Liteyniyy bridge crossing Neva river, Saint Petersburg, Russia

9 Instagrammable places in St Petersburg

Nargiz Shiraliyeva Nargiz Shiraliyeva 03 February 2021
207 view 8 min. read

Do you know where St Petersburg is? In the northwest, at the mouth of the Neva River and on the coast of the Gulf of Finland, is the most Instagrammable city in Russia, St. Petersburg. The sights here are at every step.

On its cobblestone streets, Peter keeps the traces of an outstanding three hundred years of history.

By the way, people have nicknamed this city Peter from the first years of its existence.

canal

The history of St Petersburg began in 1703 when Peter the Great built the Peter and Paul Fortress. Even then, St. Petersburg was talked about in every corner of the state: few people believed that Peter would be able to build the city on an unsuitable swampy area.

However, he invited the best foreign engineers. To speed up the process, he banned the construction of stone buildings throughout Russia, except St. Petersburg. As a result, all the stonemasons went north to earn money. Every year, 20,000 peasants were sent out for construction. They cut down the forest, covered the swamps, strengthened the Neva, erected embankments.

st petersburg

St. Petersburg was not only built; it was made the capital, an important economic and political centre of the state, a window to Europe.

Peter experienced more than one flood, three revolutions, blockade of 1941-1945 and remained interesting, beautiful and creative. Instagrammable places in Peter at every step.

City tour: St Petersburg attractions.

1. Colonnade of St. Isaac's Cathedral

st petersburg

It is convenient to start visiting exciting places in St. Petersburg with St. Isaac's Cathedral. It is located in the heart of the city, near the Admiralty and Palace Square, not far from Kazan Cathedral and Nevsky Prospect.

Divine services in the temple were regularly held until 1917. And since 1937, it has been open for visitors as a museum. A spiral staircase of 200 steps climbs the arcade. The observation deck is 14 meters high and offers an Instagrammable view. The historical centre of St. Petersburg is built so that from any roof, the city opens up like on the palm of your hand. In architecture, this phenomenon is called a celestial line - when all buildings are the same height.

When you climb up, you can see the domes and spires of nearby buildings, and in the distance - high-rise and crane industrial areas, the edge of the Gulf of Finland. In the neighbouring towers of the cathedral, there are bell towers. On some bells, you can guess ancient prints on Christian themes.

The cathedral is made in the Baroque architectural style. It is decorated with 300 sculptures and bas-reliefs.

Tickets for the colonnade cost 350 rubles in the daytime and 400 - in the evening.

2. Church of the Savior on Blood

church of the savior on blood

In walking distance from St. Isaac's Cathedral is the Savior on Blood, its exact opposite. The temple is light and bright; it is impossible not to notice it from Nevsky Prospect and Griboyedov Canal. Built-in 1907, it embodies the original Russian style, a composite image of the Russian Orthodox Church. In appearance, it resembles the St. Basil's Church on Red Square in Moscow. 

The temple was erected as a monument to Emperor Alexander II, mortally wounded on the site of its construction in 1881. It rises by 81 meters, has nine domes. The building was lined with brick, marble, granite, enamel, copper and mosaic. Inside the cathedral, there is one of the largest collections of mosaics in Europe. A team of masters created it under the guidance of V. Frolov on the sketches of 30 artists.

The temple has a capacity of 1600 people and currently functions as a museum.

3. Winter Palace

winter palace

Instagrammable places of St. Petersburg cannot be imagined without the Winter Palace. The magnificent and elegant Baroque building was commissioned in 1762. Emperors and their courtiers lived here, and palace coups took place, the fate of the empire was decided, novels were spinning, intrigues and plots were spilt.

Today the State Hermitage Museum is located in the Romanov Monastery. Beautiful most-liked Instagram photos will turn out both against the background of the solemn facade of the building and inside, next to the exhibits.

In Winter, 1084 rooms and 117 stairs. The length of the longest facade is 210 meters. The Hermitage has halls with the art of the Stone and Bronze Ages. There is a rich collection of paintings by Russian and foreign artists up to the XVII century. There are rooms in which the decoration of the palace was recreated.

This building is the highest in the historical centre. In his time, Nicholas I issued a decree forbidding private individuals to build houses above a specified mark. Palace Square, where the Hermitage is located, is a symbol and the most famous place of the northern capital. The entrance to the museum costs 600 rubles.

4. Botanical Garden

botanical garden

If you hammer in the search line "St Petersburg attractions", the botanical garden will not be at the top. The botanical garden is one of the oldest in Russia, was founded by Peter the Great. It all started when the Tsar ordered to establish a garden on Raven Island to grow herbs in it and treat the sick. The garden was also nicknamed the Pharmacy Garden. With time it became, and now it belongs to the Botanical Institute.

It's the greenest place in town. Maples, birches, oaks, linden trees grow in the park. In March and April, azaleas and snowdrops bloom here. In May, the cherry tree wakes up. In summer, a northern orchid blossoms, a disappearing plant from the Red Book. In the water conservatory, you can look at the world's most massive jug. Its leaves are up to two meters in diameter. The most extensive collection of palms in Europe has a separate, 23-meter greenhouse.

Entrance to the Botanical Garden is paid, 150 rubles for adults and 50 - for children. The park is not allowed with bicycles and scooters.  

5. Museum "Grand Model Russia."

grand model russia museum

Instagrammable places to visit in St Petersburg were enlarged by the museum "Grand Model Russia", which opened in 2012. It presents the whole country in miniature. The map depicts not only landscapes and attractions but also recreates the everyday life of citizens in different parts of the country. The exposition occupies 800 square meters and is the second-largest in the world after German "Miniature Wonderland".

The layout does not present the country in detail but only depicts its atmospheric Instagrammable places. The idea was not to convey geographical accuracy but to artistically represent the atmosphere of life and mentality.
 
St. Petersburg can be easily recognized by the palace square and drawbridges on the Neva. If you look closely, you can see creative youth with books in their hands. Moscow can be recognized by Stalin's high-rise buildings, Kremlin Square and rushing people in business suits.   

The central strip of Russia is characterized by agricultural land. In the fields are working tractor drivers and harvesters. A wooden temple recognizes the north on Kizhi Island. Murmansk covers with artificial snow, and bears roam in the taiga.

Layout alive: it runs traffic lights and barriers, walking trains and riding cars. Day on the mock-up is replaced by night according to the sequence of time zones. When the sun is at its zenith in Kaliningrad, the first lights are lit in the Far East.

The entrance ticket costs 540 rubles for adults and 320 rubles for children.

6. Confectionery by Anna Krasovskaya

confectionery

This place can be included in the list of "Instagrammable places of St. Petersburg", about which few people know. It is for those who want to be original and enjoy incomparable desserts. The institution is located on Petrograd Island. At the entrance, visitors are welcomed by an eccentric vintage car of soft pink colour, decorated with gift boxes and flower bouquets. You can sit behind the wheel or take an Instagram picture on the hood.

Inside the pastry shop is warm, cosy and serves the best desserts in town. Here you can always buy chocolate sweets. And desserts are presented in limited thematic collections. Here they treated you to cakes based on the series "Game of Thrones". Summer was marked with fruitcakes. And in spring, desserts inspired by the exhibits of the Faberge Museum were served. It was not only incredibly delicious but also photogenic.

7. "Podpisnyye Izdaniya" store 

signature editions store

"Podpisnyye Izdaniya" (Signature Publications) is not just a bookstore selling literature. Here they order coffee and cosily settle down among racks to have a rest and look through their favourite editions. There is a lot of light in the store; hundreds of shelves become an excellent background for Instagram lovers.

The store was opened in 1926 and moved to Liteyny Prospekt in the 90s. At the time it was founded, it was a significant bookstore for the public. But now it's been transformed into a specialized one. Here you can find rare books of small publishing houses, intellectual literature, scientific treatizes, works on art, local history publications, collections of works. The administrators will help you subscribe to the Big Russian Encyclopedia.

There is a new office in the store: notebooks and souvenirs of own production, notebooks and pens from England and Japan are exhibited. The player with real vinyl records and retro music complements the atmosphere of recreation and creativity.

From time to time, there are meetings with writers and cultural figures. For example, Mikhail Zygar, Leonid Parfenov, Alexander Sokurov were guests of "Signature Publications".

8. Yusupov Palace

yusupov palace

The list of "places to go in St Petersburg" will not be complete without Yusupov Palace and Garden, located on the bank of the Moika River. Ducks are found in the local pond, tourists and St. Petersburgers walk along the paths, and in spring, apple trees bloom here. In the heart of the garden, there is a palace of Yusupov's princes. It is unusual for those who want to take pictures in a chic aristocratic interior. 

Inside there is a green living room in oriental style, library, home theatre, boudoir of the princess, church hall, laundry room, music room. There is a room dedicated to Grigory Rasputin - he was killed in the palace in 1916. Petersburgers call the house of the Yusupovs an encyclopedia of the aristocratic interior. The cost of the entrance is 450 rubles.

9. Vitebsky railway station

railway

The station is located near the metro station Pushkinskaya. In St. Petersburg, it is the smallest.  Suburban trains leave from the Vitebsk station for Pushkin, Pavlovsk and Kupchino. There are also international trains to Brest, Vilnius, Riga, Minsk, Gomel and Prague.

The Art Nouveau-style stone building was erected in 1904 instead of the old wooden one. It was equipped with the latest technology. Passengers used elevators and transporters. And in the evening it was equipped with electric lamps.

The giant lobby of the station is crowned with a metal dome. The height of the hall is 20 meters. Tourists take aerial most liked Instagram photos in retro style on wide front stairs. Repeating bronze patterns on the massive marble railing emphasize the aristocratic nature of the building.

Stained glass windows create natural light in the hall. On a bright sunny day, you can take pictures with new lighting. There are black iron lamps all around the perimeter of the room. Ancient moulded panels create the atmosphere of the museum.

Vitebsky is the oldest railway station in all Russia; it's included in the list of cultural heritage objects. There were made domestic films "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" in 1983, "Dog Heart" in 1988, "Idiot" in 203, "Rasputin" in 2014, "Anna Karenina" in 2017. 

It's better to come to Peter in mid-spring, summer or early autumn. In winter the St Petersburg weather is not pleasant - it rains mixed with snow, there are hail and ice. Already in March, it gets warm, trees bloom. Summer in St. Petersburg is not hot; it often rain, but working fountains, lush green crowns and luxurious architecture make the city solemn and festive even in cloudy St Petersburg weather. Those who love the sun, let them come to St. Petersburg in the short period of Indian summer. The September soft sun will help to find unusual places to go in St Petersburg. Hashtags "St. Petersburg sights" and "places to visit in St Petersburg" will make most liked Instagram photos even more popular among subscribers.

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Nargiz Shiraliyeva
Nargiz Shiraliyeva Wanderlust. Booklover.

Nargiz was born in Russia where she grew up until the age of 12 before moving to Baku, Azerbaijan. At different life stages she lived in Turkey and Serbia. As of 2020, she has been to 38 cities in 11 countries. AIESEC Azerbaijan Alumna. She is fond of participating at youth projects and making friends with people from all around the world. Her biggest dream is to visit all the continents and as many countries as possible. Following her passion to travel, she joined the team of a “Trawell Group” company.  

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