Photographer's Note

FOUNDED by Peter the Great in 1703, the city of St Petersburg was intended to demonstrate to the world not only that Russia was a European rather than an Asian nation, but also that it was an immensely powerful one. This ‘window on the West’ became the capital of the Russian Empire until the government moved back to Moscow in 1920.

Peter’s wish was amply fulfilled: with the assistance of Dutch, Italian and French architects – Russians were to take over later in the century once they had mastered the mysteries of western art and architecture – St Petersburg was laid out as the grandest city in Europe, with buildings on a monumental scale. The palaces of the imperial family and of the fabulously wealthy magnates vied with each other, and with the military establishments and government institutions, to dominate the river front, the broad avenues and the vast squares.

Although the newest of Europe’s great cities, St Petersburg is the one least affected by twentieth-century building. And despite the well-publicised economic and political troubles Russia has undergone in the last decade, there has been a surge of cleaning and restoration which has wonderfully accentuated the beauty of the city.

As impressive as the architecture of St Petersburg are the contents of the museums and art galleries. The Hermitage is one of the world’s greatest art museums, with an immensely rich collection of paintings, sculpture, antiquities and decorative arts filling the enormous Winter Palace of the Romanovs. The Russian Museum comes as a revelation to most visitors, for apart from icons (and there is a wonderful collection here) the great achievements of Russian painters, particularly during the nineteenth century, are scarcely known outside the country.

The building which you can see on the other side is Church on blood.


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Additional Photos by Vivek Pratap Singh Sisodia (Dragonheart) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 541 W: 53 N: 755] (8434)
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