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Archive : St. Petersburg & Helsinki

My visit to Saint Petersburg (Санкт Петербург, previously Leningrad) coincided with the would-be quatercentenary of the Romanov dynasty. I was struck by the baroque magnificence of the city, which, I think, would be one of the top destinations in Europe, were it easier to enter Russia. There are pockets of almost forgotten elegance that seem more Parisian than modern tourist-swamped Paris.

Saint Petersburg
Like Lenin in 1917, we arrived at Finlyandsky Station Vyborg The Russian wilderness
The metro trains run under chandeliers The metro (Ploshchad Vosstaniya) Deep tunnels
The Winter Palace, home of the Hermitage Museum
The Winter Palace The Winter Palace
The Winter Palace The Winter Palace The Winter Palace
The Winter Palace, largely by the Italian Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, was the seat of government in Imperial Russia. As such it was the scene of the Bloody Sunday massacre in 1905 and the fall of the Provisional Government of 1917. As a museum, the Hermitage ranks alongside the British Museum and the Louvre in being so vast that it's quite impossible to see everything on display in a single visit.
Palace Square
The Malachite Room The clock stopped when the Provisional Government fell to the bolsheviks in 1917 The Small Throne Room
The Great Throne Room of the Russian Empire
The Pavilion Hall The War Gallery of 1812 The Da Vinci Room
The Peacock Clock (by the Briton James Cox) Boudoir of Empress Maria Alexandrovna The Alexander Hall
The Jordan Staircase The Jordan Staircase
The Jordan Staircase Italian art
The Nicholas Hall Laocoön
Toward St. Isaac's The Admiralty The General Staff Building
Rostral Column St. Isaac's Cathedral
The old stock exchange The Kunstkamera The Admiralty
The Kronverk ship Dining at an elegant restaurant aboard the ship The Kronverk ship
Dirty streets Frozen gutter pipes Frozen canals
A gate of the Peter And Paul Fortress Peter And Paul Cathedral (under cover) Peter And Paul Cathedral
The Botik is an English boat said to have been given to Ivan The Terrible as a gift by Elizabeth I (of England). When later found by Peter The Great, it inspired him to transform Russia into a European naval power, and thus to found the city of Saint Petersburg in 1703, starting with the Peter And Paul Fortress.
The boathouse The Botik Peter And Paul Cathedral
St. Michael's Castle The tomb of Peter The Great Peter And Paul Cathedral
Anichkov Palace (from the rear) The National Library The National Library
The Alexandrinsky Theatre Stroganov Palace Nevsky Prospekt
The University Of Technology And Design The Eliseev Emporium The Eliseev Emporium
The Ethnographic Museum The Russian Museum The Eliseev Emporium
The Russian Museum
View to the Church On The Spilled Blood
The Church On The Spilled Blood was constructed on the site of the assassination of Alexander II in 1881.
Church On The Spilled Blood Church On The Spilled Blood
Church On The Spilled Blood
Church On The Spilled Blood The iconostasis The traveller
Church On The Spilled Blood Canopy marking the site of the assassination of Alexander II The Singer Building
Wing of Kazan Cathedral Kazan Cathedral Kazan Cathedral
Kazan Cathedral Lomonosov Bridge The Palace Of The Soviets
Kazan Cathedral
Bank Bridge The Alexandrinsky (Pushkin) Theatre St. Petersburg nightlife
Sugar-coated Bell tower of St. Nicholas Cathedral Russian baroque
Turreted building St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral The Mariinsky Theatre
Ploshchad Vosstaniya The Tauride Palace, seat of the Imperial Duma The Suvarov Museum
Smolny Cathedral
Like the Winter Palace, Smolny Convent was designed by Rastrelli.
Smolny Convent Smolny Cathedral Smolny Convent
Smolny Cathedral Smolny Cathedral Smolny Convent
Vitebsky Terminal Vitebsky Terminal in heavy snow Vitebsky Terminal
Taking the train from Vitebsky Terminal, one can reach the suburban town called Tsarskoye Selo (also called Pushkin and Detskoye Selo), where the tsars resided when not in the city. The enormous Catherine Palace (by Rastrelli) contains a whole series of gilded halls, plus the Amber Room, which is panelled entirely in amber gemstones (no photography permitted).
The church of the Catherine Palace The Catherine Palace
The main staircase The Catherine Palace The Catherine Palace
The Great Hall
The Golden Enfilade The Golden Enfilade The Golden Enfilade
The Catherine Palace

Helsinki is only three hours' journey from St. Petersburg.

Frozen waters Frozen waters Frozen waters
Helsinki Cathedral Helsinki Cathedral
The National Archives The Ministry Of Finance House Of The Estates, the historical lower house of the Finnish parliament
The National Library House Of The Knights, the historical upper house of parliament (cf. Stockholm) The Design Museum
Central Station Central Station
Uspenski Cathedral Uspenski Cathedral St. John's Church
The Finnish Parliament The National Theatre The Customs House
The National Museum Room in the museum Throne from the Grand Duchy Of Finland
Tivoli In 'the Vatican' with Miss Helsinki The weary traveller