Going to St Petersburg, Can You Help Me?

Old Sep 8th, 2004, 11:38 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 51
Going to St Petersburg, Can You Help Me?

My dream trip to St Petersburg that has been a long time coming is finally on the cards! I am going to be there from the 28th of October to the 3rd of November, staying at the Fontanka Hotel (anyone know it?). I was just wondering:

What's the weather generally like at time in Petersburg? I've heard conflicting reports, from lots of rain to sunny but windy. Could there be snow (I've never seen snow so it would be fantastic if there was!). And is it tço late to see the famous Autumn foilage at this time?

Also, does anyone know where I can find out what'll be playing at the Mariinsky and Mussorgsky Theatres? And any tips on what's unmissable at the Hermitage? My particular interest is Italian and Spanish art, but I've heard the French post-impressionists are fabulous, too.

Last thing, I am looking forward to checking out some of the former aristocratic palaces in Petersburg, but I can't see all of them. Which ones are from an architectural perspective the most impressive? Yusupov? Menshikov? Stroganov?

Thanks in advance!
Mariannah is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2004, 07:10 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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St. Petersburg is very far north - and by that time you will be in winter weather (not russian winter - but winter for most everyone else). I was in St Pet on Sept 9 (had come from Stockholm where it was 70) and the second day we were there the temps were in the low 40's. The locals were all wearing their winter coats.

You will be way too late for leaf changing - and St Pet doean;t have a lot of trees anyway. Bring winter coat, hat, gloves, scarf etc. Also make sure you have booties with rubber soles (they are very good about removing large quantities of snow - but the sidewalks can always be slippery).
nytraveler is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2004, 07:24 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Afraid that I don't have any practical advice to give but I ADORE Petersburg! I went on a school trip when I was 17 (we did Moscow and Petersburg) and I simply fell in love with the place. I kind of summed it up that, as a 17 year old girl, in Moscow you fall in love with the Russian soldier, in Petersburg it's the artists. We were there in March and it was very cold but with clear blue skies and the ice floating down the rivers.

I'm so jealous! I said at the time that I planned to go there for my honeymoon. Unfortunately, 13 years later, I still haven't found anyone fool enough to marry me!

Anyway, no help at all but wanted to say that you'll have a wonderful, wonderful time!
Tallulah is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2004, 07:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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There is a good chance that you will see snow at the end of October it will be windy, with short hours of daylight.

For hotel reviews see: http://www.russianguidenetwork.com/new_page_29.htm

Do a search for the theatres, they will have the program and you can book on line.

For hermitage see hermitagemuseum.org

For other information see:
cityvision2000.com or

You will find more than enough information on-line if you search for St Petersburg Russia
Garfield is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2004, 08:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Adding to the useful information you have already received?

Fontanka: Not my first choice in hotels, even in its price category (unfortunately there is little at the lower prices). Location is ok, not convenient to Metro, but 20 minute walk to the Mariinsky Theatre.

Weather: Your conflicting reports are correct. You could get snow (two years ago it snowed in early October), and the temperture will very from 30-50. The leaves will have fallen by then.

The Mariinsky's web site is www.Mariinsky.ru They post the schedule well in advance. As for the Mussorgsky Theatre, the best place to look is the St. Petersburg Times.

Regarding the Hermitage, their web site (as Garfield said, www.Hermitage.ru ) is comprehensive. When President Putin wants to show world leaders the cultural treasures of his country, he takes them first to the Hermitage. So much has gone on in the country around it since its founding by Catherine the Great in the 18th Century, and still the Hermitage remains a repository of masterpieces. The post-impressionism collections of pre-World War I Matisse and Picasso are equaled only by the Pushkin in Moscow (because of two Russian collectors, Morozov and Schukin).. There are many ways to focus your visit to the Hermitage, including a general overview, Dutch Art, Italian Art, Spanish Art, European art, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Modern Art, Special Exhibitions, the Treasury (including Imperial Jewelry of the Romanovs), Arab and Moslem Art (the director, Mikhail Piotrovsky, is an expert on Islamic Art).

A good guide book for you is DK Eyewitness' St. Petersburg, as it has many sections on things like the various areas of the Hermitage.

As for aristocratic (non-Imperial) palaces, probably the Yusopov is the most "authentic", at least the rooms you see on the tours. A good book for palaces in St Petersburg is Princess Galitsyn's "St Petersburg Interiors", and any book by William Brumfield, especially his recently updated "History of Russian Architecture".

There is a recently published book "St. Petersburg: Russia's Window to the Future--The First Three Centuries" by Arthur George and Elena George which is a great one volume history of St Petersburg. There is a web site promoting the book at

Marc_David_Miller is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2004, 09:03 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 149
If you get the chance, don't miss going to Pavlosk palace in Pavlosk, and the Catherine Palace & Alexander Palace in PUshkin. Nicolas II & his family lived at the Alexander Palace, and were kept captive there for a few months after he abdicated.
KateIP is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2004, 02:11 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Was in St Petersburg last week - wonderful place, far too much to do and see. Another nice palace is the Yousopov Palace - where Rasputin was murdered. Very interesting tour and also not as ornate and overdone as the other palaces. Very nice personal theatre in the house! Have a wonderful trip!
PAC is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2004, 04:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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For the Hermitage I suggest planning enough time to see everything, in maybe three visits. Anyhow that is what I did and I don't regret it as I doubt I will go back.

I personally loved the Bonnards & Vuillards, the knockout heap o' Rembrandts, Matisses I'd never even seen photographed, and some Kandinskys, more of which I think were on tour then.
Elizabeth is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2004, 07:40 PM
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For some pictures of St Petersburg have a look at: http://client.webshots.com/user/wu687

Go to page 3 for St Petersburg.
Garfield is offline  
Old Sep 10th, 2004, 08:31 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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You will want to spend a solid day at The Hermitage. The theaters--except for the Kirov--are mostly near one another.

I spent a week in St. Petersburg on an Elderhostel tour last June and it wasn't nearly enough time to see everything. I didn't see any of the private palaces, so those are reserved for the next trip.

In addition to The Hermitage, The Russian Museum is very interesting. It probably, alas, will be too cold for the canal boat tours, but, then, the regular companies will be playing in all the theaters as opposed to the summer guest groups.

You will have a wonderful time. Enjoy!
FauxSteMarie is offline  
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