The city has 90 waterways and canals with an aggregate length of 300 km. There are about 101 islands and furthermore a 170 kilometers extended coastline.
The lowest temperature recorded in Saint Petersburg on 17 February 1740 was minus 43 Degrees Celsius.
Everyday at 12:00 a shot is fired from a cannon at the Naryshkin Bastion. This custom was introduced under Peter the Great, only in that time it was fired from the Monarch Bastion and signified the beginning or ending of a work shift, or reported the risk of a flood. The tradition of the noon day gun appeared in 1865.
The Alexander Column in the center of Palace Square was setup in 1834 , designed by Auguste de Montferrand in memory of
Alexander 1 ‘s victory over Napoleon. The marble column rests on a pediment thanks to its own weight, of 600tons. Locals thought it might fall at any moment , and only Monteferrand would be seen walking his dog nearby, safe in the knowledge of his own calculations and handiwork.
Alexander Puskin (1799-1937) is a much loved Russian poet, his memory lives on in statues and a small village and metro station dedicated to him. The first writer to write in Russian for the common man, often exiled for his views, became a legend. He died from his wounds after fighting a duel , accusing his wife’s supposed lover of an affair with her. Eugene Onegin is one of his works, a novel written in verse.
There are many tales and legends and we cover some of them on our walking tours.
Peter’s Eagle During the construction of Peter and Paul Fortress , an Eagle appeared in the sky and landed on Peter the Greats hand, a sign of God’s favour or legend?
Some speculate that the eagle was in fact a a trained eagle/falcon left behind by the sudden departure of the Swedes. Eagles are not endemic to this region, making the legend or the more tantilising .
The house made of ice. The empress of Russia Anna Ioannovna had an Ice “palace” constructed for a wedding celebration of her favrouite court jesters.
She forced them to spend their wedding night inside, as a curiosity. The Jester and his wife in order to save their lives (and his bride’s) bribed a guard to sell him his coat, and thus survived the night. A cruel thing to do even in 1740. The palace stayed up until may of that year.
Green Potatoes Peter the Great introduced potatoes to Russia (and pineapples) only eaten by nobles. Catherine the Great wanted everybody to eat potatoes.
Legend has it that when guards left the potato fields at night, peasants would steal the potato “fruit or berry”, and not the “potato underground. They would poison themselves . They couldn’t read instruction manuals which would’ve explained this. Needless to say , Peasants did not embrace the cultivation of potatoes for sometime afterwards.