City Environs, Saint Petersburg
For the early birds: come to Peterhof before 9 a.m. and enter the Lower Garden free of charge. That is what I do. I love the nature and solitude. Have some seeds and feed the squirrels.
They switch on the fountains at 10 a.m.
St. Petersburg was founded and named by Peter the Great in 1703. It was his new capital and eye on europe where he was able to start his Navy.
The name changed to Petrograd in 1914 during a time of Russian patriotism.
Lenin and the Bolshevik's moved the capital back to Moscow in 1918 and renamed St. Petersburg to Leningrad in 1924.
In the fall of 1991 Lenigrad was again named St. Petersburg
A nice chronolgy of russian history
Ekektica Travel is one of the more reliable tour opeators offering day tours by bus to Peterhof, pushkin, Vyborg, city tour, and so on.
Tours are usually economical and in Russian language. Great if you go with a Russian person to help translate. Sometimes you can pay Russian price too :)
Fondest memory: Overnight excursions to Pskov was very nice, all in Russian language. They usually find the Soviet style hotels, basic and with small single beds.
Pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, les nazis pillent le Palais de Catherine la Grande - la résidence Impériale de Tsarskoïe Selo située à 30 km de Saint-Pétersbourg.
La fierté du Palais - une salle entièrement décorée en ambre de baltique - a disparu! Sans laisser ni traces, ni pistes.
Pendant plusieurs décennies les recherches se poursuivent: sans résultat! Il faut préciser que la Fameuse chambre d'ambre était unique et splendide comme le témoignent de rares photos prises avant la Guerre!
Et pourtant en 2004 le Ministre de la culture d'Allemagne, M. Michael Naumann a rencontré le Président Vladimir Poutine pour lui remettre... une mosaïque en marbre qui faisait partie du décor de la Chambre d'ambre!
Explication du Gouvernement allemand : elle est apparue récemment dans une collection privée. La nouvelle fait vite le tour du monde, est-ce que Tsarskoïe Selo va un jour accueillir à nouveau sa splendide chambre disparue: pas si sûr...
During World War II, the Nazis rob the Big Catherine's Palace - the Imperial residence of Tsarskoïe Selo situated to 30 km of Saint-Petersbourg.
The pride of the Palace - a room entirely decorated in amber of baltique - disappeared ! Without letting traces nor, nor tracks.
During several decades the research continue : without result ! It is necessary to specify that the Famous room of amber was unique and splendid as testify it of rare photos taken before the War !
And yet in 2004 the Minister of the culture of Germany, Mr. Michael Naumann met President Vladimir Poutine to put back him... a mosaic made of marble that was part of the decor of the amber Room !
Explanation of the German Government : it appeared lately in a private collection. The news makes the tour of the world quickly, is that that Tsarskoïe Selo is going to welcome its splendid extinct room one day all over again : not so sure.
Fondest memory: Où est la vraie "Chambre d'ambre" ? Des dizaines de chercheurs de trésors persistent à vouloir percer le mystère de la disparition de ces riches panneaux muraux volés par les nazis près de Saint-Pétersbourg.
Depuis sa disparition au coeur de l'hiver 1944-1945, les hypothèses -- comme les légendes -- les plus folles circulent sur le sort de ce trésor d'ambre ciselé du début du XVIIIème siècle, joyau du palais de la tsarine Catherine à Tsarskoïe Selo, l'actuel Pouchkine.
"Rien ne pourra remplacer l'original, unique", regrette le retraité Hans Stadelmann, depuis plus de quinze ans à sa recherche. L'historien amateur en est presque certain: c'est en Thuringe, sans doute "dans la centaine de salles aujourd'hui inaccessibles des souterrains du Gauforum", un édifice nazi du centre de Weimar, que se trouve l'original. La municipalité, elle, n'y croit pas. Mais il ne s'agit là que d'une théorie parmi d'autres
Where is the true "Room of amber" ? do the score of researchers of treasures persist to want to pierce the mystery of the disappearance of these rich wall panels flown by the Nazis close to Saint - Petersbourg.
Since its disappearance to the heart of the winter 1944-1945, the hypotheses--as the legends--maddest circulate on the fate of this amber treasure chiseled of the beginning of the XVIIIth century, jewel of the palace of tsarina Catherine in Tsarskoïe Selo, the present Pouchkine.
"Nothing will be able to replace the original, unique", regret the pensioner Hans Stadelmann, since more of fifteen years to its research. The amateur historian is nearly certain of it : it is in Thuringia, probably "in about hundred rooms today inaccessible of the underground of the Gauforum", a Nazi building of the center of Weimar, that is the original. The township, it, doesn't believe there. But it is only there about a theory among others.
Well, the feeling of being "blind" & not understanding most things wouldn't be a fond memory. At times, ignorance is bliss though ;-)
Given a chance, given more time, given lots more resources, given a choice & given an opportunity, the best thing to do is to learn a little of the language b4 heading to a foreign country. That is if it's the trip of your lifetime.
It's not possible for me... I'm traveling too often to have time to learn a new language b4 heading to that very country. That's just something I've to live with unfortunately. No matter that I can speak 3 languages which 3/4 of the entire world population understand :-)
Necessarily visit Peterhof. Unforgettable impressions...
Fondest memory: Went with friend so it was boring not ... Disco we have found not the best, but that have advised... And as to dance we like, had a good time very well...
Picnic in Peterhof on the day the fountains were turned on. I have never seen such an amazing site as the Kirov Ballet giving an outside performance surrounded by the fountains.
Fondest memory: Vodka drinking with Russians - you have to drink it down in one! I became quite an expert at keeping up with them in the end! We had a picnic in Peterhof and I couldn't believe it when a small bottle of vodka was produced to accompany it. Vodka seems to be drunk anywhere and anytime as long as there is food to accompany it.
TSARSKOIE SELO (PUSHKIN)
Evocative of the rosy days and the grey days of the Romanovs, the summer palaces at Tsarskoe Selo (renamed Pushkin in 1937 to commemorate the centenary of his death) were created for Empress Elizabeth and Catherine the Great. They lie 25km (15mi) south of St Petersburg. The baroque Catherine Palace was left in ruins by the Germans at the end of WW II but today is a masterpiece of restoration. The facade features golden domes and blue and white detailing, while the interior positively gleams and glitters with mirrors, chandeliers and tumescent cherubs. Don't miss the Fabergé exhibition. Just north of the Catherine Palace is the lemon-coloured Alexander Palace. Favourite haunt of Nicholas and Alexandra, it ironically became their prison when they were put under house arrest before being shunted off to Yekaterinburg. It's the least touristed palace, so in some ways the most pleasant, and now open after an eons-long renovation.
Join one of Peters walking tours. For USD8.00, you will be led around the city and given a very informative and interesting tour for about four hours. The tours are always different as the guides try to vary them so it's possible to do more than one. The tours start at the St. Petersberg international hostel around 10.30 every day. There are sometimes night tours where the local information on the 'in' night spots can come in very handy.
Fondest memory: One of my favorite memories is a day trip out to Pushkin and Pavlovsk. Catherines Palace at Pushkin and the grounds at both Pushkin and Pavlovsk are very impressive.
Favorite thing: Amazing fountains of Petrodvoretz! If you visit St.Petersburg from spring till autumn, do not waste your chanse to see this beauty, the park itself is beautiful in all seasons, but in winter the fountains do not work...
Of all the places I experienced in St Petersburg I would definitely recommend going to 'Petershof' - The Summer Palace of the Tsars. There are several ways to get there, but in my opinion, catching the Hydrofoil right across from the Hermitage - 250 rubles one way - you can cross the Gulf of Finland in about 30 minutes to reach Peterhof. Another way is by train also, which is much more economical, but definitely more complicated. I think the train ride costs about 12-15 rubles. Either way, just make sure your ready for the ride back to St Petersburg by 4:30 or 5pm, unless you savor the experience in staying overnight in a small Russian town! Of all the absolutely beautfiul sights in St. Petersburg, to me, Petershof was unbelievable. It is the summer home of the Tsars. The gardens, palaces, and fountains are just unbelievable. A person could spend days there walking through the gardens, taking a dip in the Gulf of Finland, seeing all the fountains, and the numerous tours and museums. They even have helicopter rides which are very inexpensive by American standards. I will be posting several pictures I took in the near future.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory? Wow...that is really difficult to do since I have so many. One of the major highlights would be walking through the gardens of Peterhof, a very romantic place, with a Russian lady that is very special to me. Also, St Petersburg is a city consisting of about 45 islands. There are canals, and boat rides available everywhere. Going on a boat ride, seeing much of the city center with the lady you love was probably very close to visiting Peterhof.
Favorite thing: Go to Novogorod, about 190 Kms from St. Petersburg. It was founded in the IX century and for about 600 years it was the most important russian artistic and political centre.
See Peterhof as the kingdom of fountains, the magical play of water that brings you back to epoch of Peter the Great!
Magical White Nights!