St. Petersburg is often called the cultural capital of Russia and it is true as this is the place where the huge amount of historical and cultural monuments found their home. There are more than 70 theatres, 200 museums and they welcome thousands of visitors daily.
Most of the cultural monuments are the legacy of the Imperial Russia, that is quite handy for the admirers of the classical art. Nevertheless, the city embraces the lovers of the modern culture. Plenty of galleries, theatres and concert halls make programs reflecting up-to-date trends.
White nights and the opening of the bridges
Why are the White Nights so famous? Well, apart from the obvious originality of the natural phenomenon which adds lustre to your recreation in the city it is known for very different cultural activities. The opening of the bridges, boat trips, city tours in the night are just the few the city offers to the tourist. The end of May is especially rich for the cultural events: The City Day takes place on May 27, it usually lasts several days and is prolonged by the additional events.
The special attention is also drawn to the opening bridges. The white nights are the time when crowds get together on the embankments to plunge into the magic atmosphere and see the magnificent Neva bridges raising high in the sky. One can observe it even from the boat: many companies offer an excursion to 5 opening bridges.
The Hermitage is the largest museum of Russia. Masterpieces from all over the world are kept there. It was founded by the Empress Catherine the Great in the second half of the XVIII century. Since its foundation the museum has gathered the collection of more than 3 million pieces of art. The exposition includes paintings, graphic arts, statuary, applied arts, archeological finds and numismatic collections. Anyway, the Hermitage needs no introduction. It is just worth noticing that during the tourist season and on the weekends you’d better come half an hour before the museum’s opening hour so as not to lose time in a queue.
The gorgeous Mikhailovsky Palace and its branches have formed the largest Russian art museum. It was established in 1895 by Nicholas II and has become of particular importance as a part of national cultural legacy. The museum’s collection is very varied and includes pieces of art of different periods and styles: 400000 exhibits created in Х – ХХI centuries. The main exposition is located in Mikhailovsky Palace and the Benois Wing. Other buildings assigned to the Russian museum include the Marble Palace, the Stroganov Palace, St Michael's Castle and the unique parks: The Summer Garden with the Summer Palace of Peter I and the Mikhailovsky Garden.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the colonnaded way
St. Isaac’s Cathedral is the unique national architectural monument and one of the best cathedrals in Europe. It was under construction for 40 years and it represents the main creation of the French architect Auguste de Montferrand. The magnificence of the cathedral can be easily presented in numbers: 43 types of minerals used, 100 kilograms of red gold needed to cover the dome. The interior was lined with the white marble with decoration made of green and yellow marble, jasper and porphyry. The great Russian artist Karl Bryullov painted the dome inside. The mosaics made by the Russian artists are also recognized as those of the perfect technique.
The colonnaded way of St. Isaac’s Cathedral is worth of visit as well. This is the most popular sightseeing platform of the city. One can see from above the historic centre of St. Petersburg and the Neva river. There is a special schedule during the white nights.
Russian ballet dates back several centuries and it has taken one of the first places in the culture of Russia. The legacy of St. Petersburg is truly great. That’s the place where the ballet the great artists worked: Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov, Mikhail Fokin and the others. And the tradition of the classical dance is particularly cherished in one of the best theatres in the world, in the Mariinsky Theatre.
May 18 is marked by the opportunity to see one the brightest ballets in the repertoire: “The Jewels” by George Balanchine. It will have an appeal to everyone: the admirers of the classical ballet will like the “Emeralds” and the “Diamonds”, the modern art lovers will be fond of the “Rubies”.
The “Sadko” opera by Rimsky-Korsakov is planned for the same date. It has an unusual story based on the Russian folk tale. Whether you know it or not – you won’t stay aloof and will scream “bravo” to the theatre company.