General Facts about St. Petersburg

Author: Dimitry Paranyushkin (on 30 May 2011)
Saint Petersburg is the second biggest city in Russia after Moscow. It occupies the territory of more than 600 sq. km and there are about 5 mln. people living in the city officially. It is also the most northern city with population more than 1 million people in the world. 

St. Petersburg was founded in 1703 by Russian Emperor Peter the Great on a swamp to become the new capital of Russian Empire and driving force for modernization. Three Russian revolutions occured in St. Petersburg in the beginning of the 20th century, therefore the city acquired a descriptive name, "the city of three revolutions". During the First World War in 1918 Bolsheviks moved capital to Moscow, but still many Russian relate to St. PEtersburg as the cultural capital of the county. St. Petersburg is considered to be the most "westernized" Russian city, it is a is a major European cultural centre with lots of museums, theatres and galleries.

Where Is It?

In the North-West of Russia, 2-3 hours by car from Finland or Estonia, and about 4 to 8 hours by train from Moscow.
Map of Russia, around St. Petersburg region



It's very much recommended to learn the Russian alphabet to be able to read street signs and other usefull things; 2) All streets numbering starts from Nevsky Prospekt; 3) The odd numbers are on the right-hand side of the street, the even numbers are on the left-hand side of the street.
The city is situated on the banks and islands of Neva river and Gulf of Finland. Peter the Great was a great fan of Amserdam and that 's why in St. Petersburg there are many natural and man-made canals and islands. City center is well organised, all the streets are perpendicular.
The main and the oldest street in St. Petersburg, is called Nevsky Prospect, there's the main railway station in city on this street, a lot of shops, cafes, hotels, and tourist sights. The street is 4.5 km long.
The area around Nevsky Prospekt is much calmer, and is a great place to walk around too. There are many museums, beautiful sights, little cozy cafes and restaurants.
Vasilievsky island, which is to the west of Nevsky Prospekt street, is a quiet residential area. On this island there are located St. Petersburg State University faculties and campus, so there are many places to walk around and inexpensive places to eat.

Climate in St. Petersburg

Weather conditions of St. Petersburg are far from ideal. St.Petersburg has a humid continental climate of the cool summer subtype. Winters are long and the temperature may vary between 0 to -30 C degress, while summers are short and humid with just several days of real heat. The weather can change several times a day. The day length in St. Petersburg varies across seasons. The end of May - beginning of July is so called White Nights period, when it doesn't get dark during the night and the twillight might last all night,.
Average weather in Piter (celsius): January -8 | February -8 | March -4 | April +4 | May +9 | June +15 | July +17 | August +16 | September +11 | October +5 | November -1 | December -5

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For practical information about St. Petersburg (accommodation, city guides, business travel, shopping, health and much more) see the Practicalities section of our site.



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