More on St. Petersburg – Russia

Day four could be dedicated to a walk around the city squares, the main one, of course, being the Palace Square. Since I've already described it (previous article), we'll go farther and start with St. Isaac's and Decembrists Squares, where we can observe the magnificent city panoramas.

The symbol of the city – the Bronze Horseman – is located next to St. Isaac’s square; tourists often choose this spot for a photo session. You can also take pictures of the arch of the former Senate and Synod, and the monument to Emperor Nicholas I. This stroll will take no more than an hour, so after that, visit St. Isaac’s Cathedral and its central dome. The cathedral is open from 11:00 to 19:00 daily, in summer time, from 20:00 to 23:00. It is closed on Wednesdays.

From the cathedral steps, walk a bit further down Konnogvardeisky Boulevard as far as Truda (Labour) square. The boulevard is a curious place; you can slow down to observe numerous mansions, or sit on a bench and relax. Landmarks at the Labour Square are the Nikolaevsky Palace and the complex of buildings called New Holland. To see the famous New Holland arch, you need to go a bit farther down the canal. New Holland is a short walk from the Theatre Square, the famous Mariinsky Theatre and the Conservatory Concert Hall.

Farther down the embankment is the Nikolsky (Nicholas) Cathedral, which deserves your rapt attention. The cathedral is known for its bell tower and its cosy square, a good place to sit down. Continue walking along the Griboedova Canal, to where it joins the Fontanka River. You will see several beautiful bridges along the way, and an Estonian church, one of the local attractions. The whole trip will take a day. Finding a place for dinner is easy; there are numerous cafes, bars and restaurants. End your day at Sennaya Square. There are two entertainment venues: the “Peak” and “Sennaya” stores.

Another day can be spent in the city centre. This time when coming out from the Nevsky prospect metro station, turn to the Griboedova Canal. You will soon reach Italyanskaya street. When the weather is good, the street is always filled with the sounds of music, which creates a romantic atmosphere. One of the things to see here is the monument to Ostap Bender, a character from a famous Russian novel, The Twelve Chairs by Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov.

One of the most famous churches of St. Petersburg – Church of the Savior on Blood, decorated with beautiful mosaics – is a few steps from the street. One hour would be enough to see the outside and the inside. Next to it, you will see a beautiful railing, behind which there is the Michailovsky Garden and St. Michael's Castle (or the Engineer Castle), known for the tragic night of 1801. On this night emperor Paul I was assassinated in the castle. A visit to this attraction will take about one and a half hours.

After you have seen the castle, go to the summer garden (closed in winter), renowned for its beautiful sculptures and its railing. This is where Peter the Great organised his assemblies. Walk around the garden, feed the swans, then take a look at the Field of Mars to see its eternal fire and the monuments to military leaders, Pyotr Rumyantsev and Alexander Suvorov. End your day at the Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts (Solyanoy Pereulok 13-15). The museum is rarely visited by travelers, but there is a lot to view. Local restaurants and cafes are rather expensive; you will need to walk some distance to find a place to dine.

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