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St Petersburg Holidays and a Glimpse of Russia’s Glorious Past
St Petersburg is described as the most western of all Russian cities and has been Russia’s political and cultural centre for over 200 years. Centuries-old buildings, historical statues, and majestic cathedrals are among a host of cultural discoveries awaiting you on your St. Petersburg holiday.
The city’s main square, the Palace Square, is a tourist attraction not only for its impressive architecture but also for its historical significance. It was the centre of political conflicts that shook Russia, such as the Bloody Sunday and October Revolution of 1917, which led to its transformation during the 20th century.
The green-and-white Winter Palace on the square’s northern side was once home to Russian tsars, and its first dweller was Catherine the Great. Designed in ornate Rococo fashion by Russian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the palace houses a Military Gallery with a collection of 332 pictures of military leaders during Napoleon’s reign. Today, the Winter Palace is part of the State Hermitage Museum, one of the oldest Russian museums, with three million individual artworks.
A towering structure in the centre of Palace Square is the Alexander Column, a monument designed by Auguste de Montferrand and dedicated to Russia’s victory against Napoleon. Standing at a height of 155 feet and eight inches, it is the tallest column in the world, with an angel sculpture on top, which people say resembles the former emperor Alexander I.
St Petersburg’s cathedrals also stand out with their intricate designs. St Isaac’s Cathedral glistens on the St Petersburg’s skyline with its gilded dome wrapped in 100 kilograms of gold. The cathedral took 40 years to build and houses mosaic icons. It features an observation walkway at the base of the dome which allows fantastic views of the city. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan is another famous landmark. Built in 1811, it is the site of statues of Barclay de Tolly and Mikhail Kutuzov, Russian army commanders who resisted Napoleon’s invasion.