With its breathtakingly beautiful buildings and winding waterways, it’s little wonder that St Petersburg is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North.’ Indeed, taking to the water on a river cruise offers an excellent way to see the city’s most famous sites and soak up its rich history. From the ornate St Isaac’s Cathedral to the pastel colours of the Mariinsky Theatre, here are some of our favourite St Petersburg photos taken from the water to inspire your next trip.
One of the city’s most beautiful landmarks, St Nicholas Cathedral is also known as the Sailors’ Cathedral. Home to treasured 18th century icons and elaborate wood carvings, its magnificent golden domes and gleaming spires are easy to spot from the river.
Large and pistachio coloured, it’s hard to miss the imposing design of the Mariinsky Theatre. The theatre dates back to 1783, and is the headquarters of St Petersburg’s ballet and opera companies, viewed by many as the best in Russia.
Built by a French architect in the 19th century, St. Isaac’s was once the largest Cathedral in Russia. Whilst it no longer holds that title, its grand façade, which features elaborate carvings and a large golden dome, is as eye-catching as ever.
Located directly opposite the Winter Palace, the General Staff Building is equally as opposing and splendid. Designed by famed Italian architect Carlo Rossi – the man responsible for much of the city’s Imperial grandeur – the two wings of the building are connected by a majestic triumphal arch.
Seen as the birthplace of St Petersburg, the Peter and Paul Fortress was the first monument to be built by Peter the Great in his mission to create a new Imperial capital. It’s been used for a variety of purposes since then, variously as the resting place of Russia’s Romanov family, a prison for political traitors and a military base.
A 19th century battleship, the Cruiser Aurora had a key role in the October revolution of 1917. On the evening of 25th October 1917, a blank shot was fired from the ship towards the Winter Palace, acting as a signal to storm the building.
Intended to be the home of Peter the Great’s daughter, Elizabeth (who was at one stage, to become a nun), Smolny Cathedral was designed by Italian architect Rastrelli, who was also responsible for the Winter Palace.
A monument to the founder of the city, Peter the Great, the Bronze Horseman is clearly visible from the Neva River. Commissioned by Catherine the Great, the sculpture was created by Frenchman Etienne Maurice Falconet, and symbolises Peter the Great leading Russia into a new era.
An important emblem of Imperial Russia, the Admiralty is the meeting point of Nevsky Prospect, Gorokhovaya Ulitsa and Voznesenskiy Prospect. The location was chosen by Peter the Great as it was within range of St Peter and Paul Fortress canon, meaning the building could be destroyed if it were captured by the enemy.
Formally known as the Church of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, this lavish building earned its nickname on account of being the site where Alexander II was assassinated in 1881.
Murder, intrigue, crime and punishment… St Petersburg has it all. Those fascinated by the more ghoulish side of history will love these significant spots from fiction, and real life.