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St. Petersburg (Russia)
Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in st
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St. Petersburg (?????-?????????? Sankt-Peterburg) is Russia's second city, with a population of 4.2 million perched at the eastern tip of of the Baltic Sea and the Neva River.
Founded by Peter the Great, the former home of the Czars and the center of Russian culture, St. Petersburg was known as "The Venice of the North" in its heyday. Renamed Petrograd in 1914, the city was renamed again as Leningrad in 1924 after Lenin's death. Bombed, besieged and starved during World War II, during the Communist era the city took a back seat to capital Moscow.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the city has been rapidly making up for lost time and is by far the most cosmopolitan of Russia's cities. Now formally known by its original name again, most Russians call it what they always have, the friendly diminutive Piter (?????).
Pulkovo Airport (LED) serves a wide variety of destinations in nearby countries and within Russia. Terminal 1 serves domestic flights, while Terminal 2 is for international connections. The airport is 17 kilometers from the center.
Taxis infest the airport, but the prices are astounding, working out about 50 euros to get into St. Petersburg. Instead, take a bus to the nearest Metro station, Moskovskaya, which will cost you all of 14 RUR. From there you can get anywhere on the St. Petersburg Metro for a 10 RUR token.
St. Petersburg is a major train hub. The 5-hour train ride from Helsinki (Finland) is one of the most comfortable ways to reach the city. Trains also connect to destinations in the Baltics and Central Europe. Alternatively, you can head inland to Moscow.
There are five principal stations:
Note: Finland station is no longer used by train to Finland! Currently there seems to be no train service to and from Tallinn
The cheapest way of reaching St. Petersburg from neighboring countries is long-distance bus. Buses from Belarus, Ukraine, Germany, Finland, the Baltic states and Scandinavia arrive at the bus station. Métro: Ligovsky Prospekt.
Passenger boats also operate on the inland waterway "Volga-Baltic" which links Moscow, the River Volga and Lakes Onega, Ladoga and Neva.
To get out, you could try your luck for Freighter travel, although the port is very large. It would be easier if you have connections in the port. Try to find a dispatcher.
St. Petersburg's metro system is second only to Moscow's in size and the best way to get around. Trains are cheap, rapid and very frequent (intervals go as low as 90 seconds in peak hours).
A more scenic but slower way to see St. Petersburg is by tram.
My advice for foreigners visiting the Hermitage Museum: Get yourself on a tour. They're 200 rubles instead of 350, and include the photography fee and a whistle-stop tour of the museum. Don't accept a tour from the numerous touts hanging around the queue. Instead, march past the queue and in through the main entrance, or the exit opposite if the queue's blocking the entrance (don't worry, you're not queue-jumping). Have a scout around for notices with museum tour times in your native language, or in extreme circumstances, ask at the desk. If you find a good candidate, you're all set to go to the Tours Office to book yourself on it. This is where things get slightly surreal.
To get to the Tours Office from the main entrance, go forward past the cashiers, and turn left down the corridor. The Tours Office is in front of you at the end, and may or may not be marked. Get yourself a place on your tour, collect the bit of paper, go to cashier No. 5 (who is not with the rest of them, instead turn left out of the Tours Office and she's in a box at the end of the corridor), pay, get your paper stamped, take it back to the Tours Office and get it checked, stamped again and muttered over and then you're ready to brave the coat dungeon.
Bags aren't allowed in the museum (and neither are cameras without the appropriate ticket), so stash them in the busy cloakroom.
There are many things to do in the evenings, for example music, dance, circus, opera. Performances start early (6pm). Do not be put off by the length of an opera at the Mariinski Theatre as there are many intervals. And the language is not an obstacle: the text is translated above the scene.
St. Petersburgers know how to party.
Sleep Cheap - Located on Mohovaya Ave, reasonably priced (700 rubles) accommodation. Very hard to find (go to number 18, and through the dark tunnel), no Internet Access or hot water (for a couple of weeks during the summer).
St. Petersburg has a somewhat dangerous reputation, although mafia gang wars are unlikely to affect the average tourist. Skinhead gangs are a problem if you are Black or Asian. Much of the police force is corrupt and best avoided. Avoid travel alone at night and do not get into altercations with drunken Russians.