the last several days have been spent in st petersburg. wow. this is such an incredibly beautiful city. definitely one of the most beautiful in the world. here you can pick pretty much any street in the city and almost every building you see will be great. even buildings that are “ordinary” and not famous in the least are still usually grandiose and amazing. walking through town, it’s one incredible sight after another. you could probably just wander through the streets aimlessly and never tire of the new sights you’ll bump into. the city is just bursting w/ museums, palaces, elaborate churches, statues, and monuments. on top of that, the city has something like a hundred canals that wind their way through town and are criss-crossed by cool bridges of all shapes, sizes, and colors.
trying to figure out how to tackle such a place was rather difficult. looking through lonely planet, i started highlighting places that i wanted to see in town, and i neded up with pretty much everything being highlighted. there was just too much to see here and we didnt know where to begin. luckily, there is lots of time to see stuff. we’re spending about a week here, and the days are long… really long. it’s white nights here and it doesnt get completely dark… ever. after crossing timezones nonstop for the last week, all of this is getting to be pretty disorienting. the sun doesnt start going down until after 11pm here, and even in the middle of the “night” at 2 in the morning, it’s not fully dark, and instead the sky is the color that it would usually be right after the sun sets. because of this, i can never really tell what time it is and it often feels way earlier than it really is. i’ll think it’s 6pm or so, and it’ll turn out that it’s half past 10. all of this works to our advantage though since we can wander around the city and look at stuff till really late. also, everyone in town seems to be up till all hours of the night and the city really seems alive even after midnight.
this photo was taken after 11pm. see how light it is?
so, the first day in town, we did this walking tour that we found in the book. it took us to see some of the highlights in the middle of town. we started off by walking through this huge double arch to go see the palace square. the square has the very ornate winter palace on one end, the Tirumphal arch on the other w/ a huge column in the middle. the winter palace is home to the hermitage museum but we decided to leave that for another day. after taking some time to walk along a few of the cities canals, we ended up at the church on spilled blood. this is one of the most colorful and cool looking churches in the city. it has the colorful onion domes like st basils in moscow but some of these domes also have spirals and others have jagged edges giving it an even more interesting effect. since that first day, i think we’ve ended up walking past this church at least once every day that we’ve been here in st petersburg. even though we’ve seen it a bunch of times now, it’s still really cool to look at each time.
Alexander column and winter palace through the arch
one of the many canals
Church on spilled blood
Church on spilled blood
we finished off the walking tour by taking in some more bridges and canals, seeing the Kazan cathedral, and then ended up at the Bankovsky bridge, a small but really cool looking bridge w/ two gryphons on either end. after the walking tour, since we were close by, we walked to this small monument to the seige of leningrad. during WWII, this city was under seige by the germans for *3 years*. i’ll probably post more about the siege later, but the monument was this sign left over from the seige saying “citizens!! during heavy shelling, this side of the street is the more dangerous one.” it’s pretty insane to think that people had to fear for their lives just by walking down the street.
sign on nevsky prosekt