St. Petersburg: Beyond the Hermitage?

Old Apr 18th, 2001, 07:26 AM
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St. Petersburg: Beyond the Hermitage?

Have done my research (Fodors/Frommers/etal.) and would now like some input for those of you who have been there..done that. What do you consider the "best" or "must see" after the Hermitage? Our personal interests lean more to the historical such as historic sites associated with the former Royal family and tend to think Hermitage would give more than adequate art museum exposure.

After Hermitage tour would have 1 and 1/2 day free.
Old Apr 18th, 2001, 08:45 AM
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Definitely go to Petergof (summer residence) - it's unbelievably beautiful, and the gardens/fountains are superiour to those of Versailles. You may also consider visiting the Russian Museum.
Old Apr 18th, 2001, 08:51 AM
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I agree, take the trip to Peterhof and enjoy the gardens and the reconstructed parts of the palace. There are many Russian churches to visit and we spent some time where the bones of the Romanovs have been given a new shrine. You can also see Catherine the Great's tomb there. We spent time walking the main street which is level and you can walk for hours. The only problem at tourist sites are all the vendors that bother you. We also rode the subway to the site that honors the dead during the seige of Leningrad.
Old Apr 18th, 2001, 11:27 AM
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Piskarevskoye Cemetery, the resting place of the half million Russians who died during the German seige in WWII, is beautiful and moving. When we were last there (1989, unfortunately) we met a woman who had lived in Leningrad during that time who wore her medal for "hero city" Leningrad. We went out by taxi and were greeted very warmly by the keeper of the tiny museum at the entrance.
Sts. Peter and Paul Fortress is also fascinating, with its jail cell that Peter the Great's son was in and beaches on the outside.
Allow time for wandering! One special place we were in was an ancient monks' cemetery
behind an Orthodox church somewhere on Nevsky Prospekt, but as we were led there by a native I'm not quite sure where we were. (sorry about that!)
Old Apr 18th, 2001, 04:46 PM
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Going to be in Stp in early June with an organized tour-some free time will only allow for a trip to either Peterhoff or Catherine Palace-having trouble deciding because they both look beaufiful. Suggestions please? If it's Peterhoff, would it be better to take the hydrofoil vs metro/bus? Thanks
Old Apr 18th, 2001, 08:04 PM
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Deb, my vote would be for Petergof, the grounds are absolutely amazing. I took the hydrofoil, if I remember correctly it was 80r., less than four bucks at the time. I believe the hydrofoil is faster, and it's really nice to get out on the water. If you can catch something good at the Mariinsky, do, though they charge quite a bit more for tourist tickets. Don't buy the "Russian" tickets from someone off the street, they won't let you in at the theater. There is so much to do in this beautiful city, I would spend 1 1/2 days just walking around.
Old Apr 18th, 2001, 09:00 PM
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Petergof and Tsarkoe are awesome, but you should remeber, that they were completely destroyed in WWII and what you can see now is restoration. The only one really historical palace left are Oranienbaum. Also rhere is Gatchina - it survived war much better than Petergof, building itself was left standing but inside was burned out, and most of the palace was closed in 86, I don't beleive that they had funding to restore it in nineties
Old Apr 19th, 2001, 08:22 AM
Marc David Miller
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A good place to look for royal-related sites is

Also, Time Out guide to Moscow has a section on Petersburg with some unusual choices; for instance, Pavlov's dog is on display in the Museum of Hygeine.
Old Apr 20th, 2001, 11:59 AM
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The Peter and Paul fortress is a good place to start. It has beaches where locals sun and swim, plus great views across the river to the Hermitage, the Admiralty and St. Isaac's Cathedral. Inside the fortress is the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, where Peter the Great, Nicholas II and Alexandra are buried.

The Church of the Spilled Blood is centrally located, sits along a canal, has a great Russian exterior and mosaics inside. Definitely worth a visit.

Alexander Nevsky Monastery is worth it too; it's reachable by subway, and you can also see the tombs of Dostoevsky, Tchaikovsky and others in its cemetery.

Amy and x are right: allow plenty of time to just wander, because one of the city's most appealing aspects is its islands, canals, parks, palaces and river views. Also, you might want to take a motorboat ride on the canals if weather permits. It's cheap, and you can do it late at night because it will still be light in the late spring and summer. Lots of fun.

Peterhof and Tsarskoe Selo are both beautiful. The park at Tsarskoe Selo is bigger and wilder than Peterhof's, and the train trip there is interesting in itself. If I had to pick one, though, it'd probably be Peterhof because of the spectacular fountains and gardens and the setting on the Gulf of Finland. Take the hydrofoil.

We were there for five days last May/June and never made it to the Hermitage because there was so much else to do around the city. It's terrific.

P.S.: One restaurant we particularly liked was 1913 God not far from St. Isaac's. Small place with good, inexpensive traditional Russian food.


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