Botanical Garden of Peter the Great: Things to Know Before You Visit St. Petersburg’s Botanical Garden
On St. Petersburg’s Aptekarsky Island, the green paradise of the city’s Botanical Garden can offer respite from the built up metropolis. This garden is the most visited and well known of three botanical gardens in St Petersburg. Here is some interesting information about the botanical garden, including its history and when is best to visit.
When was the garden first established?
The founder of the city itself, Peter the Great, also founded the garden in 1714. Originally, the garden was used to grow plants which had medicinal purposes, in order to supply St. Petersburg and the Army of the Russian Empire. Many medicinal plants can still be seen in the garden today. Later, in 1823, the garden was renamed as the St Petersburg Imperial Botanical Garden, and began to take the form that can be seen today.
What is there to see at the Botanical Garden?
The garden covers a large 23 hectares, meaning that there is plenty to see. The main attraction is the greenhouse complex, which was first created in the mid 1800’s. According to the Botanical Garden’s website, this is the largest greenhouse complex in Russia. It is made up of 25 greenhouses, only some of which are open to the public. Within the greenhouses there are both subtropical and tropical plants, and overall they house over 13,000 species of plant.
Furthermore, it is possible to visit the Botanical Museum during your visit. This museum is linked to the history of Russian botany, and it is also dedicated to the planet’s vegetation, the evolution of the plant world and the role that plants play in human life. The main park also has many interesting attractions, including a sensory garden.
How much does it cost to visit the Botanical Garden?
To visit the entirety of the complex, you will have to buy two tickets: one for the park and one for the greenhouses, otherwise known as the orangerie (оранжери). It is only possible to enter the greenhouses with a tour guide, and a tour costs 500 roubles for adults, and 350 roubles for concession tickets. Visiting the rest of the park without a tour guide costs 250 roubles for adults, and 100 roubles for concession tickets. If you have an ISIC student discount card, be sure to present it when buying tickets in order to receive a discount.
When is the best time to visit the Botanical Garden?
A very popular event in the garden’s calendar is the night blossom of the cactus selenicereus grandiflorus. This cactus species is also known as the queen of the night, and is extremely rare. It has been cultivated at the St. Petersburg Botanical Garden since 1857. This year, the first night when the general public was invited to see the cactus in bloom was on the 22nd May. The flower appears for just a few hours, and the gardens organise a tour of the greenhouses along with seeing the famous flowering cactus.
Also note that, although it is possible to visit the greenhouses all year round, the main park is not open from October until early May.
If you are looking for something different to do in St. Petersburg which will not always appear at the top of a list of things to do in the city, it is definitely worth visiting the Botanical Garden. Not only does it offer the opportunity to learn about different plants, both native to Russia and others, but it also allows you to escape the busy city life for a short while and to enjoy greener scenery.
Leila, currently studying at Liden & Denz St. Petersburg