Once upon an early eighteenth century, the man in charge decided that a mosquito-infested swamp would be a terrific place to build a new fort. It wasn’t the little vampires with the long, blood-sucking proboscises that enthralled him when he chose the place, but instead the site’s advantageous location adjacent to the
Here, he thought, would be the best place to keep those marauding Swedes out of his country, no matter that the Swedes had held this territory for a few decades. This spot would provide
Thus was founded a city that became known as
Three months later, wind and atmospheric pressure combined to create a phenomenon known as a “long wave.” Though the citadel was being built three miles inland, the long wave rolled in from the Baltic Sea, through the Gulf of Finland to the shallow Neva River Bay, and up the Neva River, where it inundated the construction site with six feet of water, washing away much of the building material.
Tsar Peter was said to be six feet eight inches tall, a huge man for his day. His head, however, was far too small in proportion to his massive body, and perhaps that had something to do with Peter ordering the construction to recommence. Thus began
In 1713, Tsar Peter I moved the capital of
Eventually the growing city covered a hundred and one islands in the braided delta of the
The Neva begins at
Our tour group approached
Eventually we tied up near the newest bridge in the city, and its first suspension bridge.
The first day in
Upper portion of Smolny Cathedral
A couple of those long-legged Russian women
All the buildings are equipped with six inch rain drains.
The upper domes of the Church of the Savior on Blood, which marks the spot where Emperor Alexander II received mortal wounds from a bomb thrown by a terrorist.
The two Rostrums, which were once lighthouses, outside the former Stock Exchange building on the right, now a Naval museum. The spire of the Peter and Paul bell tower is in the background
By the time we concluded our first day’s tour, the clouds were parting and the rest of our stay was in warm, bright sunshine.
The Church of the Savior on Blood
Lamppost near the church. I have no idea what the padlocks symbolize, and neither did the tour guide
The base of the lamppost.
The Smolny Cathedral on a nice day
Air foils are used extensively for commuting
A woman sowing and raking grass seed into the re-landscaped grounds of a nearby church
...and pigeons feasting on the new grass seed
a familiar sight
the “non-nuclear” nuclear cooling towers. We were told they are used by gas generators.
the famous Hermitage museum
an infamous prison, now closed and undergoing remodeling into a hotel and entertainment center
curtain tie back on our tour coach