St Petersburg,
Peter the Great's City
Formerly, Leningrad
Tsar Peter the Great still presides over his city in the
Bronze Horseman statue.  It was Peter's idea to create
this new Russian Capital in 1712, replacing Moscow, and
moving west.  The city was intended to dazzle the eyes.  
The Peter and Paul Fortress was built first, on an
island in the Neva River.  It had everything a Tsar
needed, including strong walls, a prison, and a church.
The church spire above remains a landmark.
The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul gives you an idea of
the splendor Peter the Great had in mind, even inside a
fortress.  Peter and the Tsars that came after him were laid
to rest inside this magnificent Cathedral.
What had been swampland was turned into lovely
canals, an effort to rival Venice.  Peter the Great
hired artisans from all over Europe, so the resulting
city has elements that resemble Rome and Paris.   
While St Petersburg buildings appear in many colors,
this yellow and white combination is the most popular.
Here is the opera house, which looks like the Admiralty
There's always room for green, a museum on the Neva River.
The Communists seized power in St Petersburg in 1917,
which was called Petrograd at the time.  The Communists
permanently moved the capital back to Moscow, further east
and easier to defend.  Following Lenin's death in 1924, the
city was named after him.  With the fall of Communism in
1991, Leningrad once again became St Petersburg.
If you have a high speed internet connection, watch the Intrepid
Berkeley Explorer's free video of this trip by clicking on:
Tsar Trek