St. Petersburg is a Russian city of sudden and historic changes. From its dramatic birth at the order of Peter the Great, in the early years of the 18th century, the city has suffered turbulent years of revolution, the freezing death and starvation of the Nazi siege, the grim purges of Stalin and the end of the Communist era in the 1990s. Situated in the west, on the Baltic Sea, St Petersburg is a city of extremes. Peter the Great dreamt of a great northern capital to protect Russia from Swedish military threats. With energy and his personal knowledge of building and engineering, he oversaw the rise of St. Petersburg from the islands and swamps around the River Neva. By the time of his death, in 1725, he had forcibly moved the seat of government from Moscow, the Admiralty was building ships for the Russian navy, the imposing Peter Gate guarded the entrance to the Peter, and the Summer Palace and Menshikov Palace were already built. In the century that followed, his successors built ever more magnificent palaces, from the simple style of Italian architect Trezzini, for Peter himself, to the grandiose Baroque constructions of Rastrelli, for the Empress Elizabeth, and the restrained neo-classical designs preferred by Catherine the Great. Alongside the palaces arose elaborate churches from Trezzinis gold-spired landmark of St Peter and St Paul the final resting place of the Romanov dynasty to the confection of bright colour, domes and gold of the Church on Spilled Blood or the carved and gilded extravaganza of St Isaacs Cathedral. You can read The St. Petersburg Press, Prospects, the weekly culture guide of St. Petersburg, or The St. Petersburg Business Journal.


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