Before the city was built, the area was still a part of Novgorod, dating back to the 9th century, a trade center by the Baltic Sea. Peter The Great (Пётр Вели́кий, Pyotr Velikiy 1672-1725), the builder of the city, was instrumental in opening the city to its Western influences. One of Peter’s main goals was to regain access to the Baltic Sea and Baltic trade. In 1700 he started the Northern War with Sweden, which lasted for 21 years, and resulted in a victorious Russia taking the vast lands on the Baltic coast as its spoils of war. During the course of the war St. Petersburg was founded (1703) on the delta of the Neva River. It truly became a European centre of culture. Peter designed the city as another Amsterdam and Venice. Having visited St Petersburg recently and also having lived in Holland eight years and visited Amsterdam many times, I can say it is in many of its aspects reminiscent of the streets of Amsterdam, with the difference that the grand boulevards (such as the nevsky prospect [ http://www.saint-petersburg.com/virtual-tour/nevsky-prospect/ ]) in St. Petersburg are of a much grander scale. I walked it from the shores of the Neva back to Hotel Moskwa. This is a city I would always enjoy to re-visit.

I had joined an organised tour group from Germany – flying from Berlin to Saint Petersburg with Rossiya Airlines. Our group then met at St. Petersburg’s airport. It is almost imperative to go with a tour group, because of the wealth of cultural sights this city has to offer. I would have missed many where I to do this on my own. We stayed at the Hotel Moskwa, a huge (couple of blocks long) hotel, so big that it feels like a small city when coming down for breakfast. And what a breakfast it was, huge amounts of diverse healthy foods, fabulous. The city of St. Petersburg is one of the few grand cities in European style which has so much to offer in cultural history, buildings, churches, and museum treasures. I enclose here the first instalment only of my visit: Summer Palace of Catherine The Great of Russia, Tsarskoe Selo, Pushkin, Pushkin (Russian: Пу́шкин) is a municipal town in Pushkinsky District of the federal city of St. Petersburg, Russia, located 24 kilometers (15 mi) south from the center of St. Petersburg proper,[6] and its railway station, Detskoye Selorussia_reduced

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