For European standards, St. Petersburg is a relatively young city, founded only in 1703. Its name changed from Saint Petersburg to Petrograd (1914), to Leningrad (1924), and back to Saint Petersburg (1991). Peter the Great founded the city with the aim to turn St. Petersburg into the Russian capital, once construction was to be completed. He wanted to create a “window to Europe” and a port and a fleet that could compete with the most powerful countries of that time. The Tsar invited architects and engineers from Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and northern Europe.
The city developed quickly and in the 19th century it became a European metropolis equal to Paris, London, Vienna and Berlin. It witnessed the revolutions of 1905 and 1917 and the horrors of Wold War II. The 872-days siege by the German troops between 1941 and 1944 dealt the city an almost fatal blow. But St. Petersburg was never taken and it raised again slowly during the Soviet Union and worked hard to reclaim its former importance.
And so it did! Today, just over 5 million people live in this vibrant and alluring city that offers an incredible amount of events related to any aspect of cultural life. The cultural richness of St. Petersburg is visible in every corner of its vast centre. When you walk down Nevsky prospekt, you find yourself completely surrounded by history, art and culture. In the vast historical centre you will discover beautiful buildings in baroque, classicist, eclectic and art nouveau style that harmonise perfectly with each other.