Because this city was at the origins of the formation of Russian sports, and today it is famous for its achievements in various disciplines. It was in Saint Petersburg in the fall of 1897 that the first official football match in the Russian Empire took place between the «Sport» team and the Vasileostrovsky Society of Football Players. In 1901, the St. Petersburg Football League was created by the English clubs Nevsky, Nevka and Victoria. What objects should you visit in the glorious city on the Neva to touch the history of sports? We bring to your attention iconic places that give an idea of the past and present of sports St. Petersburg.
With a visit to the historic stadium «Petrovsky», we will begin our journey through sports Saint Petersburg. Surrounded on four sides by water, «Petrovsky» was built in 1925, accommodated 200 spectators and for a long time was the home arena of the football club «Zenith». Today, its stands can accommodate 21,504 fans, and the stadium continues to be a fan attraction.
The sports complex «Saint Petersburg Arena», erected on the site of the stadium named after S.M. Kirov, after the matches of the Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, became the hallmark of the city, another dominant in the palette of attractions of the Northern capital. And - the main arena of the football club «Zenith».
UNDER THE SAILS
But Saint Petersburg does not live on football alone. Sailing, so beloved in the city of rivers and canals, traces its history almost from the time of Peter the Great. Experts say that the Nevsky Yacht Club in the Galernaya Harbor of Saint Petersburg is the oldest in the country.
One of the newest sights of the Northern Capital is the Lakhta Center, which is visible from almost anywhere in the city. The attitude to the skyscraper among the residents of Saint Petersburg and the guests of the city is not at all unambiguous, but the Lakhta Center is interesting to us because practically at its foundation is the Academy of Sailing of the Yacht Club of Saint Petersburg.
It is here that young athletes train and hone their maritime practice, because the city hosts sailing and sports events, such as the annual Bolshaya Neva Cup and Sailing Week, as well as other regattas. The Academy not only develops sailing, but also pays great attention to the preservation of maritime traditions. A restoration program for historic ships is underway here. For example, today the Sailing Academy has a working replica of a 17th century sailing ship. Agree, not many yacht clubs can boast of such wealth!
Another, no less interesting yacht club of Saint Petersburg – «Fort Konstantin» is located on the territory of the legendary Fort Konstantin near the Main fairway of Saint Petersburg. One of the heroic artillery forts that defended the harbors of Kronstadt during wars and confrontations. In winter, this place is especially attractive. Oddly enough, the piercing wind and low gray sky, terrible cold, the sound of the waves of the Gulf of Finland and the cries of seagulls create their own unique atmosphere, immersing in the times of the military glory of the fort.
Here, in the fort, it is worthwhile to warm up a little and learn a lot of new things in the Museum of the Lighthouse Service. We highly recommend visiting this place! This is a unique museum. The keepers say that nothing like this simply exists in the world. They talk about lighthouses here so much and so interesting that one involuntarily wants to let a little romance into my life and go on a journey to see all the lighthouses or even stay to work at one of them.
The museum displays models and photographs of lighthouses, as well as real lenses through which light passes for ships. It is breathtaking when the tour guides demonstrate how these lenses work.
In the early morning we leave for Peterhof. Do you think there is nothing to do here in winter? This is not at all the case. First, there is a special atmosphere here at this time of the year. There is no noise of fountains, crowds of tourists, the silence is broken only by the lapping of the waves of the Gulf of Finland. Secondly, there are places in these parts that relate not only to court life, but also to sports.
Our goal is a golf club located in the picturesque environs of Saint Petersburg, not far from the summer residence of the Romanovs. A status place for tournaments, including international ones. The club has an 18-hole golf course, a golf school for children and adults, its own hotel and a restaurant with panoramic views.
CITY OF SPORT
Let's return to Saint Petersburg, to Krestovsky Island, which can rightfully be considered the sports center of the city. Such areas of sports as horse riding, fencing, yachting and many others are developing here. One of these places of attraction for outdoor enthusiasts is the tennis club «Petersburg» named after V. I. Nikiforov. Perhaps this is the largest sports complex for amateurs and professionals in Saint Petersburg.
The club unites all tennis fans - from the smallest athletes to the highest level professionals. Here, throughout the year, you can hold tournaments, improve your professional skills and just meet with friends, and if possible, watch the game of world sports stars. They say they stop by quite often. This club will also be interesting for those who just want to try themselves in this sport. Highly qualified trainers work here to help develop potential and understand the complexities of tennis.
Another unique facility on the island is the Lokosphinx Cycling Center. The main sports facility of the center is the Olympic cycle track, which meets all international standards. There is also a separate track for road bike training. It is worth coming here not only for cycling enthusiasts. Competitions, including international ones, are held in this place often, and the speed and drive are really addictive.
Another interesting location in sports Saint Petersburg is the man-made island «New Holland». In summer there is a beach, and in winter there is a wonderful skating rink, which attracts almost half of the city.
It is also worth «getting into the «Bottle» - a former prison for sailors, and now a modern space with a huge number of cafes, boutiques and places for sports.
It is not for nothing that SKA's «hockey city» is called a city, it is really huge. It houses two ice arenas, a hockey development center, a football field, a tennis court, a martial arts hall and its own medical center.
The best part is that these sites are available to the common man, and you can easily drive the puck on a real ice arena, or even get an autograph from a real KHL star.
And yet, no matter how we take care of a healthy body, it is impossible to forget that Saint Petersburg is, first of all, our history and culture. After all, a jog along the Neva embankment can end with a visit to the Hermitage.
The material was prepared as a result of a series of 5 informational and familiarization press tours that took place from November 28th to December 7th 2020 in the Northern capital. It was attended by 50 journalists and bloggers from different regions of Russia.
Text: Trip2rus.ru, Evgeny Vedeniev. Photo: by the author