Our first official day in St Petersburg was great! We did not really have a plan and decided to just relax and take it slow at first. It turned out to be quite eventful and we saw a lot of places and buildings that we wanted to see during our time here.
We took a note out of the Eyewitness Travel Guide for Russia and started with a stroll along Nevskiy prospekt (prospekt means avenue). We thought that it would just be a nice walk along the busy street but soon realised that a lot of the big sites are either on or near this particular street.
St Petersburg has a big amount of interesting and beautitul buildings, monuments and statues. Overall it is much more picturesque and romantic when compared to Moscow. Have a scroll if you are interested:
First, we saw the Statue of Catherine the Great:
We then saw the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan:
The Admiralty which is situated next to the river, was originally built as a shipyard for Peter the Great’s navy. Today the Naval Engineering School occupies it. The gardens in front of the building proved to be quite slippery.
Just a stone’s throw away from the Admiralty, lies St. Isaac’s Cathedral. It is one of the world’s largest cathedrals and can apparently be seen from across the city.
The Bronze Horseman (a few meters in front of the cathedral) is a tribute to Peter the Great from Catherine the Great. His horse is standing on a snake which symbolises treason. The statue was named after a poem by Alexander Pushkin.
The Bronze Horseman is overlooking the Bolshaya Neva river. It is quite wide but to our surprise, frozen.
Thereafter, we saw the Winter Palace and Hermitage Museum:
In front of the abovementioned is a wide open area called the Palace Square. In the middle of this square is the Alexander Column. It is known as the world’s largest free-standing monument.
It was around mid-day by the time that we saw all of the above, so we were pretty hungry. We then found a very nice and quant restaurant. It is called the Biblioteka, which is very close to the word for library in my home language, Afrikaans. Accordingly, it was decorated with books and book cases. The Biblioteka has 3 floors, with floor 1 being the café area, floor 2 the restaurant area and floor 3 the bar area. They had a very nice lunch special. I would definitely recommend a visit to the Biblioteka!
After lunch, we took a detour from the main road and walked for about 10 minutes before stumbling upon the Church on Spilled Blood. It was built in the same place where Tsar Alexander II was assasinated. It looks very similar to St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow..
Right next to the cathedral, is a park called the Mikhaylovskiy Garden. And within the grounds, the Russian Museum can be found.
So, almost by accident, we discovered a lot of St. Petersburg in just one day! I can imagine that the parks, gardens and fountains look spectacular in the summer but it still is a big treat to be able to walk through snow!