- Founded in: 1703
- Population: 5.2 million
- Distance to Moscow: 687 km
Founded by Peter I the Great in 1703 as Russia’s new imperial capital, St. Petersburg is the ultimate embodiment of artistic talent. Europe’s best architects and Russia’s foremost creative talents, including Alexander Pushkin, Nikolay Gogol, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Dmitry Shostakovich and Joseph Brodsky, left their indelible imprints on this remarkable city.
From architecture and city planning to the performing talents of the Mariinsky Opera and Ballet to the masterpieces of the magnificent Hermitage Museum, everything in this delightful city is focused on beauty and elegance. The city’s legendary drawbridges over the grand Neva River and the famous “White Nights” in June draw tens of thousands of tourists every year.
I doubt that there is anywhere in the world with a view that can be compared to the majestic panorama which unfolded before my eyes as I stood on the granite embankment of the Neva.
St. Petersburg city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Tourism is one of the key sectors of the city’s economy. St. Petersburg welcomes up to five million tourists each year, more than any other city in Russia.
In the same artistic tradition, a new state-of-the-art 69,000-seat stadium is being constructed on Krestovsky Island facing the Baltic Sea. Resembling a spaceship, it was designed by the famous architect Kisho Kurokawa. The stadium will have a retractable pitch, ensuring that the quality of the turf remains high regardless of the weather.