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St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg, Europes youngest major city, was founded in 1703 in the marshlands on the Gulf of Finland by one of Russias most influential historical figures Peter the Great, who moved the capital there from Moscow in 1712. In 1914, during World War One, the citys 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.  

Under the 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. The 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 attract tourists.  

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.

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. 

St. Petersburg is the birthplace of Russias second president, Vladimir Putin (2000-2008), who had a record of appointing his fellow townsmen to key government positions.




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