St. Petersburg has won the prestigious World Travel Awards in the category “Leading European Destination”, according to TRN-News.
Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Edinburgh, Istanbul, Lisbon, London, Paris, Porto, Yorkshire, Florence, Rome and Venice also struggled for this title. The winner was determined by an open online vote through the official website of the award. A vote of a specialist of the tourism industry gave a candidate 2 points, a vote of a simple voter - 1 point. According to the masters of the ceremony, St. Petersburg has received World Travel Awards 2015 for its exceptionally rich history, centuries-old traditions and extensive prospects.
St. Petersburg is justly considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world and the most European of all Russian cities. Built by Peter the Great as ‘the window to Europe’ it has always been more Europe-oriented than any other Russian city, whether you take its weather, architecture, or lifestyles. Once made the capital of Russian Empire by Peter the Great St. Petersburg is still rivaling Moscow: it is often referred to as ‘the Northern Capital’ or the ‘Cultural Capital’ of Russia. St. Petersburg seems to be enveloped in some poetic veil of enchantment; the city of white nights and drawbridges, splendid sights and museums, variety of elegant architectural styles of all epochs and grim close backyards, contradictory history and unpredictable weather, it attracts people from all over the world with its cultural gorgeousness.
If you are lucky to find yourself in St. Petersburg you face quite a hard choice between all the places of interests: only museums amount to 170 in number here. First of all you should find several days for exploring the realm of the Hermitage, one of the grandest museums in the world. The rich collections of the museum are exhibited in six magnificent palaces located on the embankment of the Neva River. One can hardly observe in a short time all the three million exhibits presented in 400 rooms. Anyone can find something to one’s taste out of this cornucopia of arts. If you are attracted to Russian arts the right choice will be certainly the State Russian Museum. Its collection has over 400 thousand exhibits, featuring all the major schools of Russian fine arts, with all its types and genres from the 10th to the 20th century.
Walking around the downtown St.-Petersburg you will hardly overlook one of the biggest cathedrals in the world, the St. Isaac (Isaakievsky) Cathedral, formerly the major cathedral of Russia. It took its creators 40 years, 400 kilograms (881,85 pounds) of gold and 16 tons of malachite to build this impressive construction. Ten thousand people can fit inside of it. Probably the most attractive possibility about visiting the Cathedral is that you can walk on top of its peak opening a bird's-eye view of the city. When you get tired of walking take a boat excursion around the numerous channels of St. Petersburg. You will enjoy the beauty of the city and the pleasure of a voyage along the water labyrinths, reflecting the splendid buildings and bridges. The city mirrored in water might appear even more enchanting than the real one!
Besides, to taste St. Petersburg luxury to the full do not miss the chance of visiting miraculous open-air ensembles of parks and palaces, where Russian emperors and nobles used to enjoy their summertime. To name but a few, the Peterhof with its incomparable fountains and the Tsarskoe Selo glorified by Alexander Pushkin. St. Petersburg will undoubtedly leave an unforgettable impression and make you want to come here again.
Lots of international airlines offer direct flights to St. Petersburg. Besides, you can certainly choose to fly via Moscow, or fly over to Moscow and then go to St. Petersburg by train. St. Petersburg has one airport with two terminals, one for domestic and one for foreign flights: Pulkovo 1 and 2, respectively. There are five railway terminals in St. Petersburg: Moscovsky, Baltiysky, Vitebsky, Finlandsky, and Ladozhsky terminals. Three of them are international - these are Vitebsky, Finlandsky, and Ladozhsky ones. Travelling by train is the most economic and safe way, but it is also the most lengthy one. And there is one more problem: in summer Russian railway system is overloaded with passenger traffic. So it is better to buy tickets to and from St. Petersburg in advance.
Author: Anna Dorozhkina