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St. Petersburg is a city in Russia that was founded by Russian Emperor Peter I the Great as Russia’s “Window to Europe.” A beautiful city with an amazing history and an artistic culture to match.

The city of St. Petersburg is only 2nd to Moscow in terms of size and sheer scale, but after touring both cities, I find that St. Petersburg has greater things to offer compared to Moscow.

Find out why the country’s cultural heart and the old capital of the Russian empire became my favorite city.

JUAN WORLD PHILIPPINES
34i Le Grand Tower 2, Eastwood City, Quezon City
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Contact: (+632) 636 0739, +63 917 529 2200

Watch VideoA Tour of Russia’s Greatest Cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg and Murmansk

Russia Series
• ST. PETERSBURG: The Greatest City in Russia
• MURMANSK: The Northernmost City above the Arctic Circle
• MOSCOW: A Tour of the Iconic Red Square and Kremlin

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Just 1hour and 30mins away from Moscow is Saint Petersburg, Russia’s cultural capital, and the second largest city. St. Petersburg used to be the capital of Imperial Russia back in 1918.

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This French-inspired city is the 4th largest city in Europe and is home to some of biggest and the most beautiful orthodox churches in the world.

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Saint Isaac’s Cathedral is the biggest Orthodox church in Russia and is already the fourth consecutive church standing at this place.

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The massive cathedral took almost 40 years to construct and is still considered a marvel of engineer up till this date. It was built in dedication to Saint Isaac of Dalmatia, a patron saint of Peter the Great, who had been born on the feast day of that saint.

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It is hands down one of the most impressive structures I’ve seen in my travels. Just the sheer scale of the columns makes you wonder how they constructed these massive building without the aid of modern machinery.

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Russian Orthodox churches are very similar to Catholic churches in terms of design with the exemption of chairs. Instead of sitting for the duration of the mass, devotees and followers all stand together inside the hall as they hear the mass.

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Another equally impressive church is The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood which is unlike most of the baroque and neoclassical churches in St. Petersburg.

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The Spilled blood church design was traced back all the way to medieval Russian architecture similar to that of the St. Basil Cathedral in Moscow with their onion-shaped domes.

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The exterior of the church was under renovation when we visited, but the interior of the church is said to contain over 7500 square meters of mosaics.

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All the walls and ceilings inside the church are entirely clad in intricately detailed mosaics some with biblical scenes including the massive mosaic of Christ under the central dome.

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There are many impressive churches in St. Petersburg, and they all have their own unique trait and among my favorite is the Saint Peter and Paul cathedral located within a star-shaped fortress.

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Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral is considered to be the first and oldest landmark in the City. Commissioned to be Built by Peter the great, The cathedral’s bell tower is the world’s tallest Orthodox bell tower in the world.

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Upon entering you’ll notice that the cathedral houses the remains of almost all the Russian emperors and empresses.

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Which includes Peter the Great himself and Catherine the Great, the Empress of Russia for 34 years.

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Among the many emperors and empresses in Russia, Catherine the Great was the longest ruling female ruler in Russia. During her time, she commissioned the construction of various palaces for his family for different seasons.

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One of which is the Catherine Palace or also know as the Summer residence.

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The palace has been reconstructed multiple times during her reign and is said to have been decorated with more than 100 kilograms of gold back in the day.

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Today, almost everything inside the palace is reconstructed after a great fire that razed the whole building.

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The winter palace, on the other hand, is the fourth building to be built and altered continuously after it was severely damaged by a fire.

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Back in the day, the Palace was constructed on a monumental scale unlike any other. It was built by the Tzars to show the might and power of Imperial Russia.

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Today, the restored winter palace houses part of a building of the world-renowned Hermitage Museum.

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Most of the palace’s interior has been remodeled since the fire, but it still mirrors most of the impressive interiors and lavishly decorated halls and rooms.

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Originally the palace was designed with a baroque style interior but was later replaced with a newer Neoclassical design.

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In total there are a total of 1,057 elegantly decorated rooms, but only some of the rooms are open to the public.

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Also, part of the winter palace is the Hermitage Museum, the most extensive art gallery in Russia and is among the largest and most respected art museums in the world.

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The hermitage museum, the grandest museum I’ve ever seen is said to house millions of historical artifacts and painting from all over the world.

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Some of the important painting that the hermitage museum houses are that of legend painters like Leonardo da Vinci and his Madonna and Child.

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And a room full painting from Rembrandt and Michaelangelo.

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Also, a hall full of ancient Egypt artifacts including a real-life mummy or a deceased Egyptian whose skin and organs have been preserved to stop the body from decaying.

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Overall, I’d still prefer St. Petersburg over Moscow city. There are just more interesting things to see and do within and outside the city.

The entire hermitage museum alone can keep you occupied for at least two days.

Not to mention the surrounding historical churches are way greater and grander than the ones in Moscow. I also find that the locals in St. Petersburg are more friendly compared to those who live in the capital.

The only downside is that St. Petersburg has way more tourists and feels very touristy compared to Moscow.

JUAN WORLD PHILIPPINES
34i Le Grand Tower 2, Eastwood City, Quezon City
Facebook: @juanworldphilippines
Email: promotions@juanworld.ph
Website: http://www.juanworld.ph
Contact: (+632) 636 0739, +63 917 529 2200

Watch VideoA Tour of Russia’s Greatest Cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg and Murmansk

Russia Series
• ST. PETERSBURG: The Greatest City in Russia
• MURMANSK: The Northernmost City above the Arctic Circle
• MOSCOW: A Tour of the Iconic Red Square and Kremlin

Live an Awesome Life,

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NICO of Team Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: Our tour in Russia was courtesy of Juan World Philippines. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.