This is where is all started.
St. Petersburg, a city built on the order of Peter the Great by an army of conscripted peasants in a place no city was meant to be, is an amazing city today. It was meant as a monument to the power of Russia and as proof of a level of sophistication and elegance in Russia that rivaled any of the European countries. Founded in 1703, soon became the capital of Russia and the home of the nobility and aristocracy of the Tsars. This is were Peter Fabergé crafted his famous eggs for the Tsar. This is where Rasputin would become a legend and killed. This is where the wealth of a nation and the suffering of a nation would meet in revolution in 1917 and Lenin would rise to power.
It was also the first stop on our trip across Russia. After flying in here, we would head to Mongolia, by train, with stops in Moscow, Suzdal, Tomsk, Irkutsk, and Ulan-Ude, before finally getting on an Aeroflot flight back to Stockholm. Over the next few weeks, I'll be covering those here on the blog, so follow me!
Another treat of classic St. Petersburg is the plethora of churches...
Not only do the churches vary wildly in style, from the imperial Kazan Cathedral (top) to the completely charming Chesme Church (bottom, ironically a block or two from the massive House of the Soviets), but they are amazingly active churches. In fact, I have never encountered a more active church than the Russian Orthodox church in Russia. From the start of our trip to the end, nearly all churches saw daily and active use. In these two churches I just mentioned, we walked in on people in the midst of their weddings! Most other churches simply had a chapel open to the public during the day where people would come to pray or light a candle for their loved ones. In all of Russia, this was actually one of the most interesting things to behold.
Next week, we're off to Moscow!