I have visited St. Petersburg for the third time recently. I came here one in 1999 and then earlier this year for the Football World Cup 2018. This November I came to Moscow with my wife. Since she never visited St. Petersburg before we decided to take another trip.
The Red Arrow from Moscow to St. Petersburg
We booked a 2ndClass Sleeping car on the Red Arrow train which left Leningradsky Rail Terminal at 23:55 and would arrive at 7:55 the next morning at the Moskovskiy Station in St. Petersburg.
2nd Class compartment with four beds. We only had one more fellow passenger and one bed was empty. The food on the table was for free and so was one breakfast option.
Our train arrived quite early and most sightseeing places would open only by 10:30. So we decided to come out here first. Access to the Fortress was granted by 9:30 but the Peter and Paul Cathedral only opens by 10am.
From Moskovskiy Railway Station we took the Metro to Gor’kovskaya. When getting out of the Station you stand directly in the Alexander Park. Since I spent time in Southeast Asia since end of September I couldn’t experience any autumn sceneries, so I was more than happy when I saw colorful leaves.
The Artiellery Museum
When walking from the Alexander Park toward Hare Island you can also pass by at the Artillery Museum. It was closed so we only took pictures form outside. The display of Canons and Rockets on the outside display was already impressive.
The outside exhibition of the Artillery Museum
The Peter and Paul Fortress with the Peter and Paul Cathedral
The Peter and Paul Fortress on the Hare Island was founded 1730 by Peter the Great. The forts history was turbulent during the Russian Revolution a turbulent history. There are notable buildings and several Museums in the Fortress. The one attracting most visitors is the Peter and Paul Cathedral, located in the middle of the Fortress. The cathedral is the burial place of all Russian tsars from Peter I to Alexander III, except Peter II and Ivan VI.
The Peter and Paul Cathedral and the Boat house in the front of it.
Some of the tombs inside the Cathedral.
Inside the Grand Ducal Burial Vault behind the Peter and Paul Cathedral.
Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood
The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood (Церковь Спаса на Крови, Tserkovʹ Spasa na Krovi) is beside the Hermitage Museum my clear favorite in St. Petersburg. It’s architecture differs from St. Petersburg typical Baroque and Neoclassical style. The construction of the church took place between 1883 and 1907 and was funded by the imperial family. The highlight is the interior design which contains over 7500 square meters of mosaics. The church was heavily damaged during the Russion Revolution in 1917 and during the Second World War. It was reopened as a museum in 1997, after 27 years of restauration. It’s a truly amazing experience when you stand in that church and look up to its ceiling with all those mosaics.
The typical view of the church.
The beautiful interiors of the Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood.
As already previously mentioned, the Hermitage Museum (Госуда́рственный Эрмита́ж, tr. Gosudárstvennyj Ermitáž) is one of the other top places to visit in St. Petersburg. The second-largest art museum in the world was founded in 1764 by Empress Catherine the Great. The museum has more than three million items of which only a small part is displayed in the permanent exhibition. There are 350 rooms in the museum complex, so it’s hard to visit most of those within one day. The rooms have been assigned by the different collections and at the entrance there are exhibition maps available. I thought that especially the rooms with Palace interior where interesting. By the way, the museum offers free entrance on every first Thursday of the month.
The front part of Hermitage Museum
The Hermitage Museum complex. From left to right: Hermitage Theatre, Old Hermitage, Small Hermitage and the Winter Palace. Saint Isaac Cathedral is in the far behind.
A few of the 350 rooms in the hermitage.
We had lunch at the Dachniki (Дачники) which is located at 20 Nevsky Avenue. Our meals included a Borsch Soup, Beef Strogranov and a Chicken dish. Especially interesting was the Kir Royal with Soviet sect which we had as an aperitif.
Saint Isaac’s Cathedral (Исаа́киевский Собо́р) is the largest orthodox basilica in the world. Its cupola is the fourth largest in the world as well. The cathedral is dedicated to the patron of Peter the Great which was Saint Isaac of Dalmatia. Beside the beautiful interior design another highlight is the rotunda around the cupola. It is accessible during the opening hours of the cathedral and offers an all around view over the city of Saint Petersburg.
Saint Isaac’s Cathedral
On the way back toward the Moskovskiy station we took the Metro at Admiralteiskaya. This station is apparently the third deepest Underground station in the world. I didn’t know back then but I felt it’s a long way down there. It was only a few days later when I visited Kiev where I found an even deeper Metro station.
The way down to the tracks.
Sapsan Train from St. Petersburg to Moscow
On the way back we booked the Sapsan Highspeed train which runs in less than 4 hours from Moskovskiy to Leningradsky Station in Moscow. We booked Economy+ Class which was comfortable and they even provided us with a Sandwich, Water and an Apple.
The Economy+ cabin.
Well on day in St. Petersburg is nice, but of course it’s way too short. Especially since we couldn’t visit Peterhof and Kronstadt. Well, St. Petersburg is certainly a city I would visit again one day.