St Petersburg History and Culture
Founded by the legendary moderniser Peter the Great in 1703, St Petersburg is a remarkable testament to early urban planning and design. Immortalised in the writings of Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky; who set much of his ‘Crime and Punishment’ epic on the Nevsky Prospect, where our hotel is situated, the city was a mecca for progressive European thought and culture for much of the nineteenth century.
Despite its short life so far, Petersburg has a rich and exciting history. From the early days of Peter the Great's "Venice of the North", to more modern events, the city has always bustled with life and intrigue, revolution and mystery.
As Peter the Great's "Window into Europe", St Petersburg was conceived as a city unlike any other in Russia, taking its cues from the latest architectural and technical advances in Europe. To implement his vision, Tsar Peter employed hundreds of foreign experts in the construction and administration of his new city. Many rose to prominence in the Russian armed services and government, while others brought knowledge and expertise in the arts, crafts and sciences that boosted Russia into the forefront of the Enlightenment. Before the October Revolution, St Petersburg was one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities, and individuals and communities from all over Europe have left their indelible mark on the culture, customs, and built environment of the city.
St Petersburg is a beautiful and fascinating holiday destination and one of the most intriguing and historically significant cities in Europe. Whether you choose to visit the city in the midst of a romantic and snowy Russian winter or during the White Nights of the summer months, you will be spellbound by St Petersburg’s culture and beauty.
Photocredit © Brian Kinney, Sergey Degtyarev, Alex Yurko
read our st petersburg city guides
Plan your journey back in time with these stunning, gilded examples of the city's imperial history.
Read our St Petersburg city guides, and immerse yourself in Russia's cultural capital.