Europe’s youngest major city, was founded in 1703 in the marshlands
on the Gulf of Finland by one of Russia’s most influential
historical figures — Peter the Great, who moved the capital there
from Moscow in 1712. In 1914, during World War One, the city’s name
was russified and changed to Petrograd. In 1918, the Bolsheviks
moved the capital back to Moscow, and in 1924 the city was once
again renamed, in honor of Vladimir Lenin, the leader of Soviet
Russia, to Leningrad.
tsars, the city was Russia's cultural, intellectual, commercial,
financial, and industrial center. After the capital was moved back
to Moscow in 1918, the city's political significance declined, but
it remained a cultural, scientific, and military-industrial center.
In 1991, as the result of
a city referendum, it was renamed St. Petersburg.
administrative unit encompassing the towns and villages in the
vicinity of St. Petersburg reflects this change — after the city
regained its original name, the region remained Leningradskaya
Oblast. In May 2003, the city celebrated its 300th birthday, for
which many historical buildings and landmarks were renovated to
St. Petersburg is
known for its beautiful architectural landscape, which includes a
complex bridge-raising and lowering schedule during the nautical
season. The city is traversed by multiple rivers and canals — the
Neva being the most notable.
The Hermitage is one of the
world's great fine arts museums.
St. Petersburg is the birthplace of Russia’s second president,
Vladimir Putin (2000-2008), who had a record of appointing his
fellow townsmen to key government positions.
The city subway is quite deep due to the subterranean waters from
the rivers and the sea. In winter, the city gets about 3 hours of
sunlight, while during mid-summer the sun never sets. During this
time St. Petersburg celebrates the peak of the tourist season as
guests from more southern latitudes flock to the city in order to
experience the famous White Nights. In the winter, temperatures
average a chilly 17 F (-8 C), while on a really cold day it might
drop to 5 F (-15 C).
Business in St. Petersburg is growing and the local GDP has been
steadily rising since the Russian financial crisis of 1998. The city
economy is well diversified, with a well-developed service sector.