter represents Peter the Great’s take on the royal parks he had seen while visiting Europe as a young man. To this end, everything – from the fountains to the marble statues – was created to meet early 18th-century landscape fashions. Completed in 1714, the Summer Palace is a small, two-story building that was used for Peter’s parties in the warmer months.