It seems like you can’t watch a movie or television show which mentions Russia without seeing the iconic onion-shaped colorful domes of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. The history of Russia is steeped in drama, color and culture and you can experience it first hand on the GetAway Travel July 2022 Baltics and Beyond cruise. We’ll be spending three days in fabulous St. Petersburg.
Architecture, antiques and aristocracy
The port city of St. Petersburg was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great and it has some of the best preserved architecture from the extravagant era of the Russian aristocracy. There’s opulent baroque-style palaces, classic sculptures, royal gardens and grand cathedrals throughout the city.
Many of the most famous art collections call the city home and there are world-renowned ballet and opera performances throughout the year.
Visitors benefit from the fact that Russian rulers vied for years to create the most spectacular monuments to honor themselves and their families or mark crucial events in their lives.
Steeped in history, the city is also home to some of the most romantic water backdrops. There are more than 90 waterways including miles of man-made canals throughout the city.
Depending on the season, boat tours also include watching the opening and closing of some of the city’s drawbridges. The Palace Drawbridge opening and closing features music and a light show!
St. Petersburg is very pedestrian friendly with much of the signage in Russian as well as English. Ask your travel advisor at GetAway about walking tours, boat tours and even Segway tours. And, of course, there is shopping and fine cuisine. You can hunt for bargains at the Udelnaya Flea Market on the city’s northern edge. There are more than 700 restaurants, cafes and tea rooms in St. Petersburg where you can enjoy the local fare.
Don’t miss the Hermitage and Faberge Museums
The State Hermitage Museum is one of the largest museums in the world housing 3 million works of art including paintings and sculptures from nearly every European country as well as Asian, Greek and Egyptian pieces. It was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great to showcase her private collection and it is actually five interconnected buildings. There’s the Winter Palace which was the official home of the Romanovs, the Little Hermitage, the Great Hermitage, the New Hermitage and the Hermitage Theatre.
The Winter Place is the largest building and it was commissioned by Catherine to be a reproduction of the Papal Palace in Vatican City. There are themed motifs in various rooms including Gothic and Renaissance, fabulous chandeliers, sweeping staircases and, of course, artwork by Michelangelo, Raphael, Rembrandt and DaVinci.
The Museum Faberge is in the Shuvalov Palace along the Fontanka River. As an added bonus, you can view the stunning statues of the four horses and their horsemen. Each statue is set at a corner of the Anichkov Bridge and the marble statues depict horses and their tamers in various stages of getting the horses under control.
There are 44 fabulous Faberge eggs and at any given time, at least a dozen are on display in Russia. Some are lost and some are in other museums, but the Museum Faberge has the most significant collection. There are more than 4,000 art exhibits in two restored room in the palace. They give visitors a feel for the grandeur of the time when the eggs were created as well as the craftsmanship it took to make them.
But wait, there’s so much more!
St. Petersburg is home to St. Isaac’s which is the largest orthodox cathedral in the world. The Peter and Paul Fortress actually was one of the original fortresses built in the city and is houses the Museum of the History of St. Petersburg as well as the Museum of Cosmonautics and Rocket Technology. The Peter and Paul Cathedral is considered one of the finest examples of baroque architecture. It’s tall golden spire topped with a golden cross and angel is a main symbol of the city.
There is, of course, a Museum of Russian Vodka and for a small extra fee you can sample three kinds of vodka at the end of the tour. You can experience the fully immersive tour of the Freud Museum of Dreams or go to the Street Art Museum which is set up in a sprawling factory and industrial site.
At GetAway Travel we can help plan your tours so you are sure to experience exactly what you want as soon as the ship comes into port in St. Petersburg. Or, perhaps you’d like us to set up a visit to several Russian cities? We’re here to help with all of your travel needs. We can be reached at: (262) 538-2140, e-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org