Beautiful St. Petersburg

Trip Start May 03, 2012
Trip End May 14, 2012

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Flag of Russia  , North-West Russia,
Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A great day in St. Petersburg! We start our day with a boat tour of the canals and rivers of the city.  When the city was founded in 1703 it consisted of 101 islands. Today the city has 42 islands and 315 bridges. It's called "Venice of the North".  Some of the bridges are really ornate and others are painted in bright blue, red, green or yellow.

We’re lucky today that the sun is shining and it’s about 55 degrees.  It’s also a national holiday so the traffic is just a fraction of what it usually is on a weekday.  Our guide, Svetlana, couldn’t believe that the city was so quiet.  St. Petersburg is really impressive. The waterways are lined with palaces and ornate buildings.  People are walking their dogs and enjoying the sun and others are picnicking in the parks. We’re surprised at how clean and bright the city is. 

Our first stop is the residence of the Yusupov family.  This family was the richest family in Russia in the 17th and 18th century.  3 generations lived in this home, which was built in 1830.  We start in the basement of this house where Rasputin was killed by the youngest Yusupov in 1916.  The main living area is beautiful. Each room was painted a different color and one or two walls of each room where covered in dyed silk.  All the furniture was original and commissioned for this house.  Unlike Berlin that was destroyed by the world wars, St. Petersburg was heavily protected and was barely touched.   

We enjoy a nice lunch on a docked riverboat and afterward visit the Cathedral of the Spilled Blood.  This church is by far the most impressive building in the city. It was built in 1907 as a memorial to the slain Alexander the Second. It was built right on the sight of his death and the stones that he fell on (and bled on) were dug up and put on the floor of the church.  The church is Russian Orthodox and all the portraits on the inside are made of mosaic. Not one picture is painted. It’s hard to believe that all of that was done by hand over a 15-year period.   This church was hit with bullets and bombs during WWII and restoration took more than 40 years.  Luckily more than 90 percent of the mosaics in the church are the originals. 
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Don S on

WOW!! OK, Each entry way along the way has ben pretty cool. This... I have to see someday. Awesome! Thanks as always for sharing your adventures- very fun to follow along even if I can't taste the vodka!

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