Created as a «window to Europe» by Peter the Great
St. Petersburg - then Leningrad as it was named for a good part of the twentieth century –quickly became the capital and the architectural showplace of the Russian empire.
Crisscrossed by numerous canals, it is a true «Venice of the North». The city has a wealth of attractions: the Palace Square, site of the storming of the Winter Palace, the Peter and Paul Fortress, the Russian Mint, and the Peter and Paul Cathedral, which became the resting place of the Romanov emperors.
Here at the Smolny Institute, the first school for women in Russia, Lenin planned the revolution that changed the face of the Russian Empire in the twentieth century. Do not miss the Hermitage, second only to the Louver in Paris for its collection of art. You might also visit some of the other residences of the tsarist family, Peter the Great’s country palace with its magnificent fountains, or the stately home at Pushkin and Pavlovsk.