Apart from the wonderful museums listed on the next page these are my recommendations on “3 Must Do things” when in Saint Petersburg.
I personally like getting a strategic view of the city, which is quite flat, built on a swampy marsh, from above the buildings , that is why I recommend getting yourself to Isaac Cathedral and taking a walk around the Colonnade . You can do this without going inside. The commentary is unfortunately in Russian but you can purchase an English Audio Guide.
I also proposed to my wife on the Colonnade so it has a personal romantic connection for me.
Secondly the Peter and Paul Fortress and of course the Faberge Museum.
I would also recommend taking a guided walk on one of our tours or by yourself around the inner the city. You will have to include Nevsky Prospect (Avenue) which is considered the main street of the city and its most “vibey” known for its shops , cafes and historical sites.
At street level this a fantastic city to explore mostly because you can have close access to sites within the Historical Precinct, all within walking distance from each other.
- Isaac Cathedral The Cathedral took 40 years to build (1858) and stands 105 meters high. It was built on a base of 2500 tree trunks driven into the mud. It cost 1 Million gold rubles.
Its beautiful golden dome was blackened during WWll because it is so prominent a feature on the city skyline. 60 people died “spray painting” the dome gold as the technique of the day used mercury as a way of liquefying the gold, of course the vapour poisoned workers . A macabre snippet.
- Peter and Paul Fortress Designed as a star shaped Fortress and built over 34 years. (1706). It was a famous prison and the most inglorious prisoner was Peter’s own son Alexey (treason)
It was seen a place of horrible torture and bad treatment of political prisoners by the Bolsheviks (Before the Revolution 1917) and by them afterwards. Its most prominent feature is the Cathedral Spire which stands 123 meters tall with a gilded Angel and Cross at its pinnacle
- Faberge Museum Fascinating Private Museum housing repatriated cultural gems of Russia . the most famous being 9 Imperial Easter Eggs. ($100 Million worth) The museum also includes 4,000 works of decorative applied and fine arts, including gold and silver items, paintings, porcelain and bronze., but of course the eggs designed by Peter Carl Fabrege are the main attraction . It is still a tradition today to give hand painted eggs to family and friends on Easter Sunday, Eastern Orthodox Tradition.