➤ Guided Tour of the Winter Palace and Hermitage
➤ City Sightseeing Tour: St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Kazan, the Church of the Spilled Blood
The State Hermitage Museum is often called St. Petersburg’s most important site - a title we think is well deserved. The Winter Palace, the main building of the Hermitage, was home to the Russian Tsars and royal family. There is no better way to understand the heart and soul of St. Petersburg than by roaming the grounds of the Hermitage. Come face to face with history, and the majestic splendor of this unapologetically baroque Palace.
After enjoying some traditional Russian food at a "stolovaya", or a ‘canteen’, take a short walk past St. Petersburg’s most iconic churches. St Isaac’s Cathedral is one of the world’s largest cathedrals, and its dome is unmissable from any vantage point in St Petersburg. If you’re looking for ornate, this is it.
Surprisingly, St Petersburg is one of the leading gastronomic destinations in Europe. Original and varied, Russian cuisine is famous for exotic soups, which are eaten for lunch. Amongst soups, we should first of all mention "schi" made of sourcrout and "solyanka", made of assorted meats. Russians are great lovers of pelmeni, small Siberian meat pies boiled in broth. Those are very similar to Italian ravioli but larger in size, more like Chinese dumplings. Mushrooms are one of the most abundant gifts of Russian woods. Those are eaten fried, pickled, salted or boiled. We should also mention "pirozhki" and "bliny" - pancakes, the later became a symbolic Russian food every serious traveler has to try with the caviar.
Construction of beautiful Kazan cathedral commenced at the start of the 19th century, and this neoclassical beauty has stood tall and proud ever since. Often commended as having some of the most beautiful features of any cathedral in the world, the scale of Kazan is something you must experience for yourself.
Built in the 19th century, the Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood is a dramatic feast for the eyes, with an intriguing history. It’s shrouded in mystery and legend, stemming from the assassination attempt on Tsar Alexander II. Designed in the quintessential Russian Orthodox style of extravagant color and texture, it’s not difficult to see why the Church of the Spilled Blood took 24 years to complete.
During the late Soviet era, the church permanently stood in a falsework. This was lasting for so, so long that finally St. Petersburg residents made an ironic belief that as soon as falsework was removed, the entire USSR would be removed as well. Believe it or not, but the fact is: in 1991 the temple’s falsework was finally taken away and the same year, in August 1991, the end of the Soviet power has come.
St. Petersburg drawbridges’ opening and closing is a magnificent show, spectacular and captivating. What’s interesting it’s not a tourist attraction, but a purely technological procedure, the fact which adds flavor to the experience. St Petersburg has 9 out of 10 world's big bridges that are lifted regularly. The remaining one is the London’s Tower bridge. Optional midnight drawing bridges cruise is seasonally available, please inquire.