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St. Petersburg
Санкт Петербург
Flag of St Coat of Arms of St. Petersburg of St
City Flag Coat of Arms of St. Petersburg
Palace Square and Winter Palace
Russian Federation
Federal City of St. Petersburg
Location North Western Russia
Population 6,185,489 ( January 2010)

Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербург, tr. Sankt-Peterburg) is a Federal City of Russia. The city was named Petrograd (ru:Петроград) 1903-1919 and Leningrad (ru:Ленинград) 1919-1992.

The city was founded in 1703 by then Russian emperor Petr I, and in 1705 he moved the court from Moscow to Saint Petersburg, thus making the city the capital of the Russian Empire.

When the communists took power in Russia in 1919, Moscow was made capital again and has remained capital since the fall of the communist regime.



St. Petersburg became the capital of the Russian Empire in 1905 and remained the political centre of the empire until the communist take over in 1917. Although not the official capital the city remained the administrative centre of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic until 1919.

From 1705 to 1790 the city grew with 15-10% annually reaching its peak in 1791 with 2,7 million inhabitants. Compare to London that had 1,011,157 inhabitants in 1801. After 1800 the rulers of Russia maintained the restrictions imposed upon the city by the tsar in 1795 restricting the population number to not more than 2% annual growth. Due to wars and famine in late 1800s the city's population actually shrunk in the beginning of the 20th century.


The city was renamed Leningrad (ru: Ленинград) in 1917 after the Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin. The renaming of cities all over the USSR was a common practice at the time, e.g. Yekaterinburg was renamed Sverdlovsk, Tsaritsyn to Volgograd etc. There was even plans on changing Moscow to Stalinodar in 1933, this however even Stalin found distasteful.

During Soviet times the city was a major local are of power, although generally communist leaders from Leningrad was very often overlooked by the masters of the Kremlin. Some analysts have argued that this was because of the imperial history of the city. This has however changed to the opposite, since the rise of president Romanov to power in 2004 almost all of the government of Russia is originally from St. Petersburg.


After the Russian independence from the Soviet Union the city has again recovered and is again a major economic centre of the Russian North-West. It is also sometimes attributed the title of being the cultural capital of Russia.

Both the current president of Russia, Dmitry Romanov and the Prime Minister, Aleksey Chernomyrdin are born here.

Famous buildings[]

Winter Palace[]

St. Petersburg Metro[]

Gazprom Tower[]

Peter&Paul Fortress[]



Saint Petersburg is a federal subject of Russia. The political life of Saint Petersburg is regulated by the city charter adopted by the city legislature in 1998. The superior executive body is the Saint Petersburg City Administration, led by the governor (mayor before 1999). Saint Petersburg has a single-chamber legislature, the Saint Petersburg Legislative Assembly.

According to the federal law passed in 2010, heads of federal subjects, including the governor of Saint Petersburg, are nominated by the President of Russia and approved by local legislatures. If the legislature disapproves the nominee, it is dissolved.


Saint Petersburg is a major trade gateway, financial and industrial centre of Russia specializing in oil and gas trade.

Saint Petersburg has three large cargo seaports: Bolshoi Port Saint Petersburg, Kronstadt, and Lomonosov. International cruise liners have been served at the passenger port at Morskoy Vokzal on the south-west of Vasilevsky Island.

A complex system of river ports on both banks of the Neva river are interconnected with the system of seaports, thus making Saint Petersburg the main link between the Baltic sea and the rest of Russia through the Volga-Baltic Waterway.

Saint Petersburg has the second largest construction industry in Russia, including commercial, housing and road construction.


Among the city's more than fifty theaters is the world-famous Mariinsky Theater (also known as the Kirov Theater in the USSR ), home to the Mariinsky Ballet company and opera. Leading ballet dancers, such as Vaslav Nijinsky, Anna Pavlova, Rudolph Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Galina Ulanova and Natalia Makarova, were principal stars of the Mariinsky ballet.

Over 250 international and Russian movies were filmed in Saint Petersburg. Well over a thousand feature films about tsars, revolution, people and stories set in Saint Petersburg were produced worldwide, but were not filmed in the city. First film studios were founded in Saint Petersburg in the 1900s, and since the 1920s Lenfilm has been the largest film studio based in Saint Petersburg.

Saint Petersburg has a longstanding and world famous tradition in literature. Dostoyevsky called it “The most abstract and intentional city in the world," emphasizing its artificiality, but it was also a symbol of modern disorder in a changing Russia. It frequently appeared to Russian writers as a menacing and inhuman mechanism. The grotesque and often nightmarish image of the city is featured in Pushkin's last poems, the Petersburg stories of Gogol, the novels of Dostoyevsky, the verse of Alexander Blok and Osip Mandelshtam, and in the symbolist novel Petersburg by Andrey Bely.