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The city of Saint Petersburg straddles the borders of the Neva River. The city was founded in the early 18th century with the construction of the Peter and Paul fortress to keep the Swedes away.
On behalf of Peter the Great, Alexander Menshikov put hordes of conscripts at work to build the city according to a detailed plan. Many of the laborers did not survive the harsh conditions.
Two centuries of Romanov emperors have filled St Petersburg with tons of spectacular sights, buildings and museums, so you need several days just to get a good first impression.
A good start is to take a guided city tour first that will show you the highlights.
Must-sees are the Peter and Paul Fortress with its magnificent cathedral, the Menshikov Palace, the Russian Orthodox Saint Isaac Cathedral, the impressive Palace Square, the colorful Savior on spilled Blood church, the Rostral Columns and of course the Hermitage.
In summertime the city can be extremely crowded with tourists from all over the world, and especially inside the Hermitage you may need to use your elbows a bit to get an unobstructed view of the priceless art on display.
Isaac Cathedral
City tour
Peter and Paul Fortress
Menshikov Palace