The City of Light

The exciting bus tour around the historic city center is dedicated to the most picturesque embankments of Saint Petersburg.

  • museums 2 ,
  • streets 3 ,
  • points of interest 5 ,
  • berths 2 ,
  • monuments 1 ,
  • bridges 3
10 km, 863 m
Saint Isaac's Cathedral

Saint Isaac's Cathedral

Saint Petersburg, Isaakiyevskaya ploshchad, 4

The largest Russian Orthodox cathedral in the city

Saint Isaac's Cathedral or Isaakievskiy Sobor in Saint Petersburg is the largest orthodox chuch and the fourth largest cathedral in the world. It is dedicated to Saint Isaac of Dalmatia, a patron saint of Peter the Great, who had been born on the feast day of that saint.

The church on St Isaac's Square was ordered by Tsar Alexander I, to replace an earlier Rinaldiesque structure, and was the fourth consecutive church standing at this place.

The neoclassical exterior expresses the traditional Russian-Byzantine formula of a Greek-cross ground plan with a large central dome and four subsidiary domes. It is similar to Andrea Palladio's Villa La Rotonda, with a full dome on a high drum substituted for the Villa's low central saucer dome. The design of the cathedral in general and the dome in particular later influenced the design of the Lutheran Cathedral in Helsinki.

The exterior is faced with gray and pink stone, and features a total of 112 red granite columns with Corinthian capitals, each hewn and erected as a single block: 48 at ground level, 24 on the rotunda of the uppermost dome, 8 on each of four side domes, and 2 framing each of four windows. The rotunda is encircled by a walkway accessible to tourists. 24 statues stand on the roof, and another 24 on top of the rotunda.

The cathedral's main dome rises 101.5 metres (333 ft) and is plated with pure gold. The dome is decorated with twelve statues of angels by Josef Hermann. These angels were likely the first large sculptures produced by the then novel process of electrotyping, which was an alternative to traditional bronze casting of sculptures. Montferrand's design of the dome is based on a supporting cast iron structure. It was the third historical instance of cast iron cupola after the Leaning Tower of Nevyansk (1732) and Mainz Cathedral (1826).

The English Embankment

The English Embankment

St. Petersburg, Angliyskaya Naberezhnaya, 5

The embankment has been historically one of the most fashionable streets in Saint Petersburg

The English Embankment (Russian: Angliyskaya Naberezhnaya) or English Quay is a street along the left bank of the Bolshaya Neva River in Central Saint Petersburg. It has been historically one of the most fashionable streets in Saint Petersburg.

The English Embankment runs perpendicular to the south end of theAnnunciation Bridge and spans between the Novo-Admiralteysky Canal and the Decembrists Square, where it becomes the Admiralty Embankment.

One of the most prestigious locations in St. Petersburg, the English Embankment today is mostly home to corporate offices located in former palatial houses of imperial Russian nobility and pre-revolutionary foreign embassies. It is very a popular sightseeing destination among tourists because of the wonderful view of the Neva and palaces across the river. TheMenshikov Palace and the Academy of Arts building on the Vasilevsky Island across the river. Many boat tours start at the embankment, taking tourists on a journey about canals and bridges of St. Petersburg.

The Constitutional Court of Russia is scheduled to move to the former Senate and Synod buildings at the Decembrists Square and English Embankment in St. Petersburg by 2008. The move will partially restore Saint Petersburg's historic status, making the city the second judicial capital.

722 m
Blagoveshensky Bridge

Blagoveshensky Bridge

St. Petersburg, Blagoveshensky most

The Blagoveshchensky is the first permanent bridge across the Neva River in Saint Petersburg

The Blagoveshchensky (Annunciation) Bridge (in 1855-1918 it was called Nikolaevsky Bridge, in 1918-2007 Lieutenant Schmidt Bridge) is the first permanent bridge across the Neva River in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It connects Vasilievsky Island and central part of the city.

In 1727 a temporary bridge was built at the location of the modern bridge. The place was chosen by Menshikov whose palace is located at the opposite bank. This bridge, named Issakievsky, existed until the current bridge was built, at which time it was moved to the location of where Palace Bridge is located today.

The bridge was built in 1843-1850. It was designed by Stanisław Kierbedź, a Polish engineer working in Russia . The architect Alexander Brullov participated in the decoration. The construction was a cast iron bridge with a bascule section. At the time, it was the longest bridge in Europe.

The bridge's length is 331 meters and the width is 24 meters. The original name of the bridge was Nevsky Bridge, later renamed to Blagoveshchensky Bridge, after the death of Tsar Nicholas I to Nikolaevsky Bridge in his honor, and in 1918 to Lieutenant Schmidt Bridge.

Nowadays the bridge is named after the church built on the square close up to the bridge.
Reconstruction of the bridge was completed in 2007.

Neva's width in this place is 280 meters.

74 m
Spit of Vasilievsky Island

Spit of Vasilievsky Island

Saint Petersburg, Birzhevaya ploshchad

Architectural complex “Spit of Vasilyevsky Island” is one of the most beautiful places in St. Petersburg

Rostral Columns (the height of each one reaches 32 meters) and the Exchange building constitute the center of architectural composition. 

The Spit represents a small cape in the southeastern part of Vasilievsky Island, washed by the Big and Little Neva.

A huge water space allows  to see the whole ensemble of the Spit in all it's splendor. For two decades, the Twelve Collegia (1722 - 1742), the Kunstkammer (1718 - 1734), the Novobirzhevoy Gostiny Dvor (1722 - 1735) and the palace of the Tsaritsa Praskovia Fedorovna (the wife of Peter the Great's brother Ivan) and other structures appeared on the Spit of Vasilievsky Island.

The seaport firmly established itself on the spit: dozens of ships and boats transported people and cargo in the water area. In 1781 at the Spit of Vasilievsky Island began the construction of the Exchange building under the leadership of J. Quarenghi. However, with its main facade, it faced the Winter Palace, and thus did not fit fully into the ensemble of the square. Therefore, four years later the building was dismantled. The project of the new Exchange building was developed by the French architect J.F. Tom de Tomon. The building, made by the type of temples of Ancient Greece, was built in 1804 -1816. The attic of the facade is decorated with the sculptural group "Neptune with two rivers", and on the opposite side of the Stock Exchange building – the sculptural group "Navigation with Mercury and two rivers". Since 1940, the Central Naval Museum is located here – one of the oldest in St. Petersburg.
In 1826 - 1832, according to the project of the architect I.F. Lukini on both sides of the Stock Exchange building were built southern and northern warehouses – closed storage facilities. Now the Zoological Museum is located in the southern warehouse. Behind the northern exchange warehouse, symmetricallly to the building of the Kunstkammer (in relation to the ensemble of spit) there is a building of the Customs, built also by the architect IF. Lukini in the classical style. Since 1927 the Institute of Russian Literature – Pushkin House is located here. The ensemble of spit also includes the main building of the Academy of Sciences, which is located between the Kunstkammer and the building of the Twelve Colleges.

516 m
231 m
Berth «Mitninskaya embankment, 1»

Berth «Mitninskaya embankment, 1»

St. Petersburg, Mitninskaya embankment, 1

The berth is situated right in heart of St. Petersburg near such cultural and leisure sights as Peter and Paul fortress, Peter and Paul Cathedral and Military-Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineer and Signal Corps

276 m
Peter and Paul Fortress

Peter and Paul Fortress

St. Petersburg, Zayachy ostrov

A unique historical, architectural and fortification art monument of XVIII-XIX centuries

Founded by Peter the Great in 1703, St. Peter and Paul Fortress is considered to be a unique fortification monument of XVIII-XIX centuries. Its architectural ensemble is focused around St. Peter and Paul Cathedral where the tombs of all the Russian emperors can be found.

The Peter and Paul Fortress is put on May 27, 1703. According to the legend, Peter I himself chose a place for new fortress – the small Hare island (in Finnish – Enisaari), located in the Neva River mouth. The citadel in the form of a six-pointed star was constructed according to the project made by the French engineer Zh.G. Lamber with the participation of the tsar. Six curtains connect six powerful bastions, the associates of Peter I called by names.

The defensive system from the West and the East is closed by Ioannovsky and Alekseevsky ravelins. Two bridges — Ioannovsky and Kronverksky - connect the Hare island with Petrograd. On October 1, 1703 fortress consecrated. On the Monarchic bastion the Andreevsky colors were hoisted, on ramparts three hundred tools are installed. On June 29, 1703 in the center of the Peter and Paul Fortress put small wooden church for the sake of apostles Pyotr and Pavel on which place in 1712-1732 built a stone cathedral. From 1731 to 1858 Peter and Paul Cathedral had the status of the cathedral temple of the capital, then was ranked as court department. The cathedral served as a tomb of reigning House of Romanovs. Here the Russian emperors and empresses from Peter I to Nikolay II, except for Pyotr II and Ioann of VI are buried. To a cathedral the covered gallery connected the Grand-ducal tomb.

Within the XVIII-XIX centuries in the territory of fortress buildings and constructions of different function were built: Botny house, Artillery, Mint, Commandant's and Engineering house, an also guardroom and others. In the XVIII century fortress became a jail of the state criminals, in XIX — the main political prison of Russia. At the emperor Alexander I at the beginning of the XIX century fortress was for the first time open for visitors. In the 1900th years in Peter and Paul Cathedral tours on an imperial necropolis were conducted. In 1924 Trubetskoy's prison of a bastion turned into the museum. In 1954 the complex of buildings of the Peter and Paul Fortress was passed the State museum of history of Leningrad (St. Petersburg).

The territory of the fortress and the beach are open for public. The main cites include the history of everyday life in St.Petersburg in the XVIII-XIX centuries in the House of the Commandant of the garrison. One may visit the prison of Trubetskoy bastion that once used to be the political prison. Among those prisoners who are well-known in the world were L.Trotsky and F.Dostoyevsky. The Boat house shows the first ship that started the history of Russin fleet.

476 m
1 km, 238 m
The Central Naval Museum, Cruiser "Aurora"

The Central Naval Museum, Cruiser "Aurora"

St. Petersburg, Petrogradskaya embankment

21.09.2014 the ship was transferred to the Kronstadt shipyard`s dockage facility till 2016

The ship is a 1900 Russian protected cruiser, currently preserved as a museum ship. In the same time Aurora stands today as the oldest commissioned ship of the Russian Navy. The Cruiser  Aurora is a legendary 1st rank Cruiser. The Aurora's keel was laid down at the "New Admiralty" shipyard in St.Petersburg on 23 May 1897. The cruiser was launched on 11 May 1900 and joined the Navy of Russia in July1903.
During the Russian-Japanese War the cruiser, being included in the second Pacific Ocean squadron, sailed to the Far East (October 1904 - May 1905). The cruiser Aurora had her baptism of fire in the Tsushima battle on 14-15 May 1905. When she returned to the Baltic sea, the Aurora for a long time was used as a ship for training naval cadets of the Naval College. In 1917 the Aurora's crew took an active part in the February and October revolutionary activities and the Civil War repulsing international intervention. On 25 October 1917 a blank shot from her forecastle gun signaled the start of the assault on the Winter Palace, which was to be the beginning of the October Revolution. For the whole period of the Leningrad siege from 1941 to 1944 the Aurora was moored at a pier in the Oranienbaum port (the town of Lomonosov) and was constantly shelled and bombed. The hull was holed, got many leakages and sank aground, but the small crew courageously fought for the life of their ship. In July 1944 the ship was raised and taken into a dock for repair.
In 1948 the cruiser Aurora was moored at the Petrogradskaya embankment of Leningrad and till 1956 was used as a naval training ship by the Leningrad Nakhimov College. In 1956 the cruiser Aurora was made a museum (a branch of the Central Naval Museum). 
The Cruiser Aurora is often mentioned in various art works - songs, poems and movies. So in 1945 was made a film about the legendary cruiser Varyag. The role of the Variag fell to Aurora's lot. 
493 m
Petrovskaya embankment

Petrovskaya embankment

St. Petersburg, Petrovskaya naberezhnaya

The first embankment in St.Petersburg

It appeared in what was then the city centre in the 1700s as the first embankment of St. Petersburg. Peter the Great"s house (today, the Cabin of Peter the Great Museum) was built in 1703. Houses of his associates such as Y. V. Bruce and M. P. Gagarin were situated nearby. P. P. Shafirov"s house (not preserved) accommodated the Petersburg Academy of Arts in 1724-27. The embankment was built up with storehouses from the 1730s.

402 m
Trinity Bridge

Trinity Bridge

St. Petersburg, Troitsky most

Trinity Bridge connects Kamennoostrovsky Prospect with Suvorovskaya Square

The Trinity Bridge was opened in 1903 as part of the celebrations of St. Petersburg's 200th anniversary. It was the third permanent bridge, after Blagoveshchensky Bridge and Liteiny Bridge, to be laid across the River Neva, running form just north of the Field of Mars on the left bank of the river to the Petrograd Side next to the Peter and Paul Fortress. Measuring 582 meters, it is the second longest bridge in the city, one of the busiest, and also one of the most beautiful thanks to its spectacularly ornate Art Nouveau design.

The bridge's name refers to the Trinity Cathedral, which once stood by the river on the Petrograd Side. The name was changed to Bridge of Equality in 1918, and the Cathedral was destroyed soon after. In 1934, the bridge was renamed to honor Sergei Kirov, revolutionary and Bolshevik leader of Petrograd. The original name was only restored in 1999.

242 m
Dvortsovaya embankment 18 bert

Dvortsovaya embankment 18 bert

St.Petersburg, Dvortsovaya nab. 6

Situated near cultural and leisure sights of St.Petersburg such as Marble palace and National Pushkin Museum

283 m
The Admiralty Embankment

The Admiralty Embankment

St. Petersburg, Admiralteiskiy district, The Admiralty Embankment

The youngest of all front embankments of the historic center of St. Petersburg

The Admiralty Embankment (Russian: Адмиралтейская набережная (Admiralteyskaya Naberezhnaya)) or Admiralty Quay is a street along the Neva River in Central Saint Petersburg, named after theAdmiralty Board. Between 1919 and 1944 the street was known as Roshal Embankment, named after the revolutionary S. G. Roshal.

The Admiralty Embankment was constructed in 1763 to 1767, by the engineers V. M. Karlowicz and S. S. Selyavionov. The street has no other buildings than the Admiralty and the Bronze Horseman.

The street begins at the Decembrists Square, where the English Embankment becomes the Admiralty Embankment. The street ends at the Palace Bridge, where it becomes the Palace Embankment.

The Admiralty Embankment is home to the Admiralty Board and the Bronze Horseman, it has also a wonderful view of the Neva and the Saint Petersburg State University is just across the Neva.

586 m
Monument to Peter I on Senate Square (Bronze Horseman)

Monument to Peter I on Senate Square (Bronze Horseman)

Saint Petersburg, Senatskaya ploshchad

Monument to Peter the Great, the founder of St.Petersburg

Commissioned by Catherine the Great, the monument was created by the French sculptor Étienne Maurice Falconet in 1782. The second name (the Bronze Horseman) comes from the same name poem written by Aleksander Pushkin (1833). The monument symbolizes the Russian victory over Sweden in the Northern War (1700-1721): the snake symbolizes a defeated enemy, the horse symbolizes Russia. The pedestal of this monument is a huge so-called "thunder-stone", which was delivered to Senate Square from a borough Lakhta.

There is a legend that one can find the name of Étienne Falconet on a fold of Peter the Great's cloak.

You can see the ballet “Bronze Horseman” in Mariinsky theater.


Useful information

1723 near the Winter Canal and along the Summer Garden, that is, right near the winter residence of the founder of the city. In 1719, the Imperial Order of Peter I obliged all landlords whose houses were with a view to the Big Neva River to keep the bank of the river clean. In July 1762, shortly after Catherine II ascended the throne, she adopted decree on stone facing of embankments on the Neva: ‘to make all the banks of the river opposite to our palaces gardens and government facilities cobbled’.

During the reign of Catherine II the process of facing embankments of the Neva was led by the Office for House and Garden Construction. The architectural part was carried out under the guidance of Yury Felten who was one of Catherine’s favourites and succeeded Rastrelli who had retired from service. The documents regarding the facing of embankments his is being mentioned as the construction worker, Karl Rossi and Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe were referred to as project designers.

‘I had a pleasure to take part in construction works of the monuments that glorify the realm of Her Imperial Majesty, to realize Your projects and ideas and possess the schemes and designs made with Your’s own hand’ – Yury Felten wrote to Catherine II. The Empress was well aware of who she needs to entrust the work to so that it is done perfectly.

The facing by a granite started from the Palace Embankment, that’s from the Winter Palace, to the Swan Canal (1763-1773). Since construction work of the main embankment in the Russian Empire considered to be a matter of a great importance, it was carried out quickly. The constructors proceeded the process of facing by a granite of the French and the English Embankments almost simultaneously with the facing of the Palace Embankment, respectively 1764-1768 and 1770-1778. Catherine II and her brilliant retinue enjoyed walking along the embankment and such famous people as Fonvisin, Sumarokov and Derzhavin were there on their way to work.

During the reign of Alexander I the process of facing embankments of the Neva was temporarily stopped. Napoleonic Wars, the Patriotic War in 1812 as well as the renewal of Moscow, which had been burnt to the ground, required a lot of investment. The lining was resumed on the Universitetskaya Embankment only in 1831. Fourteen years after the war, it took six years to line the Nikolaevskaya Embankment with granite. The only embankment that had not been lined on the left bank of the River in downtown was the Admiralteyskaya Embankment – the hindrance to carry out lining was the Admiralty Shipyard. The embankment was lined with granite, though, in 1873-1874 after the Admiralty Shipyard had been closed, canals had been covered up with sand and the sheds for ships had been dismantled. The Petrovskaya Embankment was the first one that was strengthened with shive, and two centuries after its construction the embankment was lined with granite (1901-1903).