St. Petersburg

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Saint Petersburg
St. Petersburg
flag coat of arms
coat of arms
Federal district Northwest Russia
City with
subject status
St. Petersburg
Inner structure 18 city rajons
governor Alexander Beglow
Founded 1703
Previous names Petrograd (1914–1924)
Leningrad (1924–1991)
City since 1703
surface 1431  km²
population 4,879,566 inhabitants
(as of Oct. 14, 2010)
Population density 3410 inhabitants / km²
Height of the center m
Time zone UTC + 3
Phone code (+7) 812
Post Code 190000-199406
License Plate 78, 98, 178
Geographical location
Coordinates 59 ° 56 ′  N , 30 ° 16 ′  E Coordinates: 59 ° 56 ′ 0 ″  N , 30 ° 16 ′ 0 ″  E
Saint Petersburg (European Russia)
(59 ° 56 ′ 0 ″ N, 30 ° 16 ′ 0 ″ E)
Location in the western part of Russia
List of cities in Russia
Peter and Paul Fortress . In the middle the two gilded towers of the Peter and Paul Cathedral
The Brazen Rider on Senate Square :
Monument to Peter the Great
Lenin statue in Leningrad. The building in the background was originally intended to be the seat of the city administration; for size comparison: there are people at the bottom right

Saint Petersburg ( Russian Санкт-Петербург Sankt-Peterburg ; also St. Petersburg for short , local nickname Piter after the name form Санкт-Питербурх Saint-Piterburch, originally based on the Dutch ) is the second largest city after Moscow with 5.35 million inhabitants (as of 2018) Russia and the fourth largest in Europe .

Saint Petersburg is located in the north-west of the country at the confluence of the Neva and Neva Bay at the eastern end of the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic Sea and is the northernmost metropolis in the world . The city was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great on marshland near the sea to enforce Russia's claim to access to the Baltic Sea. In 1712 it became the capital of Russia. In 1918 the Bolsheviks moved their government to Moscow. For over 200 years it had its current name, from 1914 to 1924 it was called Petrograd ( Петроград ) and from 1924 to 1991 Leningrad ( Ленинград ) was in honor of Lenin , the founder of the Soviet Union , in honor of Lenin ( Ленинград ) (the three names as well as the everyday Russian usage frequently used short names of the city, piter , listen ? / i ). Audio file / audio sample

The city was the capital of the Russian Empire from the 18th to the 20th century , is an important cultural center throughout Europe and is home to the most important Russian Baltic Sea port .

The historic city center with 2,300 palaces, magnificent buildings and castles than in 1991 World Heritage of UNESCO under the collective term Historic Center of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments entered. In this diversity, St. Petersburg can only be compared with Venice in the world .

With the 462 meter high Lakhta Center , the tallest building in Europe is located in the city.


Contrary to what is often assumed, Peter the Great did not name the city after himself, but after his patron saint , the apostle Simon Peter .

The fortress was briefly called Sankt-Pieterburch , then, like the city that emerged a little later, Saint Petersburg , in literature also called Paterburg or Petropol von Petropolis.

After the outbreak of the First World War , the German name Petrograd - literally "Peterstadt" - was Russianized on August 18, 1914 . After Lenin's death in 1924, the city was renamed Leningrad on January 26, 1924 . This happened at the request of the then Petrograd party leadership and, according to their statements, at the request of the workers who mourned Lenin's death.

The renewed name change of the city was justified by the Central Committee of the CPSU with the fact that the October Revolution led by Lenin had begun in it. On the level of symbolic politics , there were deeper reasons: Saint Petersburg had stood for tsarist Russia and had been the model city of the tsarist empire. Even then, Saint Petersburg was the second largest city in the country; that meant great prestige for the new namesake. The renaming to Leningrad symbolized the change in the social and political system in a prominent place and was perceived as such.

Popularly , even after the renaming (and is still used today), the abbreviation Piter (Russian Питер) continued to be used as a nickname for the city.

The poet Anna Akhmatova wrote in 1963 in her poem without a hero , apparently addressed to her good friend and Ossip Mandelstam , whom she referred to as a "twin" and who was the victim of the Stalinist purges : "We will meet again in Petersburg ...". Nobel laureate in literature Joseph Brodsky wrote in 1987 in Memories of Leningrad

“Leningrad, as much as I detest this name for the city. ... This city is definitely seen by the nation as Leningrad; with the growing vulgarity of what it comprises, it becomes more and more Leningrad. In addition, to the Russian ear, 'Leningrad' sounds as neutral as 'construction' or 'sausage'. And yet I prefer to say 'Piter', because I remember this city at a time when it didn't look like 'Leningrad'. "

- Joseph Brodsky : Memories of Leningrad , 1987

After the collapse of the Soviet Union , a referendum in 1991 led to a slim majority in favor of the renaming in Saint Petersburg. The decree of September 6, 1991 implemented this will of the voters. At the same time, many streets, bridges, metro stations and parks were renamed again. In connection with historical events, the name “appropriate” to the event is still used, for example “ Hero City Leningrad” when commemorating the German-Soviet War from 1941 to 1945, the “Great Patriotic War” in Russia (Великая Отечественная война / Velikaya Otetschestvennaya woina) is called.

The surrounding administrative area (federative unit) Oblast Leningrad (Russian: Leningradskaja Oblast) kept the old name after a resolution of the local Soviet.

Since 1988/90, the city has given its name to the mineral Leningradite, which was newly discovered on the Kamchatka Peninsula .


Description of the location and the effect of the proximity to the Baltic Sea

Satellite image of Petersburg and the surrounding area: From left to right Gulf of Finland, Saint Petersburg, Lake Ladoga . Top left is the border with Finland, in the bay in front of Petersburg the island fortress of Kronstadt and from there the dam in front of Petersburg

The city, originally built in a marshland , is located at the mouth of the Neva in the Gulf of Finland . The urban area covers around 1,431 km² including the suburbs that have been part of Saint Petersburg administratively since 1999, such as Peterhof and Pushkin , of which around 10 percent is water. The city consists of 42 islands . Originally there were more, but numerous canals between them have now been filled in. The city itself had to be built two to four meters above sea ​​level . The Neva estuary is roughly at sea level, and the first construction workers encountered groundwater at a depth of a few centimeters. The banks were fortified with granite blocks early on , which not only protects Saint Petersburg from the water, but also contributes a lot to the specific cityscape. Alexander Pushkin described it as: "The city is dressed in granite" .

Due to its location a few meters above sea level, the city is always threatened by floods . Kronstadt , located on a nearby island, is a reference point for zero elevation . The reference area of ​​this Kronstadt level is about 15 centimeters higher than the Amsterdam level valid in Germany and is in large parts of Eastern Europe and was the reference point for height information in the new federal states until 1993. The city has often been a victim of floods. The official statistics count 295 floods since the city was founded (status: 2003), 44 of them since 1980 alone. The worst floods were in 1824 (200 to 500 deaths depending on the statistics) and 1924.


Saint Petersburg is at the same latitude as the cities of Oslo and Stockholm , the southern part of Alaska and the southern tip of Greenland . It has a typical maritime climate , the weather is changeable and can change within a short time. Summers are comparatively mild with average temperatures of 19 to 22 ° C, but in winter the average temperatures drop to −4 to −8 ° C. The maxima are +37 ° C in summer (2010) and −42 ° C in winter (1941 and other, albeit uncertain, figures). Due to the location, it does not get completely dark at night at the time of the summer solstice (so-called " white nights ").

Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for St. Petersburg
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) −5.1 −4.1 1.1 8.1 15.6 20.1 21.9 20.0 14.5 8.2 2.0 −2.3 O 8.4
Min. Temperature (° C) −10.7 −9.7 −5.2 0.6 6.5 11.4 13.9 12.8 8.1 3.4 −1.9 −7.1 O 1.9
Precipitation ( mm ) 38 31 35 33 38 58 80 81 69 67 56 51 Σ 637
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 0.7 1.9 4.0 6.0 8.4 9.2 8.6 6.9 4.3 2.3 0.9 0.4 O 4.5
Rainy days ( d ) 10 9 9 7th 7th 9 10 11 12th 12th 12th 12th Σ 120
Water temperature (° C) 1 0 0 1 5 12th 17th 16 12th 8th 5 2 O 6.6
Humidity ( % ) 85 83 78 71 64 67 72 77 81 83 86 87 O 77.8
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Effect of the Neva

With a length of 74 kilometers, the Neva is a very short one, but one of the most water-rich rivers in Europe . It is up to 600 meters wide and has a strong current. The river covers around 28 kilometers of its route within the urban area of ​​Saint Petersburg.

Until the 19th century, the biology of the relatively shallow bay of the Neva was sufficient to purify the sewage from Saint Petersburg. Even today, the wastewater of the industrial city with its 5 million inhabitants only accounts for 2 percent of the total water volume of the Neva. In the middle of the 19th century, however, the first water-borne epidemics such as cholera and typhus broke out. During the typhoid epidemic of 1908 alone, around 9,000 people died. From 1910 onwards, the problem was initially remedied by changing the introduction conditions. In the 1950s and 1960s, the sharp increase in population caused the sewage problem to escalate again. Added to this was the increased pollution of the Neva along its course of the river - it drains Lake Ladoga , on the banks of which there are numerous factories and which itself absorbs the wastewater from numerous Russian cities via its feeder. A sewage treatment plant was built, but up to now 25 to 30 percent of the urban sewage reaches the river and the bay untreated. Mainly freshwater, but also some brackish water inhabitants live in the bay. The biological system is highly changeable and suffers from human interference. Together with Moscow , Petersburg is considered one of the most polluted cities in Russia.

Since 1978, the Soviet government had the Petersburg dam built across the Neva Bay to protect the city from flooding. In contrast to most of the floods caused by rivers, the floods on the Neva do not result from the fact that the river brings more water with it from its upper reaches, but rather from the fact that westerly winds press into the Gulf of Finland and prevent the outflow of the water or, in extreme cases, the direction of flow reverses.

The construction was temporarily abandoned at the end of the 1980s for reasons of environmental protection: the dam disrupted the circulation of the coastal water, large parts of the water stood still, and the water quality sank considerably. Fears are that the entire bay could turn into a swamp. However, the dam has continued to be built since 1990 with Dutch help and the support of the European Investment Bank , and was completed in 2010. Since the environmental protection arguments against the dam still exist, the issue remains very controversial in the city.

Administrative structure

City districts of Saint Petersburg (numbering in Cyrillic alphabetical order)

Saint Petersburg is divided into 18 districts called “ Rajon ”, which in turn are subdivided into a total of 111 administrative units of the next level (81 municipal districts, 9 cities, 21 settlements).

No. Rajon Russian name Resident
January 12, 1989
October 9, 2002
January 1, 2010
Subordinate cities
01 Admiralteiski Адмиралтейский 230.186 187.837 170.315
17th Frunsenski Фрунзенский 433.420 405.274 390.980
04th Kalininski Калининский 511,794 469,409 456.984
05 Kirowski Кировский 391.721 338.820 320.119
06th Kolpinski Колпинский 179.014 175.396 183,596 Kolpino
07th Krasnogwardeiski Красногвардейский 377.765 336,342 323,633
08th Krasnoselski Красносельский 315,561 305.129 307,801 Krasnoye Selo
09 Kronstadtski Кронштадтский 045.053 043,385 042,755 Kronstadt
10 Kurortny Курортный 071.151 067,511 068.020 Zelenogorsk , Sestroreetsk
11 Moskovsky Московский 352.924 275,884 290,290
12th Nevsky Невский 446602 438.061 439,761
14th Petrodworzowy Петродворцовый 123.219 115,318 116,919 Lomonosov , Peterhof
13 Petrogradsky Петроградский 174,300 134,607 124,790
15th Primorsky Приморский 208,387 393.960 415,809
16 Pushkinsky Пушкинский 129,436 118.171 124,798 Pavlovsk , Pushkin
02 Vasileostrovsky Василеостровский 229.936 199,692 195.115
03 Vyborgsky Выборгский 460,855 419,567 410.043
18th Zentralny Центральный 342.182 236.856 218,548


  1. 1989 Leninsky and Oktyabrsky Rajons, which were united in the 1990s.
  2. a b c was subordinate to the city of Soviet Leningrad in 1989 , but did not belong to the city proper.
  3. In 1989, as the city of Kronstadt (not a Rajon), was subordinate to the Leningrad City Soviet, but was not part of the city proper.
  4. was subordinate to the Leningrad City Soviet as Sestrorezk Rajon in 1989, but did not belong to the city proper.
  5. 1989 Petrodvorets.
  6. 1989 Dzerzhinsky, Kuibyshevsky and Smolninsky districts, which were united in the 1990s.


Historical map (around 1888)

Prehistory, foundation and structure of the city

The founding of the city of Saint Petersburg is the subject of a political myth woven around Peter the Great . According to this, the far-sighted tsar is said to have chosen an uninhabited and barren swampy landscape at the mouth of the Neva as the location of his future capital, a " window to Europe " for Russia , when he first saw it. The most eloquent and most frequently quoted formulation of this myth of the willpower of Peter the Great who created a “capital city out of nowhere” can be found in the poem The Iron Rider (1834) by Alexander Pushkin .

In fact, the area of ​​the lower Neva had long before been part of a cultural landscape , the Ingermanland . Since the 10th century, representatives of various Finno-Ugric peoples have lived there for the most part from agriculture. At the beginning of the 14th century, Sweden and Novgorod fought over the area. A Swedish settlement on this site, known as Landskrona , was reportedly destroyed in 1301. Then it was agreed to consider the region as a buffer zone between the spheres of influence, in which no fortresses were allowed to be built.

In the following centuries the area was used at least as a landing point for ships sailing on the Neva, but possibly as a trading post. The latter certainly applies to the period of renewed Swedish dominance in the region after the Nyenschanz fortress was built in 1611 and the Nyen settlement soon surrounding it . Both were in the urban area of ​​today's Saint Petersburg on the north (or right) bank of the Neva. There are indications that the Swedes had greater urban planning ambitions for Nyen in the 17th century. However, these plans suffered a major setback when the settlement and fortress were destroyed by Russian troops in 1656 during the Second Northern War .

The early reconstruction was followed on May 1, 1703, during the Great Northern War , with the final conquest of Nyenschanz by the Russians advancing down the Neva under Sheremetev . By this time Nyen had already been evacuated and partially destroyed by the Swedes themselves. The end of Nyen and Nyenschanz also marked the beginning of the history of the city of Saint Petersburg. Officially, it is associated with the date May 16th jul. / May 27th 1703 greg. . On this day, the foundation stone for the Peter and Paul Fortress , named after the Tsar's patron saint, was laid on an island opposite Nyenschanz in the Neva Delta . In documents and cards from the founding period, in addition to the German name Sankt Petersburg, the Dutch-sounding Sankt Piter Bourgh or St. Petersburch can be found .

There are no sources that would credibly prove that Peter the Great viewed the bulwark from the start as the nucleus of a larger settlement or even his future capital. First and foremost, the Peter and Paul Fortress was supposed to take over the function of Nyenschanz, that is, to strategically secure the Neva estuary, only now for the Russians. The external conditions for founding a city were extremely unsuitable, so far the tradition is correct. The delta was frequently hit by flooding and much of the area was not even suitable for agriculture . Only a few fishermen stayed here in the summer months. Later, due to the unfavorable location, floods would occur again and again, in which numerous residents lost their lives.

The fact that Peter the Great finally chose this place for his new capital despite the adverse conditions is due to the fact that a seaport could be built here and that there was also a connection to the internal Russian river system . This is expressed in the city arms by showing both a sea anchor and an inland anchor next to the scepter . Furthermore, the proximity to Western Europe was decisive, as Peter the Great wanted to modernize Russia .

Only from 1706 onwards, through the forced recruitment of numerous serfs for construction work on the Neva estuary, a real plan for the construction of a new city became apparent. As soon as this goal was in sight, it was implemented with great emphasis and ruthlessness by Tsar Peter in a few years. As the city rose to its foundations, he banned the construction of stone buildings anywhere in Russia outside of Saint Petersburg - every available stonemason should work on the construction of the new Russian capital. The escape of workers from the city and from the often fatal construction project was punished with severe penalties.

Engraving: Saint Petersburg and Neva (1753)

In 1706 30,000 serfs were forcibly recruited into the tsarist monarchy of Russia , in 1707 there were 40,000. About half of them managed to escape on the way northwest. Tens of thousands of slave laborers and serfs were believed to have died while the city was being built. They died of malaria , scurvy , dysentery or simply of hunger and exhaustion. Large parts of the city are built on stilts in the ground, and due to the large number of deaths during construction, many people say that it actually rests on skeletons. In addition, Russia was still at war with Sweden until 1721, several skirmishes took place near the recently founded tsar's residence (see attacks on Saint Petersburg ). It was only after the Swedes were defeated in the Battle of Poltava in 1709 that the city could largely be regarded as secure.

Griboyedov Canal. One of the many canals in Saint Petersburg
Industrial and port facilities on the Neva
Catherine Palace, garden view
The "Twelve Colleges", seat of the Russian ministries under Peter I.

Since the Russian nobility was not ready to move to the city, Peter ordered him to Saint Petersburg. The families had to move into the city with their entire household at their own expense, into houses whose style and size were precisely defined. In 1714 there were around 50,000 inhabited houses in Saint Petersburg, the city was the first in Russia to have an official police force and an effectively functioning fire brigade . The city center was artificially lit in the evenings and at night, and residents were encouraged to plant trees.

Saint Petersburg becomes the capital

The Tsar's building program could only be carried out with drastic measures. Building materials were a rare commodity at the Neva estuary. In 1710 , for example, a decree was issued according to which every inhabitant of the city had to deliver 100 stones a year or to pay a heavy fine. Every cargo ship calling into the city had to deliver a certain percentage of the load of stones. A decree of 1714 said that stone buildings could only be built in Saint Petersburg (this decree was not repealed until 1741). The tsar's draconian decrees proved successful: as early as 1712, Peter the Great declared Saint Petersburg instead of Moscow the capital of Russian tsarism (from 1721: of the Russian Empire ). With one small interlude in the years 1728–1732 when the court resided in Moscow again, Petersburg remained the capital of Russia until 1918.


St. Petersburg and the surrounding area at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century
Winter Palace (now home of the Hermitage) from Palace Square taken from

Peter brought craftsmen and engineers from all over Europe, especially from Germany and the Netherlands , to make the new capital a center of European technology and science right from the start. At this time the German-language St. Petersburgische Zeitung was founded, the first and now oldest newspaper in the city. The city continued to grow. In 1725 St. Petersburg already had 70,000 inhabitants.

After the death of Peter the Great in 1725, the Russian rulers' enthusiasm for the window on Europe subsided . In 1727 Moscow became the capital again for a short time. Only Empress Anna returned to St. Petersburg and made St. Petersburg the capital again. Anna's urban planning decisions will shape Petersburg into the 21st century. On the one hand, it moved the city center from what is now known as the Petrograd side to the Admiralty side of the Neva, and on the other, it laid out the most important main streets, the Nevsky Prospect , the Gorokhovaya Ulitsa and the Vosnesensky Prospect . Nevertheless, she continued to reside in Moscow more often and more often.

Empress Elisabeth (1741–1762) and above all Catherine II “the Great” (1762–1796) opened the empire to the west again by bringing artists and architects to Saint Petersburg. Through Katharina's invitation manifesto, among other things, religious freedom and self-administration at the local level with German as the language were assured, as well as financial start-up aid. Most of the magnificent buildings that still define the cityscape were built in Elizabeth's time. Among other things, she had the Winter Palace and the Smolny Monastery built. She had the Catherine Palace redesigned in honor of her mother, and the style of Francesco Rastrelli began to shape the city.

Probably the most important figure in the history of the city after Peter is Catherine the Great, who ascended the throne in 1762. She saw herself - at least until the French Revolution - committed to the spirit of the Enlightenment and relied on education and art. During her time, Catherine II founded 25 academic institutions and the Smolny Institute, the first Russian state school for girls. The equestrian statue of Peter the Great , a symbol of the city, also dates from this period.

At the end of the 18th and first half of the 19th century, the city experienced a heyday, initially mainly in the cultural, and later in the scientific-technical field. The first Russian ballet school was established in the city in 1738. The Akademie der Künste opened in 1757 and has been training painters, sculptors and architects since then. Theaters and museums, secondary schools and libraries emerged: in 1783 the Mariinsky Theater was opened, in which the great national operas of Mikhail Glinka were later to be performed. In 1810 a military engineering school was founded, the first higher educational institute for engineers in Russia (after several renaming, so in 1855 in Nikolayevsky Military Academy of Engineering and most recently in 1997, it now exists as a military engineering university ). In 1819 the Pedagogical Institute became the St. Petersburg University . With a few exceptions, mainly German craftsmen were involved in making Saint Petersburg the center of Russian piano manufacture. In the course of the 19th century there were 60 manufactories and factories for piano construction in Saint Petersburg, including Tischner , Diederichs , Mühlbach , Becker , Lichtenthal , Tresselt , Ihse and Wirth .

Alexander II of Russia
Burial chapel of the last imperial family in the Peter and Paul Cathedral
The cruiser Aurora , symbol of the October Revolution of 1917, lies in front of the Cadet Academy today.

The abolition of serfdom in Russia by Emperor Alexander II ensured that numerous people immigrated to the city from 1861 onwards. The population skyrocketed within a few years.

Writers and intellectuals formed literary circles and published dictionaries and magazines. The Brockhaus-Efron was written in Saint Petersburg in 1890 as the first Russian encyclopedia. The most important magazines include the Polarstern by Rylejew and Bestuschew or Pushkin's Sovremennik (The Contemporary) .

Uprisings, assassinations, revolutions

All important revolts and revolutions in Russian history took place in the military and government city of Saint Petersburg until 1918, the Decembrist uprising in 1825 as well as the events that led to the establishment of the Soviet Union in the long term . Unrest and minor uprisings increased in Saint Petersburg at the end of the 19th century. The city was the scene of numerous attacks against members of the Tsar's court and the Russian administration; Among other things, Alexander II was murdered here in 1881.

Revolutionary parties and associations were formed, which were bloodily persecuted by the police. The revolution from 1905 to 1907 began in Saint Petersburg with Blood Sunday . As a result, the second Duma in Russian history was opened in the city, but it remained politically uninfluential. The February Revolution of 1917 took place mainly in Saint Petersburg. The starting signal for the October Revolution of 1917 was given by a shot from the cruiser Aurora in Petrograd harbor. The nearby port of Kronstadt was the center of an anarchist and councilor- communist- inspired sailors' uprising against the dictatorship of the Bolsheviks , which was bloodily suppressed by Leon Trotsky . Lenin (again) declared Moscow the Soviet and Russian capital. The city's population sank significantly within a few years, primarily due to the civil war and the famine it caused, and secondarily due to the loss of status and the relocation of the entire government and administration to Moscow.


After Lenin's death, the former city of the tsars was renamed Leningrad. This was decided by the second council congress of the USSR on January 26, 1924 at the request of the Petrograd Council of Deputies. Nevertheless, the center of power in the Soviet Union shifted more and more to Moscow. While the functionaries of the CPSU in Leningrad initially had state influence, that changed with the expansion of Stalin's personal power . In 1934, as part of the Stalinist purges, the popular Leningrad party leader Sergei Kirov was murdered in his office, the former chairman of the Petrograd Soviet Grigory Zinoviev fell victim to a show trial , and another former chairman of the Petrograd Soviet, Leon Trotsky , was killed in 1940 in exile in Mexico .

The conflict between Moscow and Leningrad was evident in urban planning. The general plan of 1935 provided for the city center to be relocated to the south, to the newly created Moscow Square on Moscow Prospect . The center of Leningrad was to be the House of the Soviets on its east side , similar to the Palace of the Soviets planned for Moscow . The Moscow Square and its surroundings are laid out in the shape of the typical center of the socialist city , as it could be found dozens of times in the Soviet Union. The outbreak of the Second World War and material difficulties ultimately meant the end of the relocation of the center. The square is still the largest in the city today. Observers generally rate the Leningrad general plan as an attack on old Petersburg. The relocation of the center was intended to devalue old Saint Petersburg. The shape and name (“Moscow Square”, “Moscow Prospect”) of the new center were intended to deprive the city of its uniqueness and make it one of many Soviet cities.

Leningrad blockade

During the Second World War , the city was besieged for 871 days by German troops under General Field Marshal Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb (supreme command until January 16, 1942). During the siege from September 8, 1941 to January 27, 1944, during which the Wehrmacht did not attempt to conquer Leningrad on Hitler's orders , but instead systematically cut off all supplies, over a million civilians died. A secret directive from the High Command of the Wehrmacht on September 23, 1941 read: “The Fiihrer is determined to make the city of Petersburg disappear from the face of the earth. After the overthrow of Soviet Russia, there was no interest in the continued existence of this large settlement. ” From spring 1942, the historical Ingermanland , to which a large part of the Leningrad area belonged, was then included as a“ German settlement area ”in the annexation plans of the General Plan East . This implied the genocide of the approximately three million inhabitants of Leningrad, who would no longer have had a place in this “reorganization of the eastern region”.

During the time of the German siege of Leningrad, food to supply the metropolis could only be brought to Leningrad with great danger by plane or in winter via the icy Ladoga lake by rail and truck (“ Road of Life ”). The route across the lake was in the Wehrmacht's field of fire; on average, one of three trucks that had started arrived in Leningrad. The situation was particularly dramatic in 1941. A large part of the food supplies were destroyed by air raids, and winter came unusually early. The dropping of counterfeit grocery receipts from Wehrmacht aircraft did the rest. The rations dropped in October to 400 grams of bread for workers and 200 grams for children and women. On November 20, 1941, they were reduced to 250 grams and 125 grams, respectively. In addition, temperatures of as low as −40 degrees Celsius prevailed in a city where heating material was extremely scarce. Around 53,000 people died in December 1941 alone. Many of them simply fell over in the street from exhaustion.

Memorial to commemorate the blockade of the city

During the siege, around 150,000 artillery shells were shot down on the city and around 100,000 aerial bombs were dropped. When the Red Army tried to blow up the siege, around 500,000 Soviet soldiers were also killed. Attempts in 1941 and 1942 failed, only with the capture of Schlüsselburg on January 18, 1943 was it possible to re-establish a supply line to the city. The offensive that was supposed to liberate the city began on January 14, 1944 and was brought to a conclusion on January 27, 1944.

Until the 1980s, some historians saw the Leningrad blockade not in connection with the National Socialist extermination policy, but rather disconnected it, for example by Joachim Hoffmann , as “one of the common and undisputed methods of warfare” under international law. In current historical research, the character of the blockade as “genocide” is worked out, which was not a fateful event in the context of an allegedly international law-compliant warfare, but on the basis of a “racially motivated hunger policy”, combined with self-created practical constraints, an integral part of the German war of annihilation against the Soviet Union was. The historians Jörg Ganzenmüller , Johannes Hürter and Adam Tooze show in more recent studies that the starvation of the inhabitants of Soviet cities, with Leningrad in an outstanding position, was specifically factored in by the German warfare, if only because the food necessary for their supply for the Wehrmacht and the Civilian populations in Germany and the occupied Western European countries were planned.

After the Second World War

The treatment of Leningrad after the Great Patriotic War , as the struggle against Germany in World War II is called in Russia, was contradicting itself. On the one hand, the city had become the Soviet symbol of resistance and suffering in war - on the other hand, power struggles raged between Leningrad and Moscow functionaries well into the 1950s. The reconstruction of Leningrad became a matter of prestige for the Soviet Union. Within a very short time, a million workers were drawn into the city and rebuilt - the restoration of the cultural monuments was of particular importance. In 1945 the city received the distinction of being a city of heroes . In the city there were two POW camps 254 and 339 for German POWs of the Second World War. Seriously ill people were cared for in the prisoner-of-war hospital in 1261.

English city center map of Leningrad from 1978

Numerous new districts were also built in the post-war years - 1953 was the year in which more new living space was created in the city than ever before or after. The 250th anniversary of the city was postponed: In 1953 the power struggle was still ongoing and any positive mention was undesirable - in addition, Stalin had died in March; a celebration, whatever the occasion, did not seem appropriate. The celebration was rescheduled in 1957 under Stalin's successor Khrushchev - without mentioning that it was actually the 254th birthday.

In the years that followed, the city maintained its reputation as a major industrial city and one of the scientific centers of the Soviet Union. At that time, however, the political and cultural center of Russia and the Soviet Union was clearly in Moscow. The population had also largely been replaced by the events of the war and post-war years - the ties to Petersburg in the city became increasingly weaker.

In 1988, about a million library volumes were burned in a fire in the library of the Russian Academy of Sciences . In 1989 the city center was placed under monument protection. In 1990 the inner city of Saint Petersburg and the associated monuments were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1991  the Soviet Union disintegrated .

Russian Federation, Saint Petersburg

After a referendum in which 54 percent of the population voted for a return to the historic name on June 12, 1991, the city council also approved the renaming with a large majority on June 25, 1991, and the city was approved on September 6, 1991 a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR re-named Saint Petersburg. The surrounding administrative unit remained as the Leningrad Region ( Leningrad Oblast ).

The Nevsky Prospect at dusk

During the constitutional crisis under President Boris Yeltsin in October 1993, the then Mayor of Petersburg, Anatoly Sobchak, gathered Yeltsin's supporters around him, and there was a large demonstration in front of the Winter Palace against the Congress of People's Deputies .

In 1999 the area of ​​the city of Saint Petersburg was expanded to include the satellite cities of Kolpino , Pushkin , Lomonossow , Kronstadt , Peterhof and neighboring suburbs. These former cities are now districts of St. Petersburg and therefore no longer belong administratively and territorially to Leningrad Oblast.

On May 27, 2003, the city celebrated its 300th anniversary. In preparation, parts of the old town and various palaces were renovated. The Russian state spent one to two billion euros on this. The German company Ruhrgas , closely associated with the state-owned Russian energy company Gazprom , contributed to the costs of the replica of the Amber Room , which was lost in World War II , with a donation of 3.5 million dollars. On May 31 of that year, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schröder inaugurated the reconstructed Amber Room.

In July 2006, international politicians met here at a G8 summit and in September 2013 at a G20 summit .

A terrorist attack on April 3, 2017 killed 14 people on a train in the Saint Petersburg metro .

Since October 1, 2019, a visa-free visit of up to 8 days is possible for EU citizens using an e-visa, which is issued free of charge.


Saint Petersburg is the administrative seat of Leningrad Oblast and the Northwestern Federal District . Within Russia , however, like Moscow, the city is an independent administrative subject. The head of the executive is made up of the city's governor, who is directly elected for four years . The legislature , the legislative assembly, consists of 50 full-time members who are also elected for four years. In terms of protocol, the chairman of the chamber has the same status as the governor.

The Mariinsky Palace , seat of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly (Sakonodatelnoje Sobranije) in the city center

In 1996 it was Vladimir Yakovlev who replaced Anatoly Sobchak . He presented himself several times as an ideologically independent pragmatist. Sobchak, on the other hand, was a strict reformer of the post-communist era who, due to his radical market economy course, generated a lot of animosity in the city. He repeatedly refused to dismiss Vladimir Putin on allegations of corruption while he was still working in the city government. Putin organized the unsuccessful 1996 election campaign in Sobchak.

Yakovlev did not run for new elections in October 2003. His successor was Valentina Matviyenko after these elections . She was the favorite of Putin and the Russian government. Matviyenko resigned in August 2011 and in September, as the representative of the St. Petersburg executive branch, became chairwoman of the Russian Federation Council and thus the third-highest state office in Russia.

Georgi Poltavchenko was the governor from 2011 to 2018 . The son of a naval officer transferred to Leningrad from Azerbaijan received training at the KGB University in Minsk from 1979 to 1980. He then took on various tasks at the KGB and the KGB successor FSB . From 1992 to 1993 he was head of tax investigation and from 1993 to 1999 head of the tax police in Saint Petersburg.

Former Saint Petersburg governor Georgi Poltavchenko

In 1999, President Vladimir Putin appointed him representative of the Russian President in Leningrad Oblast , and later Governor General for Central Russia . In this capacity he was a member of the Russian Security Council . On August 30, 2011, he was appointed incumbent governor of Saint Petersburg and proposed to the city parliament for election. Out of 52 members of the Legislative Assembly, 37 voted for him. He was inducted into office on August 31, 2011. From October 3, 2018 until the gubernatorial election in September 2019, Alexander Beglow was appointed acting governor. On September 8, 2019, he was elected into office with almost two thirds of the votes.

The city became known internationally and in Germany politically through the Petersburg Dialogue  - the regular German-Russian talks in the city - and the Petersburg Committee of Soldiers' Mothers , which regularly protested against the war in Chechnya and against the violence in the army . In July 2006, the annual G8 summit also took place in Saint Petersburg , as Russia had assumed the rotating chairmanship of the Group of Eight in 2006. In 2013, on September 5th and 6th, the meeting of the group of the twenty most important industrialized and emerging countries took place in Saint Petersburg.

coat of arms

Coat of arms of Saint Petersburg
Blazon : “In red two silver overturned and crossed anchors , the right one a stick anchor (with two flat flukes) and the left a draggen (with four pointed flukes),verticallyoverlaid by a golden scepter . On the shield the golden tsar's crown , behind it two crossed Russian imperial sceptres with the Russian double-headed eagle as a pommel. The blue ribbon of the Order of St. Andrew the First Called surrounds the shield. "
Justification of the coat of arms: The city has had a coat of arms since around 1729, when it was bestowed on it by Peter I. Initially, the Russian double-headed eagle hovered over the day back in the arms existing crest figures - the two anchors and a scepter in the famous crossed form. During the time of the Soviet Union, the coat of arms was replaced by a fully rigged three-masted sailing ship ( frigate ) moving to the left with the white and blue St. Andrew's flag on the masts and on the stern. It made reference to the city's river and sea ports.



According to the results of the last census on October 14, 2010, Saint Petersburg had 4,879,566 inhabitants. That is about three percent of the total population of Russia. In September 2012 the five millionth inhabitant was registered. According to official figures, the average gross monthly wage in 2009 was 23,000  rubles .

Since its inception, Saint Petersburg has been a city of great social contrasts. Since perestroika and the fall of the Soviet Union, these have intensified again.

In Saint Petersburg there was a ban on immigration - only those who could prove an apartment and work or were married to a resident were granted the right to live in the city. The International Labor Organization estimated that around 16,000 street children lived in the city in 2000 . At the beginning of COVID in spring 2020, there were 8,000 homeless according to official statistics.

The formerly multicultural city is predominantly inhabited by ethnic Russians at the beginning of the 21st century, according to official statistics to 89.1% . There are also 2.1% Jews , 1.9% Ukrainians , 1.9% Belarusians and smaller groups of Tatars , Caucasians, Uzbeks , Wepsen and Finns .

In spite of the state enmity against religion during the Soviet era, in 2004 it is estimated that only 10 percent of the population are atheists . The majority is Russian Orthodox , although there are fierce arguments between traditionalists and reformers in the city. Most of the church buildings belong to the Russian state. Peter the Great forbade the construction of onion domes . This is the reason that there is only one such pre-war tower in the entire city - it is located on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was murdered and the Church of the Resurrection was built for him. The numerous new churches in the peripheral areas, however, are mostly built in the traditional Russian style. In 1914 the Tatar community built the Petersburg mosque , which can be seen from afar, on the north bank of the Neva . Near the Mariinsky Theater is the synagogue , built in the oriental style and completely renovated in 2003 . It is the third largest Jewish house of God in Europe.

List of churches in Saint Petersburg : overview of all church buildings

Population development

The following overview shows the number of inhabitants according to the respective territorial status. Up to 1944 these are mostly estimates, from 1959 to 2010 they are census results. The table shows the number of inhabitants in the city itself without the inhabitants in the suburbs, as well as for the census 1959 to 1989 for the city with suburbs (with the surrounding cities and urban-type settlements that were subordinate to the Leningrad City Soviet) .

All of these cities and settlements in the surrounding area were incorporated in 1998, so that the indication of residents with suburbs is no longer applicable from 2002. The population of 2002 can therefore be compared with the number of 1989 with suburbs. Minus the population of the towns incorporated in 1998, Saint Petersburg had 4,137,563 inhabitants in 2002 within the limits of 1989. The population of the actual city had therefore decreased by 322,861 between 1989 and 2002, that of the former suburbs by 39,426. In the years that followed, the number of inhabitants rose sharply again. According to calculations, the 5 million mark was exceeded on September 22, 2012. However, the growth is entirely due to immigration, as the death rate continued to exceed the birth rate in previous years .

Population development (with administratively associated suburbs)
        year         Inhabitant
1725 0.075,000
1750 0.150,000
1800 0.300,000
1846 0.336,000
1852 0.485,000
1858 0.520.100
1864 0.539.100
1867 0.667,000
1873 0.842,900
1881 0.876,600
1886 0.928,600
1891 1,035,400
1897 1,264,900
1901 1,439,400
year Inhabitant
(with suburbs)
1908 1,678,000
1910 1,962,000
1915 2,318,600
1920 0.722,000
1926 1,616,100
1936 2,739,800
Jan. 17, 1939 3,015,188 3,191,304
1944 2,559,000
Jan 15, 1959 2,899,955 3,321,196
Jan 15, 1970 3,512,974 3,949,501
Jan. 17, 1979 4,072,528 4,588,183
Jan. 12, 1989 4,460,424 5,023,506
Oct 9, 2002 4,661,219
Oct 14, 2010 4,879,566


Architectural-historical overview

The city, built from 1703 onwards, is comparatively young. Their architecture was more strongly influenced by Western European models than Moscow, for example. More striking than any other metropolis, the cityscape of Petersburg is shaped by classicism in all its varieties, even if historicism and art nouveau co-determine the functional architecture on the streets of the inner city.

The baroque buildings from the time of Peter the Great († 1725) were initially influenced by Dutch and then French models. An almost classical strictness and restraint in the decorative are characteristics of the first third of the 18th century. The structure of the palace facades uses flat pilasters rather than plastic columns. Trezzini is the authoritative architect of this era. The three broad main axes (“prospectuses”) starting from the tower of the Admiralty also fell in his time.

Summer Palace of Peter the Great, 1714
Peter and Paul Fortress Trezzini 1713-1733
Peter and Paul Cathedral Trezzini 1712-1733
Summer palace Trezzini 1710-1714
Kikin Palace Schlueter 1714
Alexander Nevsky Monastery Trezzini 1715-1722
Kunstkammer 1718-1734
The Twelve Quorums Trezzini 1722-1744
Menshikov Palace 1735

Under Elisabeth (1741–1761), construction activity shifted to the south bank of the Neva. A general development plan submitted in 1730 laid down detailed provisions for eaves heights and alignment lines . In Elisabeth's reign, the means of design became more varied. The facades are given strong colors and decorative decorative elements. Dense rows of columns create light and shadow effects and the floor plans become more complex. It is noteworthy that "Old Russian" style elements are limited to the use of the five-domed motif. Builders of this time were mainly Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli , as well as Sawwa Tschewakinski .

Stroganov Palace, 1754
Winter palace Rastrelli 1754-1762
Catherine Palace Rastrelli 1751-1756
Constantine Palace Rastrelli around 1750
Peterhof Palace Rastrelli 1747-1752
Stroganov Palace Rastrelli 1753-1754
Sheremetev Palace Chewakinsky around 1730-1750
Smolny Cathedral Rastrelli 1748-1757
Nicholas Naval Cathedral Rastrellischule 1753-1762

The style of the reign of Catherine the Great (1762–1796) could be characterized as "late baroque classicism". Building plastic is rather avoided and the colors are reduced to yellow-gray tones. From now on, the portico is a favorite motif of representative buildings . Ivan Starow and Giacomo Quarenghi were the leading architects.

Tauride Palace, 1789
Gostiny Dvor Rastrelli,
de la Mothe
Small Hermitage de la Mothe 1764-1774
Marble palace Rinaldi 1768-1785
Trinity Cathedral
in the Alexander Nevsky Monastery
Starow 1776-1790
Academy of Science Quarenghi 1783-1789
Tauride palace Starow 1783-1789
Alexander Palace Quarenghi 1792-1796
Old Hermitage Veldten 1778

At the beginning of the 19th century, the " Alexandrian Classicism" set in in St. Petersburg . In keeping with the Western European Empire , he combines strict straightforwardness and a monumental effect with the faithfully imitated example of “ Doric ” antiquity. In the first third of the century, significant plazas were built, such as the one in front of the Kazan Cathedral , on Vasilyevsky Island (Strelka), the Martian Field (1817–1829), and the Palace Square and the entire quarter around the Alexandrinsky Theater were given their present form. The most important architect of this time was the Italian Carlo Rossi . A variant of this style enriched with Russian elements was mainly cultivated by Vasily Stassow .

Rossi Street (1828-1834)
Kazan Cathedral Voronikhin 1801-1811
Stock exchange on
Vasilyevsky Island
Thomon 1804-1810
Admiralty (renovation) Sakharov 1806-1823
Isaac's Cathedral Montferrand 1820-1858
General Staff Rossi 1819-1829
Trinity Cathedral Stasov 1827-1835
Rossi Street Rossi 1828-1834
Senate and Synod Rossi 1829-1834
New Hermitage Klenze 1839-1852

Even the historicism in the second half of the 19th century, followed with his Bahnhofs-, theater, department store, bank, circus and house facades largely Western European, derived from the Renaissance and Baroque patterns. Such an extensive reception of “Old Russian” architectural motifs as in the Church of the Resurrection remains a rare exception in the cityscape.

Circus Ciniselli, 1877
Moscow train station 1851
Grand Hotel Europe 1873-1875
Circus Ciniselli 1877
Church of the Resurrection Parland 1882-1917

The “Art Nouveau” buildings between the turn of the century and the beginning of the First World War in 1914, also known as Petersburg Modernism in Russia , are more characterized by an accumulation of classical or eclectic set pieces than by the floral elegance of Art Nouveau in Vienna or the Romance countries. The transition to the formal strict, unornamented modern architecture marks the German Embassy of Peter Behrens .

German Embassy, ​​1912
Kamennoostrowski Prospect from 1900
Yelisseyev Baranowski 1902-1903
Vitebsk train station 1901-1904
Singer house 1904
Don Azov Bank Frederik Lidwal
German embassy Behrens 1912

After the October Revolution, some constructivist projects were implemented. In the totalitarian era from 1932 onwards, a moderate form of Stalin's monumental style (“ socialist classicism ”) could be observed. The center of construction activity was the newly planned district around the House of the Soviets on Moscow Square .

House of the Soviets, 1940

Kirov Raion Administration Building
Noi Trotsky
Textile factory "Red Banner" Erich Mendelssohn 1923
Frunze department store 1938
House of the Soviets Noi Trotsky around 1940

The siege of Leningrad by the German Wehrmacht, whose declared aim was to "make the city disappear from the face of the earth", brought severe destruction to the city. With the enormous effort of the reconstruction after 1945, great importance was attached to the restoration of the old townscape and the restoration of the monumental architectural substance. Striking examples of new buildings are the metro stations and Moskovsky Prospect. In the 1960s and 1970s, the city expanded through huge, well-planned new housing developments.

The admiralty. The top can be seen from most of the Nevsky Prospect.
Photo from the Neva: equestrian statue of Peter the Great (“The Brazen Rider”), Isaac Park and St. Isaac's Cathedral
Front of St. Isaac's Cathedral, seen from the square of the
same name

State of construction and monument protection

Saint Petersburg was the seat of the Russian tsars for a long time . In the city they unfolded the full splendor of their immense wealth, of which numerous testimonies can be seen to this day. With a view to the 300th anniversary in 2003, many of the sights have been extensively restored. In addition to the 250 museums, the city has around 4,000 protected cultural, historical and architectural monuments. 15% of the buildings in Saint Petersburg - around 2,400 buildings in total - have been classified as monuments of architectural history by UNESCO . With that, Petersburg is only surpassed by Venice in this respect . However, the city has problems raising the costs of maintaining these monuments. In addition to the sheer volume, there are also other problems: After the Soviet era, some of the houses are in a disastrous state of construction and would therefore have to be restored at great expense. On the other hand, industry and the heavy inner-city traffic cause severe air pollution, which especially affects the facades. Although efforts have been made since 2004 to privatize at least some architectural monuments, around 80% of all St. Petersburg real estate still belongs to the Russian state.

City tour

The most striking building in the skyline and the tallest building in the city is the Saint Petersburg television tower . It is located outside the city center, which is mainly on the Admiralty side of the Neva. The 462 meter high Lakhta Center is currently the tallest skyscraper in Europe; it was completed in mid-2018.

Historic city center, UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Nevsky Prospect with hundreds of historical palaces and buildings, the city's main shopping street, extends over four kilometers from the Admiralty or the Hermitage together with Dvortsovaya Ploshchad - the parade and palace square - to the Alexander Nevsky Monastery , the so-called Lavra. The latter is named after the Russian folk hero Alexander Nevsky , but the prospectus is named after the Neva. Among the located on Nevsky Prospekt attractions include the Kazan Cathedral and the department store Gostiny Dvor . The prospectus encounters the Ploshchad Vosstaniya , the "place of the uprising". The Nevsky Prospect leads through the following channels:

  1. The Moika River at the level of the Kazan Cathedral. On the left side, opposite the cathedral, on the banks of the Moika, a short distance away, you can see the Church of the Resurrection of Christ , which looks very similar to St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square in Moscow. On the banks of the Moika is also the house in which the Russian national poet Pushkin lived and died after a serious wound in a duel with the French Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d'Anthès . The Moika is spanned, among other things, by the Green Bridge (at the level of Nevsky Prospect) and the Pozelujew Bridge .
  2. The Griboyedov Canal . To the left (east) of it stretches the Field of Mars , the Summer Garden with the Summer Palace and the Vladimir Palace .
  3. The Fontanka River spanned by the Anichkov Bridge . Here is the palace of the same name , in which the well-known chess trainer Zak worked with the later world champion Spasski , among others .

Not far from the Nevsky Prospect are other sights:

the Russian Museum , which is located next to the Church of the Resurrection, the St. Isaac's Cathedral , which is directly connected to the Admiralty and the Hermitage, the Peter and Paul Fortress - a fortified island, called Rabbit Island , on the opposite side of the Neva from the prospectus, with associated cathedral, in which tsars and grand dukes were buried. The last Tsar Nicholas II was buried with his family and servants in a chapel of the cathedral . Numerous prominent figures from Russian history (for example the Decembrists in the early 19th century and later the anarchists Michail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin ) were held in the fortress . The cruiser Aurora can be viewed on the same Neva side northwest of the fortress.

The Brazen Rider , Smolny Monastery , Rossistrasse, Summer Garden and the Church of the Resurrection of Christ are all on the southern Neva side. A stroll through the city during the White Nights in early summer, the nocturnal highest level of the sun, is particularly appealing .

A special feature of the city are the many bascule bridges, which are still open for shipping during the night. As a result, you may no longer be able to walk back a path you have just walked before. The city is also called the Venice of the North because of its many waterways, islands and bridges .

Peter's summer residence, Peterhof Palace : Large cascade, with the Gulf of Finland in the background

In the southern and southwestern surroundings of Saint Petersburg, the Peterhof Palace , this UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pavlovsk and the city ​​of Pushkin are popular excursion destinations. In the latter, the replica Amber Room can be seen in the Catherine Palace . The Peterhof is a wide palace complex directly by the sea with a palace, palace church, orangery , small pleasure palaces such as “Monplaisir”, “Marly” and a particularly beautiful cascade of fountains on a hillside with striking gold-plated, water-spouting bronze sculptures.

The Peterhof, which is a 35-minute ride on the Elektritschka from the Baltic station with the Oranienbaum destination station, the Pavlovsk Palace and the Catherine Palace were largely devastated by the German occupiers during the Second World War and painstakingly rebuilt after the war and restored. From Vitebsk train station , Pavlovsk and Pushkin can be easily reached with the 'Elektritschka' suburban train. The stop "21 km", which was built on the southern siege line of the city during World War II, is located on this railway line. Next to the tracks, cannons directed towards the south remind of the German siege.

Arts and Culture

Saint Petersburg is a city where art collections, theater, literature, ballet and music are world-renowned.

Museums, galleries and exhibition complexes (selection)

According to its own information, the city has 221 museums. There are also 45 galleries and exhibition halls as well as 80 cultural centers (as of November 2013). They can be divided into four complexes - historical museums, art museums, museums of specialty and museums of famous people.


The Kunstkammer, founded in 1734, was the first official collection of then contemporary works of art.


The Hermitage complex. From left to right: Hermitage Theater - Old Hermitage - Small Hermitage - Winter Palace (the "New Hermitage" is not visible behind the Old Hermitage )

With three to four million visitors a year, the Hermitage is the most popular and internationally most important exhibition complex. It is one of the most important art museums in the world. It houses an immense collection of European fine arts up to 1917 as well as the world's largest collection of jewelery. The museum occupies five buildings with a total exhibition area of ​​57,475 m² and a storage area of ​​45,000 m². The Winter Palace , in which a large part of the collection is located, is a sight in its own right.

The Hermitage houses more than 2.7 million exhibits in its archive. In the 350 exhibition rooms, 65,000 of them are organized in six collections. There are collections on prehistoric art , art and culture of antiquity , art and culture of the peoples of the East, Western European art and Russian art, as well as jewelery and numismatic exhibits. Since most of Russian art has now been outsourced to the Russian Museum , Western European art and culture is the most significant part of the collection.

The exhibits include works by Leonardo da Vinci (one or - controversial among art historians - also two of the twelve originals known worldwide), Raffael , Tizian , Paolo Veronese , El Greco , Goya , Lucas Cranach the Elder , more than 40 pictures by Rubens , 25 works by Rembrandt and various of his students, Vincent van Gogh , 37 pictures by Henri Matisse , Pierre-Auguste Renoir , Paul Gauguin , 31 pictures by Pablo Picasso and pictures by Édouard Manet and Wassily Kandinsky .

The museum was created as a private collection of the tsars and has been open to the public since 1852. After the October Revolution, numerous private collections of expropriated Russian nobles were transferred to the Hermitage. The holdings in the basement of the museum survived the siege of the city largely unscathed; the most valuable pieces had been relocated. In 1948 the art holdings were increased by a large part of the collection of the Museum of New Western Culture in Moscow. Of the city's many tourist destinations, the Hermitage is probably the most significant. There is a long-term collaboration with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum .

Central Naval Museum

The museum, founded in 1709, is one of the oldest museums in Russia and, with its 700,000 objects collected, is one of the largest maritime museums in the world. In the exhibition halls, which were newly occupied in 2014, the history of the Russian naval fleet is traced in nineteen exhibition halls . Temporary exhibitions are held in five other halls. The museum has six branch offices, for example the cruiser Aurora , the exhibition site Straße des Leben , the Kronstadt fortress with the Nikolaus-Marine-Cathedral , the artillery area and the memorial exhibition for Alexander Stepanowitsch Popow or the museum ship cruiser Michail Kutusow .

Erarta Museum

The Erarta Contemporary Art Museum is the largest private contemporary art museum in Russia . The museum's holdings include over 2,800 works of contemporary art created by more than 300 artists from over 20 regions of Russia.

See also

Theater and music

Alexandrinsky Theater on Ostrowski Square
Rimsky-Korsakov's tomb in the Tikhvin cemetery near the Alexander Nevsky monastery
New building of the Russian National Library on Moscow Prospect

The State Academic Chapel, founded in 1497, is considered the oldest ensemble . There are 80 theaters and 100 concert halls in the city. The Mariinsky Theater is one of the most famous opera houses in the world. It began its work in 1783 and is the home of the Mariinsky Ballet . In addition, the Mikhailovsky Theater , built in 1833, also Théâtre Michel in the 19th century, and the small opera house in the 20th century , is the city's most important opera house .

The Alexandrinsky Theater was founded on the decree of Tsarina Elizabeth I in 1756. A troupe composed of students from the Cadet Corps formed the first permanent theater in Russia. It was not until 1832 that the ensemble received its current magnificent building, which was built under the direction of the architect Carlo Rossi .

From 1901 to 1906 the well-known New Theater existed on Uferstrasse ( набережной р. Мойки ) 61.

In the context of classical music, in addition to the opera (see above), the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic should be mentioned in particular . The headquarters of this orchestra is located in the building of the same name in the city.

The composers Michail Glinka , Modest Mussorgsky , Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov , Pyotr Tchaikovsky , Igor Stravinsky and Dmitri Shostakovich lived and worked in the city . Michail Glinka (1804–1857), born in Novo-Spaskoje, studied at the aristocratic institute of Saint Petersburg, his tomb is in the Tikhvin cemetery . The opera “Boris Godunow” by Modest Mussorgsky (1839–1981) was premiered in the Mariinsky Theater. Alexander Borodin (1833–1887) was born in Saint Petersburg and died in the city.

Shostakovich (1906–1975), born in Saint Petersburg, studied from 1919 to 1925 at the Petrograd Conservatory. During the siege he composed his Leningrad Symphony in 1941 . The first three sentences were written during the Leningrad blockade by the Germans. The symphony is an expression of the perseverance of the Leningrad population and of all Soviet people. It was completed and premiered in Kuibyshev . The orchestral scores had then carried helpers through the German blockade into the city (Leningrad), and the concert in the Great Hall of the Philharmonic took place on August 8, 1942 under Karl Eliasberg, which was broadcast on all Soviet radio, at risk for both performers and listeners . In 1975 this hall was named Shostakovich Hall.

With the decreasing state control during the perestroika period, a very lively rock music scene developed in Leningrad in the 1980s. Some of the bands came into being under the roof of the Leningrad rock club , others had moved here from different parts of the country. In contrast to the capital Moscow, where civil liberties were strictly monitored, art in Leningrad was able to develop relatively freely. The bands and performers that emerged back then have not lost their influence to this day. This part of the Russian music scene, known in Russia as “Piterski Rock” (“Petersburg Rock”), includes bands such as “ Aquarium ” with Boris Grebenchikov , “ Kino ” with Viktor Zoi , “ Alissa ” with Konstantin Kinchev, “ AuktYon "With Leonid Fjodorow," Pop-Mechanika "with Sergei Kurjochin ," Zoopark "with Michail" Mike "Naumenko or" DDT "with Yuri Shevchuk (from Ufa ).

The Petrovsky Stadium
The Kunstkammer , built in 1719 by the Baltic German Georg Johann Mattarnovi for the collection of curiosities created by Peter the Great in 1716/1717. It is therefore the oldest museum in Russia.

This music is based on western styles, but retains the tonality typical of "the Russian ear". In the song lyrics there are often parallels to the authors of the Silver Age , a cultural heyday in Petersburg and Moscow at the beginning of the 20th century.


The city is one of the most important places for the development of ballet . Sergei Djagilew , Marius Petipa , Vaslav Nijinsky , Mathilda-Maria Kschessinskaja and Anna Pawlowa played a key role in this development. Probably the most famous ballet school in the world is located here - the Vaganova Ballet Academy, founded in 1738.

Petersburg in the film

The end of Saint Petersburg's cultural heyday coincided with the advent of the film industry. Most notable films up to 1990 are adaptations of classic Russian literature. There are dozens of film adaptations of Anna Karenina (the first are Russian and French, both from 1911, the first western one filmed on location is from 1997) or some versions of Dostoevsky's The Idiot (the first is Russian, by 1910).

Some films relate to the city's history. In addition to a large number of Soviet propaganda films, there have so far only been a few works: The film Noi Vivi (Italy, 1942), a film adaptation of Ayn Rand's book Wir Leben , set against the backdrop of the Soviet October Revolution, is independent of its kind attempted a criticism of fascist Italy. The story of the daughter of the last Tsar, Anastasia , has been filmed several times. The 1956 versions with Ingrid Bergman and the cartoon musical (USA, 1997) by Don Bluth , former chief draftsman at Walt Disney , are particularly well-known . The cartoon musical in particular relates both to the city's history and its optical opulence , but alienates both so much that it is hardly recognizable. The Italian specialist in films about Russian history Giuseppe Tornatore made a film about the siege of the city in World War II. Of all St. Petersburg films, Russian Ark , which was shot in the Hermitage and recalls 300 years of Russian history in a single cut , has provided the greatest international response . The film The Downfall was shot in the city because parts of the historic city center are very similar to Berlin in 1945.

In Petersburg (then still Leningrad) the cult film Intergirl by Pyotr Todorovsky is set, the last big box office success of the Soviet Union before its fall.

The James Bond film Goldeneye (1995) shows the city in an almost post-apocalyptic state. Another British action film, Midnight in St. Petersburg (1996), has opulent shots of St. Petersburg's landmarks. The film Onegin (1999) with Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler in the leading roles takes the subject matter of the Pushkin poem as its starting point. In Das Russland-Haus , a spy thriller starring Sean Connery , Michelle Pfeiffer and Klaus Maria Brandauer , a romantic picture of the city is shown.

Masjanja (Russian Масяня) is a popular Russian non-commercial internet cartoon series set in Saint Petersburg.


Numerous well-known Russian artists have lived and worked in Saint Petersburg, including writers such as Alexander Pushkin , Fyodor Dostoyevsky , Nikolai Gogol , Anna Akhmatova , Alexander Blok and Joseph Brodsky .


The city has around 2000 libraries, from small public libraries in the individual districts to several important book collections.

The Russian National Library is the second largest library in Russia and one of the three national libraries in the country. It was founded in 1795 by Catherine II and has an inventory of over 30 million media, including over 450,000 manuscripts ( Ostromir Gospels , Codex Petropolitanus Purpureus , Codex Leningradensis and others). Its inventory includes books in 85 languages.

The library of the Academy of Sciences , founded in 1714, has over 20 million volumes. The Pushkin library with 5,000 works has a valuable collection of works from the private library of the poet. The Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library was founded in 2009 and is primarily designed as an online library of historical and diplomatic documents.

The "Petersburg Text"

Petersburg, as the tsarist city of Russia's cultural center for centuries, attracted a large number of writers who immortalized the city in literary terms. After commissioned poetry, praising the tsar, had dominated the picture in the first decades after the city was built, a different kind of literature began to dominate in 1833 with Pushkin's poem The Iron Rider . The poem deals with the Russian civil servant Yevgeny, who starts insulting the tsar at the equestrian statue of Peter the Great, the symbol of the city. But he arouses the statue's anger.

Pushkin Monument in Saint Petersburg
Dostoyevsky's tomb in Saint Petersburg. The epigraph ( John 12:24) by The Brothers Karamazov can be read on the lower stone .

And on the stallion's bare back
With the outstretched hand, propelling
him forward with the gaze,
the giant
roars, spraying sparks The poor madman hurries on
Wherever he turns,
The brazen, angry rider
follows everywhere on his horse.

These later texts have an amazing similarity in terms of motifs, language, atmosphere, but also often the meaning. The Moscow cultural semiotics Vladimir Toporov coined the term "Petersburg text" in 1984 in the essay Petersburg and the Petersburg text of Russian literature (Peterburg i peterburgskij tekst russkoj literatury) .

The omnipresence of the power of the tsar and the Russian state apparatus, the city of civil servants and soldiers are just as recurring a theme as madness, floods and inundation, destruction, demise, delusions of fever and (night) dream cities.

Many writers attribute a certain unreality to the city, an aura that it is not entirely real. It begins with the myth that the city was built in the air and only then sank to the ground, because it was actually impossible to build on this site. Nobel laureate in literature Joseph Brodsky attests: “There is no place in Russia where the imagination detaches itself from reality with such ease.” Nikolai Gogol said as early as 1835 about the Nevsky Prospect : “Here everything is deceit, everything is dream, everything is not what it seems. "

Just the plan to build a big city at the end of the world in the middle of swamps gives Saint Petersburg this founding myth , which determined the literary mood until the October Revolution. Even Giacomo Casanova was influenced by the mood of the city. In 1764 he wrote: “Everything seemed to me as if it had already been built as a ruin. You paved the streets and knew they would have to be paved again six months later. "

Particularly well-known successors of Pushkin in this tradition were Nikolai Gogol with his St Petersburg stories and probably the most famous writer in the city, Fyodor Dostoevsky , whose novels and stories White Nights , Poor People , The Double , The Idiot and Guilt and Atonement are set in the city. The house of his fictional character Raskolnikow can be found in the city, about which he writes: "It always felt an enigmatic coldness from it, this magnificent panorama was filled with a mute, dull spirit for him."

With the symbolist novel Petersburg (1913) Andrei Bely wrote one of the masterpieces of Russian literature. He is at the beginning of the series of urban novels of modern and was so often with James Joyce ' Ulysses and Alfred Doblin's Berlin Alexanderplatz compared.

With the October Revolution and the relocation of the capital, literary works of great importance continued to emerge, although they no longer reflected the typical Petersburg text. Alexander Blok's story The Twelve from 1918 described the march of twelve Red Army soldiers through the city. Finally, Jesus appears at the head of the group. Daniil Charms , one of the last representatives of the early Russian avant-garde , wrote numerous short pieces in addition to The Comedy of the City of Petersburg . One of them, An der Kaimauer , takes up the classic motifs of the Petersburg text:

very large crowd had gathered at the quay wall of our river .
The regimental commander
Sepunow had fallen into the river . He choked on and
on, jumping out of the water up to his stomach.
"It is going under," said Kusma.
"Sure he's going under," confirmed a man with
a peaked cap.
Indeed, the regimental commander
went under.
The crowd began to run away.

View of Alexander Column and Winter Palace on Schlossplatz
The Hermitage as seen from the Neva by night
Heraldic Hall of the Hermitage

Vladimir Nabokov , who was born in Petersburg, always returns to the place of his childhood in his books. Anna Akhmatova , Marina Tsvetaeva , Ossip Mandelstam , Velimir Chlebnikow , Sergei Jessenin and Joseph Brodsky immortalized the city with their poetry. As well as the city of literature, the city always appeared as one of the persecuted literature. Dostoevsky and Pushkin were already persecuted by the tsar; after the October Revolution, numerous writers were murdered, were banned from working or emigrated if they could. Ossip Mandelstam remarked: "No other country takes poetry as seriously as Russia, nowhere else are so many people killed because of it."


Eternal flame in front of the memorial at the Piskaryovskoye memorial cemetery

The victims of the 900-day blockade of Leningrad by the German armed forces are commemorated at the Piskarjowskoje memorial cemetery . The blockade was ended on January 27, 1944 by Soviet troops.


The 22nd European Women's Gymnastics Championships took place from April 30th to May 3rd, 1998 in Saint Petersburg. From 1913 to 1914, the Formula 1 race was held in Saint Petersburg as part of the Russian Grand Prix .


The most famous sports club in the city is the Zenit St. Petersburg football club, founded in 1925 . The 2007 season could Zenit for the first time complete as a Russian champion. From 1950 to 1992, the now demolished Kirov Stadium , which had a total of 72,000 spectators, served as the home ground for Zenit Saint Petersburg. In 1993 the team moved to the Petrovsky Stadium , built in 1925 and seating 21,570 , which was used by the club for home games until April 2017. For several years now, the club has been owned by the main sponsor Gazprom , who has invested many millions in strengthening the squad and the ongoing construction of the new Gazprom arena since the takeover . In the 2007/2008 game year , the football club won the UEFA Cup in Manchester with a 2-0 win against Glasgow Rangers and the UEFA Super Cup in Monaco with a 4-1 quarter-finals against Bayer Leverkusen and 4-0 against Bayern Munich in the semifinals 2-1 against Manchester United . For the 2010 season they celebrated the Russian Cup victory with a 1-0 win against FK Sibir Novosibirsk in the Rostov stadium Olimp-2 . In 2011 and 2012, Zenit was again the Russian champion. Saint Petersburg was one of the venues for the 2018 World Cup . For this purpose, the Gazprom Arena was built in the city, which was also used for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup .

Other ball sports

The women's volleyball club Leningradka Saint Petersburg plays in the top division of Russia, the Superleague . The city is also home to the basketball club BK Spartak Saint Petersburg . The men's handball team of the GK Newa St. Petersburg participates in the Super League and the EHF Champions League . In December 2005, the women's handball world championship 2005 was held in Saint Petersburg , with the home team becoming world champions.

ice Hockey

The ice hockey club SKA Saint Petersburg plays in the Continental Hockey League , while the HK WMF Saint Petersburg plays in the Vysschaya Hockey League . The largest ice hockey stadiums are the SKK Peterburgski , the Ice Palace Saint Petersburg and the Jubileiny Sports Complex . The 2011 KHL All-Star Game was held in the Ice Palace . The ice hockey world championship was played in Saint Petersburg in 2000 and 2016 .


The residents of Saint Petersburg included some outstanding chess players: Mikhail Botvinnik (long-time and multiple world champion between 1948 and 1963), Boris Spasski (world champion from 1969 to 1972, known beyond chess borders for the so-called match of the century against Bobby Fischer (United States) 1972 in Reykjavík , which aroused worldwide interest because of the East-West conflict in the Cold War ), as well as Viktor Korchnoi , long-time vice world champion and emigrant from the Soviet Union. Korchnoi gained international fame through the duels with Anatoli Karpow for the World Cup in 1978 in Baguio and 1981 in Meran, which was very politically explosive. Karpov lived in Leningrad for many years.

Outstanding chess writers who lived in Saint Petersburg include Botvinnik's former sparring partner Sergei Kaminer , the Kubbel brothers and Alexei Troitsky .


The men's tennis tournament St. Petersburg Open has been held in the Russian metropolis - in the SKK Peterburgski sports complex - since 1995 . Women play for the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy , a women's tennis tournament on the WTA Tour .


Historically, Saint Petersburg was the center of Russian science and, alongside Moscow, is still the most important location for education and science. There are over 120 universities, colleges and technical colleges in the city. Of these, 43 are state-civil, 22 are military and around 50 are privately operated, but are state-licensed. More famous universities include the Saint Petersburg State University , the State University of Economics and Finance , the State Polytechnic University , the European University of Saint Petersburg , the Vaganova Ballet Academy , the Russian Academy of Arts, and the Saint Petersburg Conservatory . Military institutions include, for example, the Military Engineering University , the Military Academy of Telecommunications, SM Budyonny , the Military Medical Academy SM Kirov, and the Military Academy of Rear Services and Transportation .

The city has around 600,000 people employed in education and science, including around 340,000 students.

Several Nobel Prize winners lived and worked in Petersburg , including Shores Alfjorow , the 2000 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics, former director of the Joffe Institute .

With the Steklow Institute for Mathematics , St. Petersburg has a world-class mathematical research institute. Leading mathematicians, including Fields Medalist Grigori Perelman , worked at this institute.


The Russian Orthodox Church has grown significantly again after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but other religious communities are also growing. Saint Petersburg is the seat of the Central Church Office and the office of the Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Central Asia (ELKRAS) in the St. Petri Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingermanland in Russia . The Finnish Lutheran and Swedish Lutheran churches are nearby, as are Roman Catholic and Armenian Apostolic churches.

With the Gunsetschoinei-Dazan there is a Buddhist temple in the city. The Saint Petersburg Mosque was built between 1910 and 1913.

In a survey from 2013, 70% of residents described themselves as Orthodox (in 1995 it was 58%). Another 20% said they were not religious. Overall, 55 percent were of the opinion that the Russian Orthodox Church had a major impact on social life in Saint Petersburg.

Economy and Transport

According to a 2014 study, the Saint Petersburg metropolitan area has a gross domestic product of 119.6 billion US dollars (PAC), which is a significant part of the country's total economic output. In the ranking of the economically strongest metropolitan regions worldwide, he was in 114th place and second in Russia. The GDP per capita was $ 23,361.


Saint Petersburg is a center of Russian research and development. Accordingly, it is home to a great deal of potential in this area. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Russian ruble crisis of 1998, the city was able to save large parts of its potential.

Industry and road traffic on Obvodny Canal

Nearly all branches of the manufacturing industry can be found in Saint Petersburg, with a particular focus on shipbuilding and mechanical engineering . Among other things, all Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers are manufactured in the city. Other focal points of the city's industrial sector are radio electronics (especially in the aerospace industry), new building materials (one of the primary growth sectors), power engineering (industry companies are considered globally competitive), medical device construction, preventive medicine and health care, and environmental technology. The city also has the furniture industry , the food industry (including the Baltika brewery ) and the petroleum processing industry. Information technology has recently started to play a larger role.

Numerous large Russian corporations, especially those with a large state share, are currently relocating their headquarters from Moscow to the Neva. The taxes of the Gazprom oil subsidiary Gazprom Neft , the foreign trade bank VTB , the shipping company Sovtorgflot , the pipeline company Transnefteprodukt and the airline Transaero should fill the city budget in the future.

The success of this business settlement is only partly due to the good investment conditions in Petersburg, but administratively controlled. Foreign companies, on the other hand, choose their locations based on sober calculations. Russia's car market was booming at the beginning of the 2010s , and the number of import cars registered reached those of the former quasi-monopoly Lada . In addition, due to the WTO accession in 2012, special conditions for import duties, which the Russian Ministry of Economic Affairs put out to tender for the construction of motor vehicle production facilities in the country, are no longer applicable. For this reason, there was talk of a development of Petersburg towards the "Russian Detroit " - the city has so far located half of all foreign automobile plant projects. This development is particularly favored by a relatively good logistical connection (especially via the largest Russian port), a qualified workforce, developed commercial space, local tax breaks and the proximity to the main sales market.

Baltika logo

In addition to the booming auto industry, Wrigley , Gillette , Rothmans , Unilever , Japan Tobacco and Coca-Cola have made significant investments in foreign companies in the city . The Baltika brewery made almost a billion euros (as of 2005) in sales . The majority shareholder is Baltic Beverages Holding (BBH), which in turn belongs to the Danish Carlsberg brewery and half to the Scottish brewery Scottish & Newcastle . Baltika is now the largest brewery in Russia and Eastern Europe and the second largest in Europe after Heineken . The joint venture was founded in Saint Petersburg in 1990 and has quickly developed into an important economic factor for the city.

The city's most important foreign trade partner is Germany .

The raw materials include gravel , sandstone , clay and peat . Agriculture, on the other hand, does not play a role in the local economy.

80 kilometers from Saint Petersburg, there are two nuclear power plants in Sosnovy Bor , the Leningrad nuclear power plant currently in operation and the Leningrad II nuclear power plant under construction . Half of the region's electricity needs are fed in from here.

In the Soviet Union, Saint Petersburg was the main naval base of the Baltic fleet, first of the tsarist , then the Soviet and now the Russian navy . The majority of the former warships and submarines are still in the Petersburg military ports today . The world's first diesel motor ship, the Vandal , came from Rybinsk to St. Petersburg as scheduled from 1903 onwards. Before perestroika , the defense industry complex made up 80 percent of Leningrad's economy. Here are the shipyards Admiralty Shipyard (Адмиралтейские верфи), the nuclear submarines of Project 671 and the boot of the project 677 produced, the Nevsky Shipyard (Средне-Невский судостроительный завод), where the Minenräumschiffe of project 12700 have been built, the Baltic plant (Балтийский завод), which until 2007 included nine from 1975 atomic icebreaker built, and the Northern shipyard (Северная верфь), the destroyer of sovremennyy-class destroyer and the Udaloy class , the frigates of Krivak-class frigate and cruiser of Kresta II class and the Kara class were produced.

Other companies that survived the Soviet era and are known worldwide still have their headquarters in Saint Petersburg. For example, there is the renowned Prospekt Nauki publisher , known for its scientific works, such as the Soviet optics combine Lomo  PLC whose initially insignificant camera Lomo LC-A (Lomo-Compakt-Automatic), with its rather dubious image quality, the starting point for a characteristic artistic one Photo creation, called Lomography , was made. Also in Saint Petersburg is the traditional Soviet watch company, the watch factory Petrodworez , with its famous Raketa watches .

Hotel Pribaltiyskaya in 1980; today: **** Park Inn by Radisson Pribaltiyskaya


Tourism is becoming an increasingly important economic factor in the city. According to UNESCO, the city is one of the ten most attractive travel destinations in the world for tourists.

Saint Petersburg is a major transport hub. Here, the city creates an important link between shipping , inland shipping and railways .


The ports of Saint Petersburg and the surrounding area are the most important group of ports in Russia (cargo handling 2012: 57.8 million  t ) and important for the entire Eastern European and North Asian region. Container traffic is increasing particularly quickly . There are regular connections to Stockholm , Helsinki , Kiel , Lübeck and other port cities on the Baltic Sea, as well as to all important container ports in the North Sea . Saint Petersburg's neighboring ports are located on the Baltic Sea in Ust-Luga , Primorsk (oil) and in Vysotsk . The further growth of the port at the current locations in the urban area is hampered by the lack of space and the difficult connection to the hinterland traffic via the permanently congested urban road and rail network.

There are development projects in the Lomonossow and Bronka area, a new seaport for container and RoRo transshipment on the south bank of the Neva Bay, 120 kilometers west of St. Petersburg. After the first expansion stage of the Bronka container terminal, which went into operation at the end of 2015, there are 107 hectares of land available with a connection to the Russian railway network and the St. Petersburg ring road. Five berths with a water depth of up to 14.4 m and a quay length of 1,220 m with an annual handling capacity of 1.45 million  TEU are planned. Up to 260,000 units per year can be handled in the neighboring ro-ro terminal, which is 57 hectares in size and has three berths at a quay length of 710 m. Further growth should also take place in the seaport of Ust-Luga , which is a little further to the west, but here in particular for the transshipment goods oil and dry bulk goods.

There are navigable connections to Lake Ladoga , the Volga and the White Sea via the Neva and various canals . The ships sail through the city at night, for which bascule bridges are raised. For several years, passenger shipping in the form of river cruises has proven to be a good economic factor, for which the river port in the south of the city on the Neva has been well developed.

View across the tarmac to the inland terminal of Pulkowo Airport

Air traffic

Pulkowo Airport is located about twelve kilometers south of the city center . The new, modern Terminal 1 was opened on December 4, 2013. It borders directly on Pulkowo-I and handles national and international traffic. Since March 28, 2014, all flights have only been processed via the new terminal. It is planned to renovate the old Pulkowo-I terminal and connect it to the new building by building a passage. The airline Rossija , in which the former Pulkovo Airlines has merged, flies from here . Numerous foreign airlines also serve the airport, including the German airline Lufthansa . It offers direct flights between Saint Petersburg and Berlin , Frankfurt am Main , Cologne / Bonn , Dresden, Düsseldorf , Munich , Münster and Vienna . The airline Rossija also offers flights to Hamburg , Hanover and Zurich .


The first Russian railway ran from Saint Petersburg to Tsarskoye Selo in 1837 and connected the capital with the "Tsar's Village". With the opening of the Nikolaibahn from Saint Petersburg to Moscow in 1851, the two largest cities of the Russian Empire were connected. The construction of a railway line from the Russian capital to Warsaw followed between 1851 and 1862. This was connected to the Prussian Eastern Railway , completed in 1860, via a branch line from Wilna via Kowno , which from that point on had a direct connection to Berlin via Königsberg . Up until the First World War, the Nord-Express ran on this route between Saint Petersburg and Paris .

Today there are direct rail connections to Murmansk (" Murmanbahn "), Helsinki (from the Finnish train station ), Kirov , Moscow (from the Moscow train station on the Saint Petersburg – Moscow railway line ), Kaliningrad , Minsk and Berlin (from the Vitebsk train station ). Bucharest, Budapest, Chisinau, Kiev, Sochi, Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd and Irkutsk / Lake Baikal can also be reached without changing trains. Since December 2012 there has been a free direct connection to Berlin once a week. Departure is at Vitebsk train station.

The city is the administrative seat of the October Regional Directorate of the Russian State Railways . The directorate not only operates all railway lines and associated infrastructure in the greater Saint Petersburg area, but also a rail network over 10,000 kilometers in the north-west of the European part of Russia.

On November 1, 2017, the newly designed Russian Railway Museum opened right next to the Baltic Railway Station. It is one of the largest railway museums in the world.

The new ring road " KAD " shortly after the opening

Road traffic

A tram railcar (LWS-2005) on Petersburg streets

St. Petersburg is served by twelve highways. On September 7, 2006, the first construction phase of the newly built " KAD " ring road around Saint Petersburg was opened to traffic. The 66-kilometer route bypasses the port city in the east. But there are still bottlenecks. Russia's largest current road construction project to date, at costs of around two billion euros, began in the spring of 2001.

For the transit traffic on the route from Finland to Moscow, which has been tormenting itself through the city so far, the motorway, with its current capacity of 50,000 vehicles per day, is an enormous relief: the travel time to pass through the city of five million should be reduced to around a third. A 2.8-kilometer-long suspension bridge, which opened at the end of 2004 and is high enough that it is the only Neva bridge in Saint Petersburg that does not have to be folded up at night to allow shipping to pass, became the landmark of the new motorway.

Folding up all the other Neva bridges, especially on White Nights , is highly attractive for tourists, but it practically paralyzes traffic for three to five hours every night.

So far, however, the ring had a four-kilometer gap in the Rzhevka district, the closure of which proved to be particularly difficult: both the Neva tributary Ochta and a large railway site including a train station had to be bridged. In addition, the construction crews came across an underground oil pipeline that was overlooked during the planning and had to be laid.

However, there are still bottlenecks on the route: the planned eight-lane expansion has only been implemented on 25 kilometers so far, otherwise the motorway is four-lane. Savings were also made in the connection of the motorway ring to the rest of the transport network. With only eleven connection points, two fewer than originally planned were implemented.

On August 12, 2011, the vehicle tunnel under the flood protection dam was opened to traffic, making the 115-kilometer route, which has been under construction since 1979, considered complete.

In addition to the “KAD” ring road for short, the north-south city freeway “SSD”, which can only be realized at great expense, is being planned in Saint Petersburg. Among other things, it will connect the St. Petersburg harbor to the motorway ring. Unlike the KAD, this route should be subject to tolls .

Local public transport

The Saint Petersburg metro station Avtowo

The Saint Petersburg Metro is due to its location in the bottom and the need to advance the tunnel into the underlying Tonsteinschichten , built deep make up to 102 meters and a total of the lowest-lying underground in the world. The metro, which opened in 1955, consists of five lines. On December 28, 2012, two new metro stations were opened in the densely populated south of the city after decades of construction that had been interrupted several times due to financial difficulties.

There are numerous bus and trolleybus routes even before the Petersburg metro . Developed from horse-drawn trams, the Saint Petersburg electric tram, developed by American companies, has been the world's largest tram network at times since 1907 . However, a large proportion of the land-based flow of travelers is handled by regular taxis (“ marshrutkas ”). Saint Petersburg also has a regional railway network (" Elektritschka ") that extends far into Leningrad Oblast and as far as Pskov Oblast, Novgorod Oblast and the Republic of Karelia .

Bicycle traffic

For the first time, a trial bike rental was set up at 30 stations in the summer of 2014. The city is well suited for cycling because of its flat topography and very wide streets.

Twin cities

Saint Petersburg and Hamburg have had the first German-Soviet and first German-Russian city twinning since 1957. This was later expanded into two triangular partnerships with Dresden (since 1961) and Prague (1991–2014). Saint Petersburg has other twinning partnerships with the following cities:

There is also a cooperation agreement with Bordeaux , France .


Saint Petersburg was the birthplace and residence of numerous Russian and foreign nobles, politicians, artists and scientists. The most famous of them include Fyodor Dostoyevsky , Alexander Pushkin , Daniil Charms , all Russian tsars since 1718, Dmitri Medvedev , Vladimir Putin , Leonhard Euler , Pafnuti Lvowitsch Chebyshev , Armand Marseille , Lev Alexandrovich Mei and Ivan Pavlov .

Born in Stockholm, Alfred Nobel spent 17 years of his childhood and youth in Saint Petersburg.

See also

Portal: Saint Petersburg  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Saint Petersburg
File category Files: Saint Petersburg  - local collection of images and media files


  • Hildburg Bethke (ed.), Werner Jaspert (ed.): Moscow, Leningrad today: Reports and impressions from a trip (= small answer series). Voice publishing house, Frankfurt am Main 1965.
  • Gerhard Hallmann: Leningrad. ( Art history city books ) 3rd edition. Seemann, Leipzig 1978, DNB 780435729 .
  • Solomon Volkov: St. Petersburg. A cultural history. Free Press, New York 1995, ISBN 0-684-83296-8 .
  • Svetlana Smelowa, Nikolaus Pawlow: Literary St. Petersburg: 50 poets, writers and scholars; Residence, work and works , Verlag Jena 1800, Berlin 2003, German version: Christian Hufen and Martin Stiebert, ISBN 978-3-931911-26-3 .
  • Jörg Ganzenmüller : The besieged Leningrad 1941–1944. A city in the strategies of attackers and defenders. Schöningh, Paderborn 2005, ISBN 3-506-72889-X .
  • Karl Schlögel , Frithjof Benjamin Schenk , Markus Ackeret (eds.): Saint Petersburg. Locations of a city's history. Campus, Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 978-3-593-38321-7 .
  • Jan Kusber: Small history of St. Petersburg. Pustet, Regensburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-7917-2227-6 .
  • Paullina Simons: The Lovers of Leningrad. Weltbild, Augsburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-8289-9196-5 .
  • Joseph Brodsky , Memories of Petersburg, translated from the English by Sylvia List and Marianne Frisch. Hanser Verlag, 152 pages, 2003. ISBN 978-3-446-20290-0 .
  • Karl Schlögel: Petersburg. The Modern Laboratory 1909–1921. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2009, ISBN 978-3-596-16720-3 .

Web links

Commons : Saint Petersburg  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Saint Petersburg  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Itogi Vserossijskoj perepisi naselenija 2010 goda. Tom 1. Čislennostʹ i razmeščenie naselenija (Results of the All-Russian Census 2010. Volume 1. Number and distribution of the population). Tables 5 , pp. 12-209; 11 , pp. 312–979 (download from the website of the Federal Service for State Statistics of the Russian Federation)
  2. Russia - Biggest Cities 2018. Accessed December 1, 2019 .
  3. List of the individual objects in and around St. P.
  4. ^ Historic Center of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments, Assessment
  5. See L. Tarasova: Saint Petersburg. Only you are in my soul! In: Aleksandra Alekseeva: St. Petersburg around 1800. A golden age of the Russian tsarist empire. Masterpieces and authentic testimonies of the time from the State Hermitage, Leningrad. [Exhibition catalog of the Ruhr Cultural Foundation, Villa Hügel, Essen 1990], Ruhr Cultural Foundation, Aurel Bongers Recklinghausen, Essen 1990, ISBN 3-7647-0401-2 , pp. 1–17, here pp. 5–8.
  6. Petropolis in use in the Latin publications of the Academy of Sciences in Saint Petersburg during the 18th and 19th centuries.
  7. Sowet, roschdjonny "wetrom peremen" ( Memento from January 21, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) on газетавести.рф (accessed on February 5, 2013).
  8. ^ Stephen Timoshenko Engineering Education in Russia , McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1959.
  9. Russian emperor's army
  10. ^ Karl Schlögel, Frithjof Benjamin Schenk , Markus Ackeret (eds.): Saint Petersburg. 2007, ISBN 978-3-593-38321-7 , p. 57 ( limited preview in Google book search).
  11. ^ Jörg Ganzenmüller: The besieged Leningrad 1941-1944. A city in the strategies of attackers and defenders. Schöningh, Paderborn 2005, pp. 13–82, citations on pp. 17 and 20; the quote concerning Joachim Hoffmann's position refers to his contribution: Joachim Hoffmann, The Warfare from the View of the Soviet Union . In: The German Reich and the Second World War , ed. v. Military History Research Office. Volume 4. The attack on the Soviet Union . DVA, Stuttgart 1983, ISBN 3-421-06098-3 , pp. 713-809, here p. 741.
  12. Jörg Ganzenmüller: The besieged Leningrad 1941-1944. A city in the strategies of attackers and defenders. Schöningh, Paderborn 2005, pp. 13–82; Johannes Hürter: Hitler's military leader. The German commanders-in-chief in the war against the Soviet Union in 1941/42. Oldenbourg, Munich 2006, ISBN 978-3-486-58341-0 , pp. 497-500; Adam Tooze: Economy of Destruction. The history of the economy under National Socialism . Translated from the English by Yvonne Badal. Siedler, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-88680-857-1 , pp. 555-559.
  13. Erich Maschke (ed.): On the history of the German prisoners of war of the Second World War. Gieseking, Bielefeld 1962–1977, ISBN 3-7694-0396-7 .
  14.; Retrieved March 16, 2008
  15. Historic Center of Saint Petersburg and related monuments. UNESCO World Heritage Center 1992-2017, accessed December 31, 2017 .
  16. ^ Eleanor Randolph: Voters chose old name over new: Leningrad may become St. Petersburg. The Washington Post, June 14, 1991, accessed June 12, 2021 .
  17. Leningrad council accepts name change. UPI , June 25, 1991, accessed June 12, 2021 .
  18. ^ The name of Peter restored to Leningrad., September 6, 1991, accessed June 12, 2021 (English, Russian).
  19. ↑ Based on a self-presentation by e.on from 2005, p. 90. (pdf) ( Memento from April 11, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  20. Severe explosion in the underground station in St. Petersburg. In: , April 3, 2017, accessed on April 3, 2017.
  21. Electronic visas for visitors to the city of Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad region . Embassy of the Russian Federation. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
  22. Press report from 2012 ( Memento from December 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  23. "I'm sorry for those who stayed on the streets" , Novaya Gazeta, April 6, 2020
  24. Report on the number of inhabitants at RIA Novosti from September 24, 2012 (Russian).
  25. Information on birth and death rates ( Memento of February 21, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), Migration ( Memento of November 6, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) 2011/2012 on the website of the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast of the Federal Service for State Statistics of the Russian Federation (Russian).
  26. see the article en: Russian neoclassical revival in the English Wikipedia
  27. Lakhta Center - The Skyscraper Center. Retrieved March 2, 2018 .
  28. ^ White Nights in St. Petersburg , accessed November 25, 2013.
  29. a b c d e cultural events ( memento of October 30, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) on; Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  30. Information about the St. Petersburg museums , accessed on November 25, 2013.
  31. site
  32. Today Bund, yesterday Warsaw - Thoughts on trends in St. Petersburg popular music ( Memento from November 25, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  33. ^ VN Toporov: Peterburg i peterburgskij tekst russkoj literatury: (Vvedenie v temu). In: Učenye zapiski Tartuskogo universiteta 664/1984, pp. 4–29.
  34. ^ Veit commemorates the victims of the blockade in St. Petersburg. In: Hamburger Abendblatt , January 28, 2019., p. 10.
  35. Petrovsky Stadium (Russian)
  36. 2018 FIFA World Cup in eleven venues. In: FIFA, September 29, 2012, accessed November 21, 2013 .
  38. ^ Alan Berube, Jesus Leal Trujillo, Tao Ran, and Joseph Parilla: Global Metro Monitor . In: Brookings . January 22, 2015 ( [accessed July 19, 2018]).
  39. ^ Documentary about the history of the Petrodvorez watch factory on YouTube 2003 (Russian with English subtitles).
  40. Eckhard-Herbert Arndt: CMA CGM uses Bronka as a springboard. In: Daily port report from January 13, 2016, p. 13.
  42. Autobahn: Clear the ring around St. Petersburg. online publication Petersburg aktuell from September 7, 2006.
  43. New Year gifts. Petersburg's new metro on from December 28, 2012.
  44. Bike rental from June: Petersburg pedaling free. (No longer available online.) In: November 2003, archived from the original ; Retrieved December 25, 2014 .
  45. ^ Resolution of the Milan City Council of November 22, 2012. See: ( accessed online on November 30, 2012) and ( accessed online on November 30, 2012).
  46. Bethlehem Twinning Cities (English)
  47. City friendships . Retrieved July 11, 2019.
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on September 16, 2004 in this version .