On St. Petersburg: The City

As part of the whirlwind portion of our eastern Baltic cruise, the Celebrity Constellation arrived in St. Petersburg, Russia. As one raised during the Cold War, visiting the Giant Bear of the North was something we never imagined.

Russia requires visitors to have a visa. However, cruise passengers need not apply for one as long as they are participating in a government-approved tour agency. Therefore, we booked the two-day St. Petersburg Royal Tour with Denrus, who provided a great two days with a delightful tour guide and driver.

Because both days were fascinating, I will give St. Petersburg two posts, with today’s post focusing on some of the non-royal aspects. Enjoy!

St. Petersburg Factoids

  • Peter the Great founded the city in 1703
  • Located on 14 islands with rivers and canals
  • Peter the Great was fond of his time in Amsterdam
  • Population: about 4.8 million
  • Also called, Petrograd and Leningrad
  • Getting a border agent to smile is not easy
  • The non-smiling faces of the older residents is a stark reminder of the past

The old, walled fortress city (Russian royals buried at the tall church)


Old Navy ship for military enthusiasts to research

Many Khrushchev-style apartments are in the city (Interestingly, we didn’t see many homes within the city)


Across the river to St. Isaac’s Cathedral


St. Isaac’s Cathedral’s huge doors

St. Isaac’s interior


Sts. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral in Peterhof (outside St. Petersburg)

Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood

Besides the longest escalator I’ve ever been on, the subway stations are like museum (To see more, checkout this 3-minute video)

The nesting Matryoshka dolls for the American tourists
We’ll return to St. Petersburg after tomorrow’s mid-week satire post. (Click here to join us in St. Petersburg.)